petite anglaise

March 22, 2006

lost and found

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 9:33 pm

The door to Mr Frog’s apartment is ajar, so I venture in. The cosy scene which greets me is of Tadpole, seated on the sofa, cheeks a fiery shade of crimson, watching her favourite “Oui Oui” DVD. In stark contrast, Mr Frog, slumped by her side, is an exhausted shade of grey.

Tadpole has been suffering from a particularly nasty cold and tummy upset virus (a French doctor would no doubt refer to this as “gastric flu”, making it sound emergency ward, code red serious) which has been doing the rounds in Paris of late. Mr Frog, due to unfortunate timing, has borne the brunt of the horrorshow nappies and sleepless nights, while I galavant around Paris, full of the joys of Spring.

I take a seat beside Tadpole, while Mr Frog pours me a glass of coffee flavoured coca cola (not bad, but not exactly good either, whatever will they dream up next?) to taste.

We chat, mostly swapping favourite Tadpole anecdotes, and recounting flat hunting experiences, until he recalls something she had told him the previous day which made a lasting impression.

They were looking at the letters of the alphabet depicted on her coloured jigsaw floor tiles, and Tadpole had seized upon the letter “J”.

“It’s a J for Jim,” she announced, proudly.

“Oh yes,” replied Mr Frog, uneasily, wondering what to say next.

“Maman, elle a perdu son ami Jim, et elle pleure,” added my daughter.

“When was she crying?” Mr Frog enquired, concerned.

“Yesterday,” came the reply.

I am amazed. She has not mentioned his name once, not since that first horrible day when she knocked on the door, expecting him to answer. I truly thought she had already forgotten him.

I hasten to reassure Mr Frog that by yesterday, Tadpole actually means two whole weeks ago. Because, actually, after shedding a thousand tears during that first weekend of disbelief, I haven’t cried since. Not once.

There are moments when I fall victim to feelings of overwhelming panic about the prospect of being alone. Moments when I experience little pangs of regret about the plans I have been forced to cast aside. But on the whole, I’m surprised to find that I feel little remorse about this aborted relationship.

The future beckons, pregnant with promise. And I walk slowly towards it, with only the slightest hesitation, and not so much as a backward glance.


  1. Good on you!

    Hope Tadpole feels better soon.

    Comment by Claire — March 22, 2006 @ 9:38 pm

  2. The true romantic heroine never does look back.

    Head up, ducks, it’ll all work out in the end :-)

    But I was as surprised and shocked as anyone else to hear the news. You have my sympathy and a big longdistance blog-hug.

    Comment by udge — March 22, 2006 @ 9:44 pm

  3. You really inspire me by your honest and intimate writing. How lucky to have a sweetheart like Tadpole in your life! Thank you for the great blog.

    Comment by Agapantha — March 22, 2006 @ 10:01 pm

  4. Ah, the joys of horrorshow nappies…slosh sloosh in the caboose. Poor Mr. Frog, his hands must be raw from all the washing. Hopefully she’ll be potty trained the next time the flu strikes. Kisses to Tadpole for a speedy recovery, and my fingers are crossed that you aren’t next!

    Comment by LJ — March 22, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

  5. Thankfully I am only suffering from the cold part. Sadly, we had just potty trained the Tadpole, but this past week has set us back a little… Round two will commence this weekend.

    I can hardly wait.

    Comment by petite — March 22, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

  6. And three cheers for Mr Frog!! He may have ben neglectful in the past and I’m sure he has his failings….haven’t we all! But it has been really pleasing to hear how he has been so sensitive to your feelings of late and so caring towards you and his daughter. Some men might have been tempted to gloat when your relationship with ‘lover’ended but he genuinely seems to want to give you all the support he can, without being over-intrusive. I’m sure that this new relationship you have forged, together with your continuing link with his family, will be a cornerstone of your future happiness. Out there somewhere, (lurking by Pont Neuf perhaps?) will be the future love of your life, who will also genuinely appreciate that this relationship with your former partner is a good and enduring one.

    Comment by fella — March 22, 2006 @ 10:42 pm

  7. Seems like many of us on the blogosphere are cold-afflicted this week… you, me, La Page Francaise, Flare… we can all commiserate ensemble, ouais? Hope Tadpole is better now… nothing much worse than a little one in tummy distress.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — March 22, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

  8. Your mood at the moment reminds me a little of the passage from Pooh Corner (which, incidentally is filled with far more wisdom than any other book ever printed)…

    “What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying “What about a little something?” and Me saying, “Well, I shouldn’t mind a little something, should you, Piglet,” and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing.”

    Comment by Jonathan — March 22, 2006 @ 11:05 pm

  9. When my dad died ten years ago, someone said to my mother–a widow suddenly at 53–“There’s a difference between loneliness and solitude. I wish for you to find the solitude.” It sounds like that is what you are finding, and it can be so peaceful. Hang in there, Petite. Oh, if you haven’t already, try the Pont des Arts for a nice mellow afternoon of people watching. One of my favorite spots!

    Comment by Kat — March 22, 2006 @ 11:06 pm

  10. i second what Kat said. Why panic about being alone? The thing to panic over is living in an unhappy relationship, and staying in it, out of fear of being alone.
    solitude is a marvelous thing. especially for writers.
    one has to come to know oneself, inside and out, alone, sooner or later.

