petite anglaise

January 8, 2007

wake up call

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 9:39 am

As I stumble out of the lift which takes me to the first floor of Mr Frog’s apartment building, I rub sleep from my eyes and curse Mr Frog’s friend under my breath. “I’m helping someone move house tomorrow,” had been his parting shot as Tadpole placed her hand in his and they turned to leave, the previous evening. “You’ll have to come by at 10 am to pick her up.” I groaned at the prospect. Despite my good intentions, it was my first night back in Paris with my friends and there was talk of going on to a party after dinner.

Cut to Sunday morning: predictably, I am sluggish and irritable, a band of pain tightening across my forehead.

I press Mr Frog’s intercom button, pretending not to notice the twitching of the concierge’s curtain opposite. I look at my watch. 10.09. Not bad going, all things considered. Particularly in view of the fact that I had set my alarm for 9.55.

There is no reply.

I sigh. There are two possibilities here: either Mr Frog and Tadpole have popped out to the local baker’s for pain au chocolat, and I narrowly missed them as I dragged myself from my house to his, or, the more likely explanation, they are both still asleep. The blinds on Mr Frog’s bedroom window are scarily efficient, letting not even the merest chink of light through, and Tadpole consequently sleeps later here than anywhere else.

The next ten minutes are spent alternating between buzzing the intercom and calling Mr Frog’s mobile, which rings and rings before playing his voicemail message. I wonder how long I have to stand there before the concierge will actually stop her covert surveillance and come out to ask me if she can be of assistance. Her unseen presence is the only thing which prevents me from sliding down the wall and putting my head in my hands and rocking back and forth like crazy people always seem to in films.

Suddenly the door buzzer sounds, and I am in. I take the second lift, combing my fingers through the dreadlocks which seem to form at the back of my head when I sleep, and perfect my pained “you got me out of bed for nothing” expression in the mirror.

“Hi,” says a sheepish, pyjama clad Mr Frog. “I was asleep. I was dreaming that there was someone at the door…”

“I see that,” I reply drily. “She still asleep?”

We tiptoe into Mr Frog’s bedroom, where Tadpole is gently snoring, as she always does when she has a cold. Mr Frog strokes her cheek, and I take a seat on the floor by her bedside. It occurs to me that the last time we woke her together was at least eighteen months ago. I hope she won’t be too confused when she wakes.

By the time we have given her time to “come ’round” and Mr Frog has showered and breakfasted, it is 11 a.m. I spend much of the hour lying prostrate on the sofa, examining with some interest the undercarriage of a Christmas Princess Barbie, who has flesh-coloured, high-waisted pants covering her modesty. Textured underwear which forms part of her plastic body, and which may never be removed. I furrow my brow, trying to remember whether Barbies had chastity pants in my day. Meanwhile Tadpole dresses herself, putting her t-shirt on back to front, omitting pants altogether and getting her jeans back to front.

There are tears when we leave, which not even the promise of a trip to the baker’s for breakfast can banish. “I want to help daddy’s friend move house,” protests Tadpole. “I can carry the very small things…”

I pick up my own small thing and kiss her tears away. Something tells me it is going to be a long day.


  1. OMG – Tadpole’s comment was so sweet “I can carry the very small things”…….just makes me want to melt!

    Comment by Kasey — January 8, 2007 @ 9:46 am

  2. All times ending in “AM” should be made illegal. I was up at 8AM this morning for my first day of work this year, and it hurt.

    Pain au chocolat does sound tempting though ….. mmmmm.

    Comment by Ignorminious — January 8, 2007 @ 10:16 am

  3. You’re too good. Three rings and no answer would have been an universal sign for me to leave and go back to bed for the next five hours, child or no child.

    Comment by BLC — January 8, 2007 @ 10:16 am

  4. “Chasitity Pants?” … Were they under lock and key? I think I may know her sister!!! Cracking post Petite.

    Comment by JNH — January 8, 2007 @ 10:28 am

  5. OOps! Sorry. mark me down on my spelling. I meant Chastity

    Comment by JNH — January 8, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  6. you write beautifully and its such a joy to read your posts! This one made me laugh

    Comment by aminah — January 8, 2007 @ 11:09 am

  7. I was never a fan of Barbie, but I swear that my friend’s copies were almost always stark naked. Maybe it’s a European thing, although that seems strangely backward – isn’t it usually the Americans rushing to cover up?

    Comment by BlondebutBright — January 8, 2007 @ 11:31 am

  8. Well, according to Trinny and Susannah, big pants (aka magic knickers) are the way forward. Barbie seems to be taking this trend in a totally new direction though! Great post, Petite.

