petite anglaise

October 23, 2006

mouse trap

Filed under: misc, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 3:30 pm

I am beginning to rue the day that I allowed Tadpole to sit on my white chair, adjusted to its highest setting, and taught her how to use a mouse. Within minutes, with the help of the CBeebies website and, in particular, the Teletubbies section, Tadpole had grasped not only how to move the location of the arrow around on the screen, but also how to click. Mastery of click and drag was not far behind.

Suddenly a whole new virtual world was open to her, where she was able to colour in pictures without getting felt tip pen on her fingers and sleeves, play simple interactive games and navigate freely around children’s websites, only coming unstuck if she accidentally executed a right click and was suddenly faced with an incomprehensible grey menu (she can’t read yet) or if she had the misfortune to select a game which required use of the arrow keys (a leap too far, at the moment).

On that first day, I sat patiently by her side, showing her what to do, where to click, and generally giving her encouragement. We built an adventure playground with Bob the Builder, watched a Dora The Explorer adventure and sang with the Tweenies. On the second day, I opened a book and had a sneaky read while she clicked away by my side, looking up once in a while to check that she hadn’t strayed from her CBeebies playground, to, say, buy a car on ebay, or delete a string of comments from my blog. On the third day I let her loose on the internet whilst I made her dinner next door, popping back in whenever her yelp of frustration indicated that she had got herself stuck somewhere and couldn’t work out how to navigate back to the main menu.

But on the fourth day, parental pride and the novelty of having something new to bribe her with (“you can have a go on the computer, but only if you are a good girl”) gave way frustration, jealousy and a whole host of jittery withdrawal symptoms.

“Ping,” goes the sound of an incoming message on gmail chat, in another firefox tab, tantalisingly invisible.

“Sweetie, can mummy look at her message? That noise means there’s a message…”

“NO! I clicking! I not finished yet,” says Tadpole in a voice which leaves little room for debate.

I pace around the apartment, trying hard to contain my curiosity, wondering whether the message was from a friend or an admirer. What have I missed?

“How about mummy puts the Mr Men on the television?” I suggest, finally convinced I have hit on a viable alternative to clicking.

“No. I want to play Mr Men on the comPUter! Not the television. I want to CLICK!” replies Tadpole, remembering the official website where she had watched Mr Greedy and guests having a birthday food fight.

I retire, crestfallen, to the kitchen to make a calming cup of tea and plot my next move. I don’t think I had realised until now just how often I sneak a couple of minutes to check my email, my comments, or have a quick chat, but now, suddenly, my daughter has the power to cut me off from the outside world for half an hour at a time. Now, every time my fingers so much as stretch towards the keyboard, a little person drops whatever she is doing, a leg is flung over mine, and she tries to clamber onto my knee, comandeers the mouse with her small fingers and refuses to relinquish it.

Finally, Tadpole has found my achilles heel. God help me.

119 Comments

  1. When I think about how the internet has changed the way we communicate, work, play, research, and learn, it takes my breath away. Will Tadpole (or my grandchildren, for that matter) ever use a card catalog at a library? Will they ever read an encyclopedia? Will they put their hands into the rich deep earth to plant flowers? Will they write letters that are unfolded, read, and folded again? Will their idea of “good interpersonal skills” be a proficiency with instant messenger and email?

    I love the internet, but at the same time I wonder if we really understand what we have invited into our homes.

    Comment by Masie — October 23, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

  2. My 10 month old daughter conspires to try to cut me off from every form of communication – mobile phone, home phone, tv remote, computer keyboard – by grabbing them and pressing the buttons (sometimes, scarily, with success). I am convinced that by 2 she will be planning world domination via her media empire

    Comment by sarahdee — October 23, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

  3. Ahhh, another child computer monster is hatched! Let Tadpole know that it is your turn and she must share. Stand firm… it will work, if you are firm.

    And do not let her get on whenever she desires… Limit her time. (Advise from a mother who knows!)

    Comment by Mary Jo — October 23, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

  4. Well, as Teletubbies would aptly put it: “Uh-oh”.

    Comment by Loxias — October 23, 2006 @ 3:57 pm

  5. Hi Petite,

    Great post !!!!

    Oh yes, the fascination of the computer keyboard.
    My 18th month old daughter likes to bash the keys on my laptop keyboard, when she is not trying to pull them off ( managed I,J & K so far ). Don’t think work will be too happy !!!

    Neil

    Comment by Neil — October 23, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

  6. sounds as if it’s time to buy a second computer ;)

    Comment by Henning — October 23, 2006 @ 3:59 pm

  7. Dear You,

    If I may, I am afraid you just bumped into one of the few basic principles of civilised modern “cohabitation”. There is no sound, safe and peaceful way around the following rule (which applies similarly to toothbrushes) : you need one computer (with internet access) for each humain being living in one same house/appartment/space shuttle/submarine/sailing boat, etc…

    Now I agree it is somewhat scary to realise that there is no “underage exception” to such principle.

    Best wishes from Luxembourg.

    Comment by Canova — October 23, 2006 @ 4:01 pm

  8. There is only now one realistic solution – get another computer. Perhaps a blackberry would suffice…

    Comment by Little Red Squirrel — October 23, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

  9. Petite, I see only one possibility here: Tadpole needs a notebook. A Sony or a Mac, that’s up to you and your fans :-)

    Comment by alcessa — October 23, 2006 @ 4:24 pm

  10. Well, Petite – looks like you are in desperate need of that new Apple (or Vaio) you were eyeing up recently – without disposing of its predecessor!

    Comment by LaiLou — October 23, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

  11. One day you will be old and Tadpole will be using computers in a way you are simply unable to even imagine. So when the day comes and she will ask you why you do not understand this or that, at least you can tell her that *you* opened the door for her. Noone else did that. Congratulations.

