petite anglaise

February 18, 2008


Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:46 am

“When mummy gets married, I’m going to wear an extremely pretty princess dress,” Tadpole has been telling everyone who will listen. “And a tiara. And when mummy gets little bit busy, I’m going to help with carrying the flowers…”

Tadpole’s Disney Princess phase has lasted upwards of a year now, and shows no sign of abating. Given every self-respecting princess story culminates with a sumptuous ceremony, my daughter seems to have all sorts of preconceived notions of what my wedding day should be like. I do hope my strenuously low-key nuptials will not be a disappointment to her, when the time comes, but there’s no way I can stomach the idea of wearing a frothy white meringue, not even for my daughter’s sake.

A few days after my botched proposal, Tadpole returned from her New Year’s holiday with mamie and papy. I hadn’t yet had an opportunity to speak to Mr Frog, so sharing the news with my motormouthed daughter was a risky business. But one morning, when I crawled into her bed for our morning cuddle, I just couldn’t help myself.

“If I tell you something really, really exciting, can you keep it a secret?” I ask. There is a silence, and for a moment I wonder if she’s sleeping. I seem to have a knack for broaching important subjects when my listener is only semi-conscious. But Tadpole isn’t asleep. She turns to face me, her eyes serious.

“If it’s a secret, you have to whisper it in my ear,” she says. “Because otherwise somebody else might hear.” The only somebody else in the flat is snoring gently in the next room, fully aware of his impending marital predicament, but I humour Tadpole and snuggle closer to her ear.

“In a few months, I’m going to get married to …. ,” I whisper.

“Just like Ariel, in the Little Mermaid?” Tadpole cries, her eyes widening to the size of dinner plates, the need for whispering apparently forgotten.

“Kind of like Ariel, yes…” I reply. “Although probably not with the same colour dress. Or on a boat.”

“I’m going to marry myself as well,” Tadpole says matter of factly.

“Well, yes, one day you will,” I say. “When you’re just a little bit older.”

“NO, NOT when I’m older, mummy! I’m going to marry myself with my daddy, on the SAME DAY as you.”

My daughter speaks with such fierce certainty that I decide not to contradict her, for now, and make a mental note to add Freud to the guest list.


  1. It reminds me that my son wanted to marry me too. Except I’m his dad!

    Comment by Boris J — February 18, 2008 @ 10:51 am

  2. je viens de découvrir ce site (je reconnais, avec un retard impardonnable), et j’en prévois déjà maintenant l’effet ‘accoutumance’. Tant l’écrire que le lire donne une sensation de la beauté de la vie de tous les jours, à moins qu’on s’y ouvre…

    Comment by Siska — February 18, 2008 @ 11:12 am

  3. All little girls want to marry their dads. You should be happy Tadpole is a perfectly normal little girl. Only worry if she doesn’t grow out of it after a couple of years… ;-)

    Comment by Teaperson — February 18, 2008 @ 11:22 am

  4. You live in Paris, right ? If you don’t want to wear a meringue (and can afford the price) you could try to find a dress at Zelia :
    Her dresses are beautiful and most are not meringue style. :-)

    Comment by Anna — February 18, 2008 @ 11:35 am

  5. I can’t stop laughing at what commentor # 1 said!

    Also I was just like Tadpole in that I was obsessed with Disney Princesses. I’m still going through that phase.

    Comment by princesse ecossaise — February 18, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  6. I go away for 4 days and all this news!! Fabulous timing in telling the tale too, congratulations to you both.

    Comment by susie — February 18, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

  7. “In a few months, I’m going to get married to…”

    Were you leaving a name out there or did you mean “as well”?

    Comment by Spelling Nazi — February 18, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

  8. I married both my brothers when I was little (on separate occasions) and I turned out fine.

    Comment by Sarah — February 18, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

  9. Last week My Daphnée told me i was the father of her “still in bidou” Cow-Doudou Lola.
    I think about asking a paternity test …

    Comment by Thierry_J — February 18, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

  10. I have decided I want to get married in a RED dress. No poofy white concoctions for me, either. Really, at 46 and about to move in with the love of my life before marrying him later this year, who would I be kidding in the white, youthful virgin look?

