petite anglaise

November 15, 2007


Filed under: misc, Tadpole rearing, Tadpole says — petiteanglaiseparis @ 1:45 pm

To say that Tadpole rarely shares insights about her secret life in the moyenne section of our local maternelle would be something of an understatement. Invariably, on the way home from school, we have a conversation which goes something like this.

Me: “So, what did you do today?”

Tadpole: “Just some things.”

Me: “What did you have for lunch?”

Tadpole: “I can’t remember. But you can look on the computer, mummy, can’t you…?”

Which is why I was rather taken by surprise when she randomly launched into a playground anecdote over dinner yesterday evening. An anecdote which concerned a boy who was in her class last year. I am still at a loss to understand what caused the memory to surface just then.

“Mummy?” says Tadpole between mouthfuls of canneloni (from which I have scraped all trace of bechamel sauce, at her behest). “When I was three years old and I was in the other class at school…” – she holds up three fingers in case I need help understanding the concept – “…one day I did go in the playground with Youssouf while the other children were doing music.”

“Mmhm?” I repy, stabbing several green beans onto her fork, because for some reason, even though Tadpole is perfectly capable of feeding herself, she generally loses the will to eat after approximately five mouthfuls in the evenings and I have to step unwillingly into the breach.

“And I did ask Youssouf ‘tu es mon amoureux?‘ and he said ‘oui‘ and we did hold hands for a little while,” Tadpole continues.

I like the word ‘amoureux‘. The Boy often uses it when introducing me to a friend of his for the first time. I like to think of it as a combination of ‘beloved’ and ‘lover’ – literally it means ‘the person I’m in love with’. It’s so much nicer than ‘ma copine‘ (too impersonal, it could designate any female friend) or ‘ma petite copine‘ (even if I am used to answering to the name ‘petite‘). What the term ‘amoureux‘ implies to a four-year-old though, I’m far from sure.

“Is Youssouf still your amoureux now?” I enquire, setting down the fork for a moment.

“No. He did have the nez coulé and it wasn’t very nice,” Tadpole explains with a grimace. I freeze. Just how close did my daughter get to that runny nose of his?

“And, um, do you have an amoureux now?”

“I play with Dinah now,” Tadpole replies. “And Youssouf, he plays with Hicham.” This, I surmise, could mean one of two things. That their short-lived relationship was so traumatic that it drove both of them into the arms of a same-sex partner, or that amoureux, to Tadpole, simply means ‘best friend’.

“So, who is mummy’s amoureux?” I ask, keen to test my theory immediately.

“You have two,” says Tadpole, with a triumphant smile that means she is convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt she knows the correct answer. “Daddy… And Meg.”

I heave a sigh of relief.


  1. Well done, Tadpole! And well done to her Mum and Dad, who are obviously doing an excellent job of remaining friends after separation!

    Comment by happyforyou — November 15, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  2. awww, tadpole says the funniest and cutest things! :-)

    Comment by Em — November 15, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

  3. I want to take up some tadpole-speak in my daily life — I LOVE the way she says “I DID do that…”, “I DID say that…”, instead of just “I did, I was, I said…” … she’s adorable

    Comment by Rachel — November 15, 2007 @ 3:42 pm

  4. i will never EVER tire of hearing about tadpole’s insights.
    : )

    Comment by franko — November 15, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  5. nez coulé or le nez qui coule??
    I love Tadpole’s theory on les amoureux, I have quite a few that way ;) and it is such a nice word

    Comment by est — November 15, 2007 @ 4:38 pm

  6. AWWWW, supercute! How sweet, too, that “Daddy” is also a best friend. That’s so great…

    By the way, does Tadpole say “while” in English or “whilst”? You wrote “while” and I was just surprised by that…just curious. :ol

    Comment by Eclat in Paris — November 15, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

  7. This is why you got the book deal! I loved this post.

    Comment by corine — November 15, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

  8. What a life in luxury those maternelle children have. I’m completely bowled over by the 4-course lunch-menu. Even though it invariably looks less appetising than it sounds (memories from eating in the Resto U for years resurface), it’s nonetheless pretty advanced for 3-4 year olds. Teaches the kids to eat proper meals. Another reason why I’d much prefer to have kids in France than in the UK where I currently live.

    Comment by Teaperson — November 15, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  9. That’s so sweet.. a best friend -should- be beloved. It’s adorable that that’s the natural conclusion she reached as to the meaning of the word.

    Comment by jen — November 15, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

  10. Without your daughter you wouldn’t have much to write.

    Comment by kelvin — November 15, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  11. I am having visions of “Young Frankenstein” running through my head, with Tadpole as a small Frau Blucher shouting “Yes! Yes! Say it! He was my BOYFRIEND!”

    Of course, Tadpole is far prettier than Frau Blucher, and horses probably don’t whinny at the mention of her name…;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — November 15, 2007 @ 5:41 pm

  12. You’re bisexual?!!!!!

    Comment by clarissa — November 15, 2007 @ 8:41 pm

  13. I’m still trying to hack into the inner most circles of Ecole Maternelle. I wish my five year old would remain as tightlipped when it comes to divulging more delicate going-ons in our house.

    Comment by Sher — November 15, 2007 @ 9:41 pm

  14. Classic!

    So you didn’t follow up and see how she defines who The Boy is?

    Comment by Kingston Girl — November 15, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

  15. Bless her. Kids say some great things don’t they?

    My nephew, when he was also three, made the connection between the lamb on his plate and the fluffy white lamb at the farm.

    “Daddy, do people kill baby lambs and eat them?” he asked. His dad replied that, yes, this is indeed what happened.

