petite anglaise

February 4, 2009


Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:57 am

It’s almost bedtime and having just popped a decidedly honeymoon bikini-unfriendly gratin into the oven, I’m putting my feet up for a moment. Tadpole pads out of the bathroom wearing a towel, her hair gathered up into a curly knot on top of her head.

For the past two months, the next part of our evening routine consisted of Tadpole lying on the sofa while I rasped away at the sole of her right foot with an emery board, applied an acid preparation and covered my handiwork in adhesive dressings. But, thankfully, the verruca cluster on her right heel is history now. So when Tadpole slides her bottom onto the sofa by my side, we can devote the last few minutes of her day to more pleasant activities, like reading stories together or just shooting the breeze.

‘How many sleeps is it until theatre class?’ says Tadpole innocently. ‘Is it two more, or is it three?’

‘Three,’ I reply, darting her an amused look. ‘Why do you ask? Are you looking forward to getting Leonardo all to yourself?’

Tadpole blushes. Leonardo is her playground crush. Jules, her amoureux of the first two years of maternelle had the misfortune to be allocated to a different class when they both moved up to the grande section in September. He’s only just a along the corridor nowadays, but this minor geographical shift has made a world of difference. I fully understand, never having been much good at long-distance relationships myself. Loin des yeux, loin du coeur as they say.

Leonardo, on the other hand, is not only in Tadpole’s class but also attends her Friday evening éveil théâtral activity, at a nearby centre d’animation. There they slither along the floor pretending to be snakes, stand immobile side by side with their arms stretched to the ceiling being trees and, according to the teacher, are pretty much joined at the hip.

‘Last time at theatre class,’ Tadpole confides, ‘Leonardo did give me a kiss on the cheek. He said that I have extremely very soft skin and he told me that I’m pretty when I take off my glasses…’ She frowns. ‘But Mummy,’ she adds, ‘when we’re at school, he says he loves Suzanne most of all. And in the cour de recréation today, he did hold her hand.’

‘But what about Nina?’ I say, puzzled. ‘I thought Nina was his school girlfriend, and you were his theatre class girlfriend.’ It is to be hoped that my apparent acceptance of this unusual situation is not paving the way for Tadpole to willingly participate in a ménage-à-trois when she is older.

Tadpole shakes her head. ‘He changed his mind about Nina,’ she explains. ‘Because she chose Raphaël to be her king when we ate the galette des rois.’

picture by Tadpole

I am reminded of when we cut into our own galette at home, just after the New Year. By devious means, I made sure Tadpole ate the slice containing the fève. When the time came to choose her king, however, she protested that she didn’t have a real choice, The Boy being the only male present and startled us all by choosing one of her soft toy frogs instead. The irony of this – although Tadpole has no idea I call her father Mr Frog on this blog – was not entirely lost on me.

‘Well,’ I say to Tadpole, casting around for something wise-sounding to say. ‘If Leonardo doesn’t appreciate you all the time, it’s his loss. One day, when you are much older, you’ll have a real boyfriend. Someone who only wants to hold your hand.’

‘But Mummy,’ Tadpole protests. ‘I am grown up. I’m five years old! And Leonardo is REAL.’

Oh, he’s real alright, I think to myself. And he’s well on his way to becoming a Real Player.


  1. It starts so early, doesn’t it? They switch friends and boyfriends on a regular basis around here too, I can hardly keep up. Tadpole’s theater class sounds fun. Wish they had something like that here in my village!

    Comment by Rachelle — February 4, 2009 @ 11:02 am

  2. Ahh, young love! I was 5 years old when I had my first girlfriend. Lasted until I was 11 and then peer pressure put an end to it. She was very timid and I think I only managed to get a peck on the cheek from her.

    Blokes start early with not being able to make up their mind.

    Comment by Jester — February 4, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  3. I’d quite like to get me a real boyfriend. One who only wants to hold my hand…

    Comment by travelling, but not in love — February 4, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

  4. Seems like the boyfriend-girlfriend discussions start *way* earlier here than in the States. At least 5-year olds don’t get expelled for a playground kiss like they do back home…

    La Mom
    An American Mom in Paris

    Comment by La Mom — February 4, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

  5. Superb, love it!! le Noel de Petit Ours Brun DVD, episode no. 15, Petit Ours Brun est amoureux! And very topical with 14th Feb coming up soon too. Cute dessin!