    Seems every little girl I know is in the Disney Princess phase right now. Those Disney people are masters at marketing.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — February 18, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

  11. your little hint about the new hubby being a fan means there is a lot of checking out of your male fans! quite a few nice options :) lucky girl.

    Comment by jacqui — February 18, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  12. Is ‘Boris J’ up top Boris Johnson of Conservative fame? (Not to mention Spectator, HIGNFY, and Mayoral Ken-Bashing candidature)

    Comment by David in London — February 18, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

  13. Hi Petite,
    I’ve just read Elle UK February. On page 201-202 is something called “Mademoiselle, confessions of an Elle girl”. It’s in the style of a diary or blog. In the 1st couple of lines the person talks about “The Boy” and at the end says “The Boy returns in 10 days’ time…”.
    Hmmm, imitation, flattery and all that – thought you should be aware of this! ;=)

    Comment by Roberta Collins — February 18, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

  14. I remember a time when my daughter refused to wear pants at all, even to bed. Her princess phase lasted a good five or six years, although in varying degrees. Thank goodness she only wears princess dresses once or twice a year nowadays; a formal for an American teenager can cost several hundred dollars.

    Put Tadpole in a frothy meringue, place a wreath of flowers in her hair, and give her a matching kissing ball to carry. The ribbon from the kissing ball will loop right over her little hand. She’ll love it, and won’t care a whit what mummy is wearing on her wedding day.

    Comment by kaycie — February 18, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

  15. When your book tour eventually takes you to Sydney, and you take Tadpole with you because it would be a shame to deny her the experience, I am sure my mother would happily babysit her.

    My mother loves little girls, princess dresses and tiaras. The have all three in one package would almost make her heart explode!

    Comment by Damian — February 18, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  16. I wanted to marry my dad as well and it made perfect sense to me since maman divorced him before I was born. After telling her of my intention at the bright age of 5 with accompanying pictures which I’d drawn, mom explained to me why that may not be possible.

    Comment by Anais — February 18, 2008 @ 5:36 pm

  17. Dear Petite,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years but never dared to comment… I must say I am pretty moved (émue, right ?) at the fact that you shared this GREAT NEWS with us readers. Wishing you all the best !!!

    Comment by Caroline — February 18, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  18. My daughter is 17; she is still in the princess phase. She’s been planning my wedding since she figured out that divorce meant I could remarry. She’s still waiting — I’m still going to make her my flower girl if I ever decide to remarry.

    Comment by chantel — February 18, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  19. I agree with all the posters above… Bunker Monkey (age 4) wants to marry me, too, except that my guy wants to also marry his aunts, his cousin (if nothing else, at least a more age-appropriate option as she is 5), and most of his playmates.

    I feel so special.

    Comment by Astrogirl — February 18, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

  20. She can wear whatever she wants. It’s me that doesn’t want

    a) white
    b) a meringue
    c) an engagement ring
    d) sugared almonds

    Comment by petite — February 18, 2008 @ 7:46 pm

  21. White is so outdated anyway. I don’t know any brides, proper or otherwise, that have worn white.

    I have a friend who did a 70s-era roller skating wedding. She wore an off-white short (flapper-style) dress with matching sequined band and glittered skates and looked wonderful! The wedding was a lot of fun too. Their ‘first skate’ made the local paper, although the last thing you seem to need these days is more press!

    Comment by Leslie — February 18, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  22. OMG, no sugared almonds? next you are going to say you don’t want a pièce montée either!!

    ps: congrats and all that

    Comment by Imaginary Friend — February 18, 2008 @ 8:17 pm

  23. Petite, do you speak English or French with Tadpole? I find her “marry myself/me marie” both amusing and cute!

    Comment by Helen — February 18, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

  24. You could go with your old fall back of Pink pajamas?

    Comment by grayarea — February 18, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

  25. My wedding day was tinged with sadness, my daughter refused to be there. It was as if my wife (to be at that stage) was removing me from her somehow. :-(

    Comment by Brennig — February 18, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

  26. My 5 year old nephew has been telling me all about his plans for my wedding (if there’s going to be one, there needs to a ‘Monsieur Right’ found pretty soon…).