    The nephew looked worried, then pensive, then said “Dad….” (at this point his father is bracing himself for a lifetime of searching out vegetarian options)

    “Dad….at the weekend can we go and kill a lamb and then eat it?”

    Comment by travelling but not in love — November 15, 2007 @ 10:50 pm

  16. I honestly think you handed down the funnybone gene to Tadpole, what a sweet anecdote that was. :)

    Comment by Drusilla — November 16, 2007 @ 12:03 am

  17. I’d say “amoureux” literally means “the person who is in love with me”.

    Comment by Kai Carver — November 16, 2007 @ 3:40 am

  18. Kids have such a way of translating. Although I am relieved that she opted away from the snot-nosed boy…good call, even if he is nice.

    Comment by Caffienated Cowgirl — November 16, 2007 @ 10:36 am

  19. ‘I just love girls’ – My Tiddler exclaimed the other week, when he was trying to decide which classmate to take on a cinema treat.

    Kids do seem to play more with both sexes than I remember doing when I was small.

    Comment by Duck — November 16, 2007 @ 11:07 am

  20. n°17 “I’d say “amoureux” literally means “the person who is in love with me”

    good point

    ‘the person I’m in love with’ is ‘mon amour’

    that’s why i like this word (amoureuse)


    Comment by rose selavy — November 16, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

  21. I simply adore Tadpole and her logic. And how lovely that her Mum and Dad can be best friends.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — November 16, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

  22. Rose, do you mean to say that he is introducing me as “the girl who is crazy about me”? And saying absolutely nothing about how he feels about me?

    Hmm. Maybe it’s not so sweet after all…

    Comment by petite — November 16, 2007 @ 7:22 pm

  23. In Quebec, a boyfriend is called “mon chum” and a girlfriend is “ma blonde”. Both which I think are a little on the ridiculous side – but the term for person that you live with but that you are not officially married to is ‘conjoin’ or ‘conjoine’.

    Which sounds much better than the English equivalent of “partner” or “spouse”. Though not quite the same as amoureux….

    Comment by french panic — November 16, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  24. I just have to say that I’ve been reading your blog for the past 6 months or so and love it! You’re so real and honest and I can’t help but chuckle most days that you post:D
    I prayed for you and your daughter this morning:)

    Comment by Leslie — November 16, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

  25. I think “lover” kinda nailed it. Thank god she didn’t say he had the nez coulé and it tasted like snot!

    Comment by Matt Maddox — November 17, 2007 @ 12:24 am

  26. Glad to hear this not-talking-about-what-happened-at-school thing is commonplace. Our Frankie (3 years old) has justed started full days at nursery school. All we can ever get out of him is he ‘sat with David’. But then he will occasionally forget himself and burst into some song they have all been practicing together, or momentarily betray some newfound knowledge about hibernating squirrels that hasn’t come from either of us or the cartoons on Channel 5. I suppose it will be this way at least until he’s 16…

    Comment by jonathan — November 17, 2007 @ 2:21 am

  27. tcha! i was all pleased for a moment until i realised she must mean the other meg – well, i hope i’m in the running too.
    one of the advantages of twins (and believe me, there are some) is that you can eavesdrop on their conversations on the way home from school – but don’t tell them i said so!

    Comment by rivergirlie — November 17, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

  28. the simplicity of youth.

    Comment by complex — November 17, 2007 @ 9:40 pm

  29. “Daddy… And Meg.”

    This sounds like you own a two barrel gun, isn’t it?

    Comment by Saluki — November 17, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  30. Bon dimanche !

    Comment by Tietie007 — November 18, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

  31. isn’t it lovely that Tadpole has recognised the joys of best girlfriends and that love isn’t just about your partner. i have a friend like that who I (sometimes) tell very important things to first before my husband. I’m lucky and you sound like you are too Petit. Do you think The Boy will make the list one day? And was he a tiny smidge upset that he didn’t?

    Comment by Lisa — November 19, 2007 @ 3:15 am

  32. Amoureux–lovely word–I shall use it from now on to, with and about mine. :-)

    With thanks for the word and much else besides–from Seattle

    Comment by Beau — November 19, 2007 @ 4:19 am

  33. salut! i wondering if/when your book will be released in australia?

    Comment by marie — November 19, 2007 @ 11:16 am

  34. salut! i was wondering if/when your book will be released in australia?

    Comment by marie — November 19, 2007 @ 11:18 am

  35. How nice !

    It reminds me my 4 years old daugther: she’s a polygam with her three “amoureux” ! Of course, one of them is the prefered one, the one which she kisses “sur la bouche”, as she says. And it seems her feelings are not just “friendship” : when we are desperately trying to wake up to go to school, as she is nearly awake but still trying to stay a little more in bed, the simple evocation of her amoureux’s name makes her smile, and she wakes up wery quickly after…

    Comment by Etienne — November 19, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

  36. What a fabulous story – I was holding my breath to see what her answer would be! Diplomatically handled by you, I think!


    Comment by Sarah in Marrakech (but soon Paris!) — November 19, 2007 @ 9:15 pm

  37. Thank you for sharing Tadpole’s view of the world….it is both amusing and enlightening!

    Comment by Karen Mc Cullagh — November 20, 2007 @ 1:58 am

  38. You handled this amazingly! And Tadpole sounds like quite the observer which is key to writing… maybe one day, another writer will be discovered in the family.

    Comment by desireenb — November 20, 2007 @ 4:39 am

  39. My parents regularly embarass my sister adn I with tales of childhood observations on the world. How (un)lucky for Tadpole that you will have them all written down!

    Comment by susie — November 20, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  40. Mummy’s amoureaux include Tadpole too, of course, at No.1 – and why not?

    Comment by andrew — November 21, 2007 @ 2:15 am

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