I was looking through files on my computer and came across something I wrote in April of 2003. I thought I would share it here since it is one of my most memorable modeling sessions. It's hard to believe that Elijah is 9 years old now...
I modeled for a two hour figure drawing class last night with my son, Elijah. Although I was somewhat nervous about it at the beginning, the class went reasonably well.
Elijah turned five weeks old last Friday. My wife told me before he was born that I would need to cut back on my modeling so she wouldn’t be left alone in the house with our two kids. So I got the brilliant idea to take Elijah along. I figured that it would be a good bonding experience, and it would give the students something different to draw. Elijah is still at the age where all he does is sleep and eat. In my master plan, Elijah would sleep in the carrier while I did the gesture poses. Then I’d hold him for a couple of long poses while he slept. Let’s just say that things did not go according to plan.
I knew that I might be in trouble right after I walked into the building. I really had to relieve myself, so I set his carrier on the floor of the men’s room behind me. Leaving the diaper bag and my modeling bag slung over my shoulder, I stood at the urinal and did my business. Elijah started getting fussy. As we walked out of the men’s room, he started screaming. I had the cell phone with me, and I thought about calling my wife to come get him right then. But with the use of a pacifier, I was able to get him quieted down.
This particular school does not supply the models with changing rooms, so I usually change right there in the drawing studio. In an out-of-the-way corner of the room I take off my shirt, then put on my robe, and finally remove everything else. I had set Elijah's carrier down on the desk by the instructor and had gone to a far corner to change. Apparently, Elijah didn’t like being away from me, and he started crying again. I changed quickly while the gracious instructor tried to entertain him. As soon as I got changed, I picked Elijah up out of his carrier, and he was happy again.
I gave him a bottle that he had started earlier. I had told my wife to feed him right before I picked him up, so that he would hopefully sleep during class. Unfortunately, Elijah hadn’t felt like eating the entire bottle then. He ate fine now, finishing the bottle just before class was scheduled to start. I burped him as the students were setting up their easels. Unfortunately, he was wide awake after the burp. I tried setting him in his carrier so that I could do the gestures, but he objected.
So, I removed his outfit (I did leave his diaper on; I’m not a complete moron) and we did five one-minute gestures and two five-minute poses together. I held him in a burping position while twisting my body; I took a knee and sat Elijah on the other knee; I held his head in my hand with his body lying on my arm and supported by my torso; etc. The instructor was very complimentary about the poses.
From there, we went to a thirty minute seated pose. Elijah was just fine as long as I was holding him, and he was still wide awake. I sat in a chair and held him like I normally do. I figured that the skin to skin contact would really be a bonding experience. And I guess getting sweaty and sticking together could be called bonding. As the time went on, Elijah kept looking at me as if to say, “What the hell are we doing Dad?” About fifteen minutes into the pose, my back really started to hurt. Elijah must weigh ten pounds by now, although he was feeling heavier by the minute.
We made it through that pose, and the instructor called for a very welcome break. Elijah had made good use of that diaper, and I could smell it. So I changed him on the model platform, and we walked around a little bit. Several of the female students offered to help out with him, and everyone commented on how cute Elijah was.
The last pose was going to be a one hour reclining pose, but the teacher wanted me to shift every fifteen minutes. He wanted the students to incorporate the passing of time into their drawings by showing my movement somehow. So I lay down on my back, and I put Elijah on my chest. He usually sleeps there when I’m in my recliner at home, so I figured he’d go to sleep quickly. But he struggled, and he even started looking around for something only his mother had. I grabbed the pacifier, and this calmed him for a few minutes. Gradually, he went to sleep. The rest of the pose went great, although Elijah did wake up once and turn his head the other way. Since the pose was supposed to move every fifteen minutes, this worked out well.
The instructor and students were very complimentary and very pleased with their drawings. One student even commented that she had never seen a baby be that good for two hours. I put Elijah in his carrier while I got dressed, and of course, he started getting fussy again. Once I got everything together, I made a hasty exit. I return to that class again tomorrow night, but I will be by myself then. My back just couldn’t handle doing that with him again…