petite anglaise

August 29, 2005


Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 3:57 pm

A loud, repetitive sound, not unlike rapid machine gun fire, echoes around the almost empty plane, which is basking in the late afternoon sunlight on the tarmac of Leeds Bradford airport.

I hope to goodness that Tadpole won’t choose this precise moment to fill her nappy, as I won’t be able to remedy the situation until the plane is airborne, and the fasten seatbelt signs have been switched off. I am relieved that no-one seems to have noticed this little outburst, however.

Until, that is, Tadpole yells “Mummy! Did a prout!” at the top of her lungs, collapsing into a mirthful little mass of giggles.

Unfortunately, I fear I am the only person on the plane who heard that all important punctuation. Tadpole doesn’t do personal pronouns yet, which can give rise to a certain ambiguity.

Cheeks blazing, I reach for my magazine. Tadpole promptly grabs it, giving me her reading material in exchange. I sigh, and leaf through her brand new colouring book, while Tadpole pores over photos of British C-list celebs in Heat, seemingly fascinated. As she hasn’t had a nap today, and is therefore a volatile little element, I decide against challenging her.

Instead, I unveil my secret weapon. A little unwise, at this early stage in the journey, but needs must.

I pull a pair of gingerbread men out of my bag.

She may be old enough to have her own seat, wear her own seatbelt, and have her own drink and snacks from the air hostesses’ trolley, but she’s not yet old enough to eat a gingerbread man and read a magazine simultaneously.

Mummy: 1, Tadpole 0.

Only one and a half hours to go…

August 26, 2005

Guest post: Tadpole

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:01 pm


Ive grown!!!

My trousers and my old jeans are too small and my new jeans slip down a bit.

On Wednesday Grandma washed my hair – I didnt mind at all!

Do you remember the sponge balls that I used to bite? Now I know what they are for! They are fun! Grandma says I can Bend it like Beckham – what does she mean?

I think I’ve convinced Grandma that potties are just for fun. Anyway she says it’s too cold to play in the garden with a bare bottom. She has something she says is a toilet seat but I know its a picture frame as my face just fits in it. She says you can borrow it but I don’t think you’ve got any pictures that size.

Grandad and Auntie R took me to the swing park again. There’s a slide (a “super-toboggan”, just like in Dora), an elephant and a great roundabout. When I got back to the car I couldn’t get in my seat. I said in my best tired voice “Auntie R do it – je suis fatiguée.”

I’ve drawn some really amazing pictures. Tell Daddy I drew Mamie and Papy in their car. And Noddy. With a bell on his hat.

I gave my dolly with the blonde plaits a name – Michael, like Auntie S’s boyfriend – but after a day I decided it didn’t really suit her.

I’d better go. Grandad needs me to help him with his vegetables for the Gardeners Guild show tomorrow and the sun has come out at last!

See you in the morning.

Lots of love,

Tadpole xxxxxx

August 25, 2005


Filed under: mills & boon — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:34 am

I should, by rights, be feeling blue.

My Lover is wending his way back to Rennes, as I write, after an idyllic month spent together, pretty much joined at the hip. The sky is the disappointing grey of a favourite t-shirt which has been accidentally washed with something black. As I write, a fine rain begins to fall, covering the window in tiny droplets. The kind colleague who usually provides buttery brioche on Thursday mornings is on holiday; my tummy growls in protest.

I feel good. Regardless. Images from the last three months dance in my head, keeping the demons at bay.

In my mind’s eye, I see myself knocking at a door, leaning my hot, flushed cheek against the smooth wall of the hotel corridor, heart pounding, barely able to draw breath as I wait for him to open it.

I see us kissing in the metro, and remember my wistful feelings when once I wrote about other people doing the same.

I feel the knots in my stomach as my TGV train hurtles towards Rennes for my first visit. Is it really possible for two hours to crawl by so excruciatingly slowly?

The tappety tap of his fingers on the laptop keyboard echo in my head as I drift in and out of sleep, half dreaming, half aware of my surroundings. Opening my eyes, I spy a cup of tea steaming on the bedside table, and smile.

Reaching the end of a chapter, I raise my eyes from my book and give him a surreptitious, sideways glance as I take a sip from my wine. He looks up, sensing my stare. Why is it that the longest, darkest eyelashes are always wasted on men?

Tadpole is shrieking with excitement as he swings her high into the air and onto his shoulders. Daddy is, and will always be, irreplacable, but I am relieved and cautiously optimistic at how well she seems to be getting on with the new man in our lives.

I daydream about our future. I see myself putting down my paintbrush momentarily, in the house we are renovating, so I can grope his bottom through his overalls. Or taking his hand and pressing it firmly to my belly. I test the sound of his surname with my christian name and like what I hear.

So many tantalising possibilities.

August 23, 2005

name calling

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:03 pm

Finding a suitable name to describe the man in my life is proving almost as difficult as finding a name I approve of to refer to certain parts of my anatomy.

The word “boyfriend” makes me feel as though I have time travelled back to being sixteen again, with all the enthusiastic ineptitude/dry humping that teen relationships evoke. This couldn’t be further from our reality: he is divorced with two children, I have a daughter, and we are both on the wrong side of thirty. The French equivalent “mon petit ami” is even worse. My little friend? I don’t think so. It sounds like something that lives in one’s trousers. “Mon copain”, on the other hand, is a bit too matey and casual for my liking. It can be used to mean any male friend, not just Mr Right.

I encountered a similar problem with Mr Frog, exacerbated by the fact that we had chosen to have a baby out of wedlock. I often found myself referring to him in conversation as “Tadpole’s dad” (“son papa”), which eerily foreshadowed the events which were to follow, as it carries with it, to my mind, an implication of separation. Her father. Not my anything.

Often, if an acquaintance or a stranger made the assumption that Mr Frog was actually “mon mari”, I chose to go with the flow and let them go on thinking we were married. It just seemed easier that way. Although I do recall a heated exchange with my mother once on that subject. She was lamenting the fact that she didn’t know how to refer to Mr Frog when talking to her friends. Exasperated, I retorted that I was hardly about to get hitched just to make her life easier by putting her out of her semantic misery.

“Partner”, which I find somehow cold and clinical in English, aside from any same sex relationship undertones, doesn’t really have a French equivalent. Living together, or co-habiting, is known as “concubinage” in French, a choice of vocabulary which I personally feel uncomfortable with, conjuring up as it does images of courtesans, kept women and secondary wives.

Feeling thoroughly let down by both French and English, I tended to refer to Mr Frog quite simply by his Christian name, relying on context to fill in any blanks people might have.

I intend to do the same with my new man, at least until we get around to tying the knot. But this doesn’t seem fitting on the internet, so you’ll just have to make do with “my Lover” for now. With a capital “L”.

Now that particular thorny subject has been put to bed, all that remains is to resolve the anatomical question.

Answers in my box, please.

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