petite anglaise

February 13, 2007

nurse tadpole

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:06 pm

I am woken by the sound of insistent tapping at my bedroom door. It is 9.10 am on Sunday morning. My clothes are in a sorry heap at the foot of my bed, my head is pounding and the light which floods into my bedroom from the hallway when I open the door sends me reeling back to bed again, wincing in pain.

“I’m really sorry, honey, but I’m feeling poorly and I’m not going to be able to take you to the swimming pool this morning,” I say. Just speaking makes me feel pitifully nauseous; I’m amazed to have managed such a long sentence without mishap.

To her credit, Tadpole doesn’t complain or say “but mummy, you promised!” Instead, she retreats to her bedroom and returns brandishing her (pink) plastic doctor’s kit.

“I going to make you feel better,” she says firmly and takes out the tools of her trade, one by one.

  • A bizarrely phallic looking thermometer, which makes me gag when she shoves it in my protesting mouth.
  • A pink and yellow stethoscope, which she seems to think has healing properties if positioned just so (on my right nipple) with maximum pressure applied.
  • A pair of pink tweezers, used for pinching the patient’s nostrils.
  • A pair of purple plastic scissors, with which she pretends to cut my fingernails. (If real, Tadpole’s rather haphazard technique would leave me with nothing above the knuckles.)
  • A pink syringe, which she presses painfully into my wrist.

“All better now?” enquires nurse Tadpole, who has finally run out of toys. I make a mental note to look for the pink plastic scalpel, which appears to have gone missing. Also, when I’m feeling a little more coherent, I should try explaining that the implements in her doctor’s bag are for diagnosing what is wrong, rather than healing the patient. But today I do not feel equal to such a task.

“I feel a little bit better,” I say wanly, feeling both very sorry for myself and extremely foolish, in equal measures. I need no doctor to tell me exactly what is wrong, nor where it came from.

“Oh. Well if you’re not better, I going to do it all again.” She reaches for the thermometer.

It is torture, pure and simple, but I can’t help thinking I deserve it, so I offer no resistance.

I took a vow on Sunday. Never again will I drink a drop if I’m supposed to be spending the next day with Tadpole. No amount of fun can ever be worth such pain and self-loathing.


  1. translator, singer, doctor/manicure: is there no end to tadpole’s talents?

    Comment by Marcos — February 13, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

  2. How about Never Again will you drink quite so much as a precursor to a Tadpole day? Never say ever etcetera etcetera. Albeit until the next time – I do not do smilies but this would be the appropriate time if I did.

    PS This was all written in a quiet whisper.

    Comment by H — February 13, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  3. That’s the best advert for a wine that I’ve seen for a long time. But how come you got hold of them in France? I thought the Frogs despised all Ozzie wine?

    Time for another glass of Chilean Cab, I think.

    Comment by Moses — February 13, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

  4. *whispers* you should stick to gooseberry and mint cordial (or whatever it was).

    Comment by mad muthas — February 13, 2007 @ 11:10 pm

  5. Well maybe she didn’t need to make a diagnosis using the ‘tools’ of her trade. Perhaps she understood it was all self inflicted and was punishing you? Sounds like it worked!

    Yrs K

    Comment by K — February 14, 2007 @ 12:06 am

  6. Aw… hangover plus self-loathing, double jeopardy! Single mummydom was never going to be easy, and yet you’re doing a brilliant job. Be kind to yourself, it’s only human to trip up every now and then! You could always stock up the bathroom cabinet with Alka-Seltzers I suppose…

    Comment by Ariel — February 14, 2007 @ 12:32 am

  7. Nothing adds an edge to a hangover like mummy guilt.

    Comment by Francesca — February 14, 2007 @ 12:34 am

  8. I hope you feel better soon. Tadpole reminds me of a couple of nieces I have but rarely see because they live so far away.

    I’m probably among some of your youngest readers (I started reading when I was 16) and have been a regular at your blog for about two years, although this is only my first comment. I enjoy reading your stories very much.

    Comment by Emily — February 14, 2007 @ 12:45 am

  9. Don’t worry, given a few years and she might understand !! Just think, it will be you’re turn for revenge then !!

    Comment by Donald — February 14, 2007 @ 12:46 am

  10. Incipient doctor intercepts incipient alcoholic with incipient percipience.

    Comment by andrew — February 14, 2007 @ 1:18 am

  11. What a multi-talented daughter you have, petite! Feel better!

    Comment by Anna — February 14, 2007 @ 2:31 am

  12. Petite, you should really add your blog to the great wall of blogs. Have you heard of it yet? It’s at

    You don’t have to add this to the comments section, but I thought you should know about the site.

