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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tuesday 2 august 2005
115. Colin Maillard – a blind game (Rewind -3-)
When daddy and mommy found out I was blind, they explained it to my sisters right away (and you now know how that turned out with Eva). With my older sister, Mathilde, how was then 9 years old, things went quite differently. She got it right away. Her eyes filled with sadness. Mathilde : "It's a shame... he will never see the landscapes, the mountains, the see". Daddy (hiding the knot in his throat) : "We'll explain, we'll describe it to him, we'll make him touch it..."
That's it ! Daddy has opened the memories box ! It took quite a few months before my sister Eva realized I was blind. That was all my parents' fault.
Eva was thrilled to have a little brother. She was only four and a half years old. So you can guess how she treated me : like a doll. Shaking me all over the place, taking me in her arms unannounced, sticking the pacifier in my mouth the way you would put the cork back in a wine bottle, etc. She was a little crazy.
Daddy and mommy kept asking her to be more gentle and to warn me before approaching me. They told her I was different, that I couldn't see. And then there was my behavior, which Eva could tell was different from other babies'. I wouldn't look at her when she talked to me. So she started yelling in my hears to attract my attention. My parents would step in :
I talk about the present, I talk about the present ... but that's daddy's fault !
I have lots of things to say about my past, even though I must admit memories aren't my strongest point. Although little by little I'm beginning to mention events dating back to a few months ago (such as the bath tub emptying itself , for example). So it's hard for me to go back a year or more. Good thing daddy is here to refresh my memory.
And so I would like to tell you that when I was a little boy - I mean really little - a daycare center agreed to take me in and let me mingle among so called "normal" kids. Without any hesitation. And with a heart THIS big.
For three years, Vivianne became my benchmark nursery nurse, my mommy away from mommy. Fanny, the principal, invested herself entirely in the project, just like all the other nurses. And you better believe that when I left them to join the "big school", hearts were aching.
That's because so much happened there. While everybody else was cheerfully hopping around on two or four legs, I would remain in my small perimeter. My playmates quickly figured out I as blind. So they would pay attention to me. Lost a toy ? A buddy would bring it back to me ! Lost my pacifier ? A friend would wave it around me so I could spot it thanks to the noise
and grab it. Feeling thirsty ? (you know, my pituitary gland... see post 4 from "read me") A friend would stick the feeding bottle in my mouth. They were actually imitating the adults' behavior towards me. I was a special case, and accepted as such. Just goes to show that the fear of other people's differences is not innate ! I was learning, just like everyone else, about living in a community... with its realities as well : holding a nice toy in my hands ? Yoinks, somebody would snatch it from me (yup, that also happened). But they'd be forgetting about my vocal cords which would immediately alert the nursery nurses (I was just trying to defend myself in any way I could).
So I had some wonderful times there. And I would just like to pay tribute to Viviane, Fanny, Dominique, Aurore, and the staff of the Gilson daycare center, even though nowadays Marie-Anne has replaced that sadly forgotten past.
When autumn comes, leaves fall. Stating the obvious I hear you say ? Well you're forgetting I'm blind.
I told you already about the long walks in the forest with daddy where he would place my hands on trees so I could understand what a "tree" is. Except here, even by touching the leaves, it's still difficult for me to understand that a tree is full of these weird soft things moving at the tips of branches (I don't like leaves very much). Yup !
So autmumnal walks in the forest or the countryside are the perfect occasion to explain a few things to me:
Daddy : "In autumn, the sun rises later and sets earlier. And since it's the sun that warms us up, it gets colder and colder. So the leaves on trees get cold too and they fall." (it would be a little too complicated to tell me about light - I don't know what that is -, photosynthesis, etc...). And so daddy grabs the chance to relate all this to other facts I already know : - that you can't sit in the grass anymore because it stays wet (see post "my manual") - that besides hours, days, and months (which are already hard for me to conceptualize), there are seasons.
But daddy is being a bit ambitious with me, and as a result I summarize all this rather crudely : "Leaves fall because it's winter and the sun is cold". And since I'm not entirely sure I understood and I like to hear daddy explain about things, I ask him : "Now it's daddy's turn to talk about the leaves..."