petite anglaise

March 3, 2005

winter wonderland

Filed under: city of light, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:25 pm

I rang in sick this morning.

It was a toss up between calling to say that I would be late, because I needed to help dispatch off Mr Frog and Tadpole to the Evils’, and making one of those phone calls where I try to sound off-colour enough not to work, without overdoing it to the point where I sound like I’m about to expire. In the end I mumbled something pathetic about womens’ problems and having a hot water bottle welded to my midriff. And a headache, for good measure.

Due to the current snowbound status of the French capital, no taxi company was willing to commit to sending us a cab this morning. And I couldn’t really see Mr Frog, Tadpole, a big heavy bag and a pushchair making it to Gare de Lyon without my help. The change of metros at Chatelêt alone, with its kilometres of corridors and flights of wet, slippery steps, would have defeated them. As it happened however, after a brainwave of mine, Mr Frog’s agency were instructed to book a G7 Classe Affaires posh businessman’s taxi, complete with Financial magazines and squeaky leather seats. The Agency switchboard called back while Mr Frog was (still) in the bath, and I was surfing the internet wearing only a towel, trying to find out if the trains were actually running or not.

“Ze good news eez zat zere eez a taxi,” shouted Mr Frog from the bathroom. “But ze bad news eez zat it weel be ‘ere in six minutes.”


Five and a half minutes later, I am dressed, coated and ready to go, and I have managed to get Tadpole’s shoes, coat, scarf and hat on. All the while she is watching ‘Dora the Explorer’ and puts up zero resistance. Television is, in my opinion, something which should be used very sparingly on toddlers. But sometimes it can save your life. On a normal day I have to chase Tadpole round and round the apartment – her in floods of giggles, me growing quietly frantic about my lateness for work – before I can get so much as a wriggly little arm into a coatsleeve. Praise be to Dora.

I chaperoned Frog and Tadpole to the station to see them off, so as to be on hand to help keep Tadpole entertained in case of lengthy train delays. Naturally it had been impossible to find out any useful information from the SNCF website, and the phone number that I was given to call just sent me in ever decreasing circles listening to a pre-recorded disembodied lady’s voice which never actually told me anything useful, and finally delivered her coup de grace by telling me that the train number I had entered did not exist.

The TGV was on time, although when it will reach its destination is anyone’s guess. I explained to Tadpole for the twentieth time that daddy was taking her to see mamie and papy so she could play in the garden and build a ‘noman’, but she just smiled at me and held out a crayon for me to draw a picture. I got off the train, and blew her kisses through the window. Her little face fell as realisation finally dawned that mummy was staying behind. I left abruptly, not wanting to see if there would be any tears.

The irony of this whole separation scenario is that Mr Frog and I were supposed to be going to Madrid for four days, sans Tadpole, to chill out, order hot chocolate and churros and spend a bit of time remembering what it was like to be a couple. But as I hear that Orly airport is well and truly closed today, and snow is forecast all weekend, I’m feeling somewhat pessimistic about the whole thing.

Please excuse me while I just go and bang my head against the wall repeatedly.

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