petite anglaise

November 15, 2006


Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:30 am

The alarm goes off at 7.15 am. I groan, and press snooze. Today is admittedly less painful than yesterday, when I got a OuiFM wake-up call at 6.55 am and then had to speak to some chirpy, wacky and thoroughly annoying radio talk show presenter for five minutes while lying semi-comatose in bed in my undies.

I am not a morning person, you see. All those proper writers who say they do their best work at dawn, well, what are they on? Personally I function best in the afternoons, or occasionally in the evenings, once Tadpole is in bed, a glass of wine within easy reach of the computer.

At 7.35 am, I finally stop hitting snooze and muster up the enthusiasm to go and wake Tadpole. Creeping into her bedroom I watch her for a moment. She is deeply asleep, on her tummy with her head wedged up against the wall, as usual. She has been busy in the night: the dolls she took to bed with her yesterday evening are now stark naked, their clothes scattered on the floor. I pick a pair of knitted pants out of the (empty) potty by the side of her bed.

Whispering her name, I muss her curls and feel the warmth of her neck against my fingertips. She grimaces in her sleep, eyes firmly closed, then stirs, before shifting her position slightly and going back to sleep. So, pulling the covers back, I slip into bed beside her (a manoeuvre which involves bending my legs as the bed is a special lilliputian version) and cuddle up. This is my favourite part of the day: the snuggling, the warmth, the sleepy smell of her body and pyjamas, the fact that she is too comatose to actually protest and wriggle out of my arms. It’s perfect, except for one little detail.

I’m lying slap bang in the middle of an enormous wet patch.

“Darling,” I say when she finally opens her eyes, determined not to sound cross, or accusing. “You’ve had a wee wee in the bed. Were you sleeping? You know I put the potty next to your bed for when you feel like you need to go…”

“I had a dream about a monster,” Tadpole replies. I’m not sure if this is an explanation, or just her way of avoiding the subject at hand.

“I’ll have to wash the sheets now, and get those trousers off you sweetie, can you sit up for a minute?”

“But mummy?”


“It doesn’t matter because you put the special cover on the mattress yesterday.”

I did indeed. I bought a quilt (for Mr Frog’s house) and a waterproof sheet (for mine) so that we could prepare for nocturnal potty training, round two. Tadpole had watched me fit the waterproof undersheet, and seemed to be paying attention when I patiently explained what it was for. Clearly I was mistaken.

“But darling, that’s for if you have an accident, but you still need to do your wee wee’s on the potty when you can, now that you have no nappy on.”

I see realisation dawn in her face, as clearly as if a cartoon lightbulb had suddenly appeared above her head.

“Oh. I thought it was alright to do a wee wee because the bed is wearing a nappy,” she explains.

I giggle. She giggles. I hug her to me.

I decide to lie in the wet patch for a little bit longer.


  1. Oh bless, that’s sweet. My son used to manage to get up and go toilet for wees, but bizzarely not for poos, so absolutley no way was I cuddling up in the patch until after a thorough ‘sniff test’.

    Comment by j — November 15, 2006 @ 11:27 am

  2. Lovely Tadpole tale :) What a clever little duck she is! This from a lark(or morning person) who has no choice but to get up at 4:15AM..for once I got here ahead of the 87 others. Someimes it can be useful..

    Comment by ParisBreakfasts — November 15, 2006 @ 11:28 am

  3. God you really slapped that anti-idyllic line in there!

    Comment by Jt — November 15, 2006 @ 11:36 am

  4. I’m a non-morning writer person, too. I can’t function well enough before noon to do any real creative justice to my work, so I use the mornings to do email, blogging, errands, or just be lazy. Then I get myself into gear and often work through the afternoon and even into the late evening hours.

    You’re normal. (Whatever THAT means; for a writer, it’s all relative.)

    Love Tadpole’s sense of logic.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — November 15, 2006 @ 11:37 am

  5. That is so sweet. Children always come up with the most logical interpretations for things that we hold only a solitary meaning. Of course, the bed is wearing a nappy!

    Comment by BlondebutBright — November 15, 2006 @ 11:43 am

  6. Yes, that is cute. It gets less cute though when the bedwetting persists into the 6s, 7s, 8s, and yes, 9s. When it’s time to leave for school/work and you discover the wet bed, trust me, patience is a virtue that completely completely disappears into the washing machine at 8:23 AM. And for the readers wondering, gee, why didn’t she consult, trust me I did. So … “enjoy” it while you can — hee hee.

    Comment by magillicuddy — November 15, 2006 @ 11:52 am

  7. Hmmn, I am always suspicious of those people who say they get up at dawn and sit at their desk in the garden shed, hammering out words for three hours, cup of tea in hand.

