petite anglaise

March 18, 2008


Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:43 am

It is Sunday morning. After a friend’s birthday dinner at Le Chapeau Melon the previous night and a few glasses of wine, I’m feeling sluggish. It’s been weeks since I’ve managed to sleep in. When I’m feeling stressed and highly strung I wake early, my overactive brain skittering uncontrollably from worry to worry until I can’t bear it any more and have to haul myself out of bed to escape my own thoughts. But today I’m so snug, my head’s so empty, that I just want to savour the feeling of warm bed, the back of my hand grazing The Boy’s smooth buttock.

The problem, of course, is that I’m supposed to be taking Tadpole to her water play session (I hesitate to call it swimming class, as there is still no sign of any teaching element whatsoever). I have to go: it’s paid for, she loves it and I even made the mistake of mentioning it when I got up to make her breakfast a few hours earlier. She’s watching a DVD at present in the next room while I drift in and out of sleep, rain pattering comfortingly against the windowpane. There’s no way she will have forgotten.

I hear a noise, and it takes me a while to register whether the culprit is the doorbell, the alarm clock, or one of the four mobile phones The Boy and I have lying around the room. By the time I work out what is going on and have crawled across the room, a message has been left on my phone. The number is an unfamiliar land line, and I contemplate replacing phone in handbag without investigating further. Then again, maybe someone somewhere has just answered my prayers. So I dial “888” and clamp the phone to my ear to listen, a smile slowly spreading across my face.

Bonjour, je vous appelle de la piscine Grange aux Belles,’ says the voice. It’s the jovial lady with a poodle perm who guards the swimming pool entrance, usually armed with a large tin of assorted sweets. ‘La séance de 11h30 est annulée,’ she says breathlessly, probably making her twentieth identical call. ‘En raison d’un caca dans l’eau.’

‘Hallelujah,’ I say, glancing at the clock, which reads 11.15 am. I slip between the covers, unable to believe my good fortune.


  1. Don your Chapeau Melon, Inspecteur Petite simply has to solve the riddle of the ‘caca dans l’eau’!

    Comment by Sandlander — March 18, 2008 @ 11:35 am

  2. Lucky reprieve indeed, the “caca dans l’eau” was a blessing in disguise!!
    What are Tadpole’s favourite DVDs?
    I hope you filled up the bath for her to splash around in later on!!

    Good luck with your reading on Thursday!

    Comment by happyforyou — March 18, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  3. If I’d been having a sip of my tea, I’d have snorted it all over the screen! At least they didn’t just fish it out and pretend it didn’t happen… (feeling slightly queasy now).

    Comment by Jen — March 18, 2008 @ 11:56 am

  4. Haha ! Un caca dans l’eau ! C’est trop drôle. J’imagine la tête des gens dans la piscine quand ils ont vu la chose flotter à côté d’eux… Beurk !

    Comment by Pauline — March 18, 2008 @ 11:58 am

  5. ‘En raison d’un caca dans l’eau.’


    Comment by Andrea — March 18, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  6. Dear petite

    Glad to see you are recovering from your splurge of book signing – ready to resume in Paris, no doubt. I was glad to meet you at the signing in York, albeit briefly (apologies for arriving only between engagements).

    One reason why I think the book is good is the fact that I was not surprised at all by you in person. You were uncannily as I had imagined, even allowing for the evident literary talent in your writing.

    Every sympathy with your preference for a Sunday lie-in over swimming lessons. I endured those for ten years until I eventually gave up and decided that if I didn’t want to sink I would just have to avoid the deep water. Forty-odd years later, this plan seems to have worked …

    John Norris

    Comment by John Norris — March 18, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

  7. Eeuw!

    I once discovered a caca in the eau, and looked around in dismay to see several more. And it was the shallow kiddies’ paddling area too, so I was in distinct danger of stepping / sitting on them.