    Comment by Siegfried — October 23, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

  12. My son actually rendered my PC completely useless. I’d definitely limit her time – computers are a brilliant tool for kids but pens and paper, books and toys are really important for learning

    Comment by Lucie — October 23, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

  13. If you are really, truly saying that your daughter is the boss in your home (something I have suspected from reading previous posts), that she orders you around, that you do everything she says and wants, and cannot impose your will when it is time, no matter what tantrum she throws, then God help you when she gets older, and God help her when she finds out – and she will – that the whole world will not bow down and kneel before her highness Tadpole…

    Comment by Gilles — October 23, 2006 @ 4:56 pm

  14. She’s not the boss all the time, but we do seem to be going through another rather willful phase. And because I simply don’t have the energy to do battle over every single thing (Mr Frog reports a similar problem at his house), and I don’t get a moment’s respite being as we are on our own, I’m choosing my battles rather carefully. In the interests of not losing my voice.

    In this particular instance, I switched off the computer when I deemed she had had enough. The only annoying thing was that I couldn’t then use it. Grrr.

    Comment by petite — October 23, 2006 @ 5:13 pm

  15. hi petite,

    sorry, it’s been so long since i left a comment. that is funny, i taught my son about a month ago how to play little kid games on the computer. suprisingly enough, this past weekend was the first he has asked to play since then. it is nice however, he can color or play a game whilst i get in some valuable sports watching time, which is a rare commodity these days. and mine does the same thing, whenever i log on, there he is “daddy, can i sit on your lap?” i can’t wait until he can sit and play Xbox with me hehe

    Comment by Hammers — October 23, 2006 @ 5:16 pm

  16. I can say a few things about our own life here. I’m a thirty something mom as you are petite, and I missed the age of pc’s in school, by just a few years. Typing class in highschool, was on an actual typewriter and an electric typewriter was damn cool then. I find myself learing/teaching myself concerning the pc, and missing so much that is possible along the way. Then my three children, ages 16, 13, and 7, are running CIRCLES around me with the pc. Mom why don’t you just save it this way? Why are you making it so hard mom? Just use this menu/word program/spellcheck/software/and on and on. They have computers in classes here starting in kindergarten. Let her play it, let her because she will have to anyhow. Then sit back and learn from her as she grows. We have 3 children, 2 adults, and 3 pc’s in our home, all highspeed wireless and 3 aren’t enough. If one checks email, one is doing homework, and one wants to play a game,,,,someone else is left out at times. My children still go swimming, play outside, ride bikes, plant flowers (as mentioned in an earlier comment) drive antique tractors with their grandparents, help me cook in the kitchen and have chores, school, friends, music lessons. You simply can’t fight the growing place of the computer. Get another laptop someday (they also have childrens laptops that are toys really but educational with games and a mouse for endless clicking) and sit next to your little tadpole, clicking away in chorus. Your little mini-me. Sooooooooooo cute!

    Comment by beaunejewels — October 23, 2006 @ 5:20 pm

  17. “In this particular instance, I switched off the computer when I deemed she had had enough.”

    What? You decided to punish the computer which was the only single one in the house bearing no responsibility in the whole trouble ! That is very unfair, I must say. Poor thing.

    Comment by Canova — October 23, 2006 @ 5:21 pm

  18. Ah, this is horribly familiar. I introduced my 21-month-old daughter to our Mac at the weekend and now all she wants is ‘pooter, mummy!’ She’s too little to use the mouse yet, but she’s delighted by the little character that pops up when you need help in Word. I spent yesterday afternoon listening to her shouting ‘Stand UP man! Sit DOWN now!’ Her response to my request to use the computer is: ‘No, that’s Polly’s pooter. Be quiet.’

    Comment by Helenpolly — October 23, 2006 @ 5:26 pm

  19. I have a 7 year old who also loves playing on the computer. When he was younger, I found an egg timer worked very well whenever I wanted to limit the amount of time he was playing on the computer, watching TV, etc. He knew when the timer went off, it was time to shut down the computer or turn off the television.

    Comment by Sharon — October 23, 2006 @ 5:31 pm

  20. Hope your computer is password protected or little Tapole may start ‘helping herself’ in one of your unguarded moments.
    Have to agree with Gilles though. With an intelligent toddler it can be very difficult to see when they are getting the upper hand until it’s too late. She needs to learn that you must have unencumbered access when it suits you so that switching off doesn’t deprive you as well.
    One thing’s for sure, it isn’t going to be easy. Good luck . . . . . . .

    Comment by Sablonneuse — October 23, 2006 @ 5:31 pm

  21. I think it is important that kids should be initiated onto the computer and the internet at an early date. As time goes on it is becoming increasingly clear that computers will be a really big part of our lives, far more so than we can imagine at the moment. As such you’ll want to give Tadpole the same head start as for reading, writing, couting and all the other life skills that children need.

    That said it is just as important to limit their time as computers do seem to be highly addictive. I myself have owned a computer of some sort or another since I was 12 and had been using them for many years before that and I only leave mine to eat and visit the loo now. All things in moderation seems to be the best strategy.

    I’d also like to echo the comments of those who said she’ll need her own computer soon. Not straight away of course, but before long it’ll be the only practical option if you are both to get done everything you need to do.

    Comment by Ignorminious — October 23, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

  22. Ha! Brilliant, I look forward to her debut into the blogging world. She’ll be dictating Mr Men related posts to you by the end of the month.

    Comment by Huguenot — October 23, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

  23. You too huh? My 2yr3mth old boy loves YouTube. He clicks on the start arrow and then parks the cursor off to one side. He watches O.K.GO (sucking his thumb) and then watches it about ten more times bfore getting sick of it. And now he’s discovered the OKGO Treadmills video as well (You seen that?). So he watches that after the first. I’m gonna put him in ReHab soon.

