petite anglaise

June 22, 2005


Filed under: mills & boon — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:17 pm

Tadpole and I went away last weekend.

I love travelling with my daughter. Her excitement about going in a “taxi car” or a “metro trenn”, let alone a “choo choo trenn” or a “plenn” is deliciously infectious. The most mundane trip is transformed into an intrepid adventure in her company. For a few hours I see the world through Tadpole eyes, noticing details – people, smells, noises – that I would otherwise miss, floating around Paris as I do in an Ipod cocoon, my head filled with daydreams.

Once we are safely ensconced in our seats and the journey begins, we draw pictures together. And read stories. I bend countless times to retrieve errant crayons from under our seats. We watch the world speed by outside the window, paying special attention to Tadpole’s current Favourite Things: sheep, lorries and tractors. Sinful snacks are gleefully consumed. Tadpole particularly likes sharing Kit Kats – one bite for mummy, one bite for Tadpole – culminating in a gloriously messy chocolate kiss. Sometimes I find that the memories of the journey itself are among those I will treasure most after a weekend away.

When we reach our destination, we are greeted by “mummy’s friend” and his children, who are also staying for the weekend. The butterflies which have been fluttering anxiously around in my tummy as I gather our bags together cease their frantic activity the moment we step down onto the platform and and see them waiting, hands linked. We say our bashful hellos, and I concentrate on suppressing an overwhelming urge to throw myself into his arms.

Not yet. Not in front of the children.

As our little party sets off, I marvel at how pushing Tadpole through the streets of the town where he lives feels like the most natural thing in the world. As if I’d already been there and done it a thousand times before.

The rest of the day is a happy blur of icy sea, scalding sand and the scent of sunscreen. I sneak covert, sidelong glances at my lover while he drives, the children napping in the back seat of the car. I love every single moment of our time en famille. But I’m also counting the seconds, yearning for the moment when the children will go to bed, so that, at long last, we can be alone.


June 21, 2005

new home

Filed under: parting ways — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:11 am

Tadpole and I visited Mr Frog’s new apartment today.

We filed quietly across the road. I was feeling drained from a combination of a busy day at work, the oppressive, fetid heat of the metro carriage home, and my foray into the supermarket with Tadpole to fill our empty fridge with provisions for the week ahead.

I waded sluggishly through the dense evening air. Tadpole, who had refused to be parted from her water beaker and Dora the Explorer doll, attempted to wriggle her way out of my vice-like grip at the pedestrian crossing. I fought the temptation to snap at her, because this situation needed to be handled carefully, regardless of frayed tempers, weather conditions, and my gnawing apprehension about how I would feel when I actually saw Mr Frog’s new home. Would I feel a stab of pain, or regret, I wondered, once confronted with the tangible reality of the situation? In a way, it would be a relief to feel something. Anything at all. Up to this point I have only been aware of vague sense of guilt. Guilt at my own lack of a ‘proper’ emotional response to what are supposed to be momentous events in our lives.

Mr Frog lead the way, striding ahead with a carton of assorted bric a brac that I was quite glad to be seeing the back of. I joked that I hoped he had remembered to take the electronic stapler. He laughed and whistled an upbeat tune as he walked.

Odd. When I played out this scene in my head last night before drifting off into a clammy sleep, I imagined this first visit would be a solemn, sobering occasion. So far, not so.

Along the way we explained to Tadpole that daddy would be living in a new flat soon. Mummy and daddy would each have their own homes, and Tadpole would would now have two. Sometimes she would stay with mummy, other times with daddy. She was to have her own bed and toys at daddy’s house too.

She nodded, smiled and proclaimed triumphantly “[Tadpole], elle a deux bedrooms!”, which we took to mean that she had understood perfectly. We didn’t complicate matters with hows and whys for the time being. It simply didn’t feel necessary.

As she raced around the empty, echoing apartment and I dutifully admired the stunning views of the Paris skyline, I was overwhelmed with relief. Relief that I liked the place, relief that I could conceive of Mr Frog being happy there, and that I could already see Tadpole pottering happily about in the flat with him in my minds eye. But also relief that I didn’t feel a pang of jealousy or regret that this wouldn’t be my home too.

Mr Frog detailed what he planned to buy from Ikea at the weekend, and I suppressed the urge to express opinions about how he should decorate. After all, this is his space, and it needs to feel like his, not ours. It’s not easy to break the habits of eight years, but needs must and I bite my tongue.

