petite anglaise

September 24, 2007


Filed under: Tadpole rearing, Tadpole says — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:31 am

from Mr Frog
to    Petite Anglaise
date 19 Sep 2007 21:16

subject Quote of the Day

“Aujourd’hui dans la cour de récréation Matthias il nous a montré son zizi…. C’était très rigolo.”


I chuckle aloud, paste the quote into my ongoing MSN chat with the Boy (his response: “let’s hope Matthias is a four-year-old”), then file it in my brain under “things I musn’t forget to use one day in a blog post”.

Several days later, Tadpole and I are in the unisex, open plan changing rooms at the kids’ swimming pool we visit on Sunday mornings. When we first began frequenting the pool, I used to manoeuvre myself into my underwear with embarrassed awkwardness, under cover of a huge towel. Then one day I realised that normal rules didn’t apply here. Something about the fact that we are all parents, surrounded by young children, rubbing the sleep from our eyes and wishing that we were at home with a steaming mug of coffee and a newspaper, makes casual nudity even more asexual than a nudist beach in Greece.

Tadpole sits on the bench, swaddled in a hooded towel, wearing an extremely disgruntled pout. Persuading her to leave the pool had not been easy, and involved my resorting to a whole spectrum of parental behaviour – wheedling, promises, threats, pointless lengthy negotiations, raised voices – approaches proscribed one and all by the child rearing manual Mr Frog pointedly lent me the other day. Our altercation culminated in the tenth “I’m not your friend” of the day (it is midday), followed a dose of the silent treatment (a blessing in disguise).

Suddenly Tadpole’s eyes widen at the sight of the small child opposite, and she opens her mouth to speak, her fit of pique instantly forgotten. “Mummy! That girl has got a zizi! Why has that girl got a zizi?”

I sneak a glance at the child in question – male, without a shadow of a doubt – and consider how to respond. Probably best to keep things simple. Conversations about gender reassignment can doubtless wait until she is a little older. “Well,” I say slowly. “We know that only boys have zizi’s, don’t we? So that means it must be a boy, not a girl.”

“But mummy, she had the voice of a girl!” Tadpole protests with a crumpled brow.

“Little boys’ voices are often just the same as little girls’ voices,” I reply. “But if you see a zizi, it’s always a boy. That’s how you can always tell the difference between boys and girls, ladies and men…”

At this, Tadpole gives me a very strange look. In her opinion, I have taken leave of my senses.

“No!” she says emphatically. “My daddy doesn’t, any more. Maybe he did have a zizi when he was a little boy, but then he growed up and it disappeared.”

“I think you might be wrong about that honey,” I reply, the corners of my mouth twitching. “So, when we see daddy later, perhaps you should ask him…”


  1. I’m just checking cos I’m really old – this is a bit of a worry.

    OK …………… everything’s fine ……. for the moment.

    Comment by Daddypapersurfer — September 24, 2007 @ 10:41 am

  2. One for the Readers Digest?

    Comment by Jeremy Jacobs — September 24, 2007 @ 10:52 am

  3. From the mouth of my 5 year old neice:

    “I know the difference between girls and boys …”

    I brace myself in anticipation of THAT talk …

    “Yep,” she continues.

    “Sometimes girls have bad hair days.”

    Phew …..!

    Comment by running thread — September 24, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  4. Mmmm. I remember a conversation with my 4-year old daughter.

    “Look, daddy, I can wee standing up, too!”

    Cue for a change of knickers and mopping up the puddle next to the loo.

    Comment by Moses — September 24, 2007 @ 11:42 am

  5. Not long ago my 2.5-year-old daughter said “Papa is a… Happy Girl!”

    Comment by walken — September 24, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

  6. oh goodness this is simply hilarious!! I love how she thinks that her daddy doesn’t have any zizi anymore. Bet Mr Frog would like to know why…

    Comment by Popo — September 24, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  7. Oh, but wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall when she later asks her Daddy?

    Comment by Sally Lomax — September 24, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

  8. It’s amazing how the smallest thing can blow that fog away.

    Comment by Damian — September 24, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

  9. The zizi is a sensitive subject. But if you read French, and are not too prude… you might enjoy this song – Le Zizi – that is still immensely popular and brings smiles to everyone who hears it. I heard it on the radio and on TV just recently.
    Not for Tadpole’s ears, though…

    Comment by Jacques — September 24, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  10. Yes, of course the pun was intended!