    Comment by Les Miserable — October 23, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

  24. That picture is just lovely. Sorry I haven’t been around sweets I’m blogging on some serious police corruption and I didn’t want to push it on anyone.
    He he achilles heel -they find it very early!

    Comment by fjl — October 23, 2006 @ 5:44 pm

  25. Hi Petite!!
    I discovered yesterday your blog, since I´m having a extremely difficult time, and far away form home, friends, and family…and spending my days alone working at home!!! and a friend of mine recommended me too visit this site, promising me, I would find some stories I could identify myself with.
    It´s absolutely great! I couldn´t stop reading all the stories…
    I have to thank you, your blog cheered me up, and that song by Lamb just made me smile..

    Comment by Anne — October 23, 2006 @ 6:05 pm

  26. Oh yeah…I forgot…couple of weeks ago I couldn’t log-on to the Mac. Checked everything and decided it had something to do with the keyboard. I picked it up to have a good look at it and about half-a-cup of water came out. Seems his lordship thought it needed a drink. Yes – it was completey ruined. Anyone want a little boy? Hardly used…one owner…no previous.

    Comment by Les Miserable — October 23, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

  27. Oh, no, no, no Petite,

    Turn it off for HER… not you! This IS a battle you need to pick NOW. Set certain times for her and stick to them! No matter if Mommy is on or not. Your useage and her usage are not equal. Set that rule up now. I know from experience!

    And when she gets older… do not show her how to clean out the history. I can keep tabs on my children’s where abouts on the web, and believe me, there will come a time when she will go where she is not suppose too!

    Comment by Mary Jo — October 23, 2006 @ 6:22 pm

  28. I’d have to say this is case of “like mother, like daughter” I’m sure she feels like such a big girl, just like mum.

    As a side note, I’ve recently started to wonder if I’m becoming addicted to my online world. I can rarely go more than an hour without checking my email or my site stats and I regularly take my laptop with me to work so that I will not be far away from my various online groups.

    As I write this comment, I’m sitting on set writing this comment discreetly between takes.

    I’m hopeless.

    Comment by Sam — October 23, 2006 @ 7:24 pm

  29. Dear Petite,

    I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and once again today. If I may be so bold, (and if not please forgive me), as a parent of three children, (9,11,13), I find great joy in teaching them skills like technology, sports, & the arts. What often gets lost on our children in our crazy paced world – full of technical specialties – is wisdom living. You should look at the opportunity of the conflict that this causes in your home as a teachable moment (or day or week). On my side of the pond parents don’t need to deal with conflict because they are rarely actually exposed to it first hand. You have the opportunity to teach tadpole to respect other’s property & moderation, if you put your mind (and heart to it). The fact that you care and see the problem is a great start but don’t stop there (or else as a previous writer said there will be a rude awakening for tadpole someday).
    I hope the very best for the two of you.

    Regards – Harry

    Comment by Harry — October 23, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

  30. Hee, hee, hee. Tadpole composed or edited blog entries or comments. I’m queuing up right now…….

    Comment by H — October 23, 2006 @ 7:31 pm

  31. hi, petite — not sure if you decided to get a mac or a windows machine (i haven’t noticed an update from the laptop free-for-all several weeks back), but if you DID get a mac, you can set up a separate login for tadpole, and set it up so that only things that are safe for her to click on are there for her. that way you don’t have to worry about her accidentally deleting things you need. also, you can set a password for YOUR login, so she can’t get to it, either.

    just a thought.

    Comment by franko — October 23, 2006 @ 7:41 pm

  32. oooh, all the advice! how lovely for you. ;p

    me, i’m betting you’ve got the Tadpole computing under control just fine.

    Comment by molly — October 23, 2006 @ 8:59 pm

  33. Ah the joys…I remember them well. Today it is CBeebies and the Teletubbies…tomorrow…Le Petit Têtard, MSN and Messenger. Enjoy the 5 minutes she allows you as soon you won’t even get that :)

    Comment by Templar — October 23, 2006 @ 9:48 pm

  34. Il n’y a plus rien à faire, tu es foutue!

    ;o)

    Comment by Mélo — October 23, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

  35. I was reflecting just the other day on how my niece and nephew have never known a world without computers, cell phones and Ipods. I’m suddenly realizing I am very close to being one of those old farts to loves to regale the young’uns with stories about how, “when I was a girl, I had to walk 30 miles in 3 feet of snow to get to school”. Only my version will sound more like: “when I was a girl, we had no DVDs. Or CDs. Or even VCRs. We got to watch The Wizard of Oz, Rudolph and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown only ONCE a year and even then it was on a black-and-white television, with NO remote control. And you couldn’t TIVO through the commericials, you had to sit there and watch them all. The only place to see a movie was in a movie theatre. We had no cell phones, no voice mail, no answering machines. When you wanted to call someone and they were already on the phone, you had to call back later; and if they wanted to call you, you actually had to be home or in the office to receive their important call. In fact, phone service was so expensive in those days that people often SHARED a phone line, called a party line, so if the other person was using the phone you were out of luck until they were done. When we got home from school, there was no internet and instant messaging, no Playstation – our mothers made us go OUTSIDE to PLAY. And we had to make up our own games and entertainment. And go the library to do our research for school projects because there was no Google. If you wanted to buy something you had to go to the store and bring cash; there was no on-line shopping, no eBay. You damn kids are too spoiled.”

    And they will look at me in shock, skepticism and perhaps even a touch of horror, trying to imagine a world so archaic and outdated, a world without earbuds and joysticks and a mouse and a remote control.