    They were enormous too. Once I had evacuated myself and my son (oh dear, that was a very poor choice of language) and raised a general alarm, I amused with myself with trying to imagine how on earth it could have happened without anyone noticing, and wondering whether it was deliberate or some kind of hideous accident…

    Comment by Clare — March 18, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  8. Translation of the article in El País yesterday:

    “She’s sexier, wittier and more attractive. Petite Anglaise is an enhanced version of myself”. Catherine Sanderson is unstinting in her compliments for her virtual self, despite her digital narrator’s having turned her life upside down. She managed to have her sacked in 2006, seduced a handsome English translator and gave her the courage to cheat on and leave the father of her daughter.
    “I have no regrets. I wouldn’t change a single comma of what I wrote”, she claims with the same firmness that she has used on her computer keys since July 2004, when she started her weblog, A blog with a pink background that is devoured by about 100,000 Internet users per month and which reached a total of 40,000 visits a day in 2006, with readers checking on the publishers’ offers.
    “They really lavished attention on me. The people at Penguin welcomed me with a serving of fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. They had read every last bit of my blog and they knew how much I missed this English food”, explains Catherine Sanderson, aged 35 and a native of Yorkshire (England). In the end, the British publisher pulled it off: a juicy contract worth 653,163 euros to publish 20,000 copies of a book based on the blog and a future fiction novel. Since it was published on 6th March, the book Petite Anglaise. In Paris. In love. In trouble has been ranked among the 20th best-selling biographies at the online bookshop Amazon. A sales phenomenon published in Holland and due to be distributed in the coming months in Italy, Germany, Finland, Poland, Israel, Iceland, Canada and the US. An author that shows that the paths for becoming a successful writer are changing.
    “I was captivated by the style, the honesty and the quality of her writing”, Sanderson remembers on the telephone. “I was really taken by Belle de Jour, the blog written by a London prostitute that has already sold more than 100,000 books. Two days later, I started my own web. My life was very boring. My alter ego filled it with excitement”.
    Love, infidelity and bed scenes: an infallible cocktail. The British press started to call her the “Bridget Jones of Paris”. Sanderson vented about her conflicts at work as the secretary of the accountancy firm Wilson Dixon (sic) , her family problems – with her parents, because of her adoption, and with her daughter, because “she loved her father more”- and her fling with a young Englishman called James.
    Digital literature, agile and somewhat foulmouthed. An autobiography that is not without narcissism. Blonde, tall, delicate and with really white skin, this British woman based on Paris for the last 13 years is what the French call “une petite anglaise” (a little English girl). A suggestive title that the graduate of French and German chose for her blog. An online identity that did not save her from sensationalist scandals or celebrity. “I always wanted to preserve my own anonymity and that of my relatives and my company”, she assures. In the author’s blog, her former partner goes by the funny nickname of “Mr. Frog” (a nickname that the British use to describe the French) and her daughter is “Tadpole”. However, in April 2006, Wilson Dixon (sic), the company for which she had been working for four years, gave her the sack. “They alleged that my web was detrimental to their image”. A flood of e-mails and comments encouraged her to take her case to court. The justice system took her side and Sanderson pocketed 44,000 euros as compensation. Enough to get by. To pay the mortgage on “mon petit appartement” – she is continuously slipping expressions in French- ; to pay for her daughter’s education. More than enough for her angelical “bobo” face (from bourgoise bohème, as Sanderson defines herself) to hit the pages of the main British and French newspapers (The Guardian, Independent, Le Monde, L’Express) and for her voice to be heard on television channels halfway around the world (BBC, CNN).
    Transferring to blog to paper was not an easy task. “I rewrote nearly everything. And I included the comments of the Internet users in the text, like the chorus in Greek drama. The blog had been written in fits and starts. The novel is more linear”.

    Comment by happyforyou — March 18, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

  9. A few errors always creep in somewhere. I’m resigned to the fact now…

    But potty-mouthed? I think she is confusing the coy, irreproachably well-spoken petite for the Catherine described here by the lovely Troubled Diva.

    Comment by petite — March 18, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

  10. I dread them, myself, when they appear in the tub, but I’m very happy that your turd allowed a few more minutes of sleep.

    That I would have loved this morning, when I was woken up at 5:45 because someone needed to fart and scream, not necessarily in that order.

    Why yes, I did graduate middle school. Why do you ask? ;)

    Comment by La Rêveuse — March 18, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

  11. caca happens!