    Comment by Tiffany — February 4, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  6. My 4.5 year-old son met a younger girl several months ago at a local B&B. As they were walking around holding hands, I overheard him tell her in Hebrew, “did you know that I also speak English?”

    I can only imagine the lines he’ll be using when he hits puberty, perhaps “did you know that I also have an American passport?” Sigh…

    Comment by Liza R — February 4, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  7. How amusing. My first crushes started around that age. My mother found it highly amusing. At 6, my first crush was on a boy in the top class (and therefore aged 11). Clearly I liked the “older man” at that age!

    Comment by L.C.T. — February 4, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

  8. hahahah Tadpole sounds very sensible:) The boyfriend is real…and she is indeed quite grown-up now.

    Comment by edina monsoon — February 4, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

  9. My five year old crush was a kid named Cam… Sadly, he decided that he liked Kim White more than me. (This, unfortunately, then became a life-long pattern. Meet boy, like boy, boy finds someone he likes better. Sigh.) Bonne chance, Tadpole.

    Comment by Julie — February 4, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

  10. I waited 46 years to meet the one who only wants to hold my hand and kiss my cheek. He was worth the wait. Just hoping Tadpole won’t have to wait nearly THAT long, though…

    Comment by The Bold Soul — February 4, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

  11. Chez moi ça tourne. A peine, es-tu informée d’une inclination que, pas de bol, c’est fini ! Trahison, déception, tout est bon pour jouer les girouettes.

    Comment by marie-Hélène — February 4, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  12. Did Tadpole draw that picture by herself?
    If so, she’s one impressive little artist for a five year old!

    “decidedly honeymoon bikini-unfriendly gratin”

    Bikini-friendly food is most definitely wrong at this time of year, your gratin sounds much more appetising than cold salad!
    So when are you escaping the wintry weather for your honeymoon? It’s so lovely to be able to fly straight into summertime at this time of year, have a wonderful holiday!

    Isn’t it today that your paperback goes on sale? Congratulations!

    Comment by happyforyou — February 5, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  13. Apparently, verrucae can be treated (i.e. starved of oxygen until they fall out of their own accord) by coating them in clear nail varnish every day – also keeps them from spreading, as they are extremely contagious…

    Comment by happyforyou — February 5, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

  14. @12 – in a week’s time. woohoo!

    Tadpole was using a ‘how to draw princesses’ book for inspiration so therefore loosely copying another drawing. To me it looks like an adult has rushed off a deliberately approximate drawing, and that’s what I love about it.

    Comment by petite — February 5, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

  15. How adorable is she!!! I love how everything is so serious and silly at the same time when you’re little.


    chicette from chicsetera

    Comment by chicette from chicsetera — February 5, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

  16. Leonardo and Raphaël? Are we in a Renaissance mood here (pun intended)?

    Or is it more Ninja Turtles?

    Comment by suziboo — February 5, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

  17. He he. I suppose their parents must have been when they named them. For once, the names have not been changed to protect the (not so) innocent…

    Comment by petite — February 5, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  18. Congrats on the release of the paperback! This is sooooooo exciting!:) I love the cover, would make a great poster (that and the North American cover of the hardback):) And by the way, this is YOUR website and YOUR project, you have every right to be proud of your achievement and to talk about your book all you want:) It’s always nice to share good news with people who can be happy for you!:)

    I had my first crush when I was 4 years old… it was the 12-year old next-door neighbour who, ironically, 32 years later, is married to one of my school mates;) My own special someone I met when I was 31 (he’s 8 years older, so looks like I set a pattern early on!;)), and he was definitely worth the wait:)

    Have a great honeymoon in Belize and make sure to take plenty of pictures!:)

    Comment by Duchesse — February 5, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

  19. Oh the players. They start younger and younger these days. Have a great trip!

    Comment by unbalanced reaction — February 7, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

  20. For some reason, the 02-05-09 post doesn’t have a comments link. I just wanted to say I’m in the U.S., but I like the UK book’s cover art way better than the US/Canada version.

    Comment by Emily — February 9, 2009 @ 2:42 am

  21. perhaps its me, but is that not a little ironic? a picture of a king and queen, in france? i guess it could be a post-picuture. great blog btw abosluely love it.

