petite anglaise

August 2, 2005


Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 3:16 pm

There is a Tadpole shaped hole in my life at the moment.

She has now been staying with her French grandparents for ten whole days and I’m starting to ache a little. I miss waking her up in the morning, watching her stretch and pout and roll over to face the wall, murmuring, in protest, “[Tadpole] elle fait dodo!” I miss burying my face in her neck and inhaling her soft, warm scent. I miss brushing her tight, golden curls. I even miss holding her down with my knee as she squirms and objects to having her nappy changed.

Last week I had to bite the bullet and call the ex-in-laws, so that I could hear Tadpole’s voice for a few precious moments.

It was my first contact with belle mère since I took on my new role of homewrecker and adulteress, so I felt a little awkward and had to prepare myself psychologically for the ordeal by doing lots of pacing around the apartment prior to the appointed hour.

Tadpole answered the phone. Except she didn’t sound like Tadpole. She sounds like a little French stranger, somewhere far, far away.

“Allô! [Tadpole] elle a un bobo!” she announced proudly.

I wasn’t sure she even knew it was me she was talking to.

Mother-In-Law hastily grabbed the phone, anxious to explain that the bobo in question was just a minor scrape on her knee, and that I was not to be alarmed. As an afterthought, she said hello, and asked how I was.

“Very well thank you,” I replied, gaily, and then cursed myself for not dampening down the happiness in my voice. I have no idea if she knows about my Lover, or indeed that he is keeping me company in Paris while Tadpole is away, but it seemed indecent somehow to sound too happy, when her own son clearly isn’t right now. Which is, of course, my fault.

“Right. Well. I’ll put [Tadpole] back on…” she said, her voice taut with embarrassment. Or indignation. I couldn’t tell. Telephones are not good for conveying mood accurately, I find.

I resumed my conversation with Tadpole.

“So, what have you been doing darling?” I enquired.

The garbled reply included the word “piscine” so I presumed the paddling pool was involved. The only other words I could decipher were “les cloches”.

Tadpole has an inexplicable obsession with bells. Whenever we stay within earshot of a church and hear bells ringing, Tadpole invariably gets very excited and shouts: “T’entends les cloches? Ecoute! ” while running to the nearest window and attempting to see where the noise is actually coming from.

It’s endearing the first time you hear it. Less so when the bells in question chime four times every hour.

“Can you sing mummy a song?” I venture, desperate to hear more of her distant little French voice.

I am treated to a very accurate rendition of “une souris verte”, in which a green mouse, when caught by the tail and dipped in oil and water, miraculously turns into a hot snail.

Tadpole loses interest in the telephone after that and MIL and I say our rather tepid goodbyes.

I miss Tadpole even more after that.


  1. Sometimes even when we think good things about others we don’t always tell them. Imagine how Tadpole will feel when she’s old enough to read posts like this. Proud that her mummy is clever enough to write such beautiful prose about her I expect. ((hugs)), she’ll be back soon!

    Comment by Claypot — August 2, 2005 @ 3:34 pm

  2. Thought you might miss her… so do I, so glad to read about her here. Oh the pull between lover and offspring. Hard hard hard. But how you will enjoy her when she’s back. Despite.

    Comment by grannyp — August 2, 2005 @ 4:08 pm

  3. Completely understandable.. rugrats are a highlight of my day. :)

    So.. tell us more about 10 days with the lover, hmm?

    Comment by theinsider — August 2, 2005 @ 4:15 pm

  4. You miss her, but I would really say that the time spent with grandparents is good for her. Best of luck for everything.

    Comment by juliana — August 2, 2005 @ 5:04 pm

  5. Funny how we look forward to time off from parenting and then can’t wait be back at it!

    Comment by Bluegrass Mama — August 2, 2005 @ 6:07 pm

  6. You know, that would make a lovely ad for France Te…

    Comment by reachy — August 2, 2005 @ 6:09 pm

  7. She is not even my kid. I have never met her and somehow, I miss her too! Bring her back home immediately!

    Comment by eddo — August 2, 2005 @ 6:41 pm

  8. My little one likes bells too. Perhaps I will go retrieve her from daycare now, 4 hours early, because you’ve made me miss her.

    Comment by Isabella — August 2, 2005 @ 6:53 pm

  9. Found you from “Chantel,” and I was struck by some of the similarities to the heroine in my novel: dealing with adultery, conflicted emotions, finding oneself. No children, though, and she’s younger (24). Good luck as you navigate the shoals of your life.

