petite anglaise

October 25, 2004

wildlife special: paris

Filed under: city of light — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:40 am

I sometimes worry that Paris is not the best place for a Tadpole to grow up – polluted air, crotte covered pavements and the lack of a garden being my usual arguments in favour of a move to the countryside. But given the number of wild beasts we spotted together this morning, I’m not so sure she is missing out on too much…

First, when we turned on the light in the bathroom this morning, Tadpole and I disturbed a couple of slinky silverfish who darted without further ado to their diurnal hiding place where the water pipes disappear behind the bath. These shiny little apostrophes are thankfully the only fauna I have observed inside our flat, and I’m not too worried about them, even if they do seem to be resistant to bug spray. They remind me of a record I once owned called Silverfish and Scrambled Eggs, which is the only reason I know what a silverfish looks like.

Upon opening the shutters of the Tadpole’s bedroom, we marvelled at the sight of a common city pigeon in all its glory defecating on the balcony. Tadpole now thinks these birds are called ‘dirty buggers’. Note to self: must really make an effort to rein in my tongue as she now repeats everything I say.

During our walk to the childminder’s house, which involves cutting across the Buttes Chaumont park, we saw a crow (or possibly a raven, either way it was very sinister looking), some blackbirds, more pigeons, along with much greenish grey evidence of their presence, and some sparrows. Several different breeds of dogs out were also out walking their owners, prompting cries of ‘woof woof’ and ‘wee wee’ and ‘caca’ from the Tadpole.

As we neared the lake, brandishing a chunk of rather solid baguette left over from the previous day, we saw all manner of birds, geese and ducks. According to the park’s website these include black headed gulls, moorhens, black swans, green collared (?) ducks and ragtails. All I know is that some of the duck type things we encountered were rather large and not in the least bit shy, so the Tadpole remained in the safety of the pushchair while I attempted to break the bread into pieces and avoid being pecked to death by impatient and aggressive birds. One poor little duck had to keep dunking his head under the water to avoid a (sea?)gull who kept lunging down at him in an attempt to steal the bread from his beak. When we’d had as much excitement as we could handle, we left the park and cut across the front of the town hall to make our way to the childminder’s flat.

A black cat ran across the pavement in front of us as we neared the bakery. I stopped to contemplate buying a sinful pain aux raisins to combat that Monday feeling, but after seeing a cockroach take a leisurely stroll along the glass topped cake counter, I thought better of it. There’s no point eating one if you have to inspect every single sultana.

Finally, after dropping off Tadpole, out of the corner of my eye I saw a mouse streaking across the tracks as the metro approached. And to round things off nicely, I was bitten on the ankle by a pesky metro mosquito.

David Attenborough eat your heart out.


  1. “Dirty Buggers” :smile:

    Still it could be worse, the two year old my partner baby-sits has taken to spontaneously shouting “dot-com-right-now!”
    Only a truly gifted child psychologist will be able to work that one out.

    Comment by Adrian — October 25, 2004 @ 12:24 pm

  2. The green collared duck, in French literally a “colvert” is what you call a mallard.

    Comment by Chninkel — October 25, 2004 @ 12:25 pm

  3. Adrian, that child is probably a fan of Fatboy Slim and is merely singing his latest hit. My oldest son (nearly 3) loves Black Eyed Peas and sings along to them all the time. Petite, while you’re in David Bellamy mode, keep your eye on the Tadpole’s scalp- by all accounts there’s a nit epidemic in Paris :eek:

    Comment by Suziboo — October 25, 2004 @ 1:32 pm

  4. oh god no please no

    I remember having to put foul smelling lotion on all night when I was at school, followed by foul smelling shampoo.

    Thank goodness she’s not in school yet.

    Comment by petite — October 25, 2004 @ 2:28 pm

  5. “shiny little apostrophes” is just lovely.

    BTW young Snicket (nearly 3) has started repeated my profanities too, most notably a diffident ‘Oh for Fuck’s Sake’ when Grandma spilt his milk.

    I was suitably chastised as I’m sure you can imagine.

    (I’m not doing this to test your spam filter, honest!)

    Comment by backroads — October 25, 2004 @ 3:44 pm

  6. I accidently tought a child to say “Oh, sod it!”, which was what he greeted his mother with when she came home from work.

    I blamed the TV.

    Comment by Jezebel — October 25, 2004 @ 5:37 pm

  7. I’ve always wondered what those tiny slug-like things were that greet me in my bathroom every morning.

    Comment by mraparis — October 25, 2004 @ 5:40 pm

  8. my children think that other people in cars are called “you stupid bloody bastard”… ah well… lovely decription of the poop pit called paris, petite.

    Comment by vitriolica — October 25, 2004 @ 7:45 pm

  9. I’m looking forward to having kids and teaching them lots of retorts, I’m especially looking forward to shrugging my shoulders and saying ‘kids eh?’ when they repeat these in the supermarket.

    I think I’m looking forward to that the most.

    Comment by Watski — October 25, 2004 @ 11:09 pm

  10. Our best friends (a married couple) have the most gorgeous 3 yr old son, who at 2 and a half overheard his father affectionately put on a real ‘hillbilly’ accent and call her a ‘god damn woman’. Needless to say it took about two weeks to get him to stop saying ‘gaah dan woman’.

    Comment by Van — October 26, 2004 @ 8:10 am

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