petite anglaise

December 14, 2005


Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 4:16 pm

I lurch around the apartment impatiently, attempting to locate Tadpole’s striped woolly hat, one arm inside a coatsleeve, the other engaged in hastily ramming a piece of buttered toast into my mouth. The hat, a present from Tadpole’s aunt, is nowhere to be found.

“Do you remember where you put your noddy hat?” I enquire, in desperation. Just occasionally this tactic does work, and Tadpole will reply “in my bedroom” in a tone which somehow manages to convey both incredulity (at the fact I have managed to overlook something so patently obvious) and a world weary tone of resignation (can mummy really be that dim?) Not so this time. She looks at me blankly, then turns back to her jigsaw.

I try to picture the previous day’s homecoming, rewinding the images in my head until I arrive at the relevant chapter. Come to think of it, I distinctly remember standing in front of the lift holding two bags and a Christmas tree, yelling “No, I can’t hold your hat. If you want to take it off, you hold it! Mummy has all these things to carry already!”

And now it’s missing. So clearly it was dropped on the entrance hall floor in a fit of Tadpole pique, left inside the lift, or abandoned on the carpeted landing outside our front door. Which means that either some well-meaning soul has found it and stuffed it in our letterbox, or someone a little less charitable has thrown it in the communal dustbin. Being a pessimist by nature, I assume it has gone for good and act accordingly.

An alternative hat is sourced, which is was once white, and has built in ear flaps and a strip which fastens under the chin with velcro. Now rather a tight fit, it was Tadpole’s preferred garment of winter 2004.

I decide to use this opportunity to teach Tadpole Something Important. Even if the article I read on toddler taming yesterday did say that there is little or no point in chastising children of that age about events which happened more than ten minutes ago.

Adopting my most earnest tone, I begin my lecture. “Mummy doesn’t have your noddy hat any more, because you dropped it outside when we came home yesterday. You’ll have to wear this one instead. It’s a pity, because that hat was lovely, and it was a present from Auntie S.”

My daughter eyes me gravely and nods her head. “Yes, I did drop it mummy. Is gone now.” Disturbingly, however, she shows not a shred of remorse.

“Mummy’s a bit sad,” I continue, labouring my point in the hope of getting some sort of emotional response, “because mummy asked you to carry it and you were naughty. You left it on the floor.”

Tadpole nods again, unperturbed.

Taking the ersatz-hat from my hands, my daughter says calmly “never mind mummy. I wear this one. This one very nice.” She puts it on her head and giggles as I move to fasten the velcro under her chin. “Look mummy, the hat has a beard, just like Father Christmas!”

A smile twitches at the corner of my mouth, threatening to take over, but I manage to quell it and soldier on, regardless. “It’s still a shame about that stripey hat. Mummy liked the stripey hat.”

I am starting to sound like a broken record. As repetitive as a toddler.

“Not be sad mummy. It doesn’t matter. We can buy another one, in the shop,” Tadpole explains, patiently.

If I had a white flag, I’d be waving it right about now.

We take the lift down to the ground floor, where we are greeted by the sight of a striped hat, which someone has thoughfully stowed above the battery of letterboxes.

Saying nothing, I stuff it into my letterbox when Tadpole isn’t looking, and we set off for the childminder’s.


  1. oh, and as the weblog awards voting closes today, I’d be grateful if you would use the link on the top right to cast a(nother) vote. I may not stand a chance against the political/journalistic blogs, but 300 odd votes is a bit pathetic considering upwards of 1,700 of you stop by every day….

    Go on, it takes 2 seconds!

    Comment by petite — December 14, 2005 @ 4:38 pm

  2. Hmmm, the flag that waved in my mind was red rather than white. You can’t just buy new things whenever you don’t want to carry them anymore, Tadpole!

    Comment by srah — December 14, 2005 @ 5:58 pm

  3. So I began reading your blog about a year and a half ago, after moving away from Paris, when I wanted all the reminders I could get. And, enjoying it, I’ve been reading ever since.

    But it struck me today, reading your post about the missing hat, that a great deal of your posts have nothing to do with France or Paris at all, and though that was why I had always imagined that I read the blog, the reality is that you are such a phenomenal writer that I never noticed that most of the posts have more to do with lost hats and the challenges of taking a toddler to the zoo than with la ville lumiere.

    En tout cas, I thought it was worth noting that your splendid prose has kept me reading hundreds of posts on the mundanity of la vie quotidienne. And that’s what good writing is – something that can render the subject relevant in spite of apparent insignificance.