    Comment by Steve... — March 18, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

  12. Well, I’ve taken the plunge…….

    See what reading your blog has done to me……;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — March 18, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

  13. A friend of mine’s summmer job was a lifeguard, and every evening they went turd fishing – it’s very common, though your local pool is being very belt and braces as there is usually so much chlorine in municipal pools that you could pour a slurry lorry in them and not pose a serious health risk.
    We use as little as possible in ours and despite regularly fishing out dead mice and snakes the bacteria levels always test OK. I believe some pools are now putting a chemical in the water to turn it purple when people pee in it – Oh the shame that would bring. The pool side signs of no running, jumping or dive-bombing, would have to be amended to no laughing, coughing or sneezing for the aquaerobics class!

    Comment by j — March 18, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  14. best thing about Paris – no veggie eateries!

    Great Blog,


    Comment by gary — March 18, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  15. Hahahahha … that made me laugh out loud.

    Comment by Vic — March 18, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  16. Seing as the curiosity of a child Tadpoles’age would surely have led to a conversation about merde,thereby taking the bloom off of the lovely cocoon-like coziness that you were enjoying at the moment,what reason did you give her for the cancellation of the “lesson”? ;)

    Comment by Belle — March 18, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  17. Isn’t it funny how our prayers are sometimes answered in the most unusual (and humorous) ways? I’m sure Tadpole was disappointed not to be able to swim but the caca won out.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — March 18, 2008 @ 5:10 pm

  18. I remember un caca dans l’eau when I was a child, in the learners pool. I think we just swam past it. Yuck!

    Comment by Hungry Hippo — March 18, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

  19. Bleurk!

    Why is it that a bed feels most comfortable and toasty warm when you have to get up?

    Hurrah for weekend lie-ins!

    What did you do with Tadpole instead?

    Comment by miss london — March 18, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

  20. ‘caca dans l’eau.’ That’s the problem with tiny tots in the pool. Poor you – another thing to worry about.

    Comment by Pat — March 18, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  21. I am childless- the concept of this being the reason for a swimming lesson cancellation is superb! Hilarious.


    Comment by girlwiththemask — March 18, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

  22. shit happens!

    (can’t believe noone said that already :-))

    Comment by emma — March 18, 2008 @ 8:32 pm

  23. Merde alors! hehehe

    Comment by Jacques — March 18, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

  24. Too funny! Somehow in French it’s even funnier because I always think of French as being so classy.

    This story reminds me of a recent visit to our own pool when an announcement came over the loud speakers, “Please exit the toddler pool. The pool has been fouled. I repeat, the pool has been fouled.”

    From the speed of those leaving the toddler pool, I don’t think repeating it was necessary.

    Comment by Zoe — March 18, 2008 @ 11:11 pm

  25. Zoe,

    Your post is so funny.

    Here I am sitting in a cafe in Byron Bay, Australia on a Wednesday morning, I simply burst out laughing upon reading ‘the pool has been fouled’.

    You couldn’t make it up.

    Comment by pablo — March 18, 2008 @ 11:47 pm

  26. Oh dear, we live and learn.

    We have a disparaging remark in the US that says of a bad person “shit don’t float.” Is there anything similar in French? “Caca descende la piscine?” Or is French merde so different that in does, in fact, float?!?

    Thanks, Petite, this was hilarious.

    Comment by PJ Carz — March 19, 2008 @ 3:34 am

  27. shit happens!
    (can’t believe noone said that already :-))

    Umm, Emma (#22), your demi (#11) did.

    Comment by Passante — March 19, 2008 @ 3:49 am

  28. You with a potty mouth? nahhhhh! Never. I’m the one with the potty mouth. Believe me! As for “le caca dans l’eau”, alors; seen it before and never ever want to “swim” near “that” ever again. Ewwwwwwww! But the pool guard’s cheerful voice is hilarious!

    A tentatively grossed out yet laughing Beau
    In Seattle

    Comment by Beau — March 19, 2008 @ 8:03 am

  29. Quel horreur! But it’s true, it’s funny how your prayers can be answered like that- almost like you make it happen- I once wished a colleague would just disappear and within a week he announced he was moving to Outer Mongolia- eery!

    Comment by Marianne in Paris — March 19, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

  30. Hmmm – everyday comedy, surely, toilet humour seems to tickle your readers.

    I enjoyed reading your book whilst trying not to focus on the excruciating noise caused by some of the guests in our less than salubrious hostel during an annual students’ fieldtrip to Amsterdam, a very trippy experience in more ways than one. Strangely, I shall now forever associate your book with Amsterdam!

    I am intrigued however about the bigger picture so well captured in the flash advert for your book in the lines of “blogging about my life changed its course”.