    Comment by W. S. Cross — August 2, 2005 @ 8:52 pm

  10. I am glad that you gave us an update on Tadpole. I wondered how she was doing at her grandmother’s. I don’t like my children staying with my husband’s parents for a number of reasons, but none of them have to do with safety issues or anything like that. I think it is important for children to spend time with grandparents, so I have allowed it. I think you are doing the right thing, petite, by allowing Tadpole to go to her grandparents.

    Comment by Elle — August 2, 2005 @ 11:12 pm

  11. Something is missing when they are not there. Ah kids…when does term start again?

    Comment by Anne — August 3, 2005 @ 1:46 am

  12. She sounds so cute! How many more days before she comes back? I find bilingual children so entertaining when they speak: my german friends are in Germany right now for a holiday. Their 2 year old son has been spending 4 days by himself at his grandparents and he told his grandma several times (in English and she only speaks German) on a very serious tone: Stop it, it’s not funny!

    Comment by Maurine au bout du monde — August 3, 2005 @ 1:48 am

  13. Hi Petite,
    I have been reading your blog for 6 months or more now. I was very surprised that you used the term “adulteress” to describe yourself. Just to be sure I looked up the meaning of adultery in the Oxford Dictionary. Here it is: “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse”. Excuse me, unless I missed something along the way, I was under the impression that you are not married to Mr. Frog. So how does that make you an adulteress? You may feel as though you have broken something, yes… a long relationship during which you created a wonderful child but you made no vows before the state or God to be faithful to Mr. Frog. Please, please do not think of yourself in such terms. I don’t know why you did not marry…whether Mr. Frog did not want ot or you did not…but whatever the reason, do not let the Evil in-laws ever make you feel that way. Since their son did not marry you they have nothing to say.

    Comment by Patricia — August 3, 2005 @ 3:54 am

  14. Ah kids, can’t live with em… but it’s nice to take a break from pretending to be grown-up and responsible… still miss em though!

    Comment by Sarah — August 3, 2005 @ 6:36 am

  15. Patricia – I use the word “adulteress” in a rather tongue in cheek way..

    Believe it or not I actually found a link pointing towards my blog not too long ago, the text of which was “I found this really cool blog written by an adulteress in Paris”.

    Comment by petite — August 3, 2005 @ 10:42 am

  16. You should play up that angle, your hits will go through the roof!

    Comment by Mr. Andrew — August 3, 2005 @ 3:00 pm

  17. Petite, I have been the homewrecker and the adulteress, and I sometimes still think that my problems now are payback for that. But, I have been with my lover for six years and we are now married and I wouldn’t trade my life with him for anything in the world.

    I also understand about missing Tadpole. My 16-year old daughter just moved to her Dad’s house in another state and I miss her like mad.

    There is no point to this comment except, I know what you’re going through. All I can say is, we may not live by the rules other people set up, but at least we really live!

    Comment by Ms. Q — August 3, 2005 @ 7:52 pm

  18. An English adulteress in Paris… very catchy… better stock up on the lacy negligees and fluffy mules then!

    Comment by Sarah — August 4, 2005 @ 4:22 am

  19. I’ve never managed to let my kids go away for that length of time…chapeau!
    5 days was the longest, and that was 4 years ago!
    And NEVER with the in-laws – or my mother, come to think of it. It’s good you’re able to trust them and Tadders and yourself like that.

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 4, 2005 @ 10:10 am

  20. oh petite, as a mother i really feel your missing her. I’ve not been away from Helene for any serious amount of time since she was born (3 days when she was still in the incubator doens’t really count) and althought I don’t dread it, I also know it will make me miss her loads and loads. I think it is PERFECTLY acceptible you calling her ar her grandparents, good luck with the last remaining tadpole-less days….

    Comment by trine — August 4, 2005 @ 10:30 am

  21. My own tadpoles (both 7 now) are with their father back in Holland.
    Our most recent phone conversation went like this:
    “Hi Mum”………… {long silence}
    [i]”Hi sweetheart, what are you doing? Mummy misses you”[/i]
    “Fine. I’ll pass you on to S”………. long silence
    [i]”Hi my big boy. What are you doing? I love you”[/i]
    “Ok Mum, bye”.

    I felt hurt for half a second and then realised that they are obviously very happy. Grabbed the bottle of wine, snuggled up against husband number 2 and said: “We are not missed. Let’s play adults”

    Comment by Laura — August 4, 2005 @ 10:24 pm

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