    Comment by Tammi — February 14, 2007 @ 3:59 am

  13. A suggestion that always worked for me: On a night/day you drink a lot, before you go to bed, drink as much water as you can (2 full glasses of water for me). A lot of your symptoms actually come from dehydration, plus the water will help flush everything out of your system. Otherwise I always tell friends who are fast drinkers to alternate each glass of alcohol with a glass of water, to keep their alcohol consumption down. I live near Wine Country in California and drink occasionally, but alcohol is actually toxic to us, which is why it can cause such liver damage.
    Why, maybe Tadpole will be a doctor someday!! Wouldn’t that be nice!

    Comment by chris — February 14, 2007 @ 4:08 am

  14. This was definitely a good one. I indulge from time to time. And, when you have to encounter any child at any age the day after, it is not a pretty sight.

    Comment by WONDER WOMAN — February 14, 2007 @ 4:14 am

  15. Ah, us Aussies have special brews to make the morning after a memorial occasion.

    Comment by AussieGil — February 14, 2007 @ 5:37 am

  16. 9.10??? Luxury – try 06.15. I was woken up this morning by a three-year old boy bouncing on my head singing ‘A whole new world’ (lucky you if you haven’t heard of it) having had too much red wine last night as they were all (three) being SO nasty the only option was to get horribly drunk and pretend I wasn’t there…..

    Comment by Helena Frith Powell — February 14, 2007 @ 7:48 am

  17. Oh, how I’m laughing! Tadpole’s physical examination and treatments bear such a resemblance to real life that I can almost see myself in her!

    “Well if you’re not better, I going to do it all again.” Giggle-giggle-snort.

    I am, however, a little ashamed at laughing at your expense.

    Comment by Milk & 2 Sugars — February 14, 2007 @ 8:01 am

  18. PS – thank you Tadpole, your song is still proving popular in this house and a very useful incentive, ie you can play the “miaow song” again when you’ve: got dressed/cleaned your teeth/finished your breakfast.
    Keep singing ! Bye Baby Bunting has been requested for your next number.Give it some thought !

    Comment by Kate — February 14, 2007 @ 8:20 am

  19. You must be very unhappy to seek solace in drink – when you balloon up to Hattie Jacques you’ll wonder about all those young waifs with dates.

    Hangovers are not a woman’s best friend

    Comment by Voyager — February 14, 2007 @ 9:08 am

  20. I have finally learned not to mix champagne with any other wine or to mix white wines and red. I always have a hangover if I do. I never used to drink much of anything until I came to France. Now I don’t feel a meal is any good without at least one glass of wine. Self control is hard when something tastes good.

    Comment by Linda — February 14, 2007 @ 9:19 am

  21. Whenever I read about miracle hangover “remedies” the first thing that comes to mind is: “why not just drink LESS?” That was MY remedy when I got to an age where my hangovers were getting proportionately worse with each year that passed. Now I have a 2 to 3 drink limit. The lost time the day after just isn’t worth it to me anymore… and I don’t even have a sweet little nurse to prod and poke me the day after.

    Ah, but I miss the days of getting a good buzz on.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — February 14, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  22. Another precious posting about Tadpole. The world of blogs is new to me, but after reading about you in the Australian version of Marie Claire, I figured it was well worth a look. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last few weeks of reading and your first hand account of a new Aussie winery waiting for my tasting!

    Comment by Bec — February 14, 2007 @ 12:42 pm

  23. Sounds promising… we are expecting a baby daughter at the end of May.

    Comment by Braunstonian — February 14, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

  24. I admire your ability to let children poke you with plastic tools whilst hungover. I would’ve locked myself in a cupboard, which is yet another good reason why I should not become a parent.

    Comment by Morgan — February 14, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

  25. Hilarious!!
    Nothing like a little one to bring you back down to earth. Hangovers and children definitely don’t mix. but look on the brightside. At least you got a good post out of it!!

    Comment by Sally Lomax — February 14, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  26. Well, at least you were drinking the good stuff.

    Comment by Damian — February 14, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  27. Tadpole has a better bedside manner than some doctors I know…….At least she tells you what she is going to do! ;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — February 14, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  28. Lovely, brilliant; a totally live kid. I laughed all the way through.

    Comment by fjl — February 14, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  29. Actually, that fuzzy feeling you feel the morning after is caused by the water your body needs to digest the alchool resulting in dehydration which in turn creates an electolyte imbalance in your system. Re-establish the electrolyte equilibrium and you’ll feel better. Drinking water before going to sleep can be good, but drinking an electrolyte enhanced drink such as Gatoraide can be better.

    Comment by rohan — February 14, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  30. Thank the lord she hasn’t quite grasped the usual French remedy for all that ails you.

