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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friday 29 april 2005
89. The calm of the countryside
( my week on holidays 2 )
Usually I sleep well in the Ardennes house, where absolute calms reigns (it's in the middle of nowhere). I'm saying : usually ( although ...), because this time, it was the contrary ! Is it the change to summer time, or the fact that I switched to a sleep cycle where I take regular naps in the afternoon ? Whatever it is I've been giving a really hard time to daddy and mommy, whose neighboring room is only separated from mine by a thin wall.
One night it even started at 2 a.m. Talking about little dog Courage, Marie-Anne, "madame" (new one), inventing stories or singing, making noise... In short, despite repeated interventions by mommy or daddy, I was partying every night between 4 a.m. and around 8 am when I got out of bed. As a result I would feel seriously tired in the afternoon, and in the evening I would be really "jumpy". Moral of the story I was often playing "baby cadum", throwing huge fits. No way I would obey, and then I would engage in a physical strength challenge. I have to say my parents are crossing the line. I don't know what got into them, but they have decided to break some of the molds in which I bask and that I tend to use to dictate my own law (such as for example the ritual of going to bed, where it always had to be mommy who would carry me up to bed). Granted I'm the one who started it fifteen days ago by asking daddy to carry me up to bed. But then I did a complete U-turn : I only wanted daddy to go to bed. So they decided to alternate rather than go along with my moods. My reaction shouldn't come as a surprise to them... In conclusion, this week wasn't always relaxing, neither for me nor for my parents, because on top of it daddy had decided to paint some radiators, and I didn't like that at all because as a result he wasn't available for three or four hours every day. As soon as I wanted to be with him, he would apologize and explain he was busy painting the radiators. So I would yell : "The radiatoooooor ! The radiatoooooor !" Well ... that's also what life with me is about, and I'm a child like any other, who needs boundaries. Except I don't understand too well the meaning of boundaries despite permanent efforts from my parents. Finally, to conclude the chapter about bad memories, there's that night when I banged my head against a coffee table while being silly. It took half an hour to calm me down. You can imagine how agitated I was, drunk wth rage. Nothing would calm me down : I wanted to take revenge, to pinch, to hit, to push back... Put yourself in my shoes for a minute : a "thing" (in this case, the table) savagely attacks me, so me ... I pay back cash.
That said, and in conclusion, I still had a very good time during these holidays (and so did my parents). I have lots of things to tell you. (to be continued...)
I'm very lucky because mommy's family owns a country house in the Ardennes (see the house). I've been going there regularly since I was a toddler. Therefore I know the place well and I have my own landmarks there. From my regular room (with its characteristic noise from the water leaking in the radiator) to the other rooms in the house. But what I love more than anything else there ... are the pebbles in front of the house ! It's so fun to walk in that gravel, which defines a safety perimeter. As soon as I step on grass, I know I must stop moving forward. If it were up to me, I would spend all my time walking up and down like that, ten steps
to the left, ten steps to the right... Unfortunately there's the rain and my parents, who after a while always insist I do something else.
Go figure why, but among the couples of friends of daddy and mommy, I fancy (almost always) the male. Even if I'm meeting the couple for the first time, it's the "male" I want to play with, hug, etc... A matter of voice pitch ? Smells ? I'm like all little boys basically ! That said, I also get along well with females !
There's one thing I haven't told you yet about the faculties people like me have to compensate the lack of vision. Believe it or not I can recognize people instantly by the pitch of their voice, well, at least the ones I know. And there are quite a few of them : the people taking care of me at school (Marie-Anne, Elisa, Elisabeth, Martine, Brigitte, Monsieur RenÈ, Monsieur Guy, the janitors, the principal, the medical staff, the other teachers, my playmates, the older kids from other classes (such as Fabiola, who I absolutely love); and the many friends of daddy and mommy, of Mathilde, of Eva; the doctors (Jef, the ophtalmologist, my pediatrician, my endocrinologist); to which you can add close and distant family : 18 uncles and aunts, and 24 cousins !); and finally the shopkeepers (Maguy the baker) and the neighbours. All in all at least a hundred people, whom I recognize simply by "hello". Even better : at home, I recognize everyone's footsteps in the stairs.