    Kind of the same way I looked at my grandmother the first time she told me she grew up in a farmhouse with no indoor plumbing.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — October 23, 2006 @ 11:09 pm

  36. I’m sorry but the entire time I am reading this post I’m thinking “Who is the parent?” I’m far from a stellar parent, but damn! That one is pretty much a no brainer.

    Comment by lux lisbon — October 23, 2006 @ 11:15 pm

  37. P.S. Henning (#6) had a pretty good idea. If Tadpole starts really hogging the computer, see about getting an older used one for HER exclusive use and load it up with all the child-appropriate games and smut-blockers, and let her play all she wants. Then YOU keep the higher end model for your use only. One for Mummy, one for Tadpole, nice and fair and even. Used computers are dirt-cheap and a friend of mine did that in her family to keep the little kids away from what the older kids and adults needed to do. Worked like a charm.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — October 23, 2006 @ 11:15 pm

  38. You bribe her with men! But she prefers virtual men? The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree! Tee hee. Hope you know I’m teasing.

    I can only imagine the rivalry for computer time … in our house there are normally two of us with two laptops and a PC for visitors. Now we have a visitor and she has her own laptop. It is sickeningly connected here. But it allows me to be in Paris and New York and wherever else I want to be!

    Good luck.

    Comment by ellie — October 23, 2006 @ 11:20 pm

  39. I wonder if it counts as child labour (or explotation) if you hired out Tadpole to test drive CBeebies web pages?

    Comment by grayarea — October 23, 2006 @ 11:42 pm

  40. Very cute post. Try turning off just the monitor, it worked on one of my little sisters for a few years. Then you can still pop in and use it quick.

    Time to get yourself a laptop. But don’t let her near it. I’ve seen too many ruined by little kids. Unless you can get someone to donate an old one.

    Comment by mpcc — October 24, 2006 @ 12:35 am

  41. It’s fun seeing your child get this important new skill so quickly. Seems her screen addiction started with mother. All you need do now, is conquer yours…

    Comment by andrew — October 24, 2006 @ 12:50 am

  42. Here ya go Tadpole, my daughter Natasha (3) plays on these 2 a lot and loves it (whenever I let her!)
    http://www.noggin.com and http://www.pbskids.org

    I think it’s amazing to see how their manual dexterity improves in the space of half an hour!

    I have no problems with allowing her pc time i.e. an hour a day (then it’s mine mine mine!) :-)

    Comment by Karma — October 24, 2006 @ 12:52 am

  43. Oh well. If the quality of your writing suddenly improves, we’ll know who’s started ghost writing them.

    Comment by Dr Analyst — October 24, 2006 @ 2:31 am

  44. Ya know, my 4 yr. old sister is the same way. She wants to type. Last month I had her jumping on me, climbing on my chair and back, screaming in my ear, pushing my hair over my eyes, etc. Because she wanted to write.

    Comment by Julie — October 24, 2006 @ 4:21 am

  45. Sounds like a computer of her own is not to distant a dream…

    Comment by deeleea — October 24, 2006 @ 5:08 am

  46. There must be something about cbeebies site. My SIL introduced her 4yr old to it and now rues the day she did so!

    Comment by Valkyrie — October 24, 2006 @ 6:29 am

  47. She’ll soon start to write her own book – “You are Just One Mouse Click Away From Totally Dominating Your Parent(s)!” It will be in the “Self-Help” section of your local bookstore……;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — October 24, 2006 @ 6:40 am

  48. Am I correct in assuming that Tadpole is old enough to understand /knows that her favorite television shows (not games or dvds,etc. which can be seen anytime) are on only at certain times and for a set period of time?

    If so,you should have minimum trouble setting aside “Tadpole time” for her on the computer.
    If she fusses,simply inform her that “puter” is tired and needs a nap,else the next time that she wants to be online, he will not be able to work
    and he will go “en greve”…;)

    Comment by Belle — October 24, 2006 @ 7:07 am

  49. Post 47 made me lol, I think you’re right on the ball there Dave! But surely one computers fine for the time being and it’s an ideal opportunity to teach Tadpole the joys of sharing or maybe I mean the necessity of sharing if a harmonious life is the desired thing.

    Comment by Susannah — October 24, 2006 @ 8:41 am

  50. I am bizarrely possessive about my computer. Sometimes I ask boyfriend for help, but as soon as he takes the mouse, I feel weird. I need it back, et cetera.

    I stopped watching TV when we got the internet when I was about 12… good luck…!

    BG

    Comment by Billygean — October 24, 2006 @ 9:37 am

  51. Good one-the joy surely is watching her concentration as she tries to get this new toy to do what she wants. Amazing that these days it’s IT skills before learning to read.

    Comment by Craig — October 24, 2006 @ 10:30 am

  52. As the computer-addicted mother of a 2 year-old boy, I feel your pain! As soon as I hit the computer, the little one is by my side demanding that we go to the Balamory website or any one of the various sites for his favorite characters. And, God forbid I should go to the “wrong” site! The tears start rolling, the lips get pouty, and the hand goes for the mouse in a 2 year-old attempt to rectify the “damage”.

    I’ve already lost track of the chats and emails I’ve had to quickly finish with an abrupt, “Gotta go. Bye.” due to the second set of fingers making their way towards the keyboard and mouse, intent on taking control.

    I don’t even want to think about what it’s going to be like once he can actually use the computer on his own…

    Comment by Liza — October 24, 2006 @ 10:51 am

  53. Lovely to return to the Emirates after a couple of weeks in Europe. Neither the pleasure of lunch on a terrasse in Cannes or the evenings spent reading at my favourite table in the Café Flore could make up for the fact that I knew I was missing news of Péah and Tadpole!