    Comment by christian — February 9, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  22. Congrats on the paperback Petite!
    Was wondering if you or indeed anyone else reading who knows Paris can help out. I’ll be visiting for a few days on 19th March and it’s mine and the husband’s first time in Paris. Any websites that will be useful for us to make the most of our time? Can’t seem to find a calendar of events online. Any recommendations welcome!

    Comment by Lisa — February 9, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  23. Haha, i remember grade prep boyfriends…Always good fun..
    Cant wait to read that new book Petite
    Bonne Chance!

    Comment by Molly — February 9, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  24. Hi,
    Only a few words to alert about the new blog directory for people living abroad, travelers and expatriates: BlogExpat:
    This free blog service has become a directory of expat blogs, open to any blog of people living abroad. This is an exciting new feature and you can immediately add your expat/travel blog in the BlogExpat directory and help us grow the community:
    You will get a personal page for the profile of your blog with its latest posts and will be able to reach easily expat, travelleurs, targeted visitors and neighbours who can find you thanks to our Google Maps.
    We hope to see you soon on

    PS: you can also add our logo with the appropriate colours to your blog here:

    Comment by Blogexpat — February 10, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

  25. Hi Petite ;)

    I am reading your book and I absolutely enjoy every page, every sentence.

    It even made me create my own “secret” blog, just to pour out my thoughts on my life, I think it could be a good thing for me.

    I love the photo of the king and queen, tadpole is so sweet! =)

    Is there any website that you can see lots of bloggers? So you can read story´s of more people?

    all my love from Iceland
    thegirlwithredlips ;)

    Comment by thegirlwithredlips — February 10, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

  26. Isn’t the whole point of a blog self-promotion?
    Pffffft to the naysayers – I think the new cover is lovely!!!

    Comment by kefinparis — February 12, 2009 @ 10:47 am

  27. Self promotion . It a fucking blog . If they don’t like it let them take a hike ;-)))

    Okay I had a couple ice cold beers and that’s just how i feel at the moment ;)


    Comment by ==Alaska — February 15, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  28. WOW! This is amazing, I am reading your book right now. I am an American student studying abroad in London, and will be visiting Paris in March. I was drawn to your book by the cover and then the subject matter intrigued me since it has to do with Paris :D. I discovered the book before the blog.

    I have the copy with Tadpole on it, love that cover art. I am loving the book already, so excited that I found this. I look forward to catching up on the blogs. What a cute drawing, and young love is so adorable. I remember the day of crushes.

    blessings from London
    Jen (beachbutterfly)

    Comment by Jen — February 21, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  29. Hi Petite

    I was determined to not read your blog till after finishing the book. I can see I have a lot of catching up to do. I am in Australia and was lucky enough to get what I consider the nicest cover, the pink one with tadpole in the pusher – softback as well which is apparantly unique to Australia.
    Congratulations on your wedding and I am looking forward to reading the continuation of your life’s journey via blog.
    You have inspired me to start my own blog, so once I have caught up with your life I will start on my own.
    Are you writing a follow up book? If so I would buy it for sure

    With love from Australia

    Comment by Julia K — February 22, 2009 @ 2:10 am

  30. Hey ‘Petite’

    i have just finished reading your book, i have been super glued to it all day yesterday and today, savouring on every detail of the book. I absolutely loved it,the first i heard about it was a while ago in the Sunday Times but i had to get my copy of it last week when i saw it in the shops again. Loving the front cover, very eye catching!

    ‘Tadpole’ sounds like such a cute and bright little girl and so munchable and at the end of the book, i was kind of hoping you and ‘Mr Frog’ would get back together. I would recommend the book to everyone. Havent been on your site until today, i was kind of hoping you would still be ‘blogging’ so that i can now keep up to date with your little aventures and the funny quotes ‘Tadpole’ comes out with.

    i so wanted to go and live abroad kind of regret that i never did it, why did i chose a conventional life!

    look forward to reading more about your adventures.

    all the best, Dannii :)

    Comment by Dannii — February 22, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  31. Hi Petite!
    I bought your book in paperback at the weekend, and have read it in one day – I couldn’t put it down! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us – when is the next installment? :)

    Comment by Suzi — February 23, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

  32. ahhhhh good story, made me smile at the end of a long day. i’m looking forward to reading your book, what an accomplishment….very inspiring.

    maybe one day when i’m much older i’ll have a real book to hold in my hand…..

