petite anglaise

November 30, 2005

busy

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 4:09 pm

Forgive me, I’m just thinking aloud. In no particular order:

  1. Register Tadpole for pre-shool for September 06 at local mairie in case Lover turns out to be an axe murderer and we decide not to leave Paris after all (deadline 31 January)
  2. Purchase 2 camels, 1 donkey and several goats (www.oxfam.co.uk)
  3. Put magnum of champagne in fridge to chill for party tomorrow, make mince pies
  4. Ring UPS to convey “petite” to Ipod Hospital in Netherlands in her pre-paid envelope
  5. Choose new glasses frames (Prada?)
  6. Get passport photos for recruitment agency (black and white? more flattering?)
  7. Pack Tadpole’s overnight/weekend bags
  8. Pay nanny (tomorrow)
  9. Check current status of misbehaving digital camera – need usual Christmas photo of Tadpole with antlers developed in time for sending of Christmas cards
  10. Buy glittery pens for colouring Early Learning Center christmas cards with Tadpole

November 29, 2005

bad santa

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 12:59 pm

We approach the mairie at top speed, then grind to an sudden halt in the middle of the cobbled square in front of the main entrance. I realise I am going to be late for work, again, but pausing to show Tadpole Something Interesting is much more important than accurate timekeeping, in my opinion. And my annual evaluation was last week.

“Look! Those men are putting some big Christmas trees up over there!”

Tadpole turns to stare in the wrong direction. She hasn’t yet grasped the concept of looking to see what my finger is actually pointing towards.

“Over there, near the clock,” I prompt, impatiently.

“Ooh! Is VERY BIG that Christmas tree!” she exclaims, suitably excited.

“Soon, the men will put lights on the trees, and decorations, and it will be really pretty,” I explain. “I think they’ll probably turn the lights on on Thursday.”

What a wonderful thing it is to live in a country where the run up to Christmas only starts on December 1st, I think to myself. Overpriced Christmas trees are only just going on sale in the local florist’s, and so far I haven’t been subjected to a single Christmas song while shopping in Monoprix.

“And Père Noël will put some presents there for [Tadpole],” my daughter continues, clearly having taken to heart the lesson I taught her only yesterday using our newly purchased Happyland Christmas Set, pictured above.

“Yes, but only if you’re a very good girl,” I clarify. “If you’re a naughty girl, you’ll get …” I pause, for dramatic effect, to let her finish my sentence.

“No presents!”

I think I’m starting to see the logic behind the whole Father Christmas myth, now that Tadpole is old enough to understand it. There is seemingly unlimited mileage to be had out of The Christmas Threat. I wonder how many times between now and December 25th I will catch myself saying “don’t be naughty, Father Christmas is watching you!”

The only flaw in my dastardly plan is my patent inability to actually purchase any presents without giving in to a sudden and overwhelming urge to let Tadpole have them immediately. So, not only will there be no presents under the Christmas tree come D-day if my irresponsible behaviour continues, but Tadpole won’t actually care about The Christmas threat because every single day of the past week has been Christmas as far as she is concerned.

Must try harder.

Buy Tadpole stuff!

November 28, 2005

technophobe

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 5:03 pm

Technology, it would seem, is no longer my friend.

First, let me share the tale of woe of my beloved 40 GB Ipod, won in a charity reverse auction for the symbolic sum of £ 16.00 last Christmas. “Petite”, as she is known, is having some sort of identity crisis. She no longer remembers that she is, in fact, an Ipod. She has forgotten how to have cosy chats with my computer. Error messages abound every time I set “petite” on her stand. She “won’t mount”. I have no idea what could at the root of her sudden frigidity.

Reformatting her is not an option, as even the ‘restore’ tool will not acknowledge her existence. There is nothing for it but to send her, swathed in swaddling clothes and bubble wrap, to the Apple Hospital and pray that they are able to perform a miracle. Which clearly will involve wiping the 2,500+ songs stored inside her pretty head, which I, in my blondeness, have neglected to back up anywhere on my computer. Gah.

The good news: “petite” is still within her one year warranty period, so any repairs should be free of charge. The bad news: Apple may demand proof of purchase, which I don’t have, as I didn’t actually purchase her. So now I have to contact the nice people at Auctionair, to see if they have some sort of paperwork.

I’m not holding my breath.

Secondly, our faithful digital camera (which does not have a name or gender) is being temperamental. Sometimes it can see perfectly well. At other times the preview screen remains black. After warming up for a little while, the camera may deign to recognise a light source like, say, a naked lightbulb if it is approximately 2 cm from the lens. Other than that, blackness. A form of depression, perhaps.

Obviously the dark phases occur when I am at home fiddling ever more desperately with the settings in the comfort of my apartment, and the working perfectly well phases occur when I am standing in the Fnac about to ask the opinion of an expert.

I suppose as these things always come in threes, I must brace myself to see what is going to malfunction next. The computer itself? The rather ancient video recorder which Tadpole uses to watch Noddy and Pingu?

I don’t suppose the bulb which exploded when I turned on the hall light this morning counts?

Preoccupied as I was with all my technological woes this morning, I fed and dressed Tadpole on autopilot.

After bundling her into the lift, I squeezed in beside her with my large plastic bin full to overflowing with bottles destined for the recycling bin (note to self, just how did I get through that quantity of red wine?) Halfway down to the ground floor, I heard Tadpole’s muffled, and rather puzzled voice emerge from beneath several layers of fleecy (pink) clothing.

