petite anglaise

November 29, 2005

bad santa

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:59 pm

We approach the mairie at top speed, then grind to an sudden halt in the middle of the cobbled square in front of the main entrance. I realise I am going to be late for work, again, but pausing to show Tadpole Something Interesting is much more important than accurate timekeeping, in my opinion. And my annual evaluation was last week.

“Look! Those men are putting some big Christmas trees up over there!”

Tadpole turns to stare in the wrong direction. She hasn’t yet grasped the concept of looking to see what my finger is actually pointing towards.

“Over there, near the clock,” I prompt, impatiently.

“Ooh! Is VERY BIG that Christmas tree!” she exclaims, suitably excited.

“Soon, the men will put lights on the trees, and decorations, and it will be really pretty,” I explain. “I think they’ll probably turn the lights on on Thursday.”

What a wonderful thing it is to live in a country where the run up to Christmas only starts on December 1st, I think to myself. Overpriced Christmas trees are only just going on sale in the local florist’s, and so far I haven’t been subjected to a single Christmas song while shopping in Monoprix.

“And Père Noël will put some presents there for [Tadpole],” my daughter continues, clearly having taken to heart the lesson I taught her only yesterday using our newly purchased Happyland Christmas Set, pictured above.

“Yes, but only if you’re a very good girl,” I clarify. “If you’re a naughty girl, you’ll get …” I pause, for dramatic effect, to let her finish my sentence.

“No presents!”

I think I’m starting to see the logic behind the whole Father Christmas myth, now that Tadpole is old enough to understand it. There is seemingly unlimited mileage to be had out of The Christmas Threat. I wonder how many times between now and December 25th I will catch myself saying “don’t be naughty, Father Christmas is watching you!”

The only flaw in my dastardly plan is my patent inability to actually purchase any presents without giving in to a sudden and overwhelming urge to let Tadpole have them immediately. So, not only will there be no presents under the Christmas tree come D-day if my irresponsible behaviour continues, but Tadpole won’t actually care about The Christmas threat because every single day of the past week has been Christmas as far as she is concerned.

Must try harder.

Buy Tadpole stuff!


  1. Nah, don’t try harder! Looking at your sweet daughter and being overwhelmed by love and generosity – that’s just lovely…

    Comment by Jean — November 29, 2005 @ 1:20 pm

  2. What’s this about Father Christmas?

    Comment by Greavsie — November 29, 2005 @ 1:54 pm

  3. If it weren’t for kids, reminding us of what Christmas was when we were kids, I wonder if it would be as special as it is. They remind us what it means to believe.

    And of course, the cookies. Those make it special, too. ;)

    Thanks for sharing that moment with us, Petite.

    Comment by Ronica — November 29, 2005 @ 1:55 pm

  4. I wish that would work on my two year old because most of the time shes doing something she is not suppose to be doing. She can be a little madame.And you sound like my friends husband everytime she bought her kids something for Christmas he would give it to them. Now she has run out of ideas for the kids.

    Comment by Growing Up — November 29, 2005 @ 1:56 pm

  5. Mine have asked me a few times recently if Father Christmas is real. It’s a tough one to answer, but I was surprised they asked at all, as I thought they’d rumbled him last year, when the astute one noticed that some of their stocking gifts were wrapped in the same paper as their big presents (which they know are from family). Oops. But the presents in return for good behaviour threat still works.

    Incidentally, the decorations have been up and twinkling at the centre commercial Opéra near Rennes since early November – most ununsual. I nearly complained.

    Comment by Susan — November 29, 2005 @ 2:44 pm

  6. Here in the cold dark north, we have the Julekalendar (advent calendar) in addition to Christmas gifts from Santa… A different little something every day from the 1t to the 24th… but I buy them little somethings all the time and try to force myself to set things aside that are purchased after the 1st of Sept (I do very poorly…). All gifts need to be wrapped and hung from calendar on thursday night. I may want to think about shopping when not working til midnight…

    I think Tadpole sounds like a darling. My son hasn’t gotten past Halloween and still says “Ha det, punkin!”(bye bye pumpkin) everytime we go past the garbage can in front of our home because he knows the Jack-o-Lantern was tossed there a month ago. The transfer to Christmas hasn’t happened yet in his little mind…but the lights just starting to go up in the neighborhood are catching his observant eye.