Meanwhile, my flat (well, strictly speaking our flat, although it feels more mine with every box of Mr Frog’s belongings that crosses the threshold) is in a state of flux. Things are shifting, standing meekly by waiting for their turn to be stacked and sorted, before taking a final bow and exiting stage right to take up residence over the road.

Mr Frog himself hasn’t gone anywhere yet, as he is awaiting the arrival of kitchen appliances and successful execution of the Ikea mission. On Sunday he will relinquish his keys and spend his first night in his new home, with Tadpole by his side.

With every passing day we edge a little closer to this separation we have been discussing for the past month, expecting to feel worse than we actually do.

When we get home, I check the stationery drawer.

And note, to my amusement, that Mr Frog has left the stapler in my custody.

June 16, 2005


Filed under: mills & boon — petiteanglaiseparis @ 5:45 pm

It all began with words. Words in comments boxes. One day, I rather randomly replied to his comment with an email (because yes, I can see your addresses, even if they do not display on the site). The first of many, in what became rather lengthy email exchanges. For my eyes only.

Innocuous, friendly emails, given the fact that I was clearly in a relationship, with the father of my child no less, and the gentleman in question did not presume too much. But they were tantalising missives all the same, hinting as they did at colourful experiences and disreputable secrets.

I revelled in his articulacy. Actually, if I’m honest, I was rather jealous of it. Sometimes I had to look up words in the dictionary, blushing at my own ignorance. Often, his words danced around in my head for days on end, and more than once, they inspired me to write a post about something from my past that had resurfaced as a result.

I knew that one day we would meet. And that meeting him would be important. I felt as though, just by exchanging these emails, I had already been unfaithful to Mr Frog on some, albeit cerebral, level.

And yet all he had done was volunteer a little information about his life, in return for having been able to read what was there on the internet for everyone to see about my own.

All perfectly innocent.

June 14, 2005

light relief – game over

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 4:52 pm

Let’s take a step back from the emotional rollercoaster of the past few weeks and take some time out for a little “know your petite” quiz.

The answers to the following questions (multiple choice, because I hail from the GCSE era, just) cannot be found on the blog. It’s all about predicting what you think might be right, from what you know already.

The first person to answer all the questions correctly in the comments box below will receive a very attractive and expensive personalised prize.

1. What is petite’s favourite television programme?

a) Keeping up appearances
b) 24
c) Nip/Tuck I do also like 24, but Nip/Tuck is just so naughty…
d) Navarro

2. Which of the following gentlemen has never graced petite’s bedroom wall?

a) John Taylor (Duran Duran – I was 11)
b) Bernard Sumner (New Order – I was 16)
c) Kurt Cobain (at university)
d) Johnny Depp

I stopped putting people on my wall after things happened to both Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix.

3. If Tadpole had been a boy, which of the following names made it to the shortlist?

a) George
b) Noah
c) Jean-François
d) Milo
e) Alfie

We racked our brains for a name which would work in French and English, but also go with Mr Frog’s Italian surname. We weren’t happy with our choice, but couldn’t think of anything else either. Would have pronounced it “meelo” and I knew nothing of the tweenies at the point, may I add.

4. Which of the following has petite never done?

a) had her belly button pierced
b) bungee jumped off a bridge
c) owned blue doc martens
d) been to a Bryan Adams concert

ahem. That concert. I was 13 and won a ticket. And had to go with my dad. I wish I hadn’t brought it up now…

5. Where did petite meet her current suitor?

a) at a blogmeet
b) at Leeds Bradford airport
c) in her comments box
d) at a speed dating evening
e) he’s an old flame

6. At school was petite…

a) editor of the school newspaper
b) a prefect
c) captain of the hockey team
d) none of the above

7. petite’s ambrosia is:

a) a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea
b) a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate
c) fish, chips and mushy peas, eaten outdoors
d) a jumbo pot of nutella and a spoon

I do like all of the above, but when I wrote the quiz I was hankering after fish and chips eaten out of the wrapper on the seafront at Whitby.

8. if petite was filthy rich, she would dress in:

a) Marc Jacobs
b) Valentino
c) Top Shop, regardless
d) Chanel

9. What is petite’s favourite film of all time?

a) Blue Velvet
b) Paris, Texas
c) Fight Club
d) Donnie Darko

By my calculations, 3.2, Leslie and Nardac all did rather well with 7/9.

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