petite anglaise

May 28, 2006

quality time

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 2:45 pm

“I want to play with the patate modeler,” says Tadpole. I fetch the box of playdoh, somewhat relieved that she has actually expressed a preference, as opposed to her habitual “mummy, what can we do now?”

It has been a four day weekend of one-on-one quality petite and Tadpole time, and I am almost at my wits’ end.

Thursday: awake at 9.30, go for Chinese restaurant lunch with daddy, then purchase €15 garish pink scooter in a Chinese bazar, treasure trove of cheap tat which never fails to delight my daughter. Tadpole refuses to nap. Make oatmeal and raisin biscuits together. Find marzipan hiding at back of kitchen cupboard and make little apples, pears and bananas with clove stalks. Tadpole dresses as fairy, I spend many hours wearing both rabbit ears and tiara.

Evening: watch “Brokeback Mountain”. There follows very pleasant dream about (heterosexual) cowboys.

Friday: awake at 6.15, feel out of sorts and grumpy all day. Buy gift for friend’s newborn baby, and hair clips for Tadpole (which she leaves in supermarket mere moments later). Burn last two pieces of bread when making toast for own lunch as Tadpole naps. Hop on métro to visit Tadpole’s playmate (who, after five minutes, exclaims “mummy, I don’t like this girl”). Tadpole’s revenge: does a wee in playmate’s Wendy House.

Evening: watch season 2 finale of Lost. Say little prayer of thanks for Bittorrent.

Saturday: awake at 8.30. Realise at 10.30 with sinking feeling was supposed to be at meeting at Tadpole’s future school – half an hour ago. Blind panic! Tadpole senses note of urgency in my voice, and actually complies immediately, fetching coat and shoes. Arrive at school, meeting over, but instead have one-to-one chat with future headmistress, arguably preferable to missed meeting. Eat couscous royale and chocolate nice cream in local café. Mummy’s friend Elmer comes to “play”, bearing many flavours of melt in the mouth macarons. Tadpole does poo after bath!

Evening: Mummy surfs on meAtic and chats with seemingly wholesome young photographer, who proceeds to email portraits of himself a) covered in fake blood, and b) wearing ball gag and blindfold. Mummy decides against accepting to star in his next short film project.

Sunday: awake at 4.00 to sound of Tadpole shouting “mummy! I did a poopoo!” Change nappy, return to bed and, amazingly, Tadpole sleeps on until 10.00. Baby swimmers class however begins at 10.15. Dash to swimming baths, arrive, panting, at 10.25. Swimming baths closed, due to water temperature being few degrees too cold. Retire to Café Cheri(e) for coffee and juice. Visit adventure playground and picnic on pain au chocolat. Once home, comply with playdoh request. Tadpole goes surprisingly willingly to bed for her sieste, but can still be heard singing “Ride a Cock Horse” as I write.

Six hours ’til Tadpole’s bedtime…and celebratory Mother’s Day gin and tonic.


  1. Simple question that has nothing to do with your post.
    Do you call Tadpole “Tadpole” in real life sometimes?

    (Dunno why I thought of this).

    Comment by babyteks — May 28, 2006 @ 4:01 pm

  2. Wow. That photographer…I have no words.

    Enjoy the congratulatory drink. My post-Mother’s Day congrats, oddly enough, involved Brokeback Mountain and beer. :)

    Comment by 21stcenturywoman — May 28, 2006 @ 4:12 pm

  3. Okay, I’m exhausted just reading that! lol Talk about a juggling act. My hat’s off to you because you’re doing so much (and what seems like a great job, might I add).

    Meetic freak = spooky as all get out. What is Meetic like, thus far? Does the majority of its patrons seem relatively normal? is really good for watching stuff. I watch my back episodes of ANTM all of the time on there, since I’m usually watching TV5 (trying to prepare myself for the inevitable American TV withdrawal I’ll experience when I move.

    Youtube is really good because you don’t have to download anything and it plays right in your browser window.

    Comment by Noire Dire — May 28, 2006 @ 5:17 pm

  4. First to see you, everyone’s out and I’m here slaving.
    ( slaving slight exaggeration on my part aswell.)
    Isn’t just so true that toddlers change tack completely and run to comply when it’s abundantly clear you really mean business? ( Tadpole and fetching her coat and hat). If only we could act this way with little or no effort, without having had the rug pulled from underneath us. And if only the same principle worked with men atall.