    Comment by nrg — November 29, 2005 @ 3:04 pm

  7. My daughter has had an advent calendar here in Paris several years running. There’s a chocolate a day right up to Christmas.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — November 29, 2005 @ 3:54 pm

  8. I’m against those in principle, Mr Pig. I have a nativity scene (despite being an atheist) and I fully intend to get her excited about opening doors and seeing only pictures.

    Just like when I were a lass.

    Comment by petite — November 29, 2005 @ 4:47 pm

  9. I have been anxiously awaiting Christmas since sometime in February. I think I am still a child at heart, since I am 26 and still believe in Santa. Ho, ho, ho!

    Comment by Caitlinator — November 29, 2005 @ 4:58 pm

  10. Maisy, Mog and Meg books? Some kind of MMMMM thing going on there, or is it just a fun letter to say and write?
    Perhaps if you left the Amazon packages in their Amazon boxes and did not open those until Christmas eve, then pretty wrap, they might last until then.

    Comment by joeinvegas — November 29, 2005 @ 5:19 pm

  11. Nrg, here in the deep (freezing bloody cold) south we have a calendrier de l’avent (-;

    Comment by jez — November 29, 2005 @ 8:51 pm

  12. Trust me the threat wears off soon enough. Or maybe I’m just not scary enough.

    Comment by Universal Soldier — November 29, 2005 @ 10:26 pm

  13. I concur with US here. The mileage you will get out of this may be more limited than you think. An example reaction to the Threat, coming from someone just a few months older than Tadpole: “C’est le Père Noël qui décide !”

    Comment by ontario frog — November 29, 2005 @ 11:57 pm

  14. Pere Noel: The Kyser Sojze of the Christmas season……….;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — November 30, 2005 @ 12:18 am

  15. I patiently explained to my son that he couldn’t keep getting new toys and books every week as then there would be no money left to buy Christmas presents. He looked at me suspiciously then said, “But Santa buys the presents so you will be able buy me this book now!”

    Comment by miss tickle — November 30, 2005 @ 4:29 am

  16. Yes, I agree with joe…Amazon presents can be those from Pere Noel!

    Comment by buzzgirl — November 30, 2005 @ 6:12 am

  17. I love buying people presents, and I am lucky that I live so far from most people that I don’t have the temptation to give them to them early!

    Comment by Nicky — November 30, 2005 @ 12:40 pm

  18. Does anybody else dread the day their child discovers that Santa isn’t quite real? I feel rather sick thinking my children will discover that I’ve told a lie. I try not to emphasize the whole concept, but it seems a bit unavoidable as Santa is everywhere this time of year.

    Comment by kristen — November 30, 2005 @ 1:03 pm

  19. yikes, looking at your “presents for tadpole” list nearly became “presents for me”! (well…Where The Wild Things Are).

    have you tried any of the Little Miss X or Mr. X books yet? (Mr. Strong, Mr. Tickle…) i remember loving those as a small kid.

    Comment by mmf! — November 30, 2005 @ 1:11 pm

  20. When i was naughty my mum and dad used to threaten to phone “father Christmas” and tell him of my misdemeanor – guaranteed to make me behave immediately!

    Comment by Ellie — November 30, 2005 @ 2:51 pm

  21. J’aime le pere Noel bien que je n’y croie pas!
    Mine was £1.45 from Tesco!

    Comment by Cream — November 30, 2005 @ 4:14 pm

  22. Ohh… Julia Donaldson… I love the Gruffalo, and the new Gruffalo’s child, and all my kids loved those as well :)
    BTW, I have been reading your blog as a lurker for a while now, and am enjoying your writing. Tadpole stole my heart with her rendition of Twinkle twinkle lickle star, and I loved the way she rushed the last bit, like my own kids used to do, as if relieved they had remembered the whole song.

    Comment by seldom — November 30, 2005 @ 7:36 pm

  23. As regards the day they discover that there is no Santa, I was more disappointed about a little bit of the magic disappearing than I was worried about having lied to them. The upside of them not believing is that you have a response to miss tickle’s problem above – he doesn’t buy them all, and what’s more, he’s having to work with a tight budget!

    Comment by Iain — December 5, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

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