Note from the author : Like dear old Desproges said (I think it was him) : you can laugh about anything, but not with just anyone.
As soon as it starts getting cold, mommy puts a hat on my head ! Terrible ! The past winters have been all out war between my parents and I. - Lou, put your hat on ! Me : "No !" (and I immediately throw it wherever I can) Mommy (or daddy), putting the hat back on my head : " Louuuuu, you keep that hat on now !" ... And so on. I must admit I haven't won many battles. One ? Maybe two ... Those two are really stubborn ! Anyway.
Bottom line is, it's snowing on Brussels. Big time. Immediate consequence : the hat makes its comeback ! And I, like an idiot, just cave. I don't say a word. Nothing ! Nada ! I'm not even sick, I'm feeling great. But this time ... I accept the hat. I suspect two persons must be discreetely laughing : my parents.
All this to tell you a funny anecdote about the hat : since I'm blind, when I accept a truce and wear the stupid hat, I pull it all the way down... Like a little ghost... Well yeah ... why should my nose be cold when there's nothing to see anyway ! Hence it's happened several times that well intentioned people pointed that out to the person walking me around ( when I'm in a cart ). - Pardon me Sir, but your child can't see, his hat is covering his eyes. The first time it happened, daddy just replied on a friendly tone : - Thank you, that's very kind of you, but it's ok, he's blind. You can imagine the reaction, kind of like "I just said something terribly stupid". It usually results, within half a second, in : cardiac arrest, heavy breathing, wide open eyes, and hands covering the mouth. -Huuuhhhhhh ... Oh my God, I'm sorry. I didn't mean ... And that's when daddy reassures the person.
So now mommy and daddy improvise on a case by case basis (to avoid having a death on their conscience). It ranges from "thank you !" (and they pull the hat up .... which I immediately pull back down) to a brief, smiling, *very* smiling and polite explanation.
P.S. : Daddy will take a picture shortly. In the meantime, he looked for a picture on the internet, and guess what he stumbled upon (as the only valid picture) ? The hat from the local rugby club !
Besides tickles, I love snuggles... but not just anywhere ! I depends on the day and sometimes on the place ! Sometimes I ask for snuggles below the arm, on the tighs, on the groin, and even ... my wee-wee (but daddy and mommy are very clear on that : not the wee-wee ! that's something you don't do in public, neither with your parents nor with other adults).
The last thing I did ? I take daddy's hands, raise the top of my pj's, place his finger on one of my nipples, and guides him so he can caress me. Well yeah, it feels really good there, so I don't see why I shouldn't get snuggles there too. So when I take it too far, I don't understand why I'm being told it's over. Me " more snuggles on the nipples ?" (I'm only a human being like any other !) But I can sense there some confusing rules that my parents are trying to explain to me. Life can be so complicated... And there can be so many rules for so many things.
Talking about senses, daddy loves sniffing me. He thinks I smell really good, and it's a way for him to bond with me. I can't tell you how much time he spends sniffing my hair with his big nose ( it seems I really do smell good ). But for stuff like that daddy is a real nutcase... He discorvered the place where people smell the best (and the most like their own odor), is right above the forehead, at the base of the hair. It's the spot called the third eye. I swear, try it ! It always smells really good, even on a bold person. One night, when my parents were home with friends, I even heard them laughing : they were busy sniffing each other's foreheads. Hence, seeing how lively the house was, I was partying myself in my bed !
82. Fart fart fart how I love you... (chronicles of time passing nr 4)
Well I (Lou's daddy) was getting ready to write new articles (there are still so many things to say) and to place today's articles online when Lou, who was taking his bath in the room next to mine, calls me and asks if he can listen to the song that was sent to me by Sabine (a little girl who writes to us through the website). I open the door and start playing the mp3 file.
No way I can ever write anything serious with this tiny kid voice singing a ballad over a banjo melody !
"fart fart fart how I love you, Come here my little friend I have a secret to whisper to your ear : that I will always love you madly, Yepee !" Etc...
