petite anglaise

October 1, 2004

c’est une fille, goddammit

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:47 am

“Ooh, isn’t he a looker….he’ll be popular with the ladies one day…”

“Are you eying up my daughter…?”

The above are comments made by people in the street about/to the Tadpole. Who is, incidentally, a girl.

First of all, I’m not convinced that pushing a pushchair with a child in it should give complete strangers a licence to talk to me and invade our personal space. I cringe in particular when old ladies with hairy chins start pawing the Tadpole and asking if they can give her a kiss. If I’m exercising my right as a working mum to be tired and bad-tempered, the last thing I need is to have to make inane conversation in the supermarket queue with some grotesquely made-up old dear.

But now the fact that Tadpole is constantly mistaken for a boy is starting to really get on my nerves. At first I told myself that she was being referred to as il because baby in French it is le bébé, regardless of the gender of the child. Now, after the hundredth comment about my handsome son, I see that this was wishful thinking.

Granted, the Tadpole has approximately the same amount of hair as the Frog (i.e. not a great deal, the applicable word in French being dégarni). I also happen to think that it is infinitely more practical for a toddler to be dressed in trousers when she is going to be falling over fairly often and playing in the sandpit. And I readily admit to favouring the colour blue over the colour pink.

But the Tadpole’s clothes still have flower and butterfly motifs on them, and she wears T-bar shoes from Clarkes. Do people really think I’d inflict those on a boy? Is it compulsory in this country to dress girls head to toe in pink? Must I use a hair bobble so that what hair she does possess is gathered into a pineapple-like bunch on top of her head? Or maybe slap a sticker on her forehead marked “fille”?

I’m just ever so slightly concerned that she might actually start to think she is a boy.

Below is an artist’s impression of how the Tadpole should be dressed, kindly sent by Vitriolica


  1. I like how you describe your personnal space invasion! he he, that something I got used to in England: people don’t come too close.

    Comment by emilie [mimile] — October 1, 2004 @ 4:49 pm

  2. Time to invest in some barrettes or other hair accessories, even if she doesn’t have much hair, or else get more “feminine” playclothes???

    Comment by cass — October 1, 2004 @ 4:49 pm

  3. My little sis had very curly hair that came in very slowly… based soley on a picture when she was 3 and I was 4, our great-uncle sent me a doll and her a fire truck.

    Don’t worry, she’s perfectly girlie now. ;)

    Comment by ViVi — October 1, 2004 @ 5:41 pm

  4. Those frenchies…
    Put a sign in the pushchair:
    Cest un Fille!!

    Comment by Jesus — October 1, 2004 @ 6:54 pm

  5. Gawd, is my french bad.
    Instead of un it’s UNE.

    Comment by Jesus — October 1, 2004 @ 6:55 pm

  6. I had blonde tresses when I was about 5. My mum took me to see Father Christmas at Lewis’s in Manchester and the old goat gave me a dolly.If he could see me now, he would probably give me a Woodbine.

    Comment by Raised By Chaffinches — October 1, 2004 @ 7:06 pm

  7. :-) Imagine if Baby were in the 1900’s when boys and girls wore dresses and ribbons for the first 5 years or so. Then they’d really be confused.

    Comment by Janice — October 2, 2004 @ 2:48 pm

  8. I’m with Jesus. And right underneath that, in French, “Now, back off!”

    (I’m not even going to attempt a translation, not even with Babelfish!)

    Comment by Joni — October 2, 2004 @ 3:45 pm

  9. This is how you should be dressing the tadpole in Continental
    Europe until the age of nine, when it is mandatory that she starts dressing
    like a hooker… it’s the law! Honest!

    beijinhos daqui

    Comment by vitriolica — October 2, 2004 @ 4:58 pm

  10. Picking that last point up, isnt it amazingly distasteful, to put it mildly, the way any girl over the age of 10 is dressing like a hooker? In England I was amazed by that trend, and I am sure other European countries are preety much the same. Dont these girls have parents? At least mothers that can persuade them to tone it down, if not eleiminate it. Even considering peer pressure and fitting in and all that, the whore look is not only distasteful but definitely sending the wrong messages to the minds of not the male teenagers, other girls, and those adult males that have a twisted mind, which in fact is not a rare finding.

    Comment by Cal — October 2, 2004 @ 9:52 pm

  11. i tell you girl, you’ve got it easy. i had (still do, actually) twin girls and although the question was never about their gender, when i was still pushing them in a pram i would be stopped every 2-5 metres or so by some old biddy asking me ‘se sont des jumelles ?’

    the pram was slightly wider than the average pram and there were two heads sticking out from under the covers and they’d still ask me that. one day my Ex turned around and replied that ‘no, it’s a baby with two heads.’

    that scared the woman off for good.

    Comment by zed — October 3, 2004 @ 1:48 pm

  12. You just be thankful that the hairy old ladies haven’t yet spat on an old paper tissue and wiped your boy’s face like my grandma used to do to me. Bleurgh! I think you should enjoy the trousers and blue things while it lasts. My niece was Bob the Builder’s biggest fan until she turned 3, then suddenly she wouldn’t wear anything unless it was pink. Now four and half, she flounces around in a big nylon dress pretending to be a Disney Cinderella.

    Comment by Claypot — October 3, 2004 @ 4:52 pm

  13. I have noticed that lots of little girls’ hair seems to come through later than boys – but, usually, when it does arrive late, it is particularly thick and lovely. So, don’t worry! I have a friend who used to tie a big pink bow ribbon around her remarkably bald girl-child’s 2-year-old head, and yes, a few eejits did still ask the question. lol…

    Comment by Ruth — October 3, 2004 @ 5:08 pm

  14. Ruth – did that not make her look like a particularly tacky Easter egg?

    Zed – *chortles*

    Claypot – when you have a baby you find yourself spitting on tissues and licking chocolate off dirty fingers (when there are no tissues. yum!) and it feels perfectly normal. But you’re right, I don’t think grandma’s should.

    Comment by petite anglaise — October 3, 2004 @ 7:16 pm

  15. especially grandmas with bristly chins!

    Comment by madge — October 4, 2004 @ 10:33 am

  16. Nightmare!

    My mum had the same problem with my little sis so they took her out when she was about two or so and got her ears pierced!

    Comment by Nelly — October 7, 2004 @ 10:52 am

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