    Comment by Sparkle — January 8, 2007 @ 12:49 pm

  9. Personally, I would like to know where M. Frog gets his blinds from.

    Comment by mockduck — January 8, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

  10. I had a Sindly doll rather than a Barbie when I was little, and she definitely didn’t have said chastity pants. I don’t remember any pants on her. It was the 60’s though.


    Comment by Sally Lomax — January 8, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

  11. Oddly enough, I have been up since 2am this morning (US time), and I decided to read your latest entry to pass some of my time. Like Tadpole, I have been somewhat sick as well and find that I cannot return to sleep. I’m glad that Tadpole thinks moving would be fun. :) I can’t say I hate anything more than having to pack up and move places!

    PS: Hearing your daughter sing in french is probably the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m a french 3 student and I find it so wonderful that she’s being raised bilingual. :)

    Comment by Sarah-(francaise: Madeleine) — January 8, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

  12. In the late 70’s I think (?) they started to put a flowered ‘panty’ on Barbie. Previously just smooth plastic with a bump, later they added the molded plastic flower design and sometimes Barbie comes with a cream colored plastic molded panty.

    Thank God! I’d really hate if they decided to make anatomically correct. Really, we don’t need to see that on a Barbie. Accidental Britney is bad enough. ;)

    Comment by Meritt — January 8, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

  13. That is just adorable.

    Comment by Damian — January 8, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

  14. Your kid is still asleep at 10am??? And you all sleep in until, like, 11am???
    Please, don’t ever complain agan about having to get up at 9.55am after a party! Not ever.

    In my life, my son (who’s 4) – invariably wakes up between 6 and 6.30am and stays up until 8pm. He sometimes wakes up earlier. He stopped napping in the afternoons when he was 2 and 1/2 yrs old.

    9.55am wake-up call hasn’t happened to me in over 4 years and a sleep-in, in my life, is 7.30am.

    Puts your things in perspective, no?

    Comment by Boris — January 8, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  15. Tadpole is a girl after my own heart.

    I *always* carry the very small things when helping others move house.

    Comment by Brit — January 8, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

  16. Hello,

    I normally just lurk around these parts but I must confess that the more I hear about Mr Frog the more he makes me laugh – probably because he reminds me of my BoyF and some of my male friends who also come across (to me at least) as fairly chilled out and a bit scatter-brained. They’re fun to be around but can be infuriating to live with – I could easily turn into the world’s biggest nagger!


    Comment by Claire-a-belle — January 8, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

  17. Chastity Pants? Didn’t know Barbie was Presbyterian……

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — January 8, 2007 @ 4:32 pm

  18. My Barbies in the late eighties and early nineties definately didn’t have knickers… and they had bigger boobs as well!

    and Mr Frog, what a cheek!

    Comment by gerbil — January 8, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

  19. I am stunned you never won a bloggie! I wish you the best for this year. Yours is one of my essential reads, especially posts like these…

    Comment by Novel Nymph — January 8, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

  20. Hi petite and Happy New Year

    This has got absolutely nothing to do with what you’ve just been talking about but I think you may enjoy having a look at

    Thanks for so often brightening up my day with your blog

    bises d’un voisin anglais!

    Comment by Chris Arden — January 8, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

  21. I can’t wait to read your book, petite! You write so vividly, I was there right next to you as you rang the buzzer. Tadpole is just too sweet for words.

    Comment by Frenchtobe — January 8, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

  22. My four year old, who, although we are not Indian, is really into anything Bollywood and had a Diwali Barbie for Christmas. Why can’t they keep things in boxes? Indian Barbie looked so beautiful in the box, black hair shiny, sari just so. Now she looks as though she’s had a nerovus breakdown..and has taken several baths sari and all.
    By the if there is anyone out there who can inspire me I’d appreciate it as she wants a Bollywood brithday party (two weeks time). We live in Cornwall so no chance of any Bangra bands, music dancing I’m afraid. Love and thanks..

    Comment by Welsh Cake — January 8, 2007 @ 6:35 pm

  23. Lovely post. I had a Sindy from the 70’s and a hand me down Barbie from the ’60’s and I don’t remember any knickers either… a sign of the times perhaps? Or maybe it’s a French thing?

    Comment by Melissa — January 8, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

  24. sounds like a nap is in order – for both of you … sleep tight!

    Comment by mad muthas — January 8, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  25. There’s more to life than excitement….there’s also comfortable trusting love.

    Did you see how happy Tadpole was?

