petite anglaise

April 15, 2005

right here right now

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:49 pm

The first thing Tadpole has said to me every morning for the past two weeks – because she is nothing if not predictable – is:

“Bébé cats?”

It’s my own stupid fault. One Sunday morning, at the appointed hour for Maisy Mouse, a ritual whereby Mr Frog and I transfer our pyjama clad, half-slumbering bodies from bed to sofa, drifting in and out of a rodent-infested sleep while Tadpole squawks with delight at her video.

One of the episodes is entitled ‘cats’, and tells the story of a stray cat which makes itself at home in Maisy’s laundry basket. Maisy wakes up to a chorus of miaowing in the morning, only to find a litter of kittens in among her undergarments.

I don’t know quite what possessed me to mention to Tadpole a whole two weeks ago that one of mummy’s friends has a cat, which has baby cats, just like in Maisy. And that we would be going to see them. Soon.

Because of course Tadpole has not yet developed any notion of time. In Tadpole-time, everything is happening right now, in the present. Our conversations are limited to the subject of what she is in the process of doing, or what she wants to do, right now. There is no point whatsoever enquiring what she has been up to with the childminder on any given day (a pity, as I would like to know more), or what she ate for lunch. Words like ‘yesterday’, ‘tomorrow’ and ‘weekend’ hold no meaning.

So imagine the mess I have got myself into by mentioning the cats, when they were bald, blind and not very interesting at all, and would remain that way for at least a fortnight. At that stage, to all intents and purposes, they were unvisitable.

Hence our daily discussion along the following lines:

Tadpole, hesitantly: “Va voir bébé cats?”

Me, patiently: “Soon, darling, they are still too small”

Tadpole, more forcefully: “Go see BÉBÉCATS?”

Me, calmly but firmly : “Not yet. We’ll go at the weekend.”

Tadpole, stamping her feet and seemingly convinced that if she shouts it loud enough, it WILL happen: “VA. VOIR. BÉBÉ. CATS!”

Bidding my patience farewell and resorting to similar tactics in the (vain) hope of making myself understood “NOT. YET. NO. BABY. CATS.”


Tadpole frowns. I can almost see her thinking. Then,


Desperate measures are called for.

“Hey, shall we go in the kitchen and see if we can find some biscuits?”

I think it may be time for me to invest in the book ‘Toddler Taming: A Survival Guide for parents’, because my last line of resistance, although effective, is likely to contribute to rising levels of obesity in France.

Thankfully, baby cats are go for tomorrow. What worries me now, is that one visit will never be enough. Am I doomed never to hear the end of this?

With the benefit of hindsight, I realise I should have just gone to visit them in secret, unaccompanied. To be honest, I was only using Tadpole as a rather transparent pretext to go cuddle some cute little fluffy kitties myself.

Serves me right.


We went, we stroked, we managed to come home empty handed. But guess what Tadpole’s first words were the morning after?


  1. Of course you realise that having seen the kittys, Tadpole will insist on bringing on home and the topic of conversation for the next week or two (at least) will be when are we bringing MY Bebe cat home?

    Comment by beckyjsbx — April 15, 2005 @ 1:45 pm

  2. Why didn’t you show them at their blind, nacked stage?
    It would have gotten here over the idea of having a cat herself.

    Comment by Oliver — April 15, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

  3. Mom might have had nightmares about the electrical socket, but Tadpole will fear hairless, gremlin-like kittens living under her bed. heh.

    Although the thinking seemed to get her to realize that “baby” goes with cats and not “bébé”, which is pretty impressive. Perhaps she thought you were refusing just because she was mixing languages?

    Know anyone with baby dogs? I can’t do any kitten cuddling without sneezing all over the place, but I could go for a bunch of crazy puppies!

    Comment by kim — April 15, 2005 @ 2:03 pm

  4. I would love to take a hairy non-blind little kitty home with me, but I fear a fifth floor apartment which is empty every weekday is not a very enticing proposition for the cat.

