petite anglaise

June 18, 2007


Filed under: Tadpole rearing, Tadpole says — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:22 am

“Mummy?” says Tadpole, seconds after the front door closes behind “mummy’s friend”.

“Yes?” I say, hand poised to squirt ketchup onto a slice of baguette, in readiness for a much needed fish finger sandwich.

“Have you got a baby in your tummy yet?”

I flinch, and the ketchup misfires, liberally coating the worktop.

“No sweetie, I don’t have a baby in my tummy…” I say slowly, once I’ve recovered my composure, setting down the ketchup and crossing my fingers. “Why are you asking me that today?”

“Because mummy, when I said that I wanted a sister or a brother, like Anna at school, you said ‘maybe when you’re six years old’. And I’m already four years old. And after twenteen more sleeps I will be five, and then six…”

I sigh, and resolve never again to bow to Tadpole’s pressure to put a time limit on everything. Future events are always measured in sleeps in our household. And she has an alarming habit of remembering throwaway comments made six months or more ago, deliberately glossing over the word “maybe” and then repeating them to me with a “but you said as though I’d made some sort of legally binding promise.

“You know,” I say suddenly, with a sly smile, “daddy could make you a brother or sister. Maybe you should talk to daddy about this, too.”

A problem shared, I think to myself, picturing Mr Frog’s face, is a problem halved.


  1. Mmm I think I too would like to see Mr. Frogs face when she comes out with that one ! Do you know if he even has a girlfriend?

    Comment by PB — June 18, 2007 @ 10:35 am

  2. LOL! That cracked me up! Thanks Petite!

    Comment by Kasey — June 18, 2007 @ 10:52 am

  3. I’m just thinking about the fish finger sandwich. It sounds good. The Frenchman would be mortified if he ever saw me eat something like that, especially with ketchup. Might be worth trying it just to see the look on his face.

    Comment by Caroline in Rome — June 18, 2007 @ 10:53 am

  4. Children really do have the most fantastic memory for throwaway remarks!

    Comment by Alex — June 18, 2007 @ 11:05 am

  5. Telle mère, telle fille…

    Slyness would appear to run in the family, n’est-ce pas ?

    Comment by Ajay — June 18, 2007 @ 11:07 am

  6. She may be too young for the details, but you could explain her that you need a man and a woman to get a baby in the woman’s tummy…?

    Comment by Anna — June 18, 2007 @ 11:10 am

  7. From the mouths of babes :)

    Comment by Alan — June 18, 2007 @ 11:28 am

  8. @anna: or a boy?

    Comment by petite — June 18, 2007 @ 11:37 am

  9. I’m a big fan of “sharing” the problem. “Well, sweetie. Why don’t you ask Daddy what HE thinks?”

    And yes, that memory is a killer. It almost seems to be directly proportional to how much we, as parents, forget. The more my son seems to remember things mentioned innocently, the greater the chance that I’ve forgotten ever having said them. Hmmm…

    Comment by Liza — June 18, 2007 @ 11:44 am

  10. @petite : well, you need only a spermatozoïd, technicaly.

    Comment by Anna — June 18, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

  11. I’m interested to know whether or not you have a strategy re the birds and the bees, petite?

    Or is it still a bit early? Or late even? I’ve really no clue.

    Comment by inspiredbycoffee — June 18, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

  12. A strategy? Me? No, I’m of the makeitupasyougoalong school of parenting.

    Unless Tadpole starts asking awkward questions, I think it’s a bit early to broach that subject just yet.

    Comment by petite — June 18, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

  13. I’m really battling with myself not to link to those pictures… :)

    Comment by schuey — June 18, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

  14. Childern are fantastic.

    Comment by parisian cowboy — June 18, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

  15. Children, sorry.

    Comment by parisian cowboy — June 18, 2007 @ 12:28 pm

  16. Modern Miss Tadders is obviously developing advanced results-based time-managed outreach skills in an inclusive, multigenerational,multicultural,creative and caring environment.

    Comment by parkin pig — June 18, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

  17. Mmmmm, fish finger sandwich with tommy ketchup, pure bliss, better between brown Hovis though!

    Comment by Steve... — June 18, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  18. What a bad mummy!

    I haven’t had a fish finger sandwich for ages! Were they fish fingers you had cooked the night before, and thus still chilled from being in the fridge over night?