    I have a photo of my daughter at my Mac SE taken in 1990. She turned eighteen last week and had one of her fondest wishes fulfilled… a brand new sparkling white MacBook!

    Comment by Malcolm Thomson — October 24, 2006 @ 10:57 am

  54. If Tadpole were anyone other than an adorable little girl, I would have said that you had created a monster. I know how you feel, having introduced Tonton to the internet and computers, and often finding myself deprived of their use.

    Comment by Lost in France — October 24, 2006 @ 11:19 am

  55. More time at the park with her friends is the solution to that one.

    Comment by heather — October 24, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

  56. I’m sorry – I couldn’t help giggling all the way through that post…

    Comment by Jonathan — October 24, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

  57. It’s a shame you bought (I assume) a new computer after the Mac/PC debate. Otherwise, you could hand your old one over.

    In our household it quickly became too difficult to share, as nobody was prepared to allow anyone else time to read their emails. Eventually by passing over my old computer, we got some peace.

    Comment by varske — October 24, 2006 @ 3:08 pm

  58. No advance yet = no computer purchase, and yes, it will get easier when there are two, although the plan was to rent a little studio to use for working (with the desktop in) and use the laptop at home and on the move. Which means Tadpole would be clamouring to use a very precious brand new laptop. Not too sure about that…

    Comment by petite — October 24, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

  59. One of our cats ruined a computer keyboard by peeing over it. At least Tadpole won’t do that!!!!

    Comment by Sablonneuse — October 24, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

  60. Point, Click & Drag.

    My School Disco pulling technique never failed.

    Comment by Murphy — October 24, 2006 @ 4:23 pm

  61. I’m with all those who say get her a computer. Put it in a public room where you can see the screen at all times and keep it that way until she goes off to college. ;)

    Comment by Sophmom — October 24, 2006 @ 5:06 pm

  62. That kid RULES you. I’d say, take care. If she still rules you when she’s a teenager, what will happen then?!

    Comment by Zapaper — October 24, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

  63. Under the thumb? moi? Tadpole gets the upper hand occasionally, I’ll admit that, but once more, people are inferring from a little slice of life that they understand our entire relationship. A dangerous thing to do.

    Comment by petite — October 24, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

  64. Aww cute! :) I also enjoyed the story about growing. Excellent!

    Comment by Tim — October 24, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

  65. Well done Petite!

    Another brilliant posting and made me laugh – really getting into this blog thing – makes me want a site myself and to get gmail chat – but much technology learning needed on my part!

    Of course what you need is two computers one for Tadpole and one for yourself!

    Best wishes from beautiful Scotland – off hill walking tomorrow!

    Richard x

    Comment by Richard — October 24, 2006 @ 10:45 pm

  66. Don’t know what the tax laws are in France, but here in the U.S., if you claim a piece of equipment as a business expense, then it has to be used for business, not as a child’s (or an adult’s) toy. Sure, I use my expensed computers to do personal e-mail, personal spreadsheets, personal documents, and personal surfing (including leaving comments on blogs), but the last thing I would risk is putting child or adult games on them or allowing children (if there were any in the vicinity) to put their sticky paws on equipment I depend on to earn my living.

    And Sablonneuse, Tadpole may not pee on the keyboard, but spilled apple juice does every bit as much damage!

    Comment by Passante — October 24, 2006 @ 10:47 pm

  67. Hi, yes, cbeebies! i have twins of 4 1/2 so ive had to buy a second pc just so they dont fight the whole time when they are allowed online. Silly me for expecting to be able to get near the pc when its their turns! Another one Tadpole might enjoy is http://www.clickits.com Its the site for Lego and she can play other games on there too. Lovely blog, thanks for sharing. Father of 3 girls pwl

    Comment by PWL — October 24, 2006 @ 11:02 pm

  68. We read Petite Anglaise because we are interested in what she thinks, does, says; from utility meters, to food, to her parents, to men, to Tadpole. I am sad to read all the comments telling PA what to do with/about/to Tadpole. This is NOT the same as her “shopping for a new computer” post, where she asked for advice! I am astounded at the volume of comments giving child-rearing advice.

    I thought the post was charming, showing a moment of “Eureka” for Tadpole, and also the loving hand of a mother WHO IS ALSO A WRITER, hello?, did we forget that part? Maybe part of it was creative writing. (No wonder many writers hide their personal lives.) It seems that readers/fans get to thinking they are personal friends whose advice is welcome or solicited.

    Enough, already!

    Hugs from me to you and Tadpole, Petite!

    Comment by PJ Carz — October 25, 2006 @ 1:34 am

  69. Pandora’s box…

    Comment by stcampos — October 25, 2006 @ 2:23 am

  70. Buy Tadpole a cat, then you’ll catch the mouse. wink.

    Comment by 4 roses — October 25, 2006 @ 9:20 am

  71. I must agree with comment #7. I’m having a similar problem involving my husband and my Macbook.

    Comment by Karen — October 25, 2006 @ 10:24 am

  72. Ahh, shades of our household…OH and I have sagely held off having a television for years, as we don’t like the infernal things. But I am surprised at how quickly the kids picked up computer skills and have favourite sites – they don’t need a television with ‘Boowa et Kwala’ and ‘Coins des Petites’ on the web.

    Like the egg timer idea – I too have to ask for time to to answer clients e-mails ( grrr…!)

    Comment by Morbihan Princess — October 25, 2006 @ 10:42 am

  73. Thank you, Petite, for another amusing, well-written and evocative piece – every parent will identify with that difficult decision: to confront/teach/deal with with fall-out or take the easier option and give in!