    Comment by Sedulia — January 8, 2007 @ 9:23 pm

  26. I don’t ever remember Barbie or Sindy having knickers either, their ‘lady parts’ were just all smooth, nothing there.

    Comment by stressqueen — January 8, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

  27. Barbie with non-removeable underwear? What is the world coming to? Non non non, mes barbies dans les années 70-80 n’avaient pas de culottes!

    Comment by V. — January 8, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

  28. p.s. to comment number 10…………Have just done a Barbie inspection of my daughters’ Barbies, and it seems that they are a mixture of ones with plastic Trinny and Susanna’s, and ones with no knickers at all. Now the Barbies range from Circa 1993 when eldest daughter was three to now when youngest is six, which is a fair range. I can’t tell you which Barbie comes from which era though, but my guess is that the plastic knickers are a fairly recent thing after all!


    Comment by Sally Lomax — January 8, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

  29. Never mind Barbie, Action Man had a much more terrible fate in his pants …

    Comment by Mark — January 8, 2007 @ 11:04 pm

  30. I’m curious…did you purchase this Barbie in the US? I have the strange feeling that it’s a US import, with it’s surgically attached knickers.

    Comment by Mlle Smith — January 9, 2007 @ 4:51 am

  31. Haha, Mr. Frog is definitely my favorite character.

    Comment by Please Eat My Pies — January 9, 2007 @ 4:56 am

  32. I find it interesting that you call him a character. Am I a character, or a person, I wonder?

    Comment by petite — January 9, 2007 @ 9:44 am

  33. I am about to upgrade my blog software – service may be interrupted for a few minutes, but hopefully not long.

    Fingers crossed!

    update: well, that took longer than I thought as my FTP program decided to delete a lot of files I hadn’t asked it to and then I had a cache problem. Seems to be okay now. Note to self: next time check the access permissions on the cache file rather than tearing hair out and shouting “shit” lots of times.

    Comment by petite — January 9, 2007 @ 10:20 am

  34. i love the new layout – very 2007!

    Comment by gerbil — January 9, 2007 @ 11:18 am

  35. That was a glitch actually, my usual template wasn’t loaded in, just a blank one. Did you really prefer that?

    Comment by petite — January 9, 2007 @ 11:38 am

  36. An apt title to your latest missive – are you listening?

    Comment by SW France — January 9, 2007 @ 11:57 am

  37. So, is anyone going to help me with my Indian dilemma? Are there asian party games?

    Comment by Welsh Cake — January 9, 2007 @ 12:11 pm

  38. Oh and before anyone tries to be clever, I’ve been to Pat Pong Rd and didn’t mean those types of Asian games…

    Comment by Welsh Cake — January 9, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  39. I did like it – but it’s better pink. I just happen to be a fan of blue….

    Comment by gerbil — January 9, 2007 @ 12:31 pm

  40. I had “Tressy” (I think she was Sindy’s mother!) She had an enormous belly button and if you pressed it and pulled her hair, her hair grew. She also had a keyhole in her back, and you could wind her hair back in and give her a short style. She had inverted nipples (as my mean younger brother had pushed her boobs in and they wouldnt come out). She only had one dress and a lovley (Paddington style)duffle coat. Barbie is such a spoilt brat – and dont get me started on Britney.

    Comment by Di — January 9, 2007 @ 12:53 pm

  41. I think the poor lad must have needed a lie in after looking after your child!

    Comment by Estelle des Chevaliers — January 9, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

  42. Welsh Cake, loath as I am to use this blog as a forum, ideas for a Bollywood party can probably be satisfied by ebay even in the wilds of Cornwall. Music can be a CD and sari fabric, bangles, and listings like this will provide you with bindis.
    Thanks for letting me post this petite & bonne année.

    Comment by HelenSparkles — January 9, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

  43. Oh, I don’t mind my comments box being used as a dating service, a forum, an advice column. Anything goes as long as it is not too insulting…

    And while we are on that subject, anyone know how I can get a discount membership at Club Med Gym? I’m missing the Comité d’Entreprise set up all of a sudden (although my last firm was actually too small to have one).

    Comment by petite — January 9, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

  44. I’m sorry, I was unaware of unspoken etiquette regarding blogging and I didn’t realise that it was de trop to ask for advice. I thought we all just chatted together sharing experiences with Petite as the main focus/centrepiece/tug at the memory that starts us all off. Forgive me…

    Comment by Welsh Cake — January 9, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

  45. For some reason reading your blog is never difficult. It’s like a warm pair of slippers. It feels like home.

    Comment by Jonathan — January 14, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

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