    Comment by Damian — September 24, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

  11. LOL! Reminds me of the time my friends’ 4 year old daughter announced to an entire restaurant (in front of him, mind you) “My daddy has a penis!”

    I think my friend is still hiding under that table, as he has not been seen since…..;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — September 24, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  12. oh, Jacques, please please tell me where i can find an MP3 of that song!

    Comment by franko — September 24, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

  13. From the mouth of babes and I do mean little ones lol Then there was Zizi Jeanmaire I think that’s how she spelled it. Zizi good word–ta P’tite :-)


    Comment by Beau — September 24, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  14. Hee-hee! Hope your spirits have lifted!
    Thank goodness for Tadpole speaking in English unawares to those around you!
    My daughter (same age as Tadpole) once announced on the bus home from school that she had seen “a Mommy with a Poppy’s voice” in the playground that day!

    Comment by happyforyou — September 24, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

  15. What a precious little child, your Tadpole. Can you take her out in polite company yet? I remenber how I used to worry about what stuff mine would come out with. Surprisingly, they grew up to be very polite adults who knew not to speak about zizi’s in public.

    Comment by Irene — September 24, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

  16. Macolm Muggeridge* recalled in one of his books that his sex education at school began with the immortal words

    “You may have noticed, between your legs…”

    *I’m showin my age here but he used to be on TV a lot and was contipationally boring.. but (I found later) he was quite droll in print.

    Comment by Eats Wombats — September 24, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  17. Do you get the impression that after Matthias had shown all and sundry his zizi Tadpole thought that Mr Frog ought to show her his. Hence his probable excuse. . . . .
    Wonder how he’ll get out of it next time.

    Comment by sablonneuse — September 24, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

  18. Yes, wonder what Mr. Frog will respond with on that question.
    Haven’t heard about the unisex changing rooms, something Americans are too prudish about.

    Comment by joeinvegas — September 24, 2007 @ 5:24 pm

  19. Apparently when I was about two years old (and _never_ spoke to strangers), I informed a supermarket checkout girl that “my mommy has a baby in her uterus and it will come out her…” before my mother could grab me.

    I shudder to think what my eventual children will do to me! Karmic payback, I assume.

    Comment by Allie — September 24, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

  20. @Franko: Maybe not an MP3 but here’s the youtube version for you here

    Comment by Karma — September 24, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

  21. Thank you! that provided a much needed belly laugh!

    Comment by Ellie — September 24, 2007 @ 7:49 pm

  22. There is a restuarant near us called Zizi’s. However the joke is lost if you don’t have anyone who speaks french.

    Comment by Hungry Hippo — September 24, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

  23. Do you want to meet for coffee? I’m a slightly down, English writer living in Paris too, delurking after months of enjoying your blog. Email me if you want to (I guess I understand if you don’t). Hope you’re feeling better.

    Comment by natasha — September 24, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

  24. C’est si mignon !… J’essaie d’imaginer la tête de Mr Frog quand elle lui posera effectivement la question…

    Je voulais aussi te prévenir que je vais t’adresser une “friend request” sur facebook. Histoire que tu ne sois pas surprise de voir débarquer un pseudo que tu ne connais peut-être pas ! ;-)

    Comment by Ménille Avénale — September 24, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

  25. As an aside, congratulations upon having your picture & a write-up in this week’s Venue (the What’s-On magazine for Bristol & Bath, in case you’ve forgotten) as a famous ex-local.

    Comment by Moses — September 24, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

  26. Hungry Hippo, there are a couple Zizi restaurants up by me in Glasgow, and I always giggle to myself when I see the name (Swiss cousins meant I knew the alternate meaning long ago). Of course, I snicker at it daily because I pass one on my way to work (and apparently I’m not enough of a grown up to keep a straight face). :)

    Comment by Becca — September 24, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

  27. Becca: me neither. Glad it’s not just me!

    Comment by H — September 24, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  28. My then 3 yr old daughter informed the sister in law that uncle —– , her intended, had a big willy. One almost cancelled engagement! Now having daughters themselves she’s clicked that the remark is perfectly normal as little brother has little zizi.