    Comment by meredic — February 14, 2007 @ 5:05 pm

  31. It’s time you considered Rehab!

    Comment by Trevor — February 14, 2007 @ 6:05 pm

  32. Re #30. When I was young in Quebec, these things were used as laxatives. I didn’t realise you could also them with paracetamol and cough medecine.

    Comment by Pierre L — February 14, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

  33. I am still searching for the golden elixir that cures a hangover. Tadpole sounds like a nice placebo : )

    Comment by Broady — February 14, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

  34. You poor thing, you have my deepest sympathy – I made the same promise last month (and I had to take my boys to Sunday rugby)! Hope you felt better soon, and how cute was Tadpole?!

    Comment by spymum — February 14, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  35. My newest, and best by far, hangover cure:

    sorry I can’t turn on the link – I’m not that techie.

    And it cures the common cold. No, really. I’m not a Flogger – it’s the bomb.

    Comment by ExAfrica — February 14, 2007 @ 11:41 pm

  36. Bree Van de Kamp, step out of Petite’s body now!

    Comment by frog with a blog — February 15, 2007 @ 12:40 am

  37. Very funny (to read, that is!)
    I’m certain Dr. Tadpoles harsh cure will keep you well clear of any bottles containing intoxicating liquids.
    Till next time, that is.

    Comment by Joern Wennerstroem — February 15, 2007 @ 12:48 am

  38. Baby steps Petite. At least you weren’t drinking gin this time -it’s so much easier to “accidentally” drink one or two too many when it’s hard liquor. Kind of funny though that you would still endorse a wine that gave you a screaming hangover. Having lived and worked in the California wine country (Sonoma County) for the last 7 years I may have turned just a tad wine snobbish though. Don’t get me wrong, Australia produces some really wonderful wines and I have a few French favorites too. OK I’m rambling now but I just wanted to clarify. My point is that the tannins in the wine also play a role in the after effects but even a really good wine will hurt when taken in vast quantities, it is simply a toxic reaction to the alcohol. Do try the airborne relief stuff mentioned in the comment box above if you can get it there, it really does work and drink lots (and lots) of water. Very, very sweet of your little Tadpole to come to Mummy’s aid.

    Feel better and have a wonder holiday in Morocco!

    Comment by California Reader — February 15, 2007 @ 12:49 am

  39. Gads, Petite, I just felt my liver jolt me reminding me not so much tonight, sir, please. I sympathize with the morning after syndrome.Gads what pain. Thank the gods me kids have flown the coop and I can suffer in silence.
    I would say cheers now but…

    Comment by Beau Radley — February 15, 2007 @ 2:18 am

  40. Take 31 seriously!!


    Comment by Jen — February 15, 2007 @ 3:31 am

  41. I hesitated before posting this, knowing that some people would jump to extreme conclusions. The fact is that I drink socially, maybe once a fortnight, and occasionally find myself lamenting the fact that the evening ran away with me and my body can’t deal with alcohol like it used to.

    I don’t get out very often, but tend to write about it when I do, so all those quiet nights in with a book or a good film go unnoticed, and I suppose it’s inevitable that a few readers might put 2 and 2 together and make 5.

    Trevor, who posts comments only when under the influence of half a bottle of whisky, had his tongue firmly in his cheek.

    Comment by petite — February 15, 2007 @ 11:36 am

  42. Bravo! Quaffing our Australian wines often has that effect… It’s funny, I just returned from France this week (where I never got drunk enough to ever have a hangover, despite enjoying the delicious liquid treats on offer!) and after enjoying an anti-Valentine’s day gathering, have the hangover from hell! We Australians know how to do some damage! :-)

    Comment by Emma — February 15, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

  43. I just loved this one! Been there, done that, had the treatment… when I broke a bone, I had to undergo similar medical attentions before finally persuading small person to take a taxi to A&E with me. The upshot of all this was that I ended up hobbling around on crutches. When kindly disposed to me, my little angel would bring my crutches lovingly to my bedside in the morning (to remind me that it was time to get up and play with her). But those very same crutches also provided her with a highly effective instrument of power: if things weren’t going her way, she would simply whisk them away and hide them. Petite, the moral of this story is: do not chase your daughter around the flat barefoot. It will end in tears. Or blackmail.

    Comment by kitikat — February 15, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

  44. I’ll cancel your AA application then……..:-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — February 15, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

  45. Ah good resolutions, like those forgotten a few days into the New Year.

    Comment by Lost in France — February 15, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  46. I was pleased when I read this. Its so honest and true. I dont like most of the other comments.. there is no cure for a hangover like that and honestly sometimes they just hit you left field..

    Your 100% a great mum and all the more wonderful for mentioning a flaw. I dont want to sound rude but americans they just dont get it.