    Comment by isabel — March 22, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

  11. Glad to hear you’re doing so well!

    Ah, Paris in April and May is such a good place to be single and looking :)

    Comment by Mathieu — March 23, 2006 @ 12:19 am

  12. I miss Paris, especially in the spring. Sounds like you and Mr. Frog are finding a good balence in your relationship. I hope you can be friends later on. Keep smiling :)

    Comment by Alessandra — March 23, 2006 @ 1:58 am

  13. Hmmm….explosive napppies……..potty training….and advertisements in your blog for “Colon Cleansing’ and “Irritable Bowel Diet.” There is more natural gas floating around this place than at a pig farm…….;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — March 23, 2006 @ 4:51 am

  14. Don’t you just love google contextual ads? How come on they are always just for blogs, and on mine, they are so distasteful? I can’t see any way to control them though…

    Comment by petite — March 23, 2006 @ 8:28 am

  15. Not sure why Fella is dumping on Mr Frog (PA never did); he has behaved like a paladin.

    Comment by dan — March 23, 2006 @ 9:22 am

  16. *leafing through dictionary to see what “paladin” means*

    “A paragon of chivalry; a heroic champion”. Well, that may be taking it a bit far, but he has been a very good friend to me, which is very big of him.

    But I thought fella was being nice about him?

    Comment by petite — March 23, 2006 @ 11:00 am

  17. Yes the ads are funny. Take heart, mine advertised hold you up/in panties on Valentines day. I promise I’ve never done anything to provoke it. :0)
    Re The poppet, or pippin, or whichever you choose, she’s just getting to that stage where she absorbes what you go through, and then pronounces on it skillfully. Usually though, that comes abit later, she’s a bright one, I think x

    Comment by fjl — March 23, 2006 @ 12:08 pm

  18. While lovers are nice, I’ve often found friends to be far more constant and even better to have when life gets rough. I’m glad you have such a good friend in Mr. Frog to help you through this one.

    And while I’m quite happy with my beau of a year, sometimes I envy the freedom that singlehood affords. Especially in the work realm (which we haven’t heard much about as of late. I hope work has become more bearable?) But then again, I’ve never had a Tadpole. Life’s full of tradeoffs I suppose, n’est-ce pas?

    Comment by Fendra — March 23, 2006 @ 12:30 pm

  19. You’re never alone with that Tadpole – and Paris, you make it sound like somewhere I’d actually like to be!

    Comment by Puplet — March 23, 2006 @ 12:41 pm

  20. *adopting proud mummy voice*

    I think Tadpole is actually quite gifted. A teacher saw one of her pictures and said it was worthy of a six year old. And she can write her name.

    Mind you, according to my mum, I could read at her age!

    Comment by petite — March 23, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

  21. “. . . not so much as a backward glance.”

    You have managed something even Edith Wharton, one of the stronger women I knw of, could not (A Backward Glance is the title of her memoir).

    You wrote movingly of your pain, and now you write movingly of your growing strength. And children are a balm for just about any woe I know of.

    Enjoy the spring.

    Comment by John B. — March 23, 2006 @ 1:32 pm

  22. kids are so open and amazingly direct.. how easily her feelings spilled and shared in her need is so surprizing and shocking

    Comment by hera — March 23, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

  23. Why do coke feel the need to make it coffee flavoured? Lemon flavour I understand, but fizzy coffee!!?? Ah I love Coca Cola a bit too much.

    It’s hard not to read this and feel that you’re reading a novel. Particularly when you’re being so brave about your breakup (I’d be a wreck) and Mr Frog is so supportive (I’d be gloating not a little). Maybe in Paris people are nicer than in London!

    Comment by Amy — March 23, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

  24. Bravo :)

    Comment by J — March 23, 2006 @ 6:55 pm

  25. Mr Frog doesn’t mind taking it on the chin for you. He’s not biter, and is concerned with your well-being, as well as that for Tadpole.

    It’s good that you are not being weighed down by circumstance, that you are seeing clearly, and that the charms of le printemps came at just the right moment…

    btw, I tend not to click *in* your eye when posting a comment, but rather in the eyebrow area. :]

    Comment by Gruntled — March 24, 2006 @ 6:19 pm

  26. Go see the Magritte (works on paper) exhibition at the Musee Maillol. I was in Paris last weekend and never made it (because of nasty gastric flu bug – spent most of saturday night and sunday in bed at the Hotel Califonia) so perhaps you can tell me all about it.

    Now I’m back in Blighty and wishing I were back in Paris (but without that dreaded bug!)

    Have fun whatever you do!

    Comment by Welshgal — March 24, 2006 @ 6:44 pm

  27. That’s the way to go. Face forward, one foot in front of the other, when you’re least expecting a good thing, you’ll be sure to find it. Just have to keep living to get there!

    Comment by Dylan — March 26, 2006 @ 12:13 am

  28. That sounds so positive, Petite. Keep looking forward.

    Hope you’re having a lovely day off.

    Comment by Léonie — March 27, 2006 @ 3:22 pm

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