    He tells me that his sister won;t be allowed, nor will his mother, nor will Grandma. In fact as it will be two boys getting married, he’s decided that only boys can attend….well I guess it’s one way of making sure my outfit won’t be upstaged!

    Comment by travelling but not in love — February 18, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

  27. I got married last year, at age 34, in an Elsa Gary dress. And, somehow, this is the kind of dresses that I would picture you in. I would probably see you in the one called “Brouillard” in her “les colorés” 2008 collection, or one from the “les naturelles” collection.

    The design of her blog is well, not so stunning, but her dresses are amazing!

    Comment by Celine — February 18, 2008 @ 11:25 pm

  28. Hi Petite: It’s your wedding. Do/wear/eat/say what you want. And, enjoy every minute! Congrats and best wishes again :)

    Comment by Kat — February 18, 2008 @ 11:39 pm

  29. it feels as if, even with the addition of someone new in your life, and the changed dynamics, it’s really YOU, which has returned to us. I feel as if I have missed petite. I’m glad to feel her back again.

    Comment by beaunejewels — February 18, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  30. Dear Petite,
    I’ve been a fan of your blog for a very long time now, but have never had the courage to post a comment. But now I feel I must, to say Congratulations to you and your fiancé. I’m so happy that things have worked out for you! Tadpole sounds like the most adorable child in the world. You’ve done a fantastic job of raising her. You must be very proud :)
    Looking forward to reading your book,
    Take care and enjoy planning the wedding, however small it may be.
    Love Charlotte x

    Comment by Charlotte — February 18, 2008 @ 11:55 pm

  31. In short, tadpole intends to play the leading role with costume and accessories at your wedding and you will be no more than “une utilité”.

    Comment by marie-hélène — February 19, 2008 @ 12:26 am

  32. This is hilarious. When I got married the 2nd time, we told my girls, ages 8 and 6, about 30 minutes before the exceptionally low key ceremony. We told everyone else the next day! Their response to ” we are getting married” was “Oh yeah, now we know why you bought us our pretty new dresses.” They got to carry flowers while I chose not to. They thought that it was wonderful despite all of the “princessy” dreams that they may have. She will think that it is wonderful as long as she gets a pretty dress and lovely flowers.

    Comment by Rachel — February 19, 2008 @ 12:51 am

  33. My wife and I were married in Paris. Now every time our son looks at the photos, he tells us that we have to take him to Paris so he can marry mummy just like I did.

    Kids are so much fun.

    Best of luck to you.

    Comment by Mad WIlliam — February 19, 2008 @ 2:16 am

  34. Hey, David in London, Mr Cold Blanket, you should relax, man. Here is not the place to display your political convictions, no matter how much of a narrow-minded conservative lefty you might be. You can keep your sense of humour on you know. That is if you have one.

    Anyway, back to my son who wants to marry me, his dad. His favourite colour is pink, you see, but maybe that’s because we always told him that pink was just a colour after all. Doesn’t have to belong to girls, does it? Very special little boy indeed. All the girls cuddle him all the time at school and he said he’s had just enough of that. I told him he shouldn’t ‘cos it ain’t gonna last! But it seems that Lily-Rose might have got his heart after all. So now, apparently, he’ll marry both!!. A boy (his dad?), and a girl.

    5-year olds are always good laugh (more than David in London,apparently!).

    Comment by Boris J — February 19, 2008 @ 8:33 am

  35. I’ve read the extract in the Sunday Times : can’t wait to get the full version ! One thing surprised me though, when you tell that Mr Frog worked so long hours : isn’t it true that in France people work only 35 hours a week ?

