petite anglaise

September 5, 2005

pangs

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — bipolarinparis @ 12:48 pm

I found myself missing Tadpole this weekend.

For the first time, I spent a child-free weekend in Paris while my daughter was only a mere 200 metres down the road, at “daddy’s house”. I found myself wondering, whenever I ventured out on some errand, whether I might bump into her by chance in the street, or catch sight of Mr Frog pushing her buggy in the distance. I eyed his block of flats wistfully, and pictured her there, drawing Noddy with her felt tip pens or reading her library books.

Since Mr Frog moved out in early July, I have been away on the weekends when Tadpole was not with me, making the most of my freedom to visit my Lover in Rennes. On those rare occasions when I was in Paris, Tadpole happened to be staying with the In Laws. It is only now, with the holiday period behind us, that we will begin to adjust to the new status quo, and face up to what sharing Tadpole’s time really feels like. And whereas when I knew we were not even in the same town I was able to switch off my ‘mummy side’ altogether, knowing that she was so tantalisingly close this weekend made her absence achingly tangible.

As I lazed about in the stuffy, airless apartment on Sunday, reading a thorougly depressing novel, my mind persistently wandered. If I closed my eyes, silent, super 8-like images of Tadpole in the park with Mr Frog played across my eyelids. When the temperature finally dropped to a more bearable level, the Lover and I took a stroll through the Parc de Bercy, en route for the cinema, and my thoughts turned once more to Tadpole. I mused idly on what she would be having for her dinner, or whether she would behave herself at bath time. Was her nose still running? Did she have any new scrapes or bruises on her chubby little knees?

The most poignant reminder that Tadpole was close, yet just out of my reach, came in the supermarket on Saturday. Joining the queue, I smiled at the checkout lady, who has always made a fuss of Tadpole on our weekly visits. I can’t be sure whether I imagined her look of disapproval at seeing me doing the grocery shopping with an unknown man who is not Tadpole’s father. It was probably paranoia on my part, but I could feel the outline of a scarlet letter branded on my forehead. When my turn finally came, I felt some words of explanation might be in order, but managed to prevent myself from sharing my private life with what amounts to a friendly stranger.

As I packed away my shopping, the checkout lady remarked cheerfully that she had seen la petite puce earlier that day shopping with her daddy. Her words, however innocent, stung.

Did I feel jealousy, that Tadpole had been there without me? Or remorse, that I have divided our little family into two units, who shop apart?

I’m not sure what it was, only that I smarted as though I had been slapped in the face.

30 Comments

  1. I feel that this post is very good… But I don’t know what a Tapdole is… So I’ll be back in a while.

    OK, I got it !!!! I just understood.

    Gloups… (chicken)

    Comment by Vinvin — September 5, 2005 @ 1:47 pm

  2. for the past while i have been thinking about moving to Paris. Im wondering as you have been resident on paris for a good while, if you have any advice on the idea? are the people are rude and unwelcoming as ive heard? and what is generally ‘unacceptable’ in paris? any advice/websites would be greatly appreciated!

    Comment by lara — September 5, 2005 @ 2:17 pm

  3. everything has it’s own price.

    Comment by aryanna — September 5, 2005 @ 2:24 pm

  4. What you are feeling is inevitable. It’ll get better.

    Comment by Celadon — September 5, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

  5. It will get better, but not before it gets worse. You need to get used to the idea that someday you may have to share tadpole with a Ms. Frog. It’s difficult, but you’ll get through it and like I said before, it will get better – as long as you keep moving forward. Looking back and “what ifs” will kill you.

    Comment by Ann — September 5, 2005 @ 3:00 pm

  6. I have only read this one post so I don’t know the background, but I already can FEEL for you and with you. I was very young when my parents divorced and I can sort of put myself in Tadpole’s place too. It must be so hard for you now, but stay strong and concentrate on the moments of happiness you do have with your baby. She will probably thank you for ending (what I am assuming was) a bad relationship with her father, which is what I have said to my own Mum several times.

    Comment by Carolyn — September 5, 2005 @ 4:32 pm

  7. Ouai, it sounds harsh, but agreed…everything has its price. You’ll simply have to get used to it if you want to be in that situation. :0( Good luck…

    Comment by Medina — September 5, 2005 @ 6:24 pm

  8. Hello Petite. Long time since i’ve been here. Better that tadpole grows up with two happy parents than two miserable ones who carry on when all the love has died and bitterness has taken its place.

    Comment by Laura — September 5, 2005 @ 10:50 pm

  9. Aren’t you also afraid of bumping into Mr. Frog with the Lover in tow?

    Comment by nardac — September 5, 2005 @ 11:22 pm

  10. All of the above really … sorry it’s confusing but … would you rather be back where you were? .. it will get better … remember, the new is always hard to adjust to … and you’ve been adjusting for a while but, as you say, this is the first weekend where the actual realities of the new life are right there beside you.

    Comment by Miss Lisa — September 6, 2005 @ 1:24 am

  11. b’jour tite anglaise, beaucoup d’entre nous sommes passés par là ,c’est pas drôle,on paye pour tout ce qu’on fait;le prix fort en général.

    Comment by GPV — September 6, 2005 @ 7:48 am

  12. If you miss Tadpole when without her for 2 days, just imagine own it can be for Mr Frog everyday… without Tadpole. Perhaps it help to realise that is not so terrible in comparison?

