petite anglaise

February 28, 2006

une fée

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 11:15 am

Fat Tuesday:  a pretext to eat indecent amounts of nutella (the crèpes being pretty much incidental), caramelised apples and ice cream before not actually giving up anything at all for Lent, as I am rather selective in my observance of religious festivals. The general rule of thumb being if it allows for feasting, I’ll be there.

I have ten people coming over this evening for crèpes and cidre, and have visions of myself waking up tomorrow morning, face down on the living room parquet, with nutella in my hair.  Possibly without eyebrows, if anyone decides to partake of a crèpe flambée, god forbid.

Mardi Gras also means that Tadpole wil be attending her third Carnaval at the mairie with the childminder this evening.  Mr Frog is on collection duty tonight, so sadly I will be spared seeing the spectacle that is tata in her giant harlequin costume.

Of the three costumes Tadpole has donned so far for the Mardi Gras Carnival, today’s is without a doubt the most girly (although I did draw the line at pink). 

First, there was the peapod costume she was crammed into aged 9 months, which had no legs, and boasted large, 3D foam peas which she fiddled with constantly, until one, inevitably, fell off.  Apologies to the kind lady who loaned me that costume, but I did attempt to conceal repair the damage with superglue. One day I fear Tadpole will take me to task for inflicting ridicule on her when she was too young and helpless to protest.  But oh, how we laughed.

Last year’s déguisement was a cuddly leopard outfit, and the surreal park experience which ensued while she was wearing it is recounted here

For Tadpole’s last Mardi Gras in Paris we have a fantastic fairy costume, complete with wand and fluffy hairband, courtesy of Matalan (a snip, at £5).  The wearing of which is not solely limited to festivals, as it has already had an outing during our weekend grocery shop, when an overexcited Tadople pirouetted around the aisles, narrowly missing shoppers and artfully dodging trolleys, all the while brandishing her sequin-covered wand and shouting “ABACADABRA” at the top of her lungs. 

On that occasion we were given three complimentary Chupa Chup lollipops by the Franprix checkout staff, who were completely spellbound.

Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I am weighing up the pros and cons of introducing fairy costume as compulsory attire for all future shopping trips.

February 27, 2006


Filed under: city of light, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 1:33 pm

We walk, leather glove in pink woolen mitten, up the rue de Belleville towards the Eglise St-Jean Baptiste. The narrow pavements are bustling with Saturday morning shoppers despite the biting chill in the air, and my stomach begins to growl as we pass first an appetising pâtisserie (whose boast is that they have twenty different flavours of macaron), then a tiny, pungently scented fromagerie, our noses alerted to its presence long before we reach it.

Tadpole is busy “blowing clouds” through her chapped lips.

I notice, quite by chance, that the SNCF boutique is unusually empty and seize this opportunity to renew Tadpole’s Enfant Plus travelcard. (A truly wonderful invention: thirteen hours of excruciating labour pain = a 50% discount on all train travel for me, plus a free seat for Tadpole). Soon to be expired travelcard is helpfully stowed in the pocket of my handbag, as a reminder, along with a set of passport photos which Mr Frog obligingly had taken last weekend.

We take our seat at the desk, and I adopt the saccharine tone I reserve for most French fonctionnaires, as it has just occurred to me that I do not have any form of Tadople ID about my person.

“Bonjour Madame, j’espère que vous allez pouvoir m’aider…”

I needn’t have worried, because Tadpole has already launched into a full charm offensive.

“Bonjour Madame,” she trills, smiling winsomely. “Je m’appelle [Tadpole Frog], et j’ai deux ans!”

I feel ever so slightly nervous about how much more information Tadpole intends to volunteer, as she can be somewhat random in what she chooses to share. The day that “mummy made some bubbles in the bath” being a case in point, which was recounted, with accompanying sound effects, to anyone who would listen.

Thankfully she stays on topic on this occasion, and starts telling the lady that it is her birthday tomorrow. (Tomorrow, in this instance, meaning June). We obtain the card, without incident, and I manage to persuade a reluctant Tadpole that it is time to leave. Not an easy feat, as she has taken off her mittens, obviously feeling quite at home, and is now enthusiastically exploring the possibilities of the swivelling chair.

When we finally get home, after lunching on couscous together, on a whim, in a local restaurant, I take out the travelcards and compare Tadpole’s photos. The difference takes my breath away. Casting my mind back to February 2005, I try to remember how many words she could say, or what she enjoyed doing back then, and cannot summon up an image of this smaller, rather hairless, toddler. There is something less definite about her facial features on the older picture, but it’s difficult to put my finger on exactly what has changed. Seeing her evolve a little every day, it is only when I am confronted with hard evidence that I realise just how far we have come.

Tadpole snatches the picture from my hand.

“Look, there’s baby [Tadpole]!”

“Yes, that’s a picture from when you were just one year old,” I explain.

“I a big girl now,” she replies, seriously. “I do all my wee wees in my potty. Just like mummy, but mummy does them in the big toilet!”

I am somewhat relieved that we didn’t have this particular conversation at the SNCF shop.

February 24, 2006


Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 10:26 pm

Just a warning that I will be moving this humble abode from my money-grabbing, bandwidth-poor French host to a cuddly US operation named A Small Orange. If all goes well, you won’t even notice.