    There is an exciting loop of existentialism, “an individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices”, rapport and cyberspace in how your life has panned out.

    I first came to hear of your tale on the “Women’s hour” – whilst the radio is regarded as “traditional media” it is still part of the wider phenomena of mass mediated messages.

    I can see a budding research project here…

    Comment by The Flying Finn — March 19, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  31. One thing I’ve enjoyed about your blog is how UNpottymouthed both you and most of your followers tend to be. I don’t notice it until I click a link to another blog that’s not nearly as clean, then it all hits me right in the face.

    It’s completely possible to be totally articulate and entertaining without stooping to crude language, and I appreciate that I generally do not find it here.

    Thank you.

    Comment by azurienne — March 19, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  32. Parking a young child on its own in front of a TV screen is an interesting view as to what constitutes good parenting. Not a view I happen to share. I speak as a father of four grown up and well balanced children.

    Comment by Tony — March 20, 2008 @ 8:40 am

  33. Tadpole watches hand picked English DVD’s at my house – and only on weekend mornings. We don’t have a TV.

    To anyone who would like to criticise my parenting skills (and are you honestly saying that you would never ever do this, however exhausted you might be?) I’d like to refer you to the last response in dooce’s FAQ:

    “I’m surprised you haven’t been reported to child welfare with how public you are about some of the things you think and do regarding your daughter. Paper towels are very dangerous for your daughter to chew on. She could suffocate. don’t let her be alone with them. I’m amazed at how foolish you can be sometimes.”

    dooce replies:

    When you call DCFS, please get the story straight. Not only do I leave her alone with paper towels, I set her in the middle of a flea-infested floor and surround her with sharp objects and porn. Then I turn on a wood-burning stove in the corner of the room and seal all the windows. Before I leave the room and lock the door, I stick a bottle full of vodka in her mouth, to muffle the screaming.

    Comment by petite — March 20, 2008 @ 9:05 am

  34. re-reading that, I think it’s possible I got out of the wrong side of bed this morning!

    Comment by petite — March 20, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  35. An English DVD sounds great – my daughter was in front of MTV at about 4 months old! Our current favourite is Miami Ink on the Discovery Channel – so much nicer than Teletubbies (well, for me anyway)!

    Good luck with the reading tonight!

    Comment by Hazy — March 20, 2008 @ 9:42 am

  36. I’ve just re-read my comment – three sentences with three exclamation marks. Slight case of over-caffeining this morning?

    Comment by Hazy — March 20, 2008 @ 9:45 am

  37. Tony: “Parking a young child on its own in front of a TV screen is an interesting view as to what constitutes good parenting. Not a view I happen to share. I speak as a father of four grown up and well balanced children.”

    Tadpole may not yet be grown-up, but I’m sure she is and will be every bit as well-balanced as your grown-up kids, save yourself the worry.
    One thing is parking a child in front of the TV to watch unsuitable material for hours on end with no adult supervision or support. It’s another thing entirely to choose a DVD that you know is suitable material and will last at most an hour and a half, while you rest in the next room.
    The occasional DVD doesn’t do a child any harm, even if (shock, horror) the parent happens to take the opportunity to rest while she’s watching it.
    In fact, for bilingual kids, well-chosen audiovisual entertainment is very helpful in reinforcing and extending their vocabulary.

    And I say that as the mother of well-balanced multilingual kids that are not yet grown-up.
    I really don’t get why the fact that your kids are grown-up gives you the authority to lecture other parents from your high-horse, know-it-all position. If anything, it means that it’s been a long time since you parented a 4-5 year old!
    Some people are so self-righteous, it’s incredible…

    Why do you suppose petite might bother to enrol her daughter for swimming lessons on a Sunday morning in the first place? Because she’s a poor parent?

    Comment by happyforyou — March 20, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  38. Hey now, let’s be nice to Tony – he seemingly brought up 4 kids singlehandedly, and let’s face it 20-30 years ago the New Man hadn’t been invented. Of course, if his wife was doing the childcare, he’s even more of a twunt.
    As for Petite getting out of the wrong side of bed, it’s cool, I’d have reacted far more strongly.
    My kids watch pretty much what they want. Son’s into science documentaries, and daughter loves CBBC. They haven’t worked out that the crappy cartoon channels don’t work because of parental control. Besides, the weekdays are so full with school and clubs, that we deliberately keep weekend free for chill time.

