petite anglaise

February 22, 2008


Filed under: mills & boon, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:15 am

The Boy and Tadpole return from their pilgrimage to McDonalds. The Boy is looking disproportionately pleased with himself, far more so than the feat of having hunted and gathered a happy meal and a couple of burgers would usually warrant.

“What have you two been up to?” I ask, suspiciously, as I unpack Tadpole’s chicken nuggets and arrange them on a proper plate – which increases the nutritional value of the food tenfold, because it is no longer takeaway – and set the Asterix toy aside for later.

“We had a very important conversation, she and I, while we were queuing up to be served,” says The Boy, unwrapping his own dinner. “N’est-ce pas biquette?”

Tadpole nods, her mouth full of nugget. We’ve both grown used to being referred to as a “small female goat”, The Boy’s favoured term of endearment.

“Go on…” I say, wondering what on earth the terrible two have been plotting behind my back.

“Well,” says The Boy, pausing to bite, chew and swallow, enjoying keeping me on tenterhooks, “I asked your daughter if it was okay for me to marry you… It’s the done thing, you know, when someone already has children, to ask their permission.” I feel rather emotional all of a sudden, tears prickling the back of my eyes. What a lovely thing to do. Even if McDonalds wasn’t the venue I would have chosen for such a conversation.

“And what did she say?” I ask, wiping some ketchup from Tadpole’s chin with a serviette. I don’t think she has even heard our exchange. She’s selectively deaf at the best of times, but especially so when focused on food.

“She said that she thought it was a very good idea for us to marry ourselves,” the Boy replies. “And then we got talking about princess dresses and flowers, as you do… But when I said ‘you’re going to look just like a princess’, she said the loveliest thing…” He takes another bite, spinning out his story for as long as possible.

“I did say that it’s not me who will be the princess on that day,” pipes up Tadpole suddenly. Apparently she has been listening in, all along. “Because it’s mummy who will be the princess, not me. I’ll just be a little princess. Or a middle-sized. But you will be the real one, that day.”

I smile, under cover of my Royal Cheese, my eyes moist. “What a double act you are, you two,” I say, when I’ve recovered my composure. Then, turning to The Boy: “And what would you have done if she had said ‘no’?”


  1. Aw…

    She wasn’t ever likely to say no was she?

    Comment by Fee — February 22, 2008 @ 10:25 am

  2. [tears pricking my eyes] That is probably the best approval you could have gotten from your girl — her letting YOU be the biggest Princess on your special day. Brava, Tadpole.

    Last night I got some “approval” of my own from G’s 16-yr old daughter, where we gossiped and dished for a good 45-minutes about all manner of personal things on both sides, and she confided something in me and asked me NOT to tell her father. After telling me how happy she was that I was moving in with them next week. I couldn’t imagine a better compliment from my future step-daughter. Isn’t it wonderful when you can blend your lives and the kids are actually happy about it?

    Comment by The Bold Soul — February 22, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  3. Oh là là, c’est super émouvant… J’en ai les larmes aux yeux, moi aussi ! Il a l’air très chouette ton “Boy” !

    Comment by Pauline — February 22, 2008 @ 10:49 am

  4. I think I might cry.

    Comment by susie — February 22, 2008 @ 10:51 am

  5. What were you doing wiping her chin with a sanitary towel?

    Comment by Alice Band — February 22, 2008 @ 11:21 am

  6. Awww, how sweet!

    Comment by Marsha — February 22, 2008 @ 11:23 am

  7. Aw shucks! W”ho wrtites Tadpole’s scripts? Has that diligent agent of yours sold the film rights yet? This could be the feel-good tear-jerker of 2009!

    Comment by Sandlander — February 22, 2008 @ 11:37 am

  8. The Boy has quite a point about giving children too much power! A sweet story, in any event!

    Comment by Lost in France — February 22, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  9. What a sweet child you have. Congratulations – on her & on your forthcoming Princesshood!

