petite anglaise

August 19, 2009


Filed under: knocked up — petiteanglaise @ 1:52 pm

I’m fed up of being pregnant.

‘I honestly feel like time has slowed to a crawl,’ I moan to The Boy as I toss and turn, trying to find a comfortable position in bed. ‘I swear, this has been the longest seven months of my entire life…’

‘Not long to wait now,’ he replies, doing his utmost to sound both positive and comforting.

Officially, though, D-day is still another nine, maybe ten weeks away. And that doesn’t feel like ‘not long’ at all.

I know I should count my blessings. I’m not on enforced bed rest, or suffering from gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. I’m simply twelve kilos heavier, with occasional shooting pains in my left buttock (sciatica) and an odd tingly burning sensation in my left knee when I walk (also sciatica). Getting to sleep at night is a challenge (not least because if I don’t manage to fall asleep before The Boy, I have to work on tuning out his snoring) and I often end up surfing the internet at silly o’clock, marvelling at the veins in Madonna’s arms or chuckling (quietly) at photos of Lolcats to pass the time until I’m finally too exhausted to fidget and deem it time to return to bed.

By day, aside from making inroads into the towering pile of books on my bedside table, developing new television addictions and doing the odd bit of book release related stuff, I’m not really gainfully employed just now. With maternity leave looming, I decided I’d rather not rush into working on a new project straight away. There couldn’t be a better time, I figured, to take step back from the whirlwind of the past three years and give myself the space to work out just where I want to go from here.

But the inactivity is beginning to weigh on me, and Tadpole’s prolonged absences this summer certainly haven’t helped. Since we returned from our family holiday in Turkey, in mid-July, she’s been away more often than not, and is currently with her French grandparents, returning to Paris only a couple of days before she’s due to start ‘big school’.

Without a doubt she’s much better off elsewhere, doing lots of fun activities with people who can waddle more than a few metres without running short of breath. But I miss her. I miss our cuddles in the morning, her touching solicitude (‘mummy, will you be alright on the stairs?’) and the kisses she has taken to planting on my protruding bellybutton.

Mindful of her sometime reluctance to speak on the phone, I decided to set up a Tadpolemail™ account in an attempt to spur her into keeping in touch while she’s away. Typically my daughter’s messages are short, sweet, peppered with the sorts of mistakes French people usually make when speaking English and, last but not least, guaranteed to bring a tear to my eye.

hello mummy

I want to have my bath in a minute and I love to talk to you at the telephone

lots of kisses from

tadpole xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

July 22, 2009


Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 1:50 pm
turtle hospital, Dalyan

Despite the fact that…

  • I spent one night throwing my guts up in a bathroom which smelled of eau de septic tank
  • Tadpole had to be taken to see a doctor with a suspected ear infection
  • Tadpole’s ear meds made her throw up
  • On one of our boating trips, the boat left an island stop WITHOUT US (and who in their right mind leaves a heavily pregnant woman and a six-year-old on an island in 40°C heat minus their belongings?), leaving The Boy with no choice but to swim heroically after it

…we had a fantastic time in Turkey.

The landscape was beautiful. The beaches were largely unspoilt (thanks to the presence of loggerhead turtles who nest in the area and prevent any sort of permanent construction.) The ruins made this ‘old stones’ lover very happy indeed. The food was yummy (although, predictably, Tadpole lived on a diet of cucumber, tomato and chips). The people were über friendly, especially to Tadpole, who now boasts a large collection of complimentary lucky eye charm beads and bracelets, and I was forced to coo over at least twenty pictures of newborn babies belonging to various waiters, taxi drivers and hotel owners. Tadpole learnt how to snorkel, and the way her face mask compressed her mouth and nose, resulting in a Meg Ryan style trout pout provided a constant source of amusement. And the dance she performs when wearing the shocking pink, jangly coin-infested costume I bought her from a bazaar in Istanbul is truly a thing to behold.

But the funniest moment, in my opinion, was when we returned home to Paris and I handed Tadpole my phone to call her daddy, who has now whisked her away on yet another holiday. Of all the things we’d seen and done, what did she tell him about? The turtles? The snorkelling? Her new costume?


‘We saw a DUNG BEETLE daddy!’ she cried into the telephone. ‘It was rolling along a really big piece of goat poo-poo! And guess what? Manuel managed to kill the plante carnivore on my Princess Peach DS game and he opened up a whole new level for me!’

July 4, 2009

à titre d'information…

Filed under: book stuff — petiteanglaise @ 9:42 pm
french kissing_NEW

Our little family of three (plus bump) is heading to Turkey (more specifically, to the Lycian coast) for two weeks, so things will be (even) quieter than usual around here.

In the meantime, I leave you with the cover of my first novel, published as a paperback original in late August in the UK (to follow in March 2010 in Canada), which is now available for pre-order on and elsewhere online.

Those of you who have been paying attention will note that I’d originally titled the book ‘Rendez-vous’ – which is also the name of the online dating site featured in the story.

The marketing powers-that-be decided to go with ‘French Kissing’ instead, and I’d be quite interested to hear which title people prefer…

June 26, 2009


Filed under: knocked up — petiteanglaise @ 3:44 pm

In the weeks leading up to our second ultrasound scan, lots of people began asking me whether we’d be in favour of taking a closer look at baby’s undercarriage to determine its sex.

This is something I’d studiously avoided the first time around, allowing Tadpole to creep up on me by stealth. I was hankering after a little girl, but knew that whoever popped out (oh, if only that were an accurate verb, it makes it sound so much easier than the fourteen hour marathon her birth really was) would instantly steal my heart.

Despite an overwhelming intuitive feeling that the inhabitant of my womb was a boy this time around, I found myself, once again, hoping for a girl. The official reason I gave, when pressed for justification, was that I’m not a big fan of golden showers. I’ve heard several horror stories – from reliable sources – about boy infants and their fountain-like abilities during nappy change time and decided this was not something I felt the need to experience.

But – joking aside – the real reason was that I have little firsthand knowledge of what makes small