    Comment by j — March 20, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  39. I happily plonk my child in front of the telly all the time, and unlike Petite I go for bog-standard whatever-happens-to-be-on broadcasting…

    I did the same when I was a kid.

    And I have grown up to be a psychopathic axe-wielding maniac, so all is well.

    Comment by Clare — March 20, 2008 @ 1:13 pm

  40. Gosh Tony, who made you the parent police?

    I’m exactly like petite; no t.v in our house, only carefully selected dvds. Harder than you might think and far from lazy.

    Petite- I have in front of me what I think is the first copy of PA in Jeddah. Am very proud and very glad it’s weekend here, so I can start. :-)

    Comment by miss london — March 20, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

  41. Tony – the only children I know who grew up completely without a tv, became sadly addicted to it in later life (as well as to other recreational drugs). You might want to rethink your no tv rule. My son (3) is also allowed to watch limited DVDs and he is also well-balanced and completely bilingual – partly (ok, very partly) thanks to Thomas the Tank Engine.

    Comment by Cath — March 20, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

  42. I love that ‘caca dans l’eau’ reason for closing the pool. I’m sure sometimes it’s not even that. The pool staff fancy a lie-in themselves and a caca dans l’eau is a sure-fire way of turning people away with no insistence!
    A DVD is certainly healthier in this case!
    Looking forward to your signing at WHSmith’s this evening.

    Comment by Paris Lights — March 20, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

  43. Maybe, just maybe, it was a Mars bar…. he he he!

    Comment by Karma — March 20, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  44. Ouch! I certainly seemed to have touched a nerve. I must apologise if I have upset anyone but if you re-read my post you will see I was not being critical, I simply said that I had a different opinion. I certainly was not claiming to be a parenting policeman, nor was I suggesting that treating children this way would lead to them becoming axe murderers and I certainly was not suggesting that leaving a child in front of a TV was anything similar to bottle feeding them vodka. I am not on a high horse and I am not lecturing and I am the first person to admit that I do not know it all. What active imaginations you all have. But I say again, I do seem to have touched a nerve.

    To be clear I have no objection to television, DVDs etc. etc. I just happen not to like the idea of using them as an opiate to keep kids quiet, especially when they are left alone. This is my opinion, not necessarily that of others I admit.

    What prompted me to post at all was the heartache I felt for poor little Tadpole happily watching the DVD her mummy had given her, sitting there thinking of the water she was going to be splashing around in soon, blissfully unaware that this was not going to happen. And that all this was meant to be funny and entertaining. I admit the idea made me think some less than pleasant thoughts about her mummy.


    Comment by Tony — March 20, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

  45. But Tony, the swimming-class being cancelled was not petite’s fault, it was because there was a caca dans l’eau, i.e. a poopoo in the water!

    99% of readers probably found this post hilariously funny and entertaining, just as it was meant.

    After all, I’m sure missing one swimming class would be no big deal to a well-balanced child, wouldn’t you agree?

    I think the fact that you thought some less than pleasant thoughts about the child’s mummy, on the basis of a funny anecdote, says alot more about you than you might care to acknowledge…

    Comment by happyforyou — March 20, 2008 @ 6:41 pm

  46. Sauvée par la merde !
    Alors là !
    Je n’aime pas les histoires scatos, mais celle-ci a quelque chose de délicieux !
    Et j’imagine aisément le plaisir que tu as du éprouver à pouvoir te recoucher la conscience légère.

    Comment by marie-hélène — March 20, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

  47. As a change from the DVD/TV debate I’d like to tell you that my husband (a retired English teacher) who hates reading novels and only ever has his nose in a book about trains, churches, the war etc. picked up Petite Anglaise and read it all through.
    What’s more – he admitted to enjoying it! He approved your style of writing (and he is very critical after years of marking essays) but I was surprised when he said he found it rather sad and it ended rather abruptly. Of course, he didn’t know the outcome so I told him what happened afterwards.

    Comment by sablonneuse — March 20, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  48. Most good mothers feel guilt that they are not the perfect copy- book mother all the time, but we do – have done – our best. Let anyone then attempt to criticise us and you’d better look out and take cover.