    Comment by Damian — June 18, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

  19. My own heart leaped as I read that question from Tadpole.

    What an entertaining read for the start to my week.

    Comment by celebrate woo-woo — June 18, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

  20. I had the “how does baby come out of the lady’s tummy, mummy?” question at breakfast the other day from my 4 year-old. Those questions always seem to crop up just as you are about to take a swig from a boiling cup of tea or squirting ketchup and other hazardous operations…

    I skirted.

    Comment by Amanda — June 18, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

  21. hahahahah that cracked me up, very fast thinking petite. I am sure Mr. Frog will be so pleased.

    Comment by Jules — June 18, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

  22. That was very mean of you!

    Oh please take a picture of Mr Frog’s face when she asks him

    Comment by Kingston Girl — June 18, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

  23. Be prepared, petite! the Iwantababybrotherorsister campaign is often pretty relentless until the wish comes true!
    Mr. Frog might misinterpret the “Mummy says…” comment, though, thinking you were asking for his collaboration on that one!

    Comment by happyforyou — June 18, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  24. I remember bothering my mom for years for a sister (I was stuck with one little brother). For years, I couldn’t understand her rolled eyes and reluctance to have such a conversation with me. Now…I get it.

    Comment by BlondebutBright — June 18, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

  25. Pictures, Schuey? I’m sure I don’t know what you are talking about

    Comment by petite — June 18, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

  26. “Mr. Frog might misinterpret the “Mummy says…” comment, though, thinking you were asking for his collaboration on that one!”

    –I wondered that too at first but then decided that he would put it down to Tadpole’s wonderful way with words!

    BTW Petite, please do take a picture of Mr Frog’s face – if only to give as a clue as to what he looks like – is he really green and slimey with a long tongue?! Ok, in the absence of a picture how about comparing Mr Frog to famous Frenchmen, does he look most like Nicolas Sarkozy, Olivier Martinez or Gerard Depardieu??!

    Comment by Claire-a-belle — June 18, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

  27. So, I protect his anonymity with a pseudonym, and then post a photo?

    No, I think not.

    Who does he look like… gah. I’ll ask him which celeb he thinks he looks like and get back to you (but bearing in mind that 98% of men think they are as gorgeous as Brad Pitt, it is unlikely to be incredibly illuminating).

    Comment by petite — June 18, 2007 @ 5:46 pm

  28. I just hope he doesn’t say Kermit the frog!

    Comment by Claire-a-belle — June 18, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

  29. OMG, it’s Danny Baker!


    Comment by Brennig — June 18, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

  30. Petite – try fish fingers with baked beans in a toasted sandwish.

    My personal fave… a full meal for roughly 35 pence!

    Comment by gerbil — June 18, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

  31. I vaguely remember that when I moved to France in 1972 (from Canada), proper ketchup wasn’t that easy to find. But I would have put it on baked beans because I am not sure that I knew about fish fingers then.
    Don’t children have a way of remembering every little detail of what suits them. I am sure that there are all sorts of things that she has forgotten even though you wish she remembered them.
    Oh, and at least she asked you the question in private, not in front of your visitor.

    Comment by Pierre L — June 18, 2007 @ 7:29 pm

  32. If Mr Frog looks even vaguely like Hugh Laurie, I want his number! ;)

    Comment by Magda — June 18, 2007 @ 7:44 pm

  33. The Frog has spoken: Jason Statham

    Comment by petite — June 18, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

  34. Presumably you crossed your fingers for luck, not because you were telling a big pork-pie!!

    Comment by LKH — June 18, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

  35. When my friend’s 5-year-old INSISTED on knowing how a baby came out of a mommy’s tummy, my friend finally gave in and said, “The baby comes out sort of like how you go potty.”

    The 5-year-old looked at her in utter confusion and asked, “So now I have to remember to wash my hands AND look for a baby?!?”


    Comment by Alumna — June 18, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

  36. Is it wrong to have cheese in a fish finger sandwich?

    If it is, I don’t want to be right ;)

    Comment by anxious — June 18, 2007 @ 8:03 pm

  37. I love you guys. The way that in the comments box, everyone picks out a different detail to discuss.

    So far: fish fingers, ketchup, bird and bees, crossed fingers, Mr Frog’s appearance.

