Kind, optimistic, caring and blessed with a good sense of humor and great sensitivity, Mickaël Nicolas is one of those men you’d love to have as an uncle, or even a father. But, Malonn, age 10, and his big sister Madyson, age 14, are the only ones lucky enough to have this wonderful dad. Very attentive to the needs of his two children, this 43-year-old project manager shared with Toombow Kids his method for enjoying as many beautiful moments with them as possible. A touching testimonial from a father who knows how to listen to his children’s hearts.
When he talks about Malonn and Madyson, Mickaël’s eyes light up. As he himself says, his son and daughter are his whole life, they are a treasure that he cherishes. Even though he works a lot for a large company that demands a lot of his time this single father will always have the energy to think of activities and outings to do with his children. Tablets, laptops or video games? Not for them! Mickaël loves nature outings, which are a source of infinite possibilities for him, which he has introduced to his children. Strolls in the forest or along the banks of the Marnes river, on foot or by bike, but also other more unusual activities such as magnet fishing, which consists of using a fishing rod to pick up all sorts of metal objects from the water. It’s a treasure hunt where Malonn and Madyson can’t wait to see what they find, like when Mickaël happily recalls that they found a 1 euro coin.
As well as entertainment, it’s also a way for them to make their own contribution to cleaning up our waterways. The 40-year-old has also instilled this sense of eco-responsibility in his children through fun walks, such as during the Covid pandemic, when it was not uncommon to see the trio walking the streets, with gloves in hand, picking up litter and putting it in a bag with the challenge of collecting as much as possible. And what Mickaël loves most of all is surprising his children.
“I love getting a reaction from the children. I need to see their amazement when I suggest activities and I don’t like to reveal my plans in advance. When I take them somewhere, they often don’t know where we’re going until the last minute. During the year, we travel a lot to visit friends who live all over France. We let ourselves be guided, that’s our way of being globetrotters. Children see everything, and I love sharing as many experiences as possible with them.”
For some people, having a child with a disability is an obstacle to having a happy family life. Mickaël firmly rejects this mentality. His daughter’s disability – she suffers from the rare Ohdo syndrome – has never prevented him from living happily with her and his son.
“You have to take the time to show her that you’re there, to listen to her feelings and emotions. You have to try to tap into that whole range of sensitivities, and sometimes channel them when there’s fear. Knowing how to say “What are you feeling?” I don’t want to put her feelings in a box, and I don’t give a damn how other people look at her. It’s even a joy to see people who say we should forbid ourselves from doing a lot of things with a disabled child, to show them they’re wrong. It’s not about putting her in unmanageable situations, it’s about showing her that I’m always there when she discovers new things. The more experiences she has, the better she’ll be able to handle situations.”
In fact, Madyson is very close to her little brother, and one of Mickaël’s proudest achievements is that he sees in this relationship something similar to what he himself experienced with his sister: “I adore you, I adore you, I hate you and I adore you again, in short, a real brother-sister relationship! And when the father of two is asked what advice he would give to men who are about to become parents, he thinks long and philosophizes.
“I did a lot of watching and listening to find out what they were made of as a whole. We all want to say ‘I want my child to do this, I want my child to do that,’ and we all have our theories. But what I think is that there is no universal education. Every child is different. Some people see in other people’s children what they would like for their own, but we shouldn’t try to change them against their will. Instead of proposing tons of things, you should say to yourself, “Oh, he or she surely needs this, I feel he has this urge to do this because I saw my child liked it”, etc. You can ask them, for example, “Is this what he or she wants to do? Or, “Do you think we could do this together?” “This way, we can see a child’s orientations and guide them without having a conflict. Children are more open to experimentation than adults, so it’s important to listen to them and act accordingly. “
According to Malonn, this method is bearing fruit, since when asked if his father is a good father, he answers yes, adding that he takes good care of him and his sister, and that when they do something stupid, he teaches them how to fix it without getting angry like other fathers. Madyson also seems to share this opinion, judging by the many tender hugs she gives her father, confirming Mickaël Nicolas’ status as an amazing dad.