    Comment by Pat — March 20, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

  49. The fun thing about leaving comments on here which may be construed to be negative about Petite, Tony, is the defensive responses we get from her followers (of which I am one) I have been more than a little critical from time to time, (n’est-ce pas Petite?) and although she has often answered, the comments from the others are funny. (Sorry)

    Comment by Cheria — March 20, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  50. Tony, I write as a detached party here, not as one of the sycophantic group that would spring to PA’s defense even if she said she’d committed murder. But I have, as you suggested, re-read your comment #32, and you still sound judgmental to me — but then I failed Mind Reading 101 so I didn’t get the subtext, your real meaning, as explained in your comment #44.

    As to your “heartache for poor little tadpole”, she was watching a movie waiting for a swimming lesson that ended up not happening not because PA couldn’t be bothered to take her, but because some brat pooped in the pool. OK, PA was relieved not to have to take the child swimming, but she didn’t organize the poop in the pool, and had it not happened, she would undoubtedly have dragged herself out of bed and taken her daughter. It will not kill Tadpole to learn, as we all must, that sometimes the random events of life lead to disappointment.

    By the way, we didn’t have a TV in my house until I was around 15, but my parents (shame on them, I guess) left me alone in a room while I read books. It seems not a lot different to me from leaving a child in another room to watch a DVD selected by a careful parent.

    If good parenting means that you have to sit and watch kiddie movies with your child, sit and watch your child read, spend every single second with your child, thank God I didn’t have children. And thank God my parents didn’t subscribe to that philosophy of child rearing.

    Comment by Passante — March 20, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

  51. 49 is so right, Tony, if you want some fun say something negative about Petite.

    Comment by jen — March 21, 2008 @ 2:01 am

  52. Cheria: Thank you, I realised too late that this is a fan club, but let’s face facts, what we have here is a woman who is putting her life and that of others around her on display for all to see. That makes her fair game and if she can’t take it she shouldn’t do it.

    Passante: You are right. I am sorry. It was disingenuous of me to suggest that post 32 was not judgemental. If you read it literally then in fact there is no criticism, I merely express the view that the approach described is “interesting” but not a view I share. Of course coming from an Englishman this sort if oblique comment is clearly highly critical. While on the subject of being judgmental, to see some extreme versions of people jumping to conclusions and being judgemental you need look no further than some of the replies my post generated, for example just look at 37 and the last paragraph of 45. happyforyou seems to think she has a deep insight into me and my thoughts that are really not justified by the words I have used.

    Anyway, this has gone on too long. I have my views. I realise others think differently. No one here will change my mind and it is clear I will not change the mind of anyone here so let’s just drop the subject. I won’t be back. I will leave all to your fan club.

    Comment by Tony — March 21, 2008 @ 8:38 am

  53. I think I tend to feel a little sore when someone infers from a couple of paragraphs giving an insight into an hour of my day that I am (insert random negative word here).

    I know that these were the moments I chose to share, and therefore the only basis you have for judgement, if judge you must. As usual, I didn’t choose to show myself in the best light – but I’m nonetheless surprised that you couldn’t cut an exhausted mum some slack for daring to confess she preferred her bed on a Sunday morning to an outing in the rain to the local swimming pool. And for thinking the anecdote might raise a few laughs/groans of recognition and therefore be worth recounting).

    You have no idea whether I do this every single Sunday or whether it was a once in a lifetime occurence. So why so swift to give an opinion on my parenting skills on the basis of such scant information?

    Comment by petite — March 21, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  54. petite: You are right. It was none of my business. I’ll leave you to it.

    Comment by Tony — March 21, 2008 @ 10:47 am

  55. Petite,

    you confessed in your book of being guilty of over-explaining things… this a case in point.

    Blogging is a form of exhibitionism and all of us readers display a sense of voyeurism, not in any graphic sense but metaphoracilly speaking.

    Your post was funny – there’s no need to go through a (painful?) post-mortem. Blogosphere is an interactive space, one chooses to exhibit certain aspects of one’s life/thinking/whatever and those snippets will invite comments, by friends and foes, those are the rules of the game. I’m surprised you haven’t got cyberstalkers yet (maybe you do?). Facebook is more suitable for those only wanting a virtual fanclub, blogging is more volatile by nature.

    I, too, have just over-explained, I must make a mental note and try to avoid falling for it chaque fois. I am very, very prone it.