    Hungry Hippo – isn’t there also one in London where a disturbed individual sliced off their eponymous bit?

    Comment by j — September 24, 2007 @ 11:03 pm

  29. My cousin’s four-year-old daughter informed me, as we were getting changed into our bathers for a swim, that I had a ‘very little fanny’.

    (please note that in Australia a fanny is the front one, not the back one).

    Comment by Ella C — September 25, 2007 @ 2:02 am

  30. The Italian toast, when glasses are clinked, is “Cin, cin” and for those who don’t speak Italian, that’s pronounced “cheen, cheen”(if you care).

    Thus glass-clinking Italian tourists cause great mirth in Japan, where “cin cin” means “zizi”!

    Comment by Passante — September 25, 2007 @ 2:42 am

  31. #16. He wasn’t always “constipationally dull” on TV or the radio. As I recall, he had a dry, sardonic wit.

    Comment by Passante — September 25, 2007 @ 2:44 am

  32. Though he could be a bit over-earnest to be sure.

    Comment by Passante — September 25, 2007 @ 2:45 am

  33. bonjour
    je viens de decouvrir votre site ,mais voila il y a un hic je ne suis pas tres bonne en anglais. Peut on traduire les textes , comment faire ?
    merci bien amicalement et BRAVO!!!!

    Comment by florence — September 25, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  34. Just be glad she didn’t yell out, “Mommy, that girl has a PENIS!”

    Comment by Caroline in Rome — September 25, 2007 @ 10:07 am

  35. My nephew announced after his first PE lesson in his reception school that some of the girls dont have tails, they have been “split with an axe” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Di — September 25, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

  36. Hmm. That reminds me of a conversation with my daughter last year. She was 2 and a half:

    (Shower curtain opens. Tiny head pops round. Stares.)

    – Daddy.
    – Yes, dear?
    – I can see your zizi.
    – Well, close the curtain. You’re getting water everywhere.

    – Daddy, why do you have a zizi?
    – All boys have zizis, darling.

    – My brother has a zizi.
    – Yes.
    – I want a zizi too.
    – I think you’re going to have to live without, darling.
    – Daddy, I want a zizi when I grow up.
    – *Sigh*

    – Daddy?
    – *sigh* Yes dear?
    – Your bottom is smaller than mummy’s.
    – Don’t let her hear you say that.

    – Daddy? Why can’t I touch your zizi?
    – Darling, when you are much older, you can touch as many zizis as you like.

    (Hours later. Grandma & Grandpa arrive.)

    – Mamie! Papy! When I grow up, I’m going to touch beaucoup, beaucoup de zizis!

    Comment by Eskimolimon — September 25, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

  37. Et que donne le complexe d’oedipa avec un papa sans zizi ?

    Comment by marie-hélène — September 25, 2007 @ 2:21 pm

  38. Well if there is a restaurant called Zizi’s and it’s French name is Penis ,iamgine my peurile mirth on watching How To Look Good Naked – presented by none other than Gok Wan, which in Welsh means – weak cock. Raises a smile every time!

    Comment by Welsh Cake — September 25, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

  39. Shit there shouldn’t have been an apostrophe in ‘its’.

    Comment by Welsh Cake — September 25, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

  40. @20: thank you, Karma, thank you very much. i love it!

    Comment by franko — September 25, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

  41. If we’re comparing stories, then I have to contribute this on my mother’s behalf.

    When I was about seven, I was in the supermarket with my mother. We were stuck behind a quite short, very obese woman pushing her trolley slowly down the aisle.

    She was big enough that her bottom and thighs moved to their own syncopated version of the beat of her feet – all at my eye level.

    “Mummy… ” I said, in my best boy soprano performing in a stadium voice, “hasn’t that lady got a HHHUUUUGGEEE BOTTOM!”

    The entire supermarket fell silent.

    The woman turned towards us.

    She was a mother from my school!

    I hear she was a very nice lady, with whom my mother had hoped to become friends. They never spoke of it, or anything else, again.

    Comment by Damian — September 25, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

  42. A wonderful post. Zizi is a super description!

    Comment by Jean-Luc Picard — September 25, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

  43. I haven’t read your blog for a while but there seems to be a lot of articles about nudity these days…..

    I’m glad everything has worked out for you.