    Not to mention that our kitchen is approx 2m2 and therefore the chance of me stepping in the cat litter (or of Tadpole eating its contents) are a little too high for my liking.

    Comment by petite — April 15, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

  5. You’re the guide to toddlerdom yourself;s such a pleasure reading it.As for kittens – 2 kittens to keep each other company? Actually no, probably. Very small children and cats don’t mix well (experience.)

    Comment by grannyp — April 15, 2005 @ 3:09 pm

  6. Toddler Taming: the only baby-rearing book I would give house room to, it is excellent, I promise.

    Cats’n’flats. No. Cats, more than dogs are animals that should be allowed to go out when they want. They mutate into weird, flabby, wallpaper destroying, litter-tray filling fur-moulting freaks if not allowed out at will. Obviously they are most of these things anyway (I love cats, but it’s true!), but until you find somewhere a bit bigger, I’d keep visiting other people’s bebe cats. Sorry about the accents. Qwerty keyboard and pathetic lack of motivation to find out how.

    Comment by Jim in Rennes — April 15, 2005 @ 3:22 pm

  7. He he heh. Tadpole’s cute. Why don’t you get her some soft toys(cats), instead? It will also help explain the concept between real and artificial!! :shock: :mrgreen: :smile:

    Comment by brad — April 15, 2005 @ 3:44 pm

  8. My sister has a cat who lives in her flat all day while she’s at work, and the simple fact of the matter is that it is no longer my sister’s flat, it belongs to the cat. If you want your home to remain yours. Don’t. Get. A. Cat.
    I used to work with someone who loved her cats so much that she called them “my babies.” Even worse, once the cats died and she and her husband had twins, she called them “my kittens.” Feline nicknames are no worse than amphibian ones though, I suppose. :)

    Comment by EasyJetsetter — April 15, 2005 @ 3:46 pm

  9. in 15 years… you’ll be WISHING it was cats she wants to see! ;)

    Comment by chaton — April 15, 2005 @ 3:52 pm

  10. Oho, looks like you picked up some unsavory acquaintances at the Blog Party, Petite :roll:

    Comment by Mathieu — April 15, 2005 @ 3:56 pm

  11. chaton – I just had visions of you wearing a flasher mac and loitering outside schools offering to show young children your ‘puppies’.


    like the pic of the lion with your hairstyle btw

    Comment by petite — April 15, 2005 @ 4:01 pm

  12. Have you figured out what you’re going to say when she asked to take one home?

    I love the little convo you have up there… very cute. bebe cats. :)

    Comment by Aimee — April 15, 2005 @ 4:09 pm

  13. It doesn’t get better when they get older… I stupidly mentioned Aquaboulevard last September and EVERY WEEKEND since then they have asked when are we going. And then STUPIDLY again, I actually bought the tickets for it while we were there for a movie — 2 months ago. They’re good for a year so I have 10 more months.

    Comment by magillicuddy — April 15, 2005 @ 4:23 pm

  14. Hehe, I wonder if Tadpole will persuade you thatone must come home with you!

    Comment by amillionpieces — April 15, 2005 @ 5:14 pm

  15. flasher mac… note to self… buy before week’s end!
    I just hope she doesn’t grow up to quickly!

    P.S. i’m happy you notice i was an animal hairdo trend setter!

    Comment by chaton — April 15, 2005 @ 5:36 pm

  16. I love posts with kids, especially kids who speak in French. And picturing your kid yelling out BABY CATS actually made me laugh out loud. Lovin’ it.