    Comment by Sharon — February 22, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  10. Very sweet story…I love the conspiratory nature of the conversation. Sounds like you are all in a well-deserved blissful period.

    I’ll confess that I’m fixated on something else about the story though…Asterix toys at McDonald’s? That’s reason enough to relocate from Canada to France!

    Comment by Lynne — February 22, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

  11. aww bless. kids outlook on life sometimes surprises us all


    Comment by Marc — February 22, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  12. How cute! I don’t know which is sweetest, the boy asking Tadpole if he can marry you or Tadpole saying that you’ll be the princess! Bless!
    What a way to cheer up a grey parisian Friday. That and the fact that I’m trying to figure out how I can get out of work on time to get to to WH Smiths and grab a book tonight. Shall be mightily annoyed if it has sold out already.

    Comment by laroseanglaise — February 22, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  13. You’re raising her right. What a sweetheart.

    Now I want to see pictures of you in the purple and pink sparkly ruffled dress, pronto.


    Comment by La Rêveuse — February 22, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

  14. ok i am dying of too much happy welling-up now. this love fest must end before i lose the use of my eyes.

    do not, repeat, do not. let. it. end.

    Comment by Ms Paz — February 22, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

  15. i think *i’m* falling for the boy now!

    what a gallant thing to do — and tadpole responded well in kind. i’m very happy for the three of you.

    Comment by franko — February 22, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

  16. She’s such a sweetie!

    A serviette is a paper napkin Alice Band…why would you think it’s a sanitary towel?!

    Comment by Jacqueline — February 22, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  17. If she’d said “Non” he would have told her to buy her own happy meal!

    Comment by Damian — February 22, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  18. Awww, how adorable. Kids are the sweetest, arn’t they? My daughter, Evan, recently told me that I was her “favortist mom ever!” She’s 4 years old. Claps for you, Tadpole.

    Comment by Marlaina — February 22, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

  19. I want to read in the comments The Boy’s reply to your last question! Too cute!

    Comment by epikuryooz — February 22, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

  20. Have not been on your site for a couple of years and heh presto the day I look at it you mention you’re getting married.
    Good luck and good luck with your book launch. A writer myself and searcher of the inspired or inspiring there is no doubt you have something.
    I daresay I will buy your book.

    Comment by Craig — February 22, 2008 @ 8:42 pm

  21. What would he have done if she had said no?????????????? That is a fine, good question!

    Comment by clarissa — February 22, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  22. That is so sweet, it did make me tear up a bit. You know in all honesty, I used to worry a bit that Tadpole was going to be spoiled and give you a very hard time but it seems to have all worked out and she is delightful. Please don’t take that wrong but it did seem she might be a pill. What do I know, she seems to be a well adjusted (and lucky) child!
    Soon she is going to ask you for a brother.

    Comment by Jules — February 22, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  23. You’re quite right. Royal Cheese is the best choice.

    Comment by Yogi — February 22, 2008 @ 11:17 pm

  24. That was the sweetest thing. Tadpole really loves you (I guess she also likes the boy).

    Comment by anusree — February 23, 2008 @ 8:24 am

  25. Hurrah! The book (I hope!) just crashed onto my hall floor. That’s my weekend sorted!
    Re: Tadpole & Extreme Cuteness – having 3 small girls of my own has taught me that these moments are often rare & need to be cherished in your memory bank.
    Then they will go & destroy their bedroom with unbridled non-cuteness.

    Comment by joanne — February 23, 2008 @ 11:53 am

  26. I picked up your book on in Paris only Thursday and read it start to finish on the plane back to Philadelphia yesterday. Perfect airplane book. And now I find that the story’s jumped WAY ahead. Congratulations. (Or so I think now — I need to go back and get to know your Boy first, I suppose.)