    Tom (a former blogger)

    Comment by tom — September 25, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

  44. I long for the day that an exhibitionist is arrested on the Paris underground and I read the headline “Zizi sur le Metro”.

    Comment by passante — September 26, 2007 @ 5:47 pm

  45. Well I guess it’s not as funny anymore!

    Comment by Bridges — September 26, 2007 @ 8:05 pm

  46. Very perceptive comment from a young child about grown-up men, but I digress…

    Comment by Ariel — September 26, 2007 @ 11:03 pm

  47. Dear Petite,

    I have been following your blog now for over a year. I love it! It’s the first thing I check when I get to the office and even now, sick with strep throat, I want to log in and check up on you. I feel there are many similarities in our lives…I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter – her name is Banana. I am separated from her father since two years. That year, my father passed away, I got dumped and I lost my job. It was a shit year to say the least! I am now back on track – somewhat. Your writing is inspirational and makes me laugh. I plan some day to write myself. I have just read “My Sister’s Keeper”, a great read if you haven’t heard of it.
    All the best,

    Comment by Kate — September 27, 2007 @ 1:15 am

  48. How funny! Let’s hope the little “boy” didn’t hear, or this could have serious ramifications years later! ;-)

    xox Girl and the City

    Comment by Girl and the City — September 27, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

  49. I must say how much I enjoy reading your weblog – it’s really fun! Thanks

    Comment by catalonia spain — September 27, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

  50. It reminds me a bit of that scene in “Kindergarten Cop” when the little boy stands up, the teacher says “Yes?” and the boy announces “Boys have a penis, girls have a fa-gina.”

    Comment by homeimprovementninja — September 27, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

  51. OK, this one has to be up there with the other comments from small children. Said by my nephew (aged 3 at the time) to my sister:

    “Was I laughing when I came out of your china?”

    I rest my case.

    Comment by Potty Mummy — September 27, 2007 @ 9:47 pm

  52. Passante–it’s funny, if one remembers Louis Malle and Zazi :-)

    Comment by Beau — September 28, 2007 @ 1:14 pm

  53. Hi Petite,
    Something weird is going on!
    I came on your blog today and it was all blue with none of the usual ‘wallpaper’. I commented on this after your latest story.
    Now I’ve come back, the pink is back and I can’t find my comment! Hope you are aware of these pink-blue-pink changes.

    Comment by Roberta Collins — September 28, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

  54. Ah yes, a small matter of a wordpress upgrade earlier today – always a scary process as it involves backing up the whole blog, deleting it on the server and putting new files up.

    It seems fine, but briefly reverted to a very plain blue default template…

    Comment by petite — September 28, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  55. I have a zizi. Would you like to touch it?

    Comment by John Bullshit — September 29, 2007 @ 7:42 am

  56. Wonderful! But in a few years how are you ever going to explain transsexuals?

    Comment by Lost in France — September 29, 2007 @ 9:52 am

  57. I wish I had a chlid !!!

    Comment by Parisian Cowboy — October 1, 2007 @ 12:25 am

  58. Hi Petite,

    she’s a funny little one that Tadpole of yours! Only four posts since I’ve been on hols, tut tut! You must be in love indeed, who has time to blog when you’ve more entertaining things to be doing. I expected to have missed loads! France was fantastic, despite the poor performance of the Irish rugby team. And I apologise for the drunken behaviour of any of my compatriots you are sure to have witnessed around Paris over the last few weeks, I was actually embarrassed to be Irish at times. I had forgotten how expensive Paris is,more than Dublin even (the rip pf capital of Europe). How on earth do you afford to live there? Although, to be fair, my credit card had already taken a bit of a hammering before we arrived. I have to mention that the politelness of pretty much everyone we met struck me, perhaps Dublin is also the rudest capital. The notorious snooty French waiter only appearred the odd time but mostly eveyone was lovely and I can’t wait to go back. I can see why you enjoy living there so much.

    Comment by Susie — October 1, 2007 @ 4:38 pm

  59. Well, speaking of emerging from the china laughing, there’s a historical precedent:

    I just happened to stumble on it.

    Comment by Eats Wombats — October 2, 2007 @ 1:40 am

  60. Thanks for explaining Petite :=)

    Comment by Roberta Collins — October 2, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

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