petite anglaise

December 16, 2004

creature of habit

Filed under: working girl — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:31 pm

My morning ritual has been turned upside down.


I woke to the sound of a French news channel. Starting the day with words like ‘Saddam Hussein’ and ‘Nicholas Sarkozy’ is not something I do out of choice, but somewhere down the line Mr Frog got custody of the alarm clock. As it’s on his side of the bed and I’m woefully short-sighted, I am entirely at his mercy. I don’t even know what time it is. The aural assault from the radio does not even wake the Frog from his slumber. But a well-placed prod and a loud groan of protest does the trick. Mr Frog eventually hits ‘snooze’ (if I’m lucky and he doesn’t turn it off altogether by mistake) and the ritual is repeated another four or five times. By then I’m cutting it really fine.

In the next 30 minutes I proceed to:

  • prepare Tadpole’s favourite blend of imported Reddy Brek and Rice Krispies in the microwave;
  • have the world’s shortest shower;
  • endeavour to rouse the Tadpole whilst grabbing some non-matching clothes in the semi-darkness;
  • dress Tadpole and brave her frantically pedalling legs to change her nappy;
  • supervise eating of breakfast, just in case Tadpole chokes on aforementioned Rice Krispies; scrape off the quick drying concrete-like residue from her face;
  • mummify Tadpole and self in various coats, mittens, hats and scarves;
  • hastily apply lipstick in the mirror inside the lift;
  • push screaming Tadpole (who currently hates the pushchair but walks really slowly) to the childminder’s.

Meanwhile Mr Frog languishes in the bath tub, eyes closed.

A word of warning: if you are planning to start a family and your partner assures you that of course he will share the responsibility and do his fair share of tasks around the house, ensure that he puts that IN WRITING. Preferably in blood.

Twenty minutes of metro madness later, I arrive late, breathless and apologetic at the office, clutching a paper bag containing a hastily purchased, patently unhealthy breakfast snack. I crank up my computer to prepare the day’s post, sipping a triple espresso. The boss won’t be arriving until, say, 10 or 10.30 am, so I’m secure in the knowledge that I have a little uninterrupted blogging time ahead of me…

Except I DON’T. Not any more. The boss has decided to change his routine and has arrived at the office at 7.30am every day this week.

Which means that when I arrive four days in a row at 9.09 am, clutching a Starbucks orange and cinnamon scone I shouldn’t really have stopped to buy, given my degree of tardiness, the boss glances pointedly at his watch. It also means that my in-tray is piled 30 centimetres high with things he thoughtfully prepared earlier. Enough to keep me busy all morning.

So please excuse the sporadic posting this week, it is due to events beyond my control. I am confident that it won’t last (just like all the other short-lived lifestyle changes the Boss has implemented in the past), but if it does, I will have no alternative but to look for a more blog-friendly job.

employ petite anglaise


  1. “Et c’est pour quand le petit garçon? Quoi? Mais il vous faut un garçon, vous avez déjà une fille. Et il faut qu’ils soient assez rapprochés, sinon il peuvent pas jouer ensemble.”
    The above is what people said to me (with a change of sex as I had a boy) as soon as Tadpole 1 reached his first birthday. I don’t know your plans, petite, but if you don’t want your mornings to become even more impossibly, hopelessly chaotic(yes, it is possible, and in ways you cannot yet imagine), then DON’T LISTEN TO A WORD FROM THESE INTERFERING GITS. Even if the Frog, your In-Laws, and three domestic servants are helping you out, you will not have a minute to yourself until they are both at school. Don’t say I didn’t warn you

    Comment by Suziboo — December 16, 2004 @ 2:01 pm

  2. Bloomin’ bosses.

    My Portuguese boss now has a habit of dropping into the office BEFORE she hangs her coat up. Now there is just no ‘Hide all browsers’ warning as we don’t see her sashay past.

    It’s doing my head in too.

    Comment by Legomen — December 16, 2004 @ 2:32 pm

  3. The first night my sensitive new-age husband and i cuddled up to our little bundle of joy (born just that morning)the wee tyke woke up with a cry. i jerked awake, just in time to see said husband turning his back to go back to sleep in the same atavistic gesture of males everywhere.

    It was then that i saw how it really was…

    Comment by anan — December 16, 2004 @ 2:40 pm

  4. suziboo – Despite the fact that I would love to give Tadpole a brother or sister, I stand firm: no second child until I have a lady to do the ironing, my employer has consented to a four day week and Mr Frog has a new job which does not involve him working 14 hour days and leave me feeling like a single parent.

    anan – Nature is cruel. How is it that I am hardwired to wake up at the tiniest cough from behind a closed door, and Mr Frog can sleep through?

    Comment by petite — December 16, 2004 @ 2:45 pm

  5. Hmm.

    I was thinking of expanding into the European market so there may be a franchise available. Can you do jokes about Christmas lights and stuff?

    Comment by JonnyB — December 16, 2004 @ 2:47 pm

  6. It occurs to me that with such a heavy workload, you’ll be needing an assistant. You know, someone to keep the kettle going and keep the nail files sharp. Lemme know if I can help. ;)

    Comment by ViVi — December 16, 2004 @ 4:40 pm

  7. I feel your awakening pain. Our apartment morning ritual:

    5:30, alarm clock goes off to (yes) news radio. It beeps and plays and is all out annoying until David actually wakes up (or I get annoyed and give him the “hint”). However, David doesn’t actually hit snooze, he just turns off the buzzing part and LEAVES THE RADIO ON. Then, about half of the time, he promptly falls back asleep, relying on me to wake him back up again fifteen minutes later, and then again fifteen minutes later after that.

    He actually gets up at 6, to be out the door at 6:25. Why we couldn’t just sleep an extra half hour is beyond me.

    Of course, the news radio can be interesting. They seem to play a song every 20 to 25 minutes or so to break up the monotony, and one morning I awoke to Prince telling me over and over that I’m a “sexy motherfucker.” So surreal.

    Comment by kim — December 17, 2004 @ 8:55 am

  8. Say, when you find that job advert, let me know??

    Comment by Van — December 20, 2004 @ 9:12 am

  9. Maybe it’s just me who doesn’t like routine, but have you thought that if you didn’t have a fixed side of the bed to sleep the problem of the radio would be (at least sometimes) solved? When I sleep on the side of the radio (no such thing as my side or your side at our home), the snooze button is hit the second after the radio went on… :-)
    As for the rest of the routine, I can only say I understand and share my sympathy…

    Comment by snowgaze — December 21, 2004 @ 11:16 am

  10. ha ha

    well spotted!

    but I think there were non-secretarial duties involved too…

    Comment by petite — December 21, 2004 @ 11:55 am

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