A relief? Oh yes, Amen to that.

February 23, 2006

wet wet wet

Filed under: city of light, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 12:07 am
well baby might be dry but where is my raincover eh

Just when the tips of the crocuses (or croci?) I planted in my windowbox at Christmas time had started to emerge, albeit tentatively, and spring seemed to be hovering tantalisingly just around the corner, Paris is now horribly cold again. Cold, and damp.

Tuesday was the nadir of this sorry week. First of all, in the mad dash to visit Tadpole’s other local maternelle with Mr Frog before work, I managed to forget my waterproofs and simply did not have time to go back for them. Instead I stoically pushed the buggy through driving sleet and rain, head bowed in resignation, all the way to the childminder’s house. Water dripped miserably from the end of my nose. My coat soaked up water like a sponge, growing steadily heavier.

“Poor mummy’s getting wet,” remarked Tadpole helpfully, from her vantage point on the dry side of the waterproof buggy cover. A puddle was forming on its top, so I tipped the pushchair over sideways, without warning, to drain the water off, much to Tadpole’s delight.

“You don’t say,” I muttered, wondering idly whether at the age of two and a half, it wasn’t about time Tadpole learned about the joys of sarcasm.

Swerving to miss a crotte, rendered liquid and even more treacherous by the rain, I wanted nothing more than to turn back towards home, languish in a hot bath and crawl back into my bed, where instead of sleeping the previous night, I had hovered in that frustrating limbo between slumber and wakefulness, unable to switch off my addled brain, too busy composing and re-composing ever more vitriolic lettres recommandées to my web hosts. In French.

Arriving at the childminder’s high rise block, our nostrils were greeted by the familiar tang of (human? canine?) urine in the lifts. The sliding doors firmly closed behind us, I pulled back the raincover and bent over the back of the pushchair to plant a kiss on Tadpole’s nose.

“Look mummy’s upside down. Like a bat!” exclaimed Tadpole, as my hair rained droplets all over her dry clothes.

I smiled a wry little smile, in spite of myself, thankful for the presence of this cheerful little person who always knows how to make everything bearable. I only have to make eye contact with Tadpole and my worries have a funny way of dissolving, instantly.

And because I’d like to end this post on a positive note, I won’t trouble you with how I skidded on the wet floor of the métro and twisted my ankle, landing unceremoniously on my buttocks.

No. Let’s stick with the first ending.

February 20, 2006

domain pain

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 8:36 pm

I was off work feeling under the weather today, and it seems that my newly migrated – to a bigger server as my host was threatening to pull the plug if I didn’t upgrade – site was having sympathy pains. Much installation stress and several expensive phone calls later and, fingers crossed, we seem to have lift off again, albeit with the loss of a few comments I hadn’t had chance to back up in the database.

And I needn’t have bothered having my hair dyed. It turned white overnight with worry.

If you have any shopping to do on Amazon, please consider clicking on one of my “reading” links in the sidebar to do so (you don’t have to buy my recommended book, anything you buy on the site will in fact earn me a very small commission). I love writing petiteanglaise, but it does cost me money to maintain this site, with its growing bandwidth needs, and sometimes it is money I can ill afford.

Right, off to bed, and hopefully back tomorrow.

February 16, 2006

la parisienne

Filed under: city of light — petiteanglaise @ 12:23 pm

Oh my! Only yours truly could manage to co-star with a high-tech portapotty and a wheelie bin for my fifteen nanoseconds of fame.

I staggered into Starbucks on a rainy Wednesday morning en route for work, regretting not a little the liberal quantities of wine and champagne consumed the previous night. Nothing to do with VD, incidentally, as Lover was safely in Rennes, watching the football at the pub, hopeless romantic that he is. Instead, as it was my Tadpole-free night, I had kindly offered to help a couple of girlfriends celebrate their ill-timed birthdays.

Eight hours of sustained (proper English-style) binge drinking later, and we narrowly avoided being locked in a (closed) Etienne Marcel métro station.

But that’s another story.

So: 9.50 am, Wednesday morning, tired, emotional and rather nervous. Barely had I pushed open the door of the café when the journalist who had contacted me a couple of days earlier via my comments box (and who can’t have been more than twelve years old) accosted me (she had apparently already asked every other person in the building if they weren’t petite – I was late). Returning to her table while I ordered a restorative scone and coffee, she waited patiently for me to arrive. I cringed as my Christian name was shouted out when my drink was ready, not even noticing that it was also scrawled across my takeaway cup in marker pen.

Call me paranoid, but I’ve always been brought up to believe that journalists cannot be trusted.

*Flash* went her expensive looking camera, over and over again. I had been instructed to pretend to type something on the (borrowed) laptop, and the journalist actually wanted me to smile, but I could manage no more than a terrified, rabbit-in-the-headlights rictus. The other customers watched the sorry spectacle with interest.

As I made my exit, blushing furiously, I thought I heard a couple of people sniggering.

It was only when I arrived at the office, and a good friend pointed out that my skirt was unzipped at the back, revealing more of my tights and bottom than anyone but Lover should be allowed to see, that the reason for their mirth became clear.

Move over Bridget.

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