    Comment by Katie — February 15, 2007 @ 6:29 pm

  47. Thanks for reaffirming why I never drink. That and I’m afraid of what I say sober, and would be dead terrified of what I’d say drunk. Bleah!

    Comment by babbling — February 15, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

  48. Perhaps Tadpole is aiming to become a doctor in later life. Obviously not a French doctor though, as she didn’t write a prescription as long as your arm.

    Comment by Hywel Mallett — February 15, 2007 @ 11:03 pm

  49. Alright Katie (Post #46),

    First I never said that a remedy was a “cure”. Perhaps you could enlighten me to exactly what you feel I just don’t get since as an American I must not have the capabilities of understanding what it means to nurse a hangover yet somehow make it through the next day. Whether it is facing a child, spouse, boss, client, lecture, etc. -we have all been there. ‘Sorry if I seem rude’ but I think we are all just human and by that I mean that it is you who didn’t get that my comment was merely an attempt to sympathize and perhaps make a suggestion to ease the pain of the day.

    If this sounds like I’m being sensitive, I am an well should be. I feel quite strongly that people who deem themselves so superior as to make blanket statements like yours share the same archaic and narrow minded mentality as those who make group judgments about gender or race. It is that type of thinking (and worse yet espousing) that I just don’t get.

    Comment by California Reader — February 15, 2007 @ 11:29 pm

  50. Go the Aussie wines! I personally think we grow the best grapes here. The best full bodied red I’ve ever tasted (I’ve been drinking this one for 15 years) is Wynn’s Connawarra Cabernet Savingon (I know, wrong spelling). It’s hard to get over here so I don’t know if you’d find it over there but it’s definitely worth the effort.

    P.S. The morning after wine is when you get the Dora the Adventurer DVD’s out & give them BAD breakky food that comes out of a packet, works every time.

    Comment by Qld Deb — February 15, 2007 @ 11:46 pm

  51. My experience at having visited your wine region (which I hasten to add) I loved. Was very much one of prejudice against other cultures apart from American. I was very shocked. The rude comments about French and Australian wines were amazing. Especially as they are some of the largest wine producing regions.

    As for the drinking, I feel that its very much a British/European thing. I not especially proud of it, but its true. To suggest a hang over is due to Tannings or toxins to an english gel in her 30s is my friend like teaching us to suck eggs… we know :-) Sorry to offend just my point of view.

    Comment by Katie — February 16, 2007 @ 9:54 am

  52. it is upsetting to me that attempts to sympathize and helpful suggestions are rejected with an anti-american statement. aren’t you, katie, old enough to understand that people are people no matter where they come from? we all have the same feelings at one time or another. (i live near calif wine country but i am not the other calif poster.) rather than thinking of the statements you heard in calif wine country as anti-french, australian, etc., wines, perhaps you can chalk it up to either excitement over our own product or ignorance of others’ wines. there are wonderful wines from all over the planet (i have a client who every christmas sends me a case of wine from many countries, of a single type. this year’s was cabernet sauvignon, and it is always such fun to try them).
    rather than passing judgement on those people, why didn’t you offer them names of wines from elsewhere that you found wonderful so they could try them (if you are english, i do understand that it is not often the english way to speak to people one does not know, but offering up the names of wines you love might have broken through certain people’s ignorance of wine from elsewhere and generated a feeling of kindness and goodwill rather than judgement).
    i think most of us are here because we love reading petite’s blog, and we are on her side. she is a wonderful, open woman. offers of remedies generally weren’t meant as criticisms of her drinking, if you re-read the comments carefully (except for some perhaps tongue-in-cheek ones that frankly took me aback a little). any such feeling of criticism generated may perhaps just have been “sensitive.” it would sure be nice if everyone here just attempted to get along. this is such a sweet blog, and it would be a shame if people resorted to name calling or prejudiced statements.
    as for drinking, i do not feel it is a european thing. i have good friends from asia, india, australia, and europe, and most of us drank quite a bit in our college years thru at least our mid-30s, and we turned out quite all right with fun friends and memories to show for it. also, hence my water remedy, which was hard learned.
    if people did speak rudely in your presence in calif and were just not nice people, i do apologize to you for it. it is a shame such things ever have to happen. spoils things for all of us. cheers.

    Comment by chris — February 18, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  53. Isn’t it wonderful when people think they have the right to have their own little arguments in somebody else’s blog comments ?

    Great post Petite – I laughed out loud at the appearance of Tadpole with the plastic doctors kit.

    Comment by Jonathan — February 18, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

  54. believe it or not … seems all girls are crazy with doctor’s toys … I like your “blog” … inspire me being a mum … 24 hours a day

    Comment by Miza's Mummy — February 20, 2007 @ 11:42 pm

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