    I think PJ Carz is quite right to make the point that your blog will invite your readers to give you advice which you haven’t asked for on child-rearing and other topics. However, I take the view that you are grown-up (not entirely, hopefully!!) and well aware that your blog will excite comment. You are more than capable, I am sure, of sifting through what you think is sensible or thought-provoking and discarding the rest. It is a little naive to think that people who have become involved with many aspects of your life and think they know you (because you write so well) will be able to resist putting their oar/s in occasionally!

    Having said that, I thought Susannah’s tactful message (49) equally valid. My ‘children’ are now 25 and 27 and, though I say it myself, pretty nice people. And I was very guilty of taking the easy way out on all sorts of things from tying shoe laces to tidying bedrooms and….sharing! Negotiating with a toddler isn’t easy, but, believe me, it only gets worse and now I am dealing with a stepdaughter of 17 who has never been shown any boundaries – and it’s a NIGHTMARE!

    I think that Tadpole sounds like a wonderfully intelligent and amusing child and, like all us girls, is learning the powers of emotional blackmail – or do we call it manipulation?!

    Well done, Petite! I’m sure you’ll find the way…!

    Comment by Lindy Stocker — October 25, 2006 @ 11:05 am

  74. To Passante #66: I wouldn’t think Petite is likely to let a combination of Tadpole and fruit juice near a computer, though, having said that, I was not able to pevent my (adult) son from spilling wine on my keyboard some years ago!
    And to #68,PJCarz, It’s good to see you leap to Petite’s defence over all the unsolicited advice but, on the other hand, it’s proof of her writing ability that she gets us all so involved that we can’t stop ourselves from chipping in. We should be free to express an opinion just as Petite has every right to ignore it, and, I for one am not trying to imply that she is not doing a great job of Tadpolerearing.
    P.S. If this comment sounds a bit tetchy, my apologies – didn’t sleep too well last night!

    Comment by Sablonneuse — October 25, 2006 @ 11:33 am

  75. Lovely blog, i have one to named Petite Hollandaise sorry I copied a little bid on you ps my English is not so good sory)

    Comment by Lindacath — October 25, 2006 @ 3:45 pm

  76. Advice is a funny thing…when I was thinking what career to do my family and teachers all wanted me to go into banking or the MOD because they thought it was a respectable career (or some such thing) but I really, really wanted to be a nurse. They said “Oh no, you can’t be a nurse, you’re far too sensitive and have a tendency to over empathise with people!” I know they only had my best interests at heart but I wish I hadn’t listened to them.

    Years later at a parents evening when my own daughter was getting advice about a career from a teacher she was told “Remember, there are many people who will want to offer you advice but just because they are quick to offer it does not mean they have a clue what they are talking about!” I thought how wise that was. I think advice can be valuable providing you are discerning about who it is you take it from.

    Sorry to go off at a bit of a tangent there, Petite, I hope I didn’t appear to be judgmental regarding your child rearing skills…I think you and Tadpole seem to have a lovely relationship.

    Comment by Susannah — October 25, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

  77. hi! did you take that fab picture?

    Comment by frog with a blog — October 25, 2006 @ 8:22 pm

  78. She sounds really sweet, what age is she? And you could always buy her one of those little kiddy laptops that thet THINK is a real computer but in reality only plays a few (usually educational) games.

    Comment by Whisper — October 25, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

  79. we’ve been reading your blog for months, it’s great ! more than often, you seem to be asking for advice. But who are we to give you any ?
    one has to find things by oneself
    So here’s a tool. Just a tool. For your eyes only.
    It’s called le jeu du tao. Ever heard of it ? it’s in French (sorry !), and designed to help you go through any quest you may have in mind.
    you don’t really have to post this comment, it would look like a “pub” because one of us has been and still is part of the adventure. just try it once :
    http://www.taovillage.com
    clic “jeu du tao” then on the left “labyrinthe des sagesses” or go directly to the game free online
    http://www.taovillage.com/tao.asp?page=labyrinthe_terre
    Hope that will help. We know it does. Et encore bravo pour votre blog.

    Comment by en.marge — October 25, 2006 @ 11:43 pm

  80. My dream was always to be an actor but my parents wanted me to be an accountant like my father they said that acting was not a respectable career. I did become an accountant but often wonder how much more exciting my life would have been if I had been treading the boards….I made a wonderful Puck in the school play, everybody said so.

    I love reading your blog with the little anecdotes about Tadpole, petite especially as circumstances meant that I was never destined to be a father.

    Comment by Charles Hann — October 26, 2006 @ 12:52 am

  81. Hmmm… intense Pavlovian response to visual and aural cues associated with electronic messages. De-conditioning is in process with help of free spirited young sprite capable of willful yet tender behavior.

    Merci bien pour la p’tite bonbon de votre vie, j’attends la prochaine.

    Comment by sauterelle — October 26, 2006 @ 1:35 am

  82. Comment 55. Heather I agree. I have just done 9000klm, 4x4ing, with Jim through the desert, by billabongs and down the coast, living in a Toyota Landcruiser. There were days without seeing a car or people…no mobile phone signals, no internet cafes…. simply nothing. Only the views, the wildlife etc. We have seen 205 bird species, sea lions, whales, brown snakes, wombats, emus, kangaroos, pythons, fruit bats.. Slept on beaches with no one around for miles…seen sunrises that take your breath away……..just fantastic.

    Petite- Just get the kid out into the sunshine….the internet can wait. Once they are hooked they are “gone”… As a father of four I can guarantee this…..

    Comment by simon — October 26, 2006 @ 7:16 am

  83. definitely pick your battles, so that you ownt lose the war…

    Comment by t — October 26, 2006 @ 8:29 am

  84. I came to the computer world, and blogs, late in my life. My children run circles around me on the computer. My son does all of these short-cuts when trying to show me how to do something and I have no idea how he arrived where he did. I have to be shown everything step by step. It is almost second nature to them. The world has certainly changed. I was around when we had record players. Our house had the first TV on the block. Makes you wonder what the future holds.