Needless to say Lou is already singing it (should be fun at school). Lou : "Daddy !!! Fart fart fat again !" On top of it Lou also received, from Paulette this time, another song : "fart fart fart in the water" which is also something ! ...My God, my God... what a dangerous precedent (I mean leaving a "channel of communication open" between him and me when I'm "working" in my office - see previous articles) But I just put a stop to it (I played both songs on a loop 3 or 4 times).. And it works. Lou " Daddy ! I want cold water please !" (to drink) Me : "Coming my Loulou..." Which I do. ...Just an excerpt from the chronicles of our daily lives.
P.S. : the song can be accessed on the internet at the following link : click here ! Does this song exist in english too ?
81. The es-sense-ials ( play in french on the words essentials and senses )
You'll have figured it out by now (faithful readers) touching is really something with me ! As much as I don't like touching what I don't know, I love playing "finger touching" with people. It's a very simple game based on sensations : just barely touching my partner's fingertips with mine. And I can spend hours doing it. Needless to say I recognize instantly the hands I know. And not only from their size !
Sometimes I dare to touch faces... But that is more rare. I do do "hugs" and kisses, but exploring the "shape" of others is not exatcly a passion of mine. Plus imagine if everybody did it: touching each other's face ! That would be funny. Some day daddy even met a blind woman who touched his face in this way. It was her way of picturing my daddy based on something else than sound. Those two got along right away. Anyway, it's obvious mommy and daddy are in favor of it... but the rest of the world ...
What the pictures can't show you is of course movement. And I know quite a bit about that. As a matter of fact, I spend a lot of time waving my small hands all around. I rub them very quickly against each other in front of myself, I wave them in front of my mouth, I bang them on my face (without hurting myself!); open hands, closed fists, with or without sound. Daddy and mommy found out they are called "reassurance gestures". Generally these gestures mean I'm navigating in the world of my sensations, that reassuring world... So that became another battlefield for my teacher and my parents. They don't want me to make those gestures all the time, whereas I do as I please : I need those gestures too much : they help me live sensations in my body and in space, and they put rhythm into the time passing (and I love rhythm)
By the way, air is matter (and not void) ! I'm telling you ! (try moving your arm normally from left to right with your eyes closed). Come on ! So let me toss air in peace : it's my personal home cinema. ... Well ok, I'm also interested in your world... but it's up to the ones around me to arouse my interest in it ! Get to work daddy and mommy !
The world is so noisy ! Granted I'm no gift myself ( see the multiple sound sources I constantly demand ). But still...
I have already told you about the sound of the lawnmower , which I love, but next to that there is a whole range of other machines just as noisy that I must learn to deal with. The toughest one remains the vacuum cleaner (funny, it's also the case for Virgule, our kitten). So sometimes, to get me aquainted with the beast, mommy uses a mini vacuum cleaner that she makes me touch and turn on. And the same goes for all appliances : blender (the picture), microwave, hair drier, dish washer, washing machine, etc At first, you must always warn me to keep me from jumping in the air. But ok, the family got used to it. After that, generally, my parents invite me to touch the device. I'm hesitant, but I eventually I cave. And as for any child in the world, after that the hardest thing is stopping ! Moral of the story, in addition to "the Papuans"
, "the days of the week", and "the countries", the list of quotes now contains "the machines". "So daddy, ... tell me the machines !" And daddy gives me the complete list, intra and extra muros, then has me work my brain a little.
By the way, pop quizz : what's the difference between a machine and a device ? A car is a machine, and a blender is a device... A machine can have many devices, but not the opposite. Both are the result of a mechanism or a series of mechanisms. One can be autonomous, whereas as the other ... although ... (anyway, these nuances are much too complicated for me).
I "look", I "see", I "read". A lot of people are afraid to use that kind of words with me. However mommy and daddy use those words all the time. And the same goes for the majority of blind people. There is no taboo. I "look", I "see", I "read" ... in my own way. Besides, I use those words myself. For example I'll say "You see, it is fun !" So it's all about interpretation and diversity.
(The picture showing me "reading" dates from when I was two years old)