    Comment by Eddeaux — April 15, 2005 @ 6:53 pm

  17. Chaton, you’re sure about this buy ? I mean you already have 2 :)
    Btw yes the pic of Chaton (kitten in french for those who wondered) is quite funny…

    Very cute witty story, and the rambling between the langages is just hyper cute…

    Comment by schuey — April 15, 2005 @ 7:03 pm

  18. Cats are a curiosity, or is that what killed one?

    Let me restate that, Cat OWNERS are curious, at least to me. They live in a dichotomy, professing to be clean and virtuous and letting their little fanged devils walk all over the worktop and lick their bits and nibble the left overs…

    How can anyone teach basic hygiene to a child when they have a cat – or any pet for that matter – on the other hand, my mother has to have been the least hygienic person on the planet and I suspect that’s why I have not suffered many colds and so forth. Is it true that eating dirt is good for kids?

    Comment by GriffMG — April 15, 2005 @ 11:57 pm

  19. Again, if I’m not being rude, what prompted the switch from creative commons?

    Comment by EasyJetsetter — April 16, 2005 @ 1:18 am

  20. easy – (if I can call you that, eagle eyes) it was a whim. I note other of my blogging friends had put Copyscape links etc, and the button is more of a deterrent than anything else. So I fiddled a bit. I do that.

    although I’m fed up of buttons, smileys etc – a major redesign is in the pipeline… all I need is a variant of bullet time, where I press pause, the world grinds to a halt, and I can get some stuff done for myself.

    Comment by petite — April 16, 2005 @ 11:05 am

  21. Amen, working on the site design while keeping up a daily post is stressful, and messy.

    Thank god for WordPress, tho.

    I’m thinking of doing a local instal so I can mess around with it and not impact the site… but that is a little out of my comfort zone, technically. Want some feedback if I get it working?

    Comment by Mathieu — April 16, 2005 @ 12:55 pm

  22. Oh yes, I’d love to hear how that goes Mathieu

    I have a gemini 1.2 template patched to work in 1.5, and I’d like to go much more fancy with a proper set of 1.5 files and all the freedom that would give me… But I don’t want to disrupt things too much!

    Comment by petite — April 16, 2005 @ 1:24 pm

  23. Oh I wasn’t criticising, or picking a fight or anything, I’m just following the online intellectual property debate fairly closely, and it’s interesting to find out how and why people reach the copyright decisions they do.

    So, for example, doyoufeelloved used to have this gorgeous comic book design, but people kept nicking it so he changed his format entirely. Then, nataliedee, because her site is where she sells and presents her art, has it all copyrighted, but admits that people continue to nick stuff anyway. And, amazing of amazing, boing boing, those great proponents of copyfrighting, made a mirror site, boring boring, designed for the poisson d’avril, take itself down.

    It’s a big US-EU dichotomy too, the different attitudes to IP. I’m a bit of a geek, without the technical skills.

    And yes, “easy” is fine. Amen on the smilies.

    Comment by EasyJetsetter — April 16, 2005 @ 4:02 pm

  24. Va Voir bebe chats? You lucky thing. I’m dying to get a kitten when I move into my new flat in a couple of months but it wouldn’t be fair to it.

    Comment by Ellie — April 16, 2005 @ 7:39 pm

  25. Er, EasyJetsetter, you do realise that the boringboring takedown notice was Cory returning the joke, yes?

    Comment by pete — April 17, 2005 @ 2:55 pm

  26. I think you and this particular expat may have enough in common to drop by and visit.
    Hers is named Princess :-)
    Cool blogging, btw.

    Comment by Jack Dalton — April 18, 2005 @ 12:18 am

  27. REALLY? God I’m such a gullible april fools person…I’ve emailed like three articles in the last two weeks, outraged at the contents, which friends have returned with “Umm, have you looked at the date?” Petite totally got me too. It was a very well done fishy.

    Comment by EasyJetsetter — April 18, 2005 @ 12:31 am

  28. Just had to add my endorsement for ‘Toddler Taming’ – I’m on my 4th child now (4 weeks ago) and that book has been a godsend. None of my kids has any bedtime problems – that part of the book is a miracle!

    Comment by Tony — April 18, 2005 @ 2:39 am

  29. I actually thought Tadpole would say something like, “want bébé bruva”.

    Comment by Ria — April 19, 2005 @ 12:57 pm

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