    Comment by plum — November 15, 2006 @ 11:53 am

  8. Awwwww she is so cute! As #5 mentioned, it is very interesting the way a child’s mind interprets the world. So fresh and original. I sometimes wonder what the world would become like if we could all see it through a child’s eyes once in a while. Probably a much better place, aside from the large number of wet beds.

    I also hate mornings. The absolute bain of my life! Still, it must be nice to get up early and get lots done before breakfast. I guess if I wanted to do that I’d have to start going to bed before 2am for a change.

    Comment by Ignorminious — November 15, 2006 @ 12:37 pm

  9. Gawd! it brings back memories for sure! for us.. the lack of sleep and that “moment”.. where you think “stuff it”.. and just stay in the bed… :o)

    Comment by simon — November 15, 2006 @ 12:49 pm

  10. “Oh. I thought it was alright to do a wee wee because the bed is wearing a nappy,”

    She’s inherited that gift for the great one-liner! ;-)

    Comment by Iain — November 15, 2006 @ 1:13 pm

  11. My little one has just started using the potty for the first time. Except I’m not seeing any of it because I’m six timezones away. *snif*

    Comment by Alistair — November 15, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

  12. I spend most mornings doing everything with my eyes shut!

    I often arrive at work and think how did I get here?, where are the kids?? hehe!

    Kids say the funniest things don’t they? But often so true!!

    Comment by Fee — November 15, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

  13. What wonderful logic from little Tadpole! I really enjoyed your post today.
    And, who wants to be a ‘morning person’ when you can cuddle up to such a sweetie, wet bed an’ all.
    Now that you’ve explained, let’s hope she decides to use the potty in future. (I remember using nylon sheets because they could be washed and dried easily when mine were at that stage:)

    Comment by Sablonneuse — November 15, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

  14. One of the sanest things I did in my previous life with Mr Frog was to insist on the purchase of a dryer when Tadpole was born. Thank god.

    Comment by petite — November 15, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

  15. As a child I had many such moments of what I thought was logical thinking and it was always a small shock to find out there are all those BIG people who disagree with me on the logic of things…

    We (my husband and me) have been consciously and seriously trying to get out of bed by 7.30 a.m. and NOT suffer because of it, but it doesn’t work. Neither of us can think or speak properly at 7.30 and we both get into bad mood just because we got up so EARLY. Nevertheless, we think it would be useful to be able to get up before 8. a.m. (he has to go to work, I work at home), do the work and be free by 7 p.m. Unfortunately, we have our most creative and dilligent phases between 5 and 10 p.m.
    Life hasn’t become more logical, has it:-)

    Comment by alcessa — November 15, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

  16. You are so lucky she sleeps so late. My son (10) is always up at the crack of dawn. He thinks nothing of sneaking downstairs to watch cartoons at 6 in the morning.

    Comment by Lucie — November 15, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

  17. Petite, your life will never be dull with Tadpole to keep you laughing and on your toes!

    Tadpole is sweet, logical, and so very amusing.

    Comment by Diane — November 15, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

  18. Bonjour de Montréal!
    I have two girls, 9 and 13, different preoccupations and issues obviously but I was so touched by the last two sentences. You capture in words and transmit the essence of the little things that make motherhood so unique.
    You are truly a gifted writer.
    Merci. I needed that this morning.

    Comment by Louise — November 15, 2006 @ 6:11 pm

  19. Ah Tadpole that is brilliant!

    Comment by lilacstripe — November 15, 2006 @ 9:53 pm

  20. VERY sweet. My eldest used to say, “But I was too tired to get out of bed to wee. It was the middle of the night!”
    Yes, but…

    PS Hello by the way, Petite. I think we share the same agent (the lovely Simon)?

    Comment by Sue — November 15, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

  21. Ahhh, there is no greater love than motherly love….the love that conquers all and means that you can be happy lying in your daughters wee wee as long as she is lying there right beside you….lovely and so true!!

    Comment by Susannah — November 15, 2006 @ 11:15 pm

  22. This is why I love your blog.
    That is just great.

    Comment by Mad WIlliam — November 15, 2006 @ 11:21 pm

  23. lovely x

    Comment by Jo the waiter — November 15, 2006 @ 11:34 pm

  24. When she gets to be a teen, buy a second dryer. One washer can keep two dryers going, especially if she’s into sports!

    Comment by Alice — November 16, 2006 @ 12:19 am

  25. I was thinking about “best time of day”. For me its between 10am and 2pm…..

    I used to get up at 4am do 2 hours of pilates, then go to work ( 60 hours a week)..then record in the evenings..then ride a bike. I got down to about 4 hours sleep a day…….um,, I was a bit “driven” ( or hyper active as my family calls it), a few years ago..

    I don’t do that now.(the bike yes)… now I like a long lunch :o)

    Comment by simon — November 16, 2006 @ 12:45 am

  26. You’re a very wise petite to choose to linger on the wet patch, knowing to linger in that which is so tansient and fleeting. Good Mama.