    Comment by Linda — October 26, 2006 @ 8:34 am

  85. I disagree with Giles. Tadpole seems to be quite a strong willed toddler yes but where was the harm in this situation? Tadpole wanted to play, that is all. Of course she isn’t going to willingly give her Mummy a ‘turn’ when she is enjoying herself. I’m 34 and I still become irritated by sharing my computer.

    I don’t think this has anything to do with Tadpole being the boss and Petite building a rod for her own back, I’d say it is a pretty normal stage of child development.

    How rude.

    Comment by Polly — October 26, 2006 @ 10:23 am

  86. Absolutely, Gilles needs to lighten up a little!
    Authoritarian parenting kills initiative and/or fosters rebellion in later life! Petite’s doing just fine.

    Comment by Anna — October 26, 2006 @ 1:51 pm

  87. Do not forget to clean all your cookies regularly ( try a File Shredder) especially when you buy things using a credit card online or your daughter may well buy you a car (a pink one) on EBay.

    Start looking at Net Nanny and child controls on the Net before you have problems

    Comment by Voyager — October 26, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

  88. Hi Petite,

    I was wondering why you hadn’t posted for a few days… but this post explains why.
    my advice – play her at her own game…..throw a tantrum until you get access to the computer…after all, if you can’t beat them ..join them!

    p.s. Thanks for letting me post details of the online blogger survey on your site – it has helped me reach a wide audience.

    Comment by Karen Mc Cullagh — October 26, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

  89. This ping is me; random blogger from eastern Canada…
    I’m afraid you’re done for…this is reminiscent of my son a few years ago and it really hasn’t let up. But now we have a Playstation, so that eases things a bit….

    Comment by Cathy — October 26, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

  90. I have a blog myself called Tonbridge Blog and, although I am not normally drawn to this kind of sentimental stuff I find your site strangely compelling. I’ll continue to look at yours, so long as you promise to look at mine! It started as a town- focussed blog to fill in time as I sit waiting for customers in my bookshop; but its become more of a daily rant. See what you think, I could do with a few more comments….

    Comment by tonbridgeblog — October 26, 2006 @ 8:17 pm

  91. My absence is more to do with Top Shop, baked beans and fish and chips… I’m in England, no computer of my own, and enjoying the break…. back Monday!

    Comment by petite — October 26, 2006 @ 8:27 pm

  92. My own daughter (now 7) now sends emails to her mother holidaying for two months in Peru (We’re in New Zealand)… it’s a constant battle to check my own! But I relish her desire to learn… it’s all good.

    Liam in Auckland.

    Comment by Liam — October 26, 2006 @ 10:10 pm

  93. I was wondering, Petite, do you think you would ever go back to living in England or do you love Paris too much now?

    Comment by Lucy — October 26, 2006 @ 10:29 pm

  94. Of course in this day and age it is important to introduce children to the concept of information technology at an early age. However, as we all know, the internet is insidiously addictive. Even in my 4-week trip to Outback Australia I was able to find an internet cafe at some outpost so that I could check my email and blog! Wah! I can hardly believe it!

    Comment by Jim in Australia — October 27, 2006 @ 12:38 am

  95. I have just gone through this exact thing with my 4.5 year old. I found that too much computer time was making her AGGRESSIVE!! So now together we set the timer on the microwave for 16 minutes, (1 minute to find the right Dora game on Noggin, 15 minutes to play). It is working a treat. She feels like she has some control over the situation and besides, it is fair, and boundaries have been set. And I can check my emails whenever I like, so long as it isn’t in her 15 minutes. I don’t know whether it would work with Tadpole, but it has certainly worked with my budding world dominator.

    Comment by Barsh — October 27, 2006 @ 6:21 am

  96. I just lòve the photo on top of this post.
    The tenderness of this small hand, it hits me in the stomach.

    Remember “terrible two”; when kids are around 2 years old they tend to be very fanatic & stubborn about theìr things, whatever those may be. It’s called toddlers-puberty.

    I found your blog through an ad in Carp-magzine (found a copy in the train acutally) and started to read all history. It’s great for learning about English, England and the English, same for French/France/the french.

    Comment by Pieter — October 27, 2006 @ 2:38 pm

  97. ahhh good. One more reassurance that having a post 30 child is not for me. I refuse to share my computer with anyone, including frog spawn! ::snicker:: I think Tadpole sounds like a delightful child and I bet she will grow up to be someone I would like to know.

    Comment by Jules — October 27, 2006 @ 11:13 pm

  98. It’s not quite the same but for us it’s great fun learning from what our grandchildren wish to do. The not fun bit is leveraging them off the keyboard before they deicde to put a fist through the Mac PowerBook screen in furstration.

    Comment by Dennis Howlett — October 28, 2006 @ 2:40 am

  99. sorry but that Gilles is awfully rude–have to say that I don’t get that impression at all & i’m sure tadpole knows quite well that the world doesn’t bow down to her as she spends more than half her waking hours in school. Hope you didn’t interrupt her play for his unpleasant comment. Hope he doesn’t have any children. You don’t “impose your will” on them. And mums ought to bow down to their children–no one else will, unless they grow up to be dictators. It’s comforting to know that’s there’s always one person who will bow down to you!