    Comment by fjl — May 28, 2006 @ 5:20 pm

  5. I only accidentally call her Tadpole when talking about her, in conversation with people who read the blog. Not actually to her face. Thank goodness…

    Comment by petite — May 28, 2006 @ 5:29 pm

  6. I’m not a parent, but love to think I recognise the good ones. Wearing a tiara, making marzipan stuff, bribing with smarties, and most importantly giving the finger to the likely-anally-retentive doctor herself: this is the stuff of good parenting. Lucky Tadpole!

    Comment by ellie — May 28, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

  7. We, too, watched the season two finale of Lost on Saturday, and I am sort of burned out. For the last ten or so episodes I had pretty much had enough, but the curiosity factor (plus a husband who asks me if I want to watch it a million times) makes me continue to keep up with a groan. Hmmph.

    My season finale this year which caused me a lot of heartache is Gilmore Girls. Three months of waiting now. UGH!

    Comment by kim — May 28, 2006 @ 6:35 pm

  8. this place is is becoming like a Tupperware Party.
    i’m off!

    Comment by Trevor — May 28, 2006 @ 7:13 pm

  9. *Speechless in admiration* WISH I could find time, energy and will to do all that sort of stuff with my three…

    Comment by Lucy-Jane — May 28, 2006 @ 7:47 pm

  10. OK, you win, hands down. I have had more than my own share of bizaare online dating horror stories but the fake-blood S&M photog takes the cake. Thank God you found out about THAT side of his personality over email and not in person. But I promise, they’re not all going to be that twisted.

    That, coupled with 4 days of non-stop motherhood — I’d say you’ve earned yourself TWO gin and tonics tonight. Enjoy!

    Comment by The Bold Soul — May 28, 2006 @ 7:59 pm

  11. Eeuuw gin. Try wine x

    Comment by fjl — May 28, 2006 @ 8:23 pm

  12. I’m exhausted just reading about it. I’m all too familiar with those moments of blind panic upon realising that I was supposed to be somewhere hours ago. Oops.

    So, do you think Desmond et al survived?

    Comment by janna — May 28, 2006 @ 8:50 pm

  13. G&T to a backdrop of Andrea Parker – DJ Kicks. Lovely.

    I feel all grown up again.

    Now for a refill.

    Comment by petite — May 28, 2006 @ 9:28 pm

  14. Gin! Gin! Gin!

    Comment by Katie — May 28, 2006 @ 10:22 pm

  15. The power of Smarties, hey. Seems as if that little problem has receded for now.

    Comment by Z — May 28, 2006 @ 11:28 pm

  16. Happy Mother’s Day.

    Now that Tadpole has discovered the joys of pooping, all’s good.

    Comment by dongurigal — May 28, 2006 @ 11:37 pm

  17. The sorrows of gin … Cheever, I think.
    What can I say? Hooray for Tadpole! Lost? Meetic? Really.

    BTW, Jake in Brokeback is about as adorable as it gets.

    Comment by Lost in France — May 29, 2006 @ 12:08 am

  18. Did she really say “Patate Modeler”? How cute! I had never thought about that, but that could almost make sense. Loving it! Fantastic blog btw.

    Comment by Mickelino — May 29, 2006 @ 1:16 am

  19. “Mummy decides against accepting to star in his next short film project.”

    I didn’t think ball gags were your style anyway……Nice story though about you and Tadpole……;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — May 29, 2006 @ 1:36 am

  20. More Paris! Less poo! Ewwww…

    Comment by Noire Dire — May 29, 2006 @ 4:51 am

  21. A bit late, but Happy Mother’s Day!

    Comment by Sophie — May 29, 2006 @ 7:21 am

  22. “Brokeback Mountain”

    Some around us like it, but some don’t accept.

    Comment by hannahzhang — May 29, 2006 @ 11:53 am

  23. Ha ha! Yes, I think we can rule out a career in diplomacy for my tadpole for the time being…

    Comment by kjr — May 29, 2006 @ 12:28 pm

  24. bonne fete de meres… and bonne degustation :)

    Comment by stinkerbell — May 29, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

  25. I always knew that 3 days was perfect for a weekend. 4 days is just that little bit too long.

    Still, your post makes me glad that I only have to keep kids occupied for one day at a time before handing them back to their original owners. Godchildren, nieces, etc is definitely the way to go! Borrow them on demand and hand them back when I need ‘me-time’ again.

    In admiration,

    Une Fille

    Comment by Une Fille — May 29, 2006 @ 12:51 pm

  26. What other blog mentions gin, poo, weeing in a Wendy house, gay comboys and bondage equipment* all in the same post?
    *I just had to google to find out what a ball gag is! Bet Trevor didn’t know either, although Dave of the Lake apparently does.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — May 29, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

  27. Does Trevor need to go into some Tupperware?

    Comment by ellie — May 29, 2006 @ 2:09 pm

  28. I met Mr Ball Gag. He’s perfectly normal – well, as normal as Trevor, anyways – just into “arty” photos.

    Comment by petite — May 29, 2006 @ 2:23 pm

  29. Ha Ha. I just googled “Ball Gag”. Pictures and all!
    Ha Ha Ha.

    Comment by Trevor — May 29, 2006 @ 3:11 pm

  30. Holy harmonicas, Batman! You guys met in person?! AFTER, he sent the photos or before? If it’s afterward, you’re one spunky little firecracker!

    Comment by Noire Dire — May 29, 2006 @ 3:30 pm

  31. Er, afterwards, believe it or not. He made me laugh by sending me his photo of Laurence of Arabia (an action man on a plastic camel).

    It was quite refreshing after a barrage of soppy emails from wet dishcloths saying things like “j’ai cru voir une ange en passant sur ton profil”.


    Comment by petite — May 29, 2006 @ 3:54 pm

  32. It sounds like you have had a really busy few days.

    Great blog by the way.

    Comment by Invader_Stu — May 29, 2006 @ 4:48 pm

  33. Dear Petite,
    Love Paris every bit as you and now am leaving due to health of family member back home. Glad that I will still be able to read your blog and enjoy Paris through your writing but it is hard to leave Paris, no where else seems to have the same magic for me. Thanks for a great blog and thanks in advance for helping me stay in touch with Paris.

    Comment by Gila — May 29, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

  34. Thank you Gila, although I don’t seem to have written a lot about Paris in that post…

    Comment by petite — May 29, 2006 @ 5:06 pm

  35. ah… off-topic commenting… such is the extend of my grief!

    Comment by Gila — May 29, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

  36. Who drew the little polar-bear-queeze in the picture btw, it’s lovely. Did you? It’s quite the Tadpole you illustrate with your writing.

    Comment by fjl — May 29, 2006 @ 7:36 pm

  37. J’ai cru voir une ange en passant sur ton profil?

    Beurk, indeed. Online dating is even worse that real life, if that’s possible. Hope you have better luck with it than I did!

    Tadpole sounds like a dear but they do tire you out at that age, don’t they?

    Comment by Dawn — May 29, 2006 @ 9:38 pm

  38. no, no fjl, it’s a daily cartoon thing, if you click on it, it will take you to the website. stumbled upon it by chance when looking for a pic to illustrate the post with

    Comment by petite — May 29, 2006 @ 9:46 pm

  39. Very nice idea and I have saved the cutie site for future plagiarisms. ;-)

    Comment by fjl — May 29, 2006 @ 10:39 pm

  40. OMG, I just googled “ball gag.” Well named—just looking at the apparatus and imagining what it must feel like in the mouth made me gag. (Admittedly I have a really good gag reflex. A dentist years agi actually had a notation on the front of my chart, “gagger”!)

    Comment by Passante — May 30, 2006 @ 12:10 am

  41. That would be “ago”.

    Comment by Passante — May 30, 2006 @ 12:10 am

  42. ‘Patate modeler’ – excellent !! I work with little gremlins twice a week and i’ve yet to hear that one … c’est trop mignon

    Comment by Damiel — May 30, 2006 @ 12:16 am

  43. All I can sat is well done, you waited until Tadpole was in bed before hitting the gin, your a stonger woman than I.

    Comment by Pauline — May 30, 2006 @ 7:03 am

  44. hello- very interesting reading as always. Um,
    for us out-o-th-loop north ‘mer’cans, could you please print a quick phonetic rendering of “beurk”? Is it to be said like, “Bjork”?

    Comment by eric — May 30, 2006 @ 8:26 am

  45. ‘Burk’

    Comment by David in London — May 30, 2006 @ 10:14 am

  46. “Beurk”, c’est français et ça se prononce [boerk].

    Comment by Lola — May 30, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

  47. and it means “yuck!”

    Comment by petite — May 30, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

  48. Or ‘icky’

    Comment by J — May 30, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  49. For Tadpole’s constipation – in addition to lots of fruit (all the summer soft fruits now in the shops are great, especially cherries and apricots) and vegetables try eating as many meals as possible at home, and cooked/prepared at home. I try to make all meals include 1 protein-1 carbohydrate-1 vegetable-1 fruit. Being in as natural as environment as possible, with natural-type foods, is relaxing and easy on the mind and body. And of course no TV or music during meals etc etc, plenty of water to drink and not much else (except milk). Awfully boring advice but works for us – I have a daughter a bit younger than Tadpole. And when all else fails or I’m staying away from home and things come to a grinding halt I stew up some prunes in water, blend them and give them to my babe at every meal. This unfailingly works after 24 hours.

    Beware French doctors, they are very hard to manage for us British. And I don’t think that French psychology/psychiatry/counselling can ever really work for the British – the building blocks of our childhood were so very different from those of our French contemporaries.

    Good luck

    Comment by Anna — May 30, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

  50. Oh i read it as berk…as in “revor is a berk”…

    Ooh googled ballgag. Wow.

    Comment by hmmm — May 30, 2006 @ 1:42 pm

  51. Its a precious, if exhausting age. Our youngest is about spot on to Tadpole and I love the time spent sitting with her doing the intense concentrated play. Too soon they’re at school, and the relationship starts to change. Not in a bad way, but its different. Enjoy it now!

    Comment by BoyOnTop — May 30, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

  52. or indeed Trevor.

    Comment by hmmm — May 30, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

  53. Please…let’s not steer the conversation back to constipation and prunes! I don’t know how muc more I can take! lol


    Comment by Dina — May 30, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

  54. This is such an educational blog. We have now all googled ‘ball gag’ and what fun will be had in some homes next weekend.

    Comment by Z — May 30, 2006 @ 5:53 pm

  55. What do you mean by that?

    Comment by Trevor — May 30, 2006 @ 10:39 pm

  56. You sound a bit stern, Trevor. Have I alarmed you?
    Some people might buy one and have an adventure weekend, was what I meant.
    Not me, I value my teeth. And my husband’s.
    But for some people ……. could be fun.

    Comment by Z — May 30, 2006 @ 11:49 pm

  57. i didn’t need to google ‘ball gag’ — i already knew (not from personal experience, of course). and hooray — let’s hear it for gin!

    Comment by franko — May 31, 2006 @ 12:07 am

  58. Cool! You guys noticed that if you google image “ball gag” with moderate safe search on, Bush wearing one is the fourth result: hilarious! I need more g&t…

    Comment by Greenmantle — May 31, 2006 @ 1:48 am

  59. she means of course that some people will be trying out this new found invention. :)

    Comment by NicoleH — May 31, 2006 @ 6:30 am

  60. Astonished it takes you 4 days to reach your wits’ end – my toddler can drive me to mine after half an hour.

    The ball gag could be a useful child-rearing tool though.

    I wonder if there are any mothers out there who haven’t been driven to drink.

    Comment by Paola — May 31, 2006 @ 11:17 am

  61. Trevor I wasn’t referring to you as a berk. I was talking about Trevor Nelson the shiny headed radio one DJ. He’s certainly no Simon Bates.

    I saw the Bush photo! Similarly the furore over the John Prescott croquet photo’s was due to the fact he was wearing a gimp suit under his clothes. Kinky bastard.

    Comment by hmmm — May 31, 2006 @ 11:53 am

  62. Just so long as you realise that “my life in Paris” often consists of seeing little more than a computer screen/the inside of my flat than actually strolling along the Seine or through the Marais with accordians playing in the background. Petite and I haven’t been out in the evening for two long weeks. We both (yes, I’m now officially schizo) have cabin fever.

    So my blog reflects my reality. Paris is sometimes incidental. And sometimes more present. It depends.

    Personally, I think I pretty much did the “fish out of water” subjects to death in the beginning, but if the inspiration grabs me, who knows.

    Comment by petite — June 1, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

  63. Meetic realy needs some sort of “sorry I’m not interested button” that stops the person being able to see your profile.
    But on the other hand if you can’t get out as much as you might like (for whatever reason) there’re not may other avenues to meet people through.

    Comment by wander — June 1, 2006 @ 6:51 pm

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