    I am in my last year of having to rise at 6:30 to get the youngest of my three sons off to school. I try hard to savor these last mornings of at-home mothering. On occasion, I succeed.

    Comment by Sophmom — November 16, 2006 @ 1:35 am

  27. G’day Petite.
    Are you sure you’re not making this up? It’s almost too cute. lol. I know you’re not as I’ve had 4 kids.

    Comment by AussieGil — November 16, 2006 @ 2:27 am

  28. Isn’t children’s logic wonderful :) We could learn a lot from them if we chose to.

    Why is the thought of “appearing” on live radio while sat in bed in your underwear such an appealing thought?

    Comment by Jonathan — November 16, 2006 @ 3:03 am

  29. I think you’re lucky that she’s still sleeping past 7am. Pity about having to change and wash sheets though, but it sounds like she gets it.

    Comment by jen — November 16, 2006 @ 3:30 am

  30. That whole pee puddle thing was gross.

    Your baby sounds very cute and hilarious…

    Comment by Mlle Smith — November 16, 2006 @ 6:26 am

  31. That is so cute.

    Comment by Julie — November 16, 2006 @ 6:38 am

  32. I can’t do mornings. I got up at 7am all summer for work (lawyer), and was not functioning until at least 12pm. Now it’s half past nine and I got up for an 11 o’clock lecture. It feels like dawn, because I went to bed at 2am.

    Lovely writing though.

    Comment by Billygean — November 16, 2006 @ 11:23 am

  33. As a mother of five I have done the same as you on more than one occasion, so completely understand – gross ( see#30) or not!!

    As for getting up early to write, I can understand that too. I used to get get up very early once a week to write a column for a newspaper, but once all my children went to school I realised that there were other and possibly better times to write than 5 in the morning! As it is we have to get up at 6.30 because three of our children go on the bus at 7 a.m.! GROAN! Far too early…..


    Comment by Sally Lomax — November 16, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

  34. When did ‘no sex please, I’m British’ become the tag line for the site (replacing ‘lost in paris’?)?

    Comment by laurence — November 16, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

  35. Oh, um, I think the tagline will change fairly regularly from now on.

    Eagle eyes.

    Comment by petite — November 16, 2006 @ 1:54 pm

  36. Yet another cute heartwarming story. I love stopping by and reading you.

    Comment by V — November 16, 2006 @ 2:33 pm

  37. I want to comment but I can’t think of anything that doesn’t sound either patronising, overly sentimental, or likely to make KB accuse me of being broody (again).

    So I think I’ll just go now, having left my mark.

    (It was a lovely story though, and I like to think that once I have children I will be similarly patient and understanding. Though I suspect I’d leap back out of bed and ask how they managed to sleep in it all night.)

    Comment by Damian — November 16, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

  38. Of course it is easier to be patient about things like that when you have a washing machine and dryer. Our Albion, alas, is not so equipped, and won’t be until at least one of the builders shows up to quote.

    I swear the laundry is doing my head in.

    Comment by Damian — November 16, 2006 @ 3:07 pm

  39. You ARE a wonderful mummie!

    Comment by Terry — November 16, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

  40. I agree, but unfortunately you are still at the top of Google results for “bad mummy”. -:)

    A very well-written piece, once again. Congratulations

    Comment by Pierre L — November 16, 2006 @ 4:28 pm

  41. That new tagline is so going to get your site banned from my work internet service thing.

    There again, judging by today’s post (read while eating a late lunch) that might not be such a bad thing.

    Comment by cheria — November 16, 2006 @ 4:35 pm

  42. Oops. This was not a new kind of smiley. It was a typo.

    Comment by Pierre L — November 16, 2006 @ 4:39 pm

  43. Beware not reading her right now the adventures of the french character for younger ones: “Oui oui”. Or you’ll get her completly messed in the to-be-achieved goal…

    Comment by Mardo — November 16, 2006 @ 5:55 pm

  44. I am struck by how well you articulate the ups and downs of parenting – I like hearing about Tadpole’s adventures, it is great to remember to have a sense of humour about all this stuff, otherwise madness would lurk around the corner!

    Comment by Sam Lewis — November 17, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  45. My four year old son, explains that he has sweated a lot, if he happens to wet the bed. I can only laugh.

    Comment by Richard Ringrose — November 17, 2006 @ 2:35 pm

  46. That’s so lovely. The logic of our little ones cannot be faulted.

    Comment by angelfeet — November 18, 2006 @ 12:08 am

  47. Aw that is so sweet! You have a bright little missy on your hands there!

    Comment by Sister Louise — November 18, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

  48. Excellent post, petite. You managed to make it sound both heart-huggingly sweet and hilariously funny. I am impressed.

    Comment by Whisper — November 20, 2006 @ 7:36 pm

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