    Comment by chantal — February 25, 2009 @ 8:44 am

  33. Honeymoon? What have I missed? Are you and The Boy tying the knot? I know I haven’t been following you regularly, but this would be a big announcement to have missed

    Comment by Nancy L. — February 25, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

  34. Ah to be 5 and in love eh! My first crush was at age 4…He was a little red haired boy called Jason, I smashed a coffee jar at play group one day and scared him so much he never talked to me again!

    it wasn’t meant to be clearly!

    Comment by whitecherrie — February 27, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

  35. WOW, I startet to read your book the first one, i could not stop reading I just keept o reading it ANd I LOVE EVERYTHING in the story :) . I love your book, I dont write a good english ,because im from iceland. Cant wait after your new book will come to island ,then i will run to the store and buy it. I feel like i know you hah but i dont, i have never read book and become so alive. XOXO from Bárabryndís in iceland. Have a good life:) and a nice day!

    Comment by Bára Bryndís — March 1, 2009 @ 11:50 am

  36. Dear Petite,
    I recently finished your absorbing book and found my way to your recent adventures on the blog. I just moved to Paris and am also a blogger and writer (feel funny every time I say that) — have a novel coming out next January — so totally empathize with your juggle of blog, book and life! Would love to meet up sometime — either at blogger get-together, or maybe coffee (if that isn’t too stalk-y?) — I live in the 6th, but my fave cafe is on rue des pyrénées!

    Comment by Ann @ Cooking the Books — March 2, 2009 @ 10:24 am

  37. Hey Catherine. Just finished reading your book and just had to find your blogsite to read more about you, tadpole and mr. Frog…. The way the book ended I just had to know more. I havent finsihed reading everything since april 2006 but I´m looking forward to find out more :)
    I loved your book and just wanted you to know that.
    Best regards from Iceland and good luck in your life :)

    Comment by Hrafnhildur from Iceland — March 2, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

  38. Hi there im in the middle of your book its so funny and heart renching at the same time, actually i got it on my way home from visiting my daughter, to read on the journey. Ialso got Marley and Me but iwas so depressed at the end of reading that book, yours was such a relief. I would love to live in paris you are so lucky.. Mr Frog sounds like he is such a man i would love to meet him, he so loves you ? sorry i know your married but i think you were his first love.

    Comment by hypnogail — March 2, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

  39. I experienced my first crush (and recall it fondly!) when I was a mere 5 years old. I was manipulative enough to lie to my teacher about not having a permission slip to go on a school outing to the zoo that day, because I noticed my crush had forgotten his and i wanted to spend the day with him in the school office. Ah…the lengths we will go to in order to procure our crush :)

    Comment by MoaningMum — March 9, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

  40. Catherine.. at the risk of offending Tadpole, I must say that new cover is miles better than the first, but still not nearly as good as the second (the American hardback). Have a great holiday.

    Comment by Colin — March 10, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  41. Dear Petite,
    I have just finished reading your book, and for some reason feel profoundly haunted by your rendering of Mr. Frog. As I read the book, I kept wishing you’d devote your energy to him rather than to the seduction of James and Toby. I cheered for your judiciousness when you left James and Toby behind on the first encounters, and I groaned when you illogically encouraged relationships with them later. I hoped you’d be able to gently draw out Mr. Frog’s feelings and get closer to his heart, since you both shared so much. I had the distinct feeling that your ambivalence for the all consuming dependence of a toddler was causing you to feel lonely and to seek release with these other men who didn’t share any past ties with you. It seems you never really deeply knew any of the men you became so involved with. You say you weren’t happy with Mr. Frog, but happiness is a feeling that is constantly fluctuating. In my interpretation of your book, Mr. Frog sounded like a man worth making a great effort to better understand. The reader cannot mistake his love for Tadpole. I had the impression that he was a wonderful man struggling against vulnerability and that he kept his deep feelings for you private. I kept hoping you’d sit out on his terrace with him, take his hand, and finally encourage him to open up to you. I know this is irrelevant, now, so I wish you all the best in your new life. Motherhood is the most wonderful event, however a baby’s dependency is overwhelming with each child’s birth. In the future, I wish you peace and serenity with your spouse, Tadpole and the new shrimp. I also hope the blue-eyed boy, Mr. Frog, finds love and happiness and that someone recognizes him as a Prince.
    Ms.True Blue

    Comment by True blue — March 13, 2009 @ 12:20 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: