petite anglaise

April 2, 2007


Filed under: Tadpole rearing, Tadpole says — petiteanglaiseparis @ 9:23 am

Laden with bags, Tadpole and I leap onto a number 26 bus. I still have my carte intégrale – despite it being surplus to requirements most of the time because I now walk to work, and school, and only take public transport about twice a week – because there is no weaning me off that addictive drrriiinging sound said card makes as I swipe it over the scanner. But we still clamber onto the bus using the middle doors, along with the fare dodgers and women with pushchairs. We’re not going far, and this way it will be so much easier to get off again.

Right on cue, the driver plays a pre-recorded message asking people to refrain from entering the bus by the middle doors. For good measure he also plays a message which exhorts everyone to move along to the centre of the bus in order to make more room. We have broken one rule, all the better to comply with another, I think to myself. Perfectly reasonable behaviour.

“I going to show daddy all my new clothes!” says Tadpole excitedly. Shamed into action by Mr Frog’s remark the previous day about how most of Tadpole’s long-sleeved t-shirts barely graze her elbows, we’ve been on a spree at Du Pareil au Même. The bag I’m clutching is filled with garishly patterned cotton skirts and brightly coloured t-shirts, as well as a term’s supply of hair clips. Every day Tadpole leaves for school with a clip holding her curls out of her face, and every evening she emerges sans barrette. Somewhere in that school there must be a huge vat full of hair accessories, but whenever I’ve broached the subject with her teacher, she shrugs her shoulders and purses her lips.

“Hold the bar tightly with both hands!” I say sharply, just as the bus slams on the brakes at a zebra crossing and nearly sends Tadpole flying. But her left hand appears to be otherwise occupied, rummaging in the back of her trousers; her brow is furrowed with concentration.

“But mummy!,” she says indignantly, “I need to help her to escape!”

“Help who to escape?” I lean forwards to try and establish just who, or what could possibly be imprisoned inside Tadpole’s trousers.

Ma culotte! She’s prisoner! My bottom is eating her!” Tadpole explains, switching into French, all the better to entertain our fellow passengers.

I should probably pitch in and help liberate the pants, or at the very least correct Tadpole’s use of pronouns, but instead, I just giggle, bend to plant a delighted kiss on her cheek and say: “Oh? And is she tasty?”


Slightly more serious posting over here, if you fancy joining the debate.


  1. Your tadpole made me giggle, been there with those hungry culottes…

    Comment by hellojed — April 2, 2007 @ 9:56 am

  2. Cuteness attack! :-)))

    Comment by Anna — April 2, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  3. Sweet…. your paint a pretty picture with your words…. :-)

    and congratulations… i hope they won’t take too long to pay you out!

    Comment by Suzanne — April 2, 2007 @ 10:25 am

  4. A least, now you know that the culotte didn’t stay at school along with the hair clips. That’s quite a relief.

    Comment by Marie Desgré — April 2, 2007 @ 10:49 am

  5. They have a “monstre mangeur de barettes” in my girls’ school too. Take heart, soon she will come home with other clips, “found”, swapped or otherwise acquired, and you can start your own collection!

    I think it’s the same species as the teaspoon monster and the single-sock monster.

    Comment by Amanda — April 2, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  6. Oh, just spot on adorable… Loved this one!

    Comment by Alice — April 2, 2007 @ 10:53 am

  7. Did the rest of the passengers giggle too? Tadpole is just too cute….

    Comment by Cathy — April 2, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  8. What is it the French say? super chouette!!

    Comment by Rochelle — April 2, 2007 @ 11:52 am

  9. haha this made me laugh…monday morning, stuck at work while the rest of Oslo has escaped to the mountains for the easter hoidays…

    Comment by aminah — April 2, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

  10. It’s obvious. The teacher is stealing the clips and selling them on. She must make a fortune.

    Comment by Hannah — April 2, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  11. Her first “wedgie”. How cute!

    Comment by Jez — April 2, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  12. A familiar plight…
    My own bottom has been responsible for the disappearance of many a pair of underpants…
    I’m glad you left the offending part claim its prize.
    I think that I, and perhaps even Tadpole, might find it terribly awkward for someone else to retrieve the swallowed articles…
    I wanted to participate in such a rescue at a recent wedding where I could barely contain my laughter, and fingers, as the woman in front of me stood up ater the lengthy sermon, revealing that most of her dress had been absorbed by a very, very greedy bottom. The prospect of unsightly creasage concerned me in entirely inappropriate ways until the couple walked down the aisle and I was diverted from the abomination…

    Comment by the domestic minx — April 2, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  13. I can’t help wondering… when Tadpole is old enough to introduce you to her future prince, how is she going to feel about the prospect of his being au fait with all the anecdotes here? Or will all three of you be blogging away about each other?!

    Comment by P — April 2, 2007 @ 2:10 pm

  14. It’s certainly sweeter than my kid’s, “Mummy I’ve got a wedgie”

    Comment by Welsh Cake — April 2, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

  15. PS Am I the only one who likes Trevor? His wife seemed somewhat vehement…You’ve got to admit he can be very droll though?

    Comment by Welsh Cake — April 2, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

  16. Perhaps tadpole’s lost hairclips are in the same place as all my girlfriends odd socks?

    Comment by Hywel Mallett — April 2, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  17. Great article in the Guardian Petite.

    Comment by Grandmistress — April 2, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

  18. we’ve all been there, pants-wise! i love dpam – twins are just too big for it now, though. bet tadpole looks divine in her outfit.

    Comment by rivergirlie — April 2, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

  19. Lucky fellow passengers!

    Best Wishes to you and Tadpole,


    Comment by Giving Voice — April 2, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  20. Ehh…my bottom eats my culottes all the time. Tell tadpole it ain’t gonna get any better when she gets older!

    Comment by La Cubana Gringa — April 2, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

  21. This is better than the time my tights ate my dress on the school bus. I was, of course, painfully oblivious as I climbed the two flights of stairs to my classroom while shchoolmates gawked and pointed.

    Comment by Tammi — April 2, 2007 @ 5:05 pm

  22. Welsh Cake, I love Trevor’s remarks – he makes me laugh a lot. Petite has plenty of admirers, so his comments add a bit of edge. Actually, I think he’s really a secret admirer but has a funny way of showing it…..

    Comment by Sarah — April 2, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  23. Olá!!! Gostei do seu blog!!! Vi o que aconteceu em uma reportagem sobre a Dixon. Mandou ver, hein?? hahahahahah
    I dont like english… sorry…

    Comment by Trax — April 2, 2007 @ 6:47 pm

  24. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I enjoy it a lot. This time I had to post. Having a nearly 4 year old girl myself, I’m always amazed at the similarities between Tadpole and my daugther (the barrettes situation being just one…). And we just went through multiple episodes of pulling at panties -in our case in the NYC subway. Never a dull moment!

    Comment by Nadia — April 2, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

  25. You and your daughter are wonderful. I adore both of you!

    Comment by Peggy — April 2, 2007 @ 9:04 pm

  26. Very sweet! very glad your emplyoment tribunal went so weell too

    Comment by Andy (who loves child bearing hips) — April 2, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

  27. Oh, how I loved DPAM! Why can’t they make clothes in adult sizes as well? Poor Tadpole; 40 some years later I still suffer from the culotte-eating bottom….

    Comment by bev root — April 2, 2007 @ 11:27 pm

  28. I love your blog
    Saludos desde Miami.

    Comment by soleil — April 3, 2007 @ 12:49 am

  29. As an adult with a generous bottom that frequently dines on my panties I can relate to poor Tadpole. I can do nothing but stick my hands under the elastics and pull- hoping that no one is watching.

    Comment by OntheCusp — April 3, 2007 @ 2:54 am

  30. Petite, I am new the the blogosphere and count your’s amongst the blogs I enjoy. I am a boxer short man myself so there is little empathy with Tadpole and this post.
    I make this comment however as I noted in ’34 things’ that you were a fan of Elite. What a game! This has given me inspiration for a post this evening.
    I hope that this isn’t the wrong place to comment like this?
    Congratulations on your recent news! All the best, Casper.

    Comment by Casper — April 3, 2007 @ 10:41 am

  31. Brilliant imagination she has!!

    Comment by Sally Lomax — April 3, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

  32. I discovered your site and the court case from an article in London’s “The Guardian”, although I live in Australia. I am now hooked on your wonderful stories and the pictures of Paris in my mind (although I must say I was surprised the bus even stopped at the zebra crossing – certainly not my experience in Paris!).

    Comment by Brad — April 3, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

  33. Adorable. almost makes me broody!

    Comment by Eliza — April 3, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

  34. Elle Seymour mentioned the recent case. You have a five-star blog here. Beautifully written.

    Comment by Jean-Luc Picard — April 3, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

  35. well, that’s one way to put it, that’s for sure! too cute!

    Comment by franko — April 3, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

  36. Delightful PA!

    Best Wishes to you and Tadpole,


    Comment by Giving Voice — April 3, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

  37. How adorable! She sure is a cutie!

    Comment by ananyah — April 3, 2007 @ 9:19 pm

  38. Dans beaucoup d’écoles et de crèches, les barettes sont tout simplement interdites ! Il est fort possible que le monstre mangeur de barettes soit la maitresse d’école elle-même.