    And no one seems to care that I have just told you I might have a boyfriend

    Comment by petite — June 18, 2007 @ 8:21 pm

  38. It’s because we are polite and don’t want to pry. Plus, this might have happened months ago. Finally, reading about himself in your blog might put him off (but that would be very sad for him since you sound absolutely charming in all the snippets that I have heard).

    Comment by Pierre L — June 18, 2007 @ 8:37 pm

  39. If you HAVE just told that you have a boyfriend, then “congratulations” and hope it goes well for you.

    Comment by Pierre L — June 18, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

  40. Well solved. Give Mr Frog the problem!

    Comment by Jean-Luc Picard — June 18, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

  41. I did notice the reference to mummy’s friend but thought you had made up with the friend you referred to on 3rd June. Gosh – and good for you. I’ve just sent my own Mr Frog (Tom Selleck/George Clooney lookalike – in my eyes only – snigger) into another room so that I can finish a work presentation but between catching up on your gossip/googling to see if Curtis was in series 3 of 24/making a fish-finger sandwich which I’ve suddenly developed a craving for I’m never going to get anything done. Oh well, I can always burn the midnight oil. So, are you going to tell us anything more about your new friend, how/where you met? I won’t ask you to compare him to any famous Frenchmen just yet. :)

    p.s. I imagined Mr Frog with more hair.

    Comment by Claire-a-belle — June 18, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

  42. I’m sorry, p’tite, but a fish finger sandwich is more interesting than a potential boyfriend.

    Plus, your Farcebook [sic] status would suggest otherwise – which is more up to date, the blog or Farcebook?

    Comment by anxious — June 18, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

  43. What I loved was the specificity of “twenteen more sleeps”. ;)

    (Teehee.. and I figured you were saving that particular boyfriend story for another entry…)

    Comment by jen — June 18, 2007 @ 9:04 pm

  44. i care hehehe. so do you have a boyfriend?

    Comment by delphine — June 18, 2007 @ 9:13 pm

  45. I’ve had an inkling for a while…

    From the sly comment to Mr Frog the other day about offers of student rates on the nightclub door, are we to take it that ‘Boy’ is salient feature of the coyly described “Mummy’s friend”?


    Comment by Hennie — June 18, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

  46. “And no one seems to care that I have just told you I might have a boyfriend…”

    Ahhh.. un chat échaudé craint l’eau froide… You were warning us the other day about jumping to conclusions… ! ;-)

    Congratulations “might” be in order, apparently.

    Comment by Ajay — June 18, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

  47. Hypothesis number two : Perhaps your male readers are sulking !!! ;-)

    Comment by Ajay — June 18, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

  48. Hypothesis no. 3 : Perhaps there’s something worth watching on TV for those of us what don’t live in France

    Comment by Ajay — June 18, 2007 @ 9:23 pm

  49. 37 comments and no one’s asked who Mummy’s friend is yet?

    Comment by Katy Newton — June 18, 2007 @ 9:29 pm

  50. No, no. He was just a ‘friend’, you already mentioned that.

    I want to hear more about the ketchup situation in France…

    Comment by Tom — June 18, 2007 @ 9:40 pm

  51. I picked up on the boyf but thought that it was so well camoflaged that you didnt want to discuss it!! Well done Petite. must now try and find some fish fingers….

    Comment by Catkin — June 18, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

  52. …minor detail! ;-)

    ‘might’, so the deal’s not done yet then?

    Comment by Steve... — June 18, 2007 @ 9:50 pm

  53. Now that I’ve got you all in a lather, I will do my usual teasing/coy thing and retreat into an enigmatic silence.

    And Pierre, that was a real-time entry. I know, I do have a tendency to write with a time lag of a week or so, once things have simmered nicely, but not that time.

    Comment by petite — June 18, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

  54. I am not good at guesswork, but I did encounter a reference to one “Stephan” recently, but then the trail goes cold. As I am not prepared to join faceview, I am probably missing a lot of info. If I am right, you may wish to delete my comment “in order to preserve the mystery”, Actually, I think this speculation is rude, and I am slightly ashamed to be doing it.