“Mummy, I got my slippers on.”

I am left wondering whether I can’t climb into a nice padded envelope and send myself in for a service.

November 23, 2005

singing in tongues

Filed under: Tadpole rearing, Tadpole sings — petiteanglaise @ 9:15 pm

version originale

version française

November 22, 2005

waking

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 4:59 pm

When my Lover is not with me, I sleep fitfully, work worries flitting around my head, like moths around a lightbulb. When I do manage to sleep, I migrate onto his pillows, which are impregnated with the scent of his skin, unconsciously seeking the comfort of a warm shoulder.

I wake and the winter moonlight gives no clue as to the hour. It could be hours or minutes before the alarm sounds. Reluctant to rouse myself further to squint at my watch, I lie wide awake nevertheless, mildly paranoid, as always, that I’m going to be late, that the alarm will not work at all.

Familiar knots tighten in my stomach as my mind predictably turns to the office. Will it be a neutral day, or a stormy one? Weather map symbols swim before my eyes. Where once every day was dry with light cloud and sunny intervals, nowadays there are, at best, ominous grey clouds gathering; at worst, a violent storm.

After what seems like an eternity, electronic beeps signal 6.45 am. I switch on the bedside light, ease my glasses onto my nose, and try to will my body out from under the heavy, duck down duvet. Five minutes pass, then ten. Why, oh why does a bed always feel at least ten times more comfortable when it is time to leave it?

If I strain my ears, I can hear a gentle, regular snoring coming from Tadpole’s room along the hallway. She’s as reluctant as I to wake in the winter, and invariably turns to face the wall, her sleepy, plaintive voice protesting “No mummy! I can’t get up. I’m tired!”

Today is no different. Softly I repeat her name until she stirs; the pattern of her breathing subtly changes. Curling into a foetal ball, she emits a little moan. I begin to pull on my work clothes, knowing that she will come around, in time.

Sure enough, when my head emerges from a polo neck jumper, I see sparkling blue eyes looking at me mischievously over the top of a teddy bear.

“I peeping mummy!” she giggles, as she raises herself up on one elbow.

I smile, feeling one of the knots loosening, unravelling, in my stomach.

Gathering the sleeping bag sheathed Tadpole into my arms, I sink into the nearby sofa, my face buried in her neck. Small, soothing fingers caress my neck and run themselves through my dishevelled hair. She pulls herself upright, eyes close to mine, the tips of our noses touching. Suddenly animated, she exclaims:

“Go outside and make some clouds?”

I see us in my mind’s eye, yesterday morning, walking alongside the park, our warm breath visible in the frosty air. Tadpole’s eyes were wide with wonder, and she beseeched me “souffle mummy, souffle!” over and over again. Simple things which I take for granted take on new meaning when I can show them to Tadpole for the very first time.

Slowly, in the presence of my daughter, office stress recedes into insignificance. From our exchanges I draw the strength to face my day.

November 17, 2005

stirrups

Filed under: french touch — petiteanglaise @ 3:12 pm

I can hear the gynecologist talking on the phone in the next room. A personal call, judging by her cooing tones. Despite the fact that she is ten minutes late, that I am the only person in the tiny waiting room, sitting awkwardly on the overstuffed leather sofa, glancing at my watch periodically to see just how late back to work I am going to be, she is clearly not it any hurry to call me in. Classical music plays on invisible speakers, but does not have the desired soothing effect.

Finally, five minutes later, I am summoned in. I shake her hand, trying not to think about where it spends much of its time, and take a seat, opposite her desk.

“Now, remind me of your name,” she says, looking not nearly as bashful as she should, under the circumstances.

I comply, puzzled as to why she doesn’t have my notes in front of her. What does her secretary do all day? Blog?

“I seem to have misplaced your notes,” she continues, rising to paw through her filing cabinet half-heartedly, but apparently still drawing a blank.

I sigh, and refresh her memory as to the subject of our previous appointment, less than a month ago. Explanations out of the way, I am invited to strip naked (bottom half only) and take up the habitual position on my back, feet in stirrups.

My mother always told me that once you’ve had a baby, any inhibitions you used to have will disappear. I found this to be true during my pregnancy, largely because due to my burgeoning belly, I couldn’t actually get a clear view of what was going on down there anyway, but shortly afterwards, my inhibitions returned to haunt me with a vengeance.

Suffice to say that the snap of latex gloves being pulled on is not a sound I look forward to. Nor is the fact that French gynéco’s all seem to be rather fond of checking for breast lumps with their bare, cold hands, which is not dissimilar to being groped by a particularly inept sixteen year old boy.

Thirty seconds later it is all over, and when I return to my seat, a prescription awaits me. I pull out my cheque book and pen.

“Sixty five euros?” I ask, wondering if my memory can be serving me correctly.

“Oui, Madame, c’est exact,” comes the reply. Her nose is already in the next person’s file, signalling that I have been dismissed.

Inwardly fuming, I write my cheque. Sixty five euros for five minutes of her precious time. Sixty five euros to see a doctor who has misplaced my records, has no idea of my history, and yet feels qualified to make a snappy, thirty second diagnosis. Sixty five euros, all because she has a double-barrelled name and a tiny cabinet from whose windows you can almost, but not quite, make out the Louvre.

I mumble the usual niceties and take my leave, vowing never to cross her threshold again, even if she is within spitting distance of my office.

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