    Comment by ellen — February 23, 2008 @ 2:24 pm

  27. And what the f is a Royal Cheese??

    Comment by Boris J — February 23, 2008 @ 5:46 pm

  28. Petite, I read it before that you are very worried about Tadpole, wanting to marry her father someday.

    Just to calm you down -I used to babysit a cute little girl, who wanted me to marry her father-

    The day I started babysitting for her she asked me- “are you going to be my new mommy”?

    Of course I explained to her who I am, but never mentioned the things she said to her mother and never told them to anyone before. It sounds funny I know but still-

    Children at the very young age say things that they don’t really think over, maybe seen it in a movie etc.

    You shouldn’t worry. My niece if even cuter, when asked who her father is she said a name unknown to the rest of the family. Luckily, she looks exactly like her real father.

    Your little daughter is beautful and smart, if I would have a chance to live in france I would apply for a nanny position to work for you.

    Comment by pchenge — February 23, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

  29. Accepter de n’être que princesse en second ce jour là, vous n’aurez pas de plus beau cadeau de mariage !

    Comment by marie-hélène — February 23, 2008 @ 7:24 pm

  30. I searched for Petite Anglaise on youtube…and there you are!

    The only part of the segment I understood were ‘blog’ (how amusing is THAT word said with a French accent: *bloug*!) and Bridget Jounes. Not very flattering… Don’t listen to that, I don’t get a BJ vibe from PA at all.

    You’re a very pretty lass btw. :-)

    Comment by Jacqueline — February 23, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  31. Oh bless!!

    Just wanted to say, all the best with the book launch – you’d already rocketed up the Amazon chart last time I looked! Can’t wait to read it, hope you’re enjoying all the excitement!

    Comment by Lucy Diamond — February 23, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

  32. What a cute post… I think I’m in love with the Boy!

    Comment by Patrizia — February 23, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  33. J’adore les happy endings. Bravo, félicitations tous les 3.

    Comment by David — February 23, 2008 @ 11:56 pm

  34. #28

    Look up “humour” and “irony” in your dictionary.

    Comment by Passante — February 24, 2008 @ 5:48 am

  35. Petite: congrats again – and tadpole is so sweet :)

    Boris (27): The royal cheese is what yankees would call a quarter pounder with cheese. Same mcDonalds chain but the burgers have different names when you go across the pond.

    Comment by walken — February 24, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  36. Royal Cheese….Hmm……The opening of Pulp Fiction” is racing through my head:

    Vincent: You know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in France?

    Jules: They don’t call it a quarter pounder?

    Vincent: Nah, they got the metric system there they don’t know what the f–k a quarter pounder is.

    Jules: What do they call it?

    Vincent: A Royal with Cheese.

    (Proceed forward to the trunk shot, and “Do you read the bible Brett?”)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — February 24, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  37. You have some very good publicity people, another 2x half page in the ST!

    Well done

    Comment by Martin — February 24, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

  38. 34- Passante

    you either take for fun, or irony it’s up to you. For me neither. Memories that’s all

    Comment by pchenge — February 24, 2008 @ 9:41 pm

  39. oh that is so so sweet
    et aussi felicitations!!

    Comment by marie — February 24, 2008 @ 11:16 pm

  40. Ugh, sorry i just have to say…Mcdonalds chicken nuggets! My God

    Otherwise the story was very sweet:)

    Comment by Maxi — February 25, 2008 @ 12:56 am

  41. Sorry to say this, but I’m wondering if the serialisation in the Times is really a good idea? Of course it’s excellent publicity (do you really need it?), but in my opinion, it seems to have been put together rather poorly (has the journalist copied and pasted parts of the book mixed with parts of the blog?). Because it fast forwards so much (condensing a whole year in just one Sunday: from breakup with Mr. Frog to break-up with JIR), some of the charm is definitely lost. Personally, I think that (blog-style) short extracts would be much more flattering to your writing style and to the whole story, rather than glossing from one break-up to the next in a single day. The unkind comments left by people in the ST might have been avoided by providing less information in each extract…Anyway, I’m sure the book is far better than the patchwork that has been serialised…It’s just my opinion, but I think shorter extracts would whet readers’ appetite more for the book. Many people who might otherwise have bought it may now think they know the whole story and don’t need to buy it…which would be a pity…
    Feel free to ignore/ delete this comment if you want…

    Comment by happyforyou — February 25, 2008 @ 9:36 am

  42. re Sunday Times. Yes, it’s hacked up. Basically when a newspaper purchases the right to serialise a book from the publisher, they decide which extracts to use and it’s pretty much out of my hands (and even the publisher’s – to a large extent).