    Comment by Pierre L — June 18, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

  55. et oui moi je commente en français d’abord ! bref tout ca pour dire que j’ai été ravie de faire ta connaissance en de telles circonstances madam ;) a tres bientot peut etre (avec ou sans vodka)

    Comment by croustiglam — June 18, 2007 @ 11:04 pm

  56. Here’s more on the ketchup situation in France.

    Comment by Anna — June 18, 2007 @ 11:25 pm

  57. Ahhh, the old ‘enigmatic silence’ routine. We’ll have to ply you with rum Mojitos till you squeal…

    Comment by Steve... — June 18, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

  58. but… what if she decides mummy and daddy should make her a baby together???

    Comment by the_editter — June 18, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

  59. Pierre: you are stone cold

    Comment by petite — June 19, 2007 @ 12:26 am

  60. I know one such family, mum and dad separated but on good terms, who did just that and gave their first-born a sister despite not getting back together again. The reasoning was that as neither of them was in a committed relationship with anyone else and as it would be so much easier to sort out custody/ visiting arrangements and ensure that the children grew up together and spent time together as opposed to one child growing up with mum and the other with her dad and his (hypothetical)new wife – or vice versa…

    Comment by happyforyou — June 19, 2007 @ 12:32 am

  61. So funny what children remember their parents telling them.

    My son is stuck on adoption. He’s an only child and we’ve toyed with adopting and had discussions with him about the subject. He’s constantly asking us when we’re going to adopt him a brother.

    Comment by Diane — June 19, 2007 @ 1:50 am

  62. I can be so dense at times . . . so was that a picture of notre grenouille or not?

    Comment by PJ Carz — June 19, 2007 @ 4:45 am

  63. Ugh!

    Nice move! Still picturing Mr. Frog’s face for one’s own problem solving. Throw the problem on Mr. Frog. Let him deal with it for a while. A bit manipulative no?

    And of course what will your daughter think or say to his frogitude.

    Gee Daddy, will mummy and you buy me a new brother/sister.

    Comment by rocket — June 19, 2007 @ 8:39 am

  64. So, does Mr F look like Jason Statham?

    If so, is he still available?

    Fish finger sandwiches – best made with soft white pitta bread and tartare sauce. Absolutely no ketchup. Tadpole may not agree.

    Didn’t we already know you had a BOYfriend?

    Comment by Paola — June 19, 2007 @ 9:45 am

  65. We already knew about the uncomplicated boy and now we know you’re also exposing tadpole to his cancer risk.
    Bad mummy.

    Comment by parkin pig — June 19, 2007 @ 10:47 am

  66. Ketchup is horrible stuff to have to clean up. I once promised my only boy, when my fifth baby was due, that he could have a dog if it were a girl.

    It was a girl. (4 girls, one boy)

    He was not going to forget..

    I fobbed him off initially with hygiene and safety problems and a “when the baby goes to school” story……

    By the time she was 6 I had no excuses left and so I honoured the promise. Children have very long memories!

    Good luck with your new man!

    Comment by Sally Lomax — June 19, 2007 @ 11:10 am

  67. And you wouldn’t mind at all if Mr Frog spawned another tadpole with another woman? Really?? Somehow, I’d find that hard to believe. Few are the women who can say, hand on their heart, that they don’t mind the slightest their ex going off to father children with other women…
    If so, then the relationship is well and truly over (and all those who secretly harbour a wish that the two of you would get back together will have to think up other pipedreams…)

    Comment by Teaperson — June 19, 2007 @ 5:41 pm

  68. My little one hasn’t yet acquired the taste for ketchup, thank god. One less product to have to clean off the clothes and other surfaces.
    On a completely different matter, may I ask you how Tadpole speaks such perfect english while she is living in Paris and has a french father. My son is gibbering away in french, with a french father and french maternelle and I wonder when he might decide to speak to me in my language? He is only two and a half but still…What is your secret?

    Comment by Katie — June 19, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

  69. i wonder when her reason for asking such a question will change…. as seeing it certainly made me grip my seat before reading on. I can only imagine how much ketchup went flying!
    you be mysterious, i am just going to assume you have a boyfriend and are happy. you are happy? right? xxx

    Comment by Rachel — June 20, 2007 @ 2:25 am

  70. Love your blog, very funny, glad I found it!

    Comment by tkkerouac — June 20, 2007 @ 6:39 am

  71. The thigh grazing boy who made you miaow? Or was it purr. Either way it made me jealous…

    Comment by Welsh Cake — June 20, 2007 @ 9:52 am

  72. “98% of men think they are as gorgeous as Brad Pitt”


    What about us 2% ers?