    Comment by Worker — February 19, 2008 @ 8:38 am

  36. My brother and his wife were married in Paris (where my sister-in-law comes from). They first had a civil wedding with the mayor and then a church one in the afternoon. Is that what you are planning on doing?
    Also, if it’s a Catholic wedding will you have to do those pre-marriage classes presided over by a priest?

    Comment by Hazy — February 19, 2008 @ 9:00 am

  37. @23 – I speak only English with Tadpole, but she definitely does make some very French mistakes, mixing prepositions, doing odd things with reflexive verbs, I think sometimes she is translating from French in her head.

    @35 – the 35 hour week can be very theoretical. If you are an executive, you are expected to ignore it and take a few extra days holiday (although they can be theoretical too) instead. As an office admin worker, I did the strict 35 hours, in a factory you might too (although it’s being unravelled by Sarkozy), but frankly most people work longer.

    @36 – mairie, no church. The Boy is an atheist, as am I. Which is why I don’t think I’ll be wearing a frothy dress. I see myself more in Marc Jacobs… (but I haven’t given it any thought yet, must admit).

    Comment by petite — February 19, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  38. Probably later in life she is going to find a boyfriend with the similar look as her father!
    Petite when you speak to her english in what language she answers back??? I am curious because mine they answer back in enlgish and very rarely in Greek only when they see me sad and they want me to cheer up!and they succeed…..

    Comment by penelope — February 19, 2008 @ 9:27 am

  39. @38 In English, almost always. I think that the fact we lived alone, just the two of us, from age 2 – 4 was key in making the bilingual thing work perfectly. Now that the boy is living with us (um, since September, incidentally) we are all mixing things up a bit more as I speak to him in a mixture of English and French in front of her, and she speaks to him mostly in French…

    Comment by petite — February 19, 2008 @ 9:33 am

  40. You’re lucky she’s into princesses! My son would have you two dressed as Buzz Lightyear and Woody…

    Comment by Liza R — February 19, 2008 @ 9:36 am

  41. That’s perfect then! If its a civil wedding you can go for something elegant and sexy. Ideal.

    In France do workers (ie. people who are employed normally) get an extra 2 weeks paid holiday from work to use for their honeymoon? Here in Italy they do! It’s great to live in such a hedonistic country.

    Comment by Hazy — February 19, 2008 @ 10:05 am

  42. Mrs Albion agrees with you about the engagement ring. She wanted an “all in one”, and for it to look more like a cocktail ring. The jeweller ( – hope you don’t mind me giving my cousin a plug) was a bit skeptical until we said, “We want people so say ‘What a great ring’ rather than ‘what a great engagement ring, or wedding ring'”. Once he saw where we were coming from he was right into it.

    So Mrs Albion has a gorgeous sparkly ring on her ring finger, rather than coils of smaller ones. (That one on the website isn’t Mrs Albions – hers is far more sparkly!)

    Comment by Damian — February 19, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  43. Woah, Boris J.

    I think you have taken what I said completely the wrong way there. I was merely wondering out loud. I certainly wasn’t displaying a political position either way and am not sure which side of the spectrum you managed to place me in from such a short post (conservative lefty, eh?). Anyway, it was far from my intention to cause offense.

    I hope now that you aren’t *the* Boris Johnson. Always thought he was a bit of a legend. Now I’m just disappointed :(


    (Where’s Trevor to lighten the mood when you need him, eh? You haven’t banned him Petite, have you?)

    Comment by David in London — February 19, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

  44. David in London – sorry mate, it seems that I rushed a little bit in my reply to your post… I guess it was a bit early and I should have had another cup of coffee instead of engaging in early morning David in London bashing!! It’s easy to take things wrong in comments / emails. And the Boris J comment was not the first time someone asked if I’m him, which made realise that it sometimes get to me, errr, slightly.

    Anyway, sorry about that. Go Boris!