    Comment by The Flying Finn — March 21, 2008 @ 1:24 pm

  56. By the way, there is no dye in existence which can indicate the presence of urine in a public swimming pool. But children (and adults) have been telling each other about the mythical dye for at least 30 years, as I remember being told about it when I was a kid.

    Here is a detailed article about the myth, and why it isn’t true.

    Comment by Clare — March 21, 2008 @ 4:34 pm

  57. Incidentally it’s also not true that you should wait after eating and before swimming, otherwise you will get stomach cramps and drown.

    It’s an incredibly strong myth, that one, but has no basis in fact.

    Here’s the article explaining why.

    Comment by Clare — March 21, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

  58. HAHA. I had to use google translator to understand the french. Thats very funny about caca in the water. Lucky that you got more cuddle time.

    Comment by anonymous in NYC — March 21, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

  59. As a child I am shamed to tell pooooeed in the water, maybe it was my brother…but it was in our little plastic bathub no undies on etc. SOSO It’s a complete myth to me how can anyone with their bathing suit on shit in the water?

    Maybe Tony wouldn’t be so upset if tadpole stayed alone between 7 am – 9 am, 11.15 am is sounds late.

    Petite is trying to balance her life with rasing a kid, without staying alone by the time tadpole is about to live her own life. Some women give up everything, for their little offsprings-no men – SEX what is that? I have a kid come on -etc.

    It’s hard but I do know what Tony thought about.

    Comment by pchenge — March 21, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

  60. Petite, I hate to sound pedantic, especially as you are now a full-blown published writer but isn’t there a nistake in the penultimate sentence of your blog?

    Surely, it should read, “Hallelujah, I say, glancing at the cock which is primed and ready for action at any time”?

    With this correction the last sentence would make much more sense?

    Comment by gonzales — March 21, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  61. I really must not come here again, but since I did:

    “Petite is trying to balance her life with rasing a kid, without staying alone by the time tadpole is about to live her own life.”

    Err… excuse me, but this is a woman that chose to have a child, who chose to have an affair and who chose to ditch the father of the child. Cutting slack doesn’t come into it.

    You are right thought 11:15 is far too late.

    Comment by Tony — March 22, 2008 @ 2:03 am

  62. Yes, she choose to have a child, and She is women and in some country by this little incidence would be enough to loose the battle over raising her child. Sad,

    Comment by pchenge — March 22, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

  63. Earlier this week, i bought your book to read on holiday. I’m afraid to say that i had never heard of ‘petite anglaise’ , and so after finishing reading the book i immediately logged on to read the blog behind the book. you write exactly how i imagined you would! i’ve been reading all of your blogs, and doing so was like a delicious sequel to the book…you do write so elegantly. very chic, very french.

    i am much as you were at the start of the book- a blog virgin with an interest for france. im considering setting my own one up now, after reading yours. inspiring! vous êtes tel un inpiration!


    Comment by georgia — March 22, 2008 @ 8:52 pm

  64. p.s. , from what i can gather -and i do realise that the blog and probably the book too are just polaroid pieces of your life- petite is just like most other parents. i know my mum used to plant me infront of a “teeny + tiny” video when she wanted a rest.

    she also used to let me play on a tamagotchi at church (shock horror)and feed me turkey twizzlers.

    as far as i know, i have no psychopathic intentions and am not on my way to becming an axe murderer.

    i love you petite!

    Comment by georgia — March 22, 2008 @ 8:57 pm

  65. Good for you. I never had the courage myself to sign up my kids for bébés nageurs, because it is sooooooo hard to go to the swimming pool in the bad weather, when all you want is to stay under the covers with a book/boy.

    When I was a student in Paris I used to go to the pool near the pelouse de Reuilly at lunchtime and one day, the pool was closed “pour cause d’excréments dans le bassin”. I don’t know why but it sounds more disgusting than “caca dans l’eau”

    Comment by Delphine in Antibes — March 25, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

  66. There’s nothing more delicious than an unexpected reprieve from the everyday – whatever the cause. You described it very well.

    Comment by Peg — March 27, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  67. In the American South there’s also the expression “cream rises, but shit floats,” meaning one’s success is not always determined by merit.
    Anyway, I think floatability is determined by diet… at least that’s what my ninth grade biology teacher told us.

    Comment by Hannah — March 31, 2008 @ 7:04 pm

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