    Comment by meredic — June 20, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  73. What is actually interesting is that Tadpole is not just a tad bit smart, she’s EXTREMELY smart: she puts “mummy’s friend’s ” arrival and the question: “so you have that baby in your tummy yet or what?” in the same breath. So should we infer that she already understands what Anna suggested? That one needs a “friend” to help mommy put a baby in her tummy?

    Comment by JamRock — June 20, 2007 @ 1:20 pm

  74. Hi Petite

    Why are some of us being shown up as RSS feeds and some of us still as a snapshot picture form of our blogs on the link?

    Just wondered!

    Comment by Sally Lomax — June 20, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

  75. I have to admit that I miss those little shocking questions. Daily life is much less fun when the kiddos are big and think they know all of the answers!

    Comment by Kaycie — June 20, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

  76. I’d have loved to have seen mr frog’s face! tee hee (naughty laughter)

    Comment by bootsie — June 20, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

  77. meredic said, ““98% of men think they are as gorgeous as Brad Pitt”


    What about us 2% ers?”

    Well obviously we KNOW we’re as gorgeous as Brad Pitt! :-)

    Comment by bonkers — June 21, 2007 @ 7:49 am

  78. Love fish-finger & kechup sarnies, being horribly decadent I like to squeeze a couple of crisps in there too.

    I presume this is the lovely, uncomplicated boy of a couple of weeks back. So, did the Café Charbon weave its magic this time too?

    Comment by Tom — June 21, 2007 @ 6:41 pm

  79. Petite, I have just remembered the 4th July deadline. Are you on target, or are you being quiet because you are beavering away? An eye seems to be looking at me as I type this.

    Comment by Pierre L — June 22, 2007 @ 1:46 am

  80. Silly petite.

    Everybody knows frogs don’t procreate that way – And every tadpole should know they’re one in a million :)

    Cheers sweetie – I enjoy reading you, from across the pond!

    Comment by Bridges — June 22, 2007 @ 3:25 am

  81. I am sorry to hear that Brad has fallen to such depths. All I was hoping for was Jean Reno with love handles….

    Comment by meredic — June 22, 2007 @ 12:42 pm

  82. totally off topic, but i couldn’t wait to tell you… you may rank 1st on google for ‘bad mummy’, but i’ve just discovered (through my site stats) that i rank 2nd for ‘smelly and slutty’! how about that?
    had great fun w bennett & jojo the other day, btw.

    Comment by rivergirlie — June 22, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

  83. Be glad you’re not Gene Hackman with a toupee and a walking frame! ;)

    Comment by bonkers — June 22, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

  84. Bravo Petite! Do keep us informed, won’t you?


    Comment by Tom the Twit — June 22, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  85. “What about us 2% ers?”

    We are as gorgeous as Hugh Laurie..

    Comment by oxo — June 22, 2007 @ 10:26 pm

  86. For reader it’s a funny situation, but I do not want to immagine how difficult the situation has been for you.

    Well done.

    Comment by sc — June 23, 2007 @ 10:33 am

  87. Bonjour Catherine, j’ai moi-même pas mal voyagé entre la france et l’angleterre et j’adore ces deux pays. Votre blog en est d’autant plus attachant pour moi. Je viens de decouvrir un jeune homme qui lui aussi contribue à ce rapprochement des langues. Je voulais vous le signaler mais ce n’est pas pour faire de la publicité mais surtout pour que vous puissiez le decouvir vous aussi. L’adresse de son site est et il est ecrit en français mais dispose depuis peu d’une version anglaise mise au point par les lecteurs de son blog. Et j’ai vraiment beaucoup aimé. l paraitrait que l’auteur est en réalité amelie nothomb mais entre ce qu’on lit sur le net et la réalité …
    Vous n’etes pas obligé de publier ce commentaire. En fait c’etait surtout pour vous communiquer cette adresse et vous remercier de me rappeller mon pays d’adoption :-)

    Comment by valentine — June 24, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  88. lol. kids always have a way with words..

    Comment by Sofi — July 1, 2007 @ 12:09 pm

  89. Cool!

    Comment by Anastasios — August 24, 2007 @ 2:28 am

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