    Comment by g — October 29, 2006 @ 12:34 am

  100. This sounds soooo familiar. Had the same with my daughter when she was sub-3yrs. Couldn’t sit for a moment at my laptop without her creeping onto my lap and supervising.
    We gave her a desktop for her 4th birthday … no more problems. She reads a little, so getting around is not too difficult for her. We placed the pc in my “office” so that I could keep an eye on her, and it’s got all the firewall/net nanny etc that our other machines have got. Initially there was resistance to us limiting her time on it, but now she limits herself to about 1 hr every second day. There are millions of brilliant games and educational tools available on cd too.

    Comment by Cat — October 29, 2006 @ 1:26 am

  101. Agree with n°77, did your eye(s) made you take *that* picture ? Awesome one… The hand, the finger, and the blur are, well, very balanced and expressive. Just awesone! See ya!

    Comment by Aymardo — October 29, 2006 @ 5:05 am

  102. oh where oh where is our petite?

    Comment by Lost in France — October 29, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

  103. In England. With family. Visiting sis, who had to be admitted to hospital..

    Back soon.

    Comment by petite — October 29, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

  104. I don’t know you or your family…although there are some uncanny similarities. I wish you all the best and hope your sister has a speedy recovery.

    Comment by Sam — October 29, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

  105. Best wishes to your sis!

    Comment by Jules — October 29, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

  106. Visiting sis, who had to be admitted to hospital..

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc ?

    Comment by Voyager — October 29, 2006 @ 4:52 pm

  107. 103 comments?

    Comment by George — October 29, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

  108. Petite I’ve seen you on the internet and you’re beautiful. Graceful, une vraie petite anglaise, indeed. The way you say pommes in “je me suis tombée dans les pommes” is simply irresistible, just like the terrestrial attraction.
    The reporting is dumb but you shine as an intelligent and entire human being. We already knew that.
    You’re quite at ease with the camera. Very feminine. It’s a nice surprise but also a strange loss to see you “materialized”, “for real”.
    The only little thing is the way you’re dressed, but big amounts of money are incoming at the bank anyway, and when you speak or move we totally forget you’re wearing clothes.
    Ah… and the Bonne Maman biscuits in the kitchen give also an idea of the kind of mother you are.
    OK, now may I have another slice of life please?

    Comment by 4 roses — October 29, 2006 @ 6:34 pm

  109. Hi, Petite,hope sis is ok, come back soon. xx

    Comment by john. g. — October 29, 2006 @ 11:00 pm

  110. All I can say is oh my dear, you have my best wishes. Our first computer and then later internet only occured when my daughter was in her teens. Times were occasionally difficult. I can’t imagine having to deal with her toddler self. She too was rather insistant.

    Best wishes, best thoughts for your sister and your family.

    Comment by Danna — October 29, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

  111. ok, is anyone else a little freaked out by comment 108? maybe i’m reading it wrong…

    Comment by molly — October 30, 2006 @ 1:23 am

  112. I have not read the previous two million comments, so I am sure I am repeating myself.

    Favourite Daughter is four.

    ‘Daddy, you REALLY have been on the puter quite long now.’

    ‘Yes dear, well, there is stuff from work, university, erm…blog, mummy’s stuff and…’

    ‘But I want MY PUTER NOW. Your stuff is silly.’

    And do you know what. On a Sunday. She’s right. Nick Jr .com or whatever it is . But only for twenty minutes.

    Comment by Tired Dad — October 30, 2006 @ 2:44 am

  113. Voyager: Funny! Brings back the days when I was trying to drum causal analysis into the heads of my freshman English classes!

    Comment by Passante — October 30, 2006 @ 3:20 am

  114. Hope your sister recovers soon.It must have been worrying if it involved an unscheduled trip to England for you.
    All good wished to you and your family

    Comment by Sablonneuse — October 30, 2006 @ 10:40 am

  115. Petite, that would be very impolite for me to correct you if you were a complete stranger, but as a fervent admirer and addicted reader I authorize myself to answer to a shameful case of censorhip. All right, shameful is a bit strong, not the word. You know perfectly well that your French is current, almost perfect, but almost means there might sometimes be a few, not mistakes or misses left, but kind of “frenglish slips”, “Albion’s recalls”… I don’t even know how to name your elusive creations…

    I’m afraid to insist and confirm you ‘ve said “je me suis tombée dans les pommes”, which is not disgraceful on the contrary, but very nice as I said. It’s lovely and poetic, even if you think not to be responsible for it. What you may see as a mistake is in reality full of charm, but charm, in his essence, is something you don’t have the controle of. It’s the natural part of the person that shows. I wouldn’t want you to repress what makes you a “petite anglaise”.

    This voluntary amputation in my comment, all right amputation is a bit strong, not the word, still demonstrates you love French language and speak it perfectly well, but mostly,and I can’t translate that in English, que tu as beaucoup de pudeur (which is a beautiful thing). I had to say it.

    So please Master, don’t sanction me if you are the spell maker.

    Thanks to you, I’ll now have a name for that little charming uncounscious occurrence: une petite anglaise.

    Comment by 4 roses — October 30, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

  116. Think of the silver lining: Tadpole’s takeover of the computer means you will finally get a chance to cure your addiction to blogging, gmail, etc. Plus: You get the TV back ;-)

    Comment by ontario frog — October 30, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

  117. #111: “ok, is anyone else a little freaked out by comment 108?”

    yes Molly, you’re not alone. don’t be afraid… I’m with you.

    Comment by 4 roses — October 31, 2006 @ 1:39 pm

  118. My girls are 16 & 13, but the demand for computer time seems just the same as yours. Watch out for food & drink – my 13 year-old recentl spilled Pomegrate on the laptop keyboard. I was lucky – iin 24 hours it had evapourated sufficiently for the keyboard to start working again :o)

    Comment by Martin H — October 31, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

  119. There’s an easy solution here. What you (both?) really need is a Game Boy …

    Comment by roadsofstone — October 31, 2006 @ 7:43 pm


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