This blog was born in french during autumn 2003 and is now progressively being translated in your language.
New articles will therefore appear on a regular basis.
... my apologies to the people who hadn't understood this yet, all articles on this website are created and written by myself (his dad).
Lou is currently unable to do it,, just like he is to this day unable to grasp the concept of a "computer", "internet", or to focus for a long period of time on a conversation. Only time will tell us if we manage to integrate him completely in the world in which he lives.
Therefore all stories, despite relating actual facts, are obviously biased by my interpretation of his behavior. But having known him for over five years, I don't think I'm getting it wrong.
Thank you to the "Roi Baudoin" foundation ( "Parcours hors pistes" ). The new design, hosting and translations were partially made possible by their financial support.
Many thanks to Marco Pappalardo et Laetitia Bouet for the translation.
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monday 28 february 2005
65. Expressive !
If there is one thing you can say about me, it's that I'm expressive ! Whether by the tone of my voice (yelling, laughing, whispering and anger) or the expressions on my face. A lot of people say that. But the funny thing is, did you ever think about the fact that with me, all my facial expressions are inborn ? Contrary to you, I have no mimesis, like little monkeys, since I can't see. Astonishing isn't it ?
This morning, while driving me to school, I asked daddy out of the blue : "What does stoning mean ?". Just shows that my "hard drive" sometimes saves the strangest things ! It all goes back to 15 days ago. Daddy was listening to the news on the radio while driving my sister and I to school. All of a sudden he exclaimed "Yes ! Great !". Eva then asked him why he was so happy. He explained to her that a Nigerian woman, Amina, had just been saved from stoning thanks to, among other things, the international mobilization and an Amnesty International petition her Mom and himself had signed, just like another ten million people. That was all a little too complicated for me, but I was listening. Daddy told Amina's story, convicted for having a baby outside marriage, he explained the islamic sharia and the stoning. Even to Eva that seemed very complicated and absurd : killing someone by throwing stones at her until death ensues ! "Why ?" So daddy used simple words : "Because a lot of persons don't know how to forgive ; because a lot of persons are unhappy, and when you're unhappy, you tend to be mean, not to bear difference, to be vengeful. That's why the world is the way it is : there are a lot of unhappy persons". Anyway, this morning, to my question "What is stoning ?", daddy beat me to my own game : "What does stoning mean, Lou ?". And I simply replied : "It's when you are mean, and you throw rocks at people because you are unhappy". Amazing, huh ?
Hello, hello, little dog Courage ! Hello, hello, mister René ! Hello, hello, Colargol, Garacroc, Marie-Anne, Bon-Papy, Virgule and all my friends from the internet ! Guess what, the belgian television came to film me yesterday, wednesday, to talk about the website and broadcast a story about me in the 19:30 news (great story, congratulations Francois !). They had noticed the website during a recent story about "blogs" and since apparently it was a special day for blind people ... We had a lot of fun, and I did everything I was asked to, even if at times I was troubled by the presence of the tv crew and the messed up afternoon program ... But they picked me the way I am !
To see the vidéo (...in french indeed) with Quicktime viewer IT'S HERE !
When I told you I sometimes sleep in crazy positions ... ! Daddy found a recent picture. Since then they even screwed back the two bars they had removed to give me a certain autonomy. I have to say, one day the found me asleep on the floor, with no blanket. Anyway I can perfectly climb over the bars in the morning and in the evening. But it's true that since then, I stay in my bed when it's time to sleep.
Exceptionally I (Lou's daddy) will be speaking for myself in this article. I'm not much of a super man, and even less of a Rambo. Anyway, to be honest, I occasionally feel blue because of Lou. Because obviously a lot of things in life remind me of his handicap, of the things he will never see, or discover, or even just live. You can get over pain, injustice, or a wound, and still carry a sign of it, like a scar. And then there are Lou's regression periods, which are not encouraging. Rest assured though, they are only short phases, for both of us, and I always get over it by thinking of all the happiness and riches Lou has let us discover ( he's got the priviledge and the honor, just like his sisters, of having profundly helped me question myself, and therefore change !). Anyway. The other day, the blues during a conversation with his older sister Mathilde. We were talking about Lou (he wasn't there), when I let out the thing that hurts me most, that is simply unbearable for me : the idea that some day, when we, the parents, won't be there anymore, Lou could be placed in an institution. Because life may some day make it hard for his sisters to take care of him, for a thousand different reasons, including an implacable one : there comes a day, when every adult builds his own life.