    Comment by Jean François Porchez — September 6, 2005 @ 10:06 am

  13. and sorry to ask again but why are you leaving Paris next summer?

    Comment by cheria — September 6, 2005 @ 10:10 am

  14. As usual, you have summed up feelings that are common to many of us in your lovely prose. Like you, I find it difficult to imagine my children without me within arm’s reach. It takes time to accept each different situation and this “temps partagé” with Mr Frog will settle into your everyday and become a lot more accdeptable and easier. And then you will be more at peace with it all and BAM! Off to school and it all starts again.

    Comment by Lou — September 6, 2005 @ 10:44 am

  15. cheria – I’m considering a move to Britanny in the medium term. For obvious reasons.

    Comment by petite — September 6, 2005 @ 1:09 pm

  16. My Kebab man in Paris refuses to serve me if I am with anyone else but my “husband”. I am forced to explain that it is possible for a woman to have male friends.

    I have been the “Tadpole” in these situations before. All of it only makes you stronger. Courage Petite.

    Comment by Lauren — September 6, 2005 @ 1:16 pm

  17. Think about how miserable you would be otherwise though. You were brave enough to make a stand and move on in your life, and you’ll be strong enough to cope with the ensuing ramifications.

    Like other commenters, I was brought up by parents trapped in a disastrous marriage. It sucked.

    Comment by stressqueen — September 6, 2005 @ 6:48 pm

  18. I have walked in your shoes and made the tough decisions that you’ve made. My children are 4 and 2 now and we have all survived! Better to have two happy parents than none… although being without them doesn’t get easier, for the most part. Mine are leaving next week for a whole WEEK with their dad and I am already beside myself.

    Be strong!

    Comment by Dawn — September 6, 2005 @ 9:14 pm

  19. Time heals most wounds.

    My own Tadpoles were away with their father, his pregnant wife and their little (half)sister.
    Someone saw them and later commented to me: “Can’t believe THEY will have four children soon”.

    Despite the fact that I get on well with ex and his wife comments like that hurt.

    Just remember there is no such thing as a part-time mother.

    Comment by Laura — September 6, 2005 @ 10:33 pm

  20. I still love your blog!
    Thanks for all the great writing and expose into your ventures in Paris!

    Comment by mindy — September 6, 2005 @ 10:38 pm

  21. Petite, I’m returning to your blog after quite sometime. Hope all’s well. It is quite odd, that the last post that I read on your blog was quite the contrary to what I read today. Hmmm. Well, I guess, that’s life.

    Comment by Brad — September 7, 2005 @ 8:18 am

  22. And here’s another thing – you may get to apprectiate child-free weekends. I’ve not had one since 2003!

    Comment by Lou — September 7, 2005 @ 9:58 am

  23. I’m just here to echo what so many have said. Better to have two happy parents than to stay together and be miserable and have that contempt and bitterness filter down to your children. Children are remarkably adaptable and she will never be confused as to who her parents are. And it is ok to have non-blood relations to have meaningful relations to her as well, so any future Mrs. Frog and your Lover are alright to introduce into little Tadpole’s world. Hey, the more she is loved the better, right?

    Comment by Beltane — September 7, 2005 @ 4:24 pm

  24. how interesting to find this here and other blogs that recreate the fascinating french phenomenon of standing on the grocery store checkout line and reading that experience’s tea leaves. so telling. in my monoprix i’ve decided to teach the check out lady english… i’m delivering barbara cartland type novels to her, but other events stir one’s heart and cooks one’s mind… the yackety drunks, the angry old ladies, the teenagers with beers, the afterwork babes (buying water and a cucumbers!)… and yes, the cashiers reading your life in your check out items and checking you out like some daily blog…

    a plus… MR

    Comment by MATTHEW ROSE — September 8, 2005 @ 12:39 am

  25. how interesting to find this here and other blogs that recreate the fascinating french phenomenon of standing on the grocery store checkout line and reading that experience’s tea leaves. so telling. in my monoprix i’ve decided to teach the check out lady english… i’m delivering barbara cartland type novels to her, but other events stir one’s heart and cooks one’s mind… the yackety drunks, the angry old ladies, the teenagers with beers, the afterwork babes (buying water and a cucumbers!)… and yes, the cashiers reading your life in your check out items and checking you out like some daily blog…

    a plus… MR

    Comment by MATTHEW ROSE — September 8, 2005 @ 12:39 am

  26. HAPPY BIRTHDAY petite!!

    well, I hope today is great, that it turns out your boss didn’t want you to go away because he had planned a nice office surprise birthday bash for you (we can dream..)

    Either way, even though you’re stuck at work, I hope that the day is full of utterly fantastic surprises for you.

    Bon Anniversaire!

    Comment by jenn — September 9, 2005 @ 9:49 am

  27. Happy Birthday Petite !!!!!
    I wish you a wonderful sunny day.

    Comment by mélanie — September 9, 2005 @ 9:57 am

  28. Have a good day even if you have to work

    Comment by pww — September 9, 2005 @ 11:04 am

  29. Pangs – PA – Where are you? Missing since Monday! Now we’ve all got the pangs.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — September 9, 2005 @ 12:40 pm

  30. Happy Birthday Petite!! Hope you have a lovely week-end!

    Comment by kjr — September 9, 2005 @ 2:01 pm


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