    Personally I haven’t read the extracts – can’t bear to (but I’m not too worried about the kind of trolls who leave comments on newspaper sites – “Sanderson epitomises the kind of girl … bla bla bla”).

    I’m sure the main aim of the exercise is simply for the general public to remember the name when they see the book in a bookshop. Beyond that, I’d recommend you disregard it and give the whole book a chance. (As blog readers, you knew how the story ended anyway, but there is much between the covers you have never seen.)

    Comment by petite — February 25, 2008 @ 9:51 am

  43. Thanks for replying. Like the majority of your readers, I admire your writing and can see the ST patchwork for what it is. Looking forward to the book!
    Just hoping that the fast-forward serialisation doesn’t work against your interests, that’s all. I’m sure your blog persona is already a household name in the UK by now, anyway!
    Glad you take the trolls for what they are, too busy criticising other people’s choices to live their own impeccable lives…

    Comment by happyforyou — February 25, 2008 @ 10:22 am

  44. A very nice approval. I really hope I’ll get the same from my son someday. It was very thoughtful from the Boy to ask her… really sweet (& smart too!).

    Comment by Ségolène — February 25, 2008 @ 10:46 am

  45. “What would he have done if she had said no?????????????? That is a fine, good question!”

    I there was any chance that she would have said no, I wouldn’t have asked the question.

    I think I knew she would ever never say no.

    But still, I didn’t want to take any risks , so i asked her BEFORE I bought the happy meal (and she wanted it badly).

    Plus I knew she would be happy to think that she’d had her say on this matter (even though she didn’t, obviously).

    The Boy

    Comment by The Boy — February 25, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

  46. @ petite #42.

    ‘but there is much between the covers you have never seen’. Ooo no missus, stop that at once! ;-)

    Comment by Steve... — February 25, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

  47. I try to avoid reading blogger’s books because they don’t seem to have the immediacy of the blog. But I’ve been reading your serialisation over the last two weekends and am becoming more and more interested in reading the book. I like how you’ve written some of it as a kind of story behind the story, so those of us who have read the blog can better understand the events that you were less specific about at the time.

    When I read on Sunday I felt as moved as I did when I read about the events on your blog originally. In fact, I think the impact is even greater now because I realise how much you ached for someone to love you enough to want to marry you, and knowing that you have now found that someone. (I think getting married myself during that period also helped, because I better understand its significance.)

    Well done, as usual.

    Comment by Damian — February 25, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

  48. The boy must must be very charming for Tadpole to say No! Still came back from Amsterdam without seeing the dutch version maybe I was not in the right bookshop!

    Comment by penelope — February 25, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

  49. Bribery… every time!

    Comment by susie — February 25, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

  50. Hi Petite,

    Have you seen the cover of Jenna Bailey’s book ‘Can Any Mother Help Me?’ (PB version – I don’t know if there was a HB version or what it looked like if there was)? Scarily similar to yours… Don’t worry, though – what is between THOSE covers bears no resemblance to your story. It nonetheless sounds like a good book – just bought it today, while looking for YOUR book (in case Waterstone’s had advanced copies!). I was so struck by the cover design that I had to write a comment here.

    Comment by Lotus Flower — February 25, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  51. That was such a cute story and so nice to see that the boy asked his mother first. I love to see that. The McDonald’s chicken nuggets in the beginning almost ruined it for me though.

    Comment by Tina Anderson — March 6, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

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