    I think it is high time for your book.

    Oh, and though I have already cast several votes, I shall revote now. Bonne chance.

    Comment by Kerry — December 14, 2005 @ 6:52 pm

  4. I think you should have been nominated as a Parenting Blog. OK, so Heather Armstrong has that category pretty much sewn up this year, but you’d have avoided the politicals. Maybe next year….

    Anyway, I’ve been voting for you.

    Comment by Rob — December 14, 2005 @ 7:06 pm

  5. srah – I have to agree. Tadpole left her sippy cup on the train the other day and when I explained it was lost, guess what she said..

    All this is because I promised to buy a broken Noddy figurine at the shop, when I could find one (haven’t yet), and she has NEVER forgotten.

    Comment by petite — December 14, 2005 @ 7:37 pm

  6. Sounds like she is growing into a ‘buy more’ consumer rather fast. Sounds more like an American kid to me.

    Comment by joeinvegas — December 14, 2005 @ 9:50 pm

  7. I wish I could buy new things when I didn’t want to carry them.

    Comment by srah — December 15, 2005 @ 12:19 am

  8. this post has me laughing like anything. This is probably because I recognise that earnetst toddlerish nodding where you think they’re actually absorbing what you say, and feeling real remorse, only to go back to their jigsaws,
    But it is also probably a bit because I’ve just come home from a christmas party and am a bit tiddly.
    Either way, I’m going to vote for you.

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — December 15, 2005 @ 12:51 am

  9. Oh brilliant, that cracked me up. Tadpole sounds like quite something. You need to watch that shopping thing though. My two-year old niece was yelling at her mother to take her shopping, to which her mum replied she had no money. To which niece shot back ‘credit cards’. When her mother still wouldn’t take her she stole the cards and buried them in the garden. (We don’t talk about the day she shoplifted loads of things from the supermarket by hiding them down her dungarees when her mother wasn’t looking)

    Comment by Claypot — December 15, 2005 @ 6:53 am

  10. Recently my daughter thought it would be a good idea to wind the car window down (while in transit) and throw her brother’s coat out. We tried our hardest not to laugh.

    Comment by US — December 15, 2005 @ 8:25 am

  11. It doesn’t get better as they get older. My 10 YEAR OLD left his cool gap hat from his grandma in NY on the metro the other day. At ten, you’d think he’d remember…

    Comment by magillicuddy — December 15, 2005 @ 10:23 am

  12. I did vote for you just about everyday !!! I guess third isn’t that bad ;-) Have to rally the troops better next time…

    Comment by Alaska — December 15, 2005 @ 10:31 am

  13. I,m first time on your blog and I must say that it is very nice. About the story, I agree with Srah,You can’t just buy new things whenever you don’t want to carry them anymore.

    Comment by Mike — December 15, 2005 @ 12:12 pm

  14. So, are you going to give her the striped hat back, or withold it to teach her a lesson?

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — December 15, 2005 @ 1:29 pm

  15. Your blog ist very good. :) Link-exchange wanted…

    Comment by Mag — December 15, 2005 @ 2:49 pm

  16. To my great shock and horror I was reading another blog today about a woman who had just had a baby with her french husband and she calls them “frog” and “tadpole”. Plagiarism! She doesn’t get any points for originality!

    Comment by Renee — December 15, 2005 @ 3:08 pm

  17. Hi Petite

    If you tell me how you’ve made a link to Tadpole’s wish list (a feature I have asked Amazon for in the past) I’ll vote for you in the blog award…



    PS: I would vote for you anyway

    Comment by Claire — December 15, 2005 @ 3:59 pm

  18. Me again – I have worked the Amazon link – ignore my previous post !

    Vote on its way…

    Comment by Claire — December 15, 2005 @ 4:02 pm

  19. I don’t read very many other blogs, so I wasn’t aware of the voting deal. I haven’t been online because we moved. It took awhile to hook up the wireless connection, so I didn’t see your note to vote. Perhaps give us a reminder next time. I am sure we would all be happy to vote. I went to the site late anyway, and it did allow me to vote.

    I have lived in different countries, and I have met children/teens of all nationalities who are into consumerism. I think so much of it depends on the parents. I am not a shopper, and neither are my children. We are bookaholics though, and spend hours browsing libraries. : )

    I love your blog, petite. I wish I could help out with childcare for you every now and then. Do you have other friends with children so you can do play date swaps?

    Comment by Elle — December 15, 2005 @ 9:08 pm

  20. That was lovely!

    Comment by alisa — December 16, 2005 @ 10:11 am

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