Monday. 6:30 PM. Daddy is working in his office. It's ok though, they've managed to get me over it. Because it's been tough. Let's go back in time if you don't mind. Great day at school, hence, as usual, I'm very "contrary" once I get home (fatige, stress from learning - really ! - ). I eat my dinner with mommy, while daddy walks the dog in the forest. When he's back, he finds me swinging in the armchair, repeating the same word over and over... I've already forgotten which one (and so has daddy). So he comes to play with me. I'm nervous and push him back... just to gauge my strength. "Daddy must fall on the ground !" (we had a lot of fun once like this). But that swine is refusing this time ! "No way Loulou, sorry but I don't feel like it today." I become stubborn : "I don't feel like it, I don't feel like it, I don't feel like it!", and I start swinging myself again to the rythm of that sentence. Then I demand some water. Mommy who's busy cooking offers me to join her so I can have a drink in the kitchen. I have no choice but to get there by my own means of transportation. No "delivery service" at this time of the day. They're really overdoing it. They force me more and more often to come and get what I'm asking for, or to go on my own where I want to go. Ok, I'm five years old, but I'm different ! Besides, I'm not about to let them take away my priviledges like that !
So, to make things more playful ( we do that in school ), daddy built a six compartments box where he stores sometimes cubes, sometimes animals. That immediately makes it more fun. Although I reckon despite all their efforts, I don't always agree to play. Even worse, sometimes they have to force me. Good thing after a rainbow of feelings I end up taking the bait most of the time. "So daddy... Show me... Daddy's turn now !" Daddy : "So show me the cow in the top left corner." I then grab it and give it to daddy. Me : "Yes, it's actually fun to play with one's little hands..." Just goes to show, right !
To tell you the whole truth, mommy and daddy are a bit of a pain in the ... Because what I like more than anything else is swinging, laughing, imitating, singing or listening to music and stories. But regularly they force me to "play with my little hands". They tell me it's essential for my future. Whatever. And since the basis of my school curriculum is bringing me to brail, I must learn the notion of six boxes (or six dots) which is the very foundation of the brail language (every letter is a variation of a combination of six points). For that, I must acquire the notion of "up" and "down", after which I can discover that in between the two, there is a "middle". Then repeat this notion but this time defining a "left" and a "right". And maybe some day find out that to the left, there is another left and right, and same thing to the right. Not so easy huh ? I can't tell you how much it annoys me ... (to be continued)
(1) Since I was born, mommy (especially her) went out of her way to find games suitable to my blindness and possibly interesting to me. After five years I can't tell you how much stuff my parents accumulated to trigger my awakening. From miniature piano to the accordion, and in between the harmonica, the Kalimba, the Djembe (etc), from games where you must fit things together to basic puzzles, from the laughing doll to the
animals of the farm with their respective cry, from the noisy ball (when it rolls) to the rain stick. In one word : things are piling up next to the couch ! There is a whole series of games in there which I always refused to explore (flat refusal). And concerning the other games, I must be motivated and reminded of their existance to show any interest for a few minutes. (to be continued)
I often have fun making phone calls. For real, with grand-pa ( or mommy and daddy when they are not home ), and pretend with Buzz's "Toy Story" phone. I then talk to Mr Rene, or to little dog courage. And since I'm pushing all the buttons, which sometimes play music and sometimes Buzz's voice, the result is something like :
Me : "Hello ? Hello ! Yes, I've lost Mr Rene's holidays..." The phone : " I'm Buzz, for the rescue !" Me : "Yes, yes, yes, mr Rene, it's true ... Yes, thank you, goodbye.." - Music - "Yes, yes, it's important, Mr Rene... Yes, I'm on the phone... Yes but no. Right, right, right, right..." The phone : " To infinity and beyond " Me : " No, there's no problem... You can't hit, Mr Rene ! Not biting is good, little dog courage . Goodbye ! " Then I hit several times the same key : " I am Buzz, I am, I am, aya, aya, aya, ..." and then I laugh. " To infinity and beyond, To in, to in, to infinity " - " Bu.. bu ... Buzz ! ".