    Comment by Boris J — February 19, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

  45. I have a difficulty with French weddings at the mairie as they are a bit short and sharp “Article bla bla bla of the Code Civil says…” etc, fifteen minutes later and you are being ushered out to make way for the next couple, but if you are not religious, what other option is there? Most civil weddings I have been to have been in Scotland and they were really nice as, in addition to the civil bit with the registrar, the couple was allowed to create the ceremony adding things like music playing and non-relgious readings etc.
    I was a bridesmaid when I was six, I don’t remember much but I do remember by pretty dress and the basket of flowers. I agree you should wear whatever you like, and not be bothered about the white meringue dress but (from what we’ve seen) Tadpole would look like a total angel in a pretty dress with flowers. I’m glad I was a bridesmaid as a child and not as an adult (not yet anyway) as growing up, many of my friends said how much they would have loved to have worn a princess dress.
    Oh weddings are all so exciting! Looking forward to more blogs on wedding preparations, life, love etc (bugger those who complain about it not being interesting material!)
    All the best!

    Comment by laroseanglaise — February 19, 2008 @ 3:16 pm

  46. When I got married for the 2nd time, my 9 year old daughter absolutely could not find a dress she wanted to wear. She must have tried on 25 dresses. Then my mother came to visit, took her to ONE store, tried on ONE dress, and VOILA. She was happy.

    The dress? White, frilly, organza with bows and lace everywhere. The child is now 22 and has NEVER EVER worn another dress like that ever again. She just wanted to feel special too.

    Comment by Small Town Diva — February 19, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  47. Some Armani dresses for a civil wedding: I like number 11 and 19:

    Comment by Ivette — February 19, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

  48. Whatever you decide to wear will you show us a photo? go on, please!!

    Comment by susie — February 20, 2008 @ 10:50 am

  49. Congratulations!!
    Your daughter is so sweet! She’ll be rapturously happy, a veritable princess in a fairytale!
    Are you able to tell us if Mr. Frog will be attending, even if he won’t be marrying Princess Tadpole in the same ceremony?

    Comment by happyforyou — February 20, 2008 @ 11:45 am

  50. This is exciting stuff!! Is the big day happening soon(maybe it has already)? The way everyone’s commenting here it’s going to be next week!

    PS I had a civil wedding in Scotland (in a French villa, go figure) and laroseanglaise is right, it is definitely nicer to be able to choose what you’re going to say, what music will be played etc…much better than a chilly church or an ugly 1970’s mairie, that’s for sure…

    And I love the expression ‘impending marital predicament’ lol!!

    Comment by Suziboo — February 20, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

  51. I want to see a pic of The Boy! : )

    Yeah, yeah, I looked through your Fans so I probably saw him but there are soooo many cuties in there, it’s hard to know which one….. Please, pretty please tell us……

    Comment by linda from jersey (that's new jersey USA) — February 20, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

  52. Congratulations,

    Been following your blog for a while, but am still a bit surprised by the marriage announcement. It seems a bit quick in my opinion after the ups and downs of the last couple of years but each to their own. Wish you all the best, just waiting for the new addition news soon and then the fairytale will be complete.

    Comment by sangria — February 20, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

  53. She is such a cutie!

    I only recently discovered your blog (courtesy of The Times online) so I have been trawling through the archives, trying to catch up.

    The highlights for me have been (a) your descriptions of living abroad-I really relate; (b) Tadpole’s song about hurting her eye (May 2007 I think) I absolutely LOVE it! “It did do some blooooood!” Fabulous!

    Comment by Jacqueline — February 20, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

  54. Check out the Les Rustiques collection at #4’s link. In keeping with the Disney theme Tadpole has in mind, you could go as Pocahontas and Tadpole could go as Ariel or the princess of her choice!

    Comment by Passante — February 20, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

  55. Congrats Petite to you and your Boy. I see your wedding dress in the style of the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. Simply sublime.

    Comment by Roberta — February 21, 2008 @ 7:18 am

  56. wow

    how it must feel to have so many good things happening at once to you… are you sleeping well?

    its [your life] becoming so much like a modern fairy tale… you must be so pleased

    Comment by kara — February 21, 2008 @ 1:12 pm

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