    Comment by ogotaii — April 3, 2007 @ 10:00 pm

  39. ogotaii: Et pourquoi sont-elles interdites? simplement curieux

    Comment by Horatio — April 4, 2007 @ 12:53 am

  40. This takes me right back to that wonderful film Tootsie: there is a stunning scene, where the inimitable Dustin Hoffman is struggling along the pavement in fab drag (a red sequin, full length and skin tight number as I recall) + high heels and, just before bellowing (in a somewhat giveaway macho tone) for a taxi, he has a bottom-eating moment…..perfect!

    Tadpole sounds such a one-off! Great post and congratulations on your success in court.


    Comment by Lindy — April 4, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  41. Very funny petite and Tadpole! But I thought that HungryBum was a condition suffered only by bottoms which were too big for underwear? Don’t tell me Tadpole’s a future J.Lo too? Or does petite anglaise need to get to Petit Bateau for some nouvelle culottes?

    Comment by suziboo — April 4, 2007 @ 11:25 am

  42. Do you think that hairclips, hairbands and socks congregate somewhere and have great big orgies? I was just wondering as I have lost about 300 of each this year and it’s only just April.

    Comment by Helena Frith Powell — April 4, 2007 @ 2:10 pm

  43. I was saying exactly the same thing last week about the hair accessories. I have surrendered to constantly having them on the shopping list, as I would bread or milk.

    Sometimes it’s impossible to keep composure when so many onlookers think that the situation is ‘cute’, but you have to admit, you don’t come across a ‘tasty wedgie’ every day…

    Comment by Gruntled — April 4, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

  44. Can’t you just eat her up? Cuteness!! The things kids say and it probably sounds so much cuter in French. Enjoy the innocence.

    Comment by dawn — April 4, 2007 @ 10:53 pm

  45. Nothing to do with this post (even if I A-D-O-R-E Tadpole’s anecdotes :) I have read the article about you in this month’s issue of Glamour (French version). You really have nice pictures there …and they talk about the book deal too !

    Comment by dilafa — April 5, 2007 @ 9:34 am

  46. Super. Love your humour!

    Comment by jingle — April 5, 2007 @ 9:54 am

  47. Dawn : it just sounds cuter in a language that’s not yours. I enjoy stories like that in English because I’m French. ;-)

    Comment by Anna — April 5, 2007 @ 10:11 am

  48. I’m all about the Glamour, me.


    But seriously, it’s not actually out yet, is it? Not in my local kiosk, anyway, where drew barrymore is still on the cover? I’m confused.

    Comment by petite — April 5, 2007 @ 10:18 am

  49. @Horatio
    C’est du même acabit que les coupe-ongles dans les avions, c’est trop dangereux. (sic) Les bretelles aussi sont interdites dans la crèche de mon fils par exemple :-)

    Comment by ogotaii — April 5, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

  50. This is my first time reading your blog, and I was surprised by your story (on your more serious blog). I recently read in the New York TImes Magazine that a students blogging/myspacing history can be used against the student in their college acceptance. It really brings many conventional things into question. What is grounds for rejecting or firing someone? Scary stuff.

    Good luck with your book!

    Comment by Lindsey — April 7, 2007 @ 5:28 am

  51. A comment on your Guardian article (since comments over there are closed): I believe my fiancé experienced exactly this situation. He had a job interview with a prestigious investment bank in NYC that went very well; they gave him a verbal job offer on the spot. He waited for the formal offer for a couple of weeks, then contacted the recruiter to ask what was going on. They had decided on second thought not to hire him. The only reason he got out of them was that “someone higher up objected to the hire”. We were confused, to say the least. It seemed exceedingly unlikely that he knew anyone in the upper echelons of this bank, and even if he did, that this person disliked him enough to deny him a job. However, he did have something of a blog on his website, where (a) he was openly critical of US foreign policy and (b) he was rather pessimistic about the US economy and the American dollar. We think that this may have been the real reason. As you say, the problem is that we will never know for sure, and the prospective employers aren’t going to tell you. He has now deleted his blog (in fact, his whole website now simply lists his contact information), and sent requests to various internet archiving organizations to please delete any old archives of his site. It’s unfortunate, but there you have it. I am now very careful of what I post online.

    Comment by marina — April 7, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

  52. I loved this! too cute.
    Kids say the most adorable things. It’s amazing that she has already learned to switch back and forth from English to French for the benefit of you, or those around her, like she knows that what she is saying is just bad enough to elicit an interesting reaction.

    Comment by Iona — April 9, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

  53. Wonderful story – interesting blog. It took me back to those days when my son would get confused between English & French. He does it still … but usually knowing full well what he’s up to.

    Comment by kate — April 10, 2007 @ 5:55 am

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