(end) Thanks to that little game, I walk a little and I learn to orientate myself with sounds. I also mostly learn to trust, because sometimes, I deviate from my trajectory, heading for a ditch or a large beech. Briefly said, I must listen to daddy's advice. "Stop!" - "To the left" - "To the right" - "Here the pushchair !" (...) In conclusion, if you run, in the forest, into a funny guy with a white dog, waving an empty pushchair singing : "pushchair, push-pushchair..." and that further ahead, there is a kid laughing on his own and slowly moving forward, don't worry. It's not visitation day in some nearby asylum. Although ... when you see sometimes the face of the people we walk by...
(P.S. : ridicule doesn't kill anymore, otherwise the whole family would have been decimated a long time ago !)
(continued) Since I'm lazy and mistrusting by nature (I guess you figured that), daddy found a trick to get me to walk in the forest. He lets me hold the pushchair and says "Pushchair, stay there!". I then take a couple of steps pushing it forward, then, mischievously, I throw it further away (I'm sure daddy uses that opportunity to move even firther). So he leaves me all alone on the path. "Aaaah, the pushchair, it's getting away! Pushchair, stop !"... And I laugh. Once it stops, daddy waves the pushchair around so I can spot it by the noise... and I walk
to him. And we start over...
So I love going for walks in the forest with daddy. To me, the forest is a funny place : you can't hear cars, just the wind in the trees. And then, there are those poles daddy calls trees and which he absolutely wants me to touch. It's small or big, rugged (I don't really like it actually), and I only know the bottom of it. Except once, there was a tree laying down and he made me walk on it so I could realize how big and tall it is (when it's standing). I'm not sure I really got it... Daddy is always telling me there are lots and lots of trees in a forest. Whatever. I don't
see the point. What I like is the rolling of the pushchair. (to be continued)
Speaking of animals, I'm realizing I still haven't introduced Mega. She's daddy's dog. He even often calls her "Nilfisk" because she's always hanging around me when I'm eating. I must say I often drop bits of my sandwhich or I spill some of my spoon's content. At least, with her, the floor around the table is always shining ! Acually, I like Mega, and I don't like her : I like her because she's part of the family, but I don't like it when she barks or when she comes lick my face. However when I was younger and she would precisely come and give me a facial wash, I would stick my entire hand down her mouth, without her reacting in any way. But nowadays I'm not getting stepped on anymore, and she better move when she's sleeping just anywhere.
Last detail : thanks to Mega, daddy sometimes takes me for a walk in the forest with her. I love calling her the way daddy does when she got too far away : "Mega ! (I whistle) Doggy ! Come Mega ! Good dog ..." (I have almost as much authority as daddy !)
If there is an animal I really love, it is definetely the horse. So when the opportunity came along, mommy and daddy put me on one : at the fair or at friends'. I love wandering around on the back on this big animal who seems so peaceful to me. And at least, with him, we move and it doesn't scream in my ear ! Of course, my parents are stuck with walking alongside me, just to reassure me and make sure I don't just suddenly decide to get off. But so far, no problemo. I'm sure there will be more of these experiences some time soon. Oh yes, oh yes !
Last year, at school, I went on "classes vertes" in a farm specially equipped for discovering life at the countryside. Three days without daddy and mommy, who 'm guessing enjoyed the chance to rest a little. It was great... except for a little incident which profoundly marked me.