I pace the apartment impatiently, already wearing my shoes and coat, noting that having adjusted the clocks on Sunday, not a single one displays the correct time, or agrees with any of the others.
Regardless of which one I choose to believe, Mr Frog is still, undeniably, late.
Finally, I hear the lift jerk to a juddering halt, and the voice of a chattering Tadpole within. Opening the front door, I crouch down to Tadpole-level, my heart catching in my throat.
I haven’t seen my daughter since Saturday morning.
Mr Frog pushes open the door of the lift, and a golden haired bundle hurtles into my outstretched arms, shouting “Maman MaMAN MAMAN!” I bury my nose in her curls, inhaling her scent, and hold her to me a little too tightly, reluctant to set her free.
So overjoyed am I to see her that I am willing to overlook the fact that she has come back all French. I resist the usual impulse to repeat her French words in English. Just this once.
There are new clothes in her bag, from mamie and papy, explains a slightly sheepish Mr Frog, and he launches into an anecdote from the weekend, but sadly there is no time to linger and chat, as I am now running late for the childminder’s.
So, in the absence of Mr Frog’s report, I try to extract some information from Tadpole on the way, as I strain to push the buggy through the soggy leaves strewn several centimetres deep across the pavement.
“So, what have you been doing at mamie and papy‘s house?” I enquire.
Tadpole turns and replies, somewhat cryptically, “Babouche! Nicolas! Noddy!”
“Nicolas? Who’s Nicholas” I wonder, as I happen to know that Babouche is a stuffed monkey and Noddy undoubtedly refers to her DVD of the new, inferior, animated version.
“It’s a baby!” Tadpole replies. I am none the wiser, as I don’t know of anyone with a son called Nicolas. I suspect it may be a doll, but can’t be certain.
I try a change of tack. “Did you ride your bike?”
“Did you draw some pictures?”
“What did you draw?”
“Tadpole… and mummy. And a car.” Sounds plausible. As long as I wasn’t driving the car.
“What did you have for your dinner?”
“Pasta!” Either Tadpole never eats anything else, or this is her stock response when she can’t remember. It’s difficult to tell.
I decide that an email to Mr Frog will probably be more effective, as my daughter is clearly still rather hazy about what the word “yesterday” means, and has the memory of a goldfish. Either that or my interrogation techniques are woefully inadequate.
So, instead, we turn our attention to spotting spiders’ webs on the park railings and singing “Incey Wincey ‘Pider”.
We are back in our little routine, where we belong, the weekend apart already forgotten.