petite anglaise

December 28, 2006


Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:47 pm

I am sitting in bed, watching episodes of Desperate Housewives back to back and feeling sorry for myself. Despite the Christmas tree sparkling winsomely in the corner of the room, I have never felt less festive, or more hungover. That’s what happens when you go to a party for grown up singles on Christmas day, instead of more traditional activities such as watching the Top of the Pops Christmas special in the front room of your parents house, or sulking when your mother refuses to put any alcohol in her Christmas pudding. Grown up + singles = unfeasible amounts of drink. My liver is determined to find me a boyfriend. It’s an act of self-preservation.

The phone vibrates on the bedside table, almost making me jump out of my skin.

“Hi there,” I say to Mr Frog. “I was just thinking about phoning you. I need to think about plane tickets for the February holidays…”

“Already?” he replies. He never did understand my impulse to organise things in advance. “Well, er, that’s not why I’m phoning. My Doctor friend just stopped by to see Tadpole and I have some news.”

“About that little scab on her head?” I ask, puzzled at his rather ominous tone of voice. There has been a crusty patch above Tadpole’s right ear since she caught chickenpox back in November. It was taking a while to clear up, so I’d suggested to Mr Frog that he might want to show it to his friend if he stopped by. “Right, well, what did he say?”

“Well… it wasn’t healing right, and he actually cut off the hair around it and opened up the wound. So now she’ll need to wear a compress and a bandage around her head for two weeks…”

“A bandage? For two weeks? For a scab the size of a one euro coin? Why on earth? Was it infected or something?”

“Well, I don’t think so, but he did prescribe a week of antibiotics. And a special gel…

“Jesus,” I say, choosing my words with festive care. “Why didn’t I take her to the doctor’s earlier? I feel awful now. But it looked dry and fine and I was just expecting it to fall off any day now…”

“Hey, it’s not your fault…”

I replace the receiver.

So, the pictures of Tadpole’s Christmas this year will feature her head mummified in bandages, perhaps with a tiara perched on top to cheer her up.

And the in-laws have just spent the holiday with the gauzy white evidence of my neglect staring them squarely in the face.

Roll on 2007, things can only get better.

December 24, 2006


Filed under: Tadpole sings — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:58 pm

Wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas. Strangely, I’m not sure that Tadpole didn’t sing this one better last year.

Watch this space for news of Tadpole’s record deal.

December 20, 2006

papa noël

Filed under: Tadpole sings — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:51 am

I didn’t think to send a letter to Father Chrismas this year with Tadpole’s requests, largely because the only desire she has expressed is for a château fort avec des chevaliers, something which she saw in a window display at Galeries Lafayette after her gifts had already been purchased. Hopefully a turquoise velvet medieval style Princess dress will satisfy her instead.

At school, however, I discovered that a copy of the class photo has been stuck on the wall outside Tadpole’s classroom with an arrow pointing to each child and a little bubble saying what they would like from Père Noël.

Zino would like a bicycle.
Clara is hankering after a Barbie doll.
Natalie is dreaming of a Dora the explorer backpack.

I locate my daughter, grinning cheesily on the back row of the photo next to Jules, and follow the arrow to the corresponding bubble. I stifle a giggle. Tadpole’s dearest wish is apparently to receive un éléphant.

“Sweetie,” I say (but not in an AbFab kind of way, you understand), “I don’t think papa noël will be able to fit an elephant in his sleigh. There wouldn’t be enough room for all the other children’s presents…”

“But mummy,” replies Tadpole, “of course he can. It’s a MAGIC sleigh!”

Oh well. I tried. I should probably be grateful that it will be Mr Frog and his parents who will have to explain to her on Christmas morning (or more likely the evening of the 24th if they do it the French way) that elephants were out of stock this year.

December 18, 2006

playground love

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 9:21 am

We arrive at school, breathless as usual. French maternelles have a ten minute drop-off window in the mornings, ours being between 8.20 and 8.30. Latecomers must brave the Paddington stare of the stern looking directrice and the tut-tutting of her faithful assistant, so I do everything in my power not to incur their wrath. Not always easy when your toddler is capable of ripping off her own clothes at 8.15 if she suddenly decides that they are neither pink nor flowery enough.

We hang Tadpole’s coat on the hook bearing her picture (it trails on the floor, surely she isn’t that tall?) and I glance at the noticeboard. My turn to take in yoghurts for the morning snack tomorrow. And in January, there is a class trip to the cinema for which parent volunteers are required. Mr Frog mentioned at the weekend the possibility of participating. I smile to myself. Clearly he didn’t notice that the trip is scheduled from 8.30 to 12.30. Suffice to say he is not exactly a morning person.

I weigh up the pros and cons of helping out myself. Obviously I choose my own working hours, so that isn’t a problem. And it would be nice to have an opportunity to cosy up to the teachers a little and show willing. On the minus side, I can think of little more nerve-wracking than accompanying 25 under 4’s on the métro. I take the felt tip pen which is stuck to the wall with a ball of blu-tack (a misnomer, French blu-tack is yellow) and add my name to the list. I stop short of adding Mr Frog’s, but I won’t say I didn’t consider it.

As we enter the classroom, I see one of the parents handing the teacher an envelope. I freeze. Suddenly the whole thorny subject of étrennes – which I had thought would be less complicated this year as I no longer employ a childminder – rears its ugly head. Am I supposed to give the teacher a card? A present, even? I have no idea if special treatment is frowned upon in the egalitarian paradise of French state schools, or whether, like in other spheres of the French civil service, bribery and corruption are the done thing. I have four days to find out. Advice welcome.

Tadpole takes her name card from the door and places it on the board between those of her two current best friends, Hannah and Luce to signal that she is present. Her friendships change every single day. The laws of the playground apparently change little, regardless of the passage of time or the country you live in.

Mélusine, elle m’a dit qu’elle n’est plus ma copine!” she told me as we left school on Friday afternoon. She didn’t sound particularly traumatised by the fact, I have to say.

“She’s not your friend any more? Why?”

“Because Luce is my friend now.”

You can’t beat three year old logic.

“And what about boys? Do you have any friends who are boys,” I enquired mischievously. It hasn’t escaped my attention that a very attractive young blond boy with a twinkle in his eye always prances up to Tadpole when we arrive in the morning and takes her by the hand to the reading corner. His name is Jules. It is one of the names I had picked out for Tadpole, had she been a boy.

“No, I don’t like boys,” said Tadpole emphatically.

This morning, as usual, Jules approaches with a smile. Once Tadpole has given me my quota of four kisses and two cuddles I turn to the teacher for a quick chat.

When I turn to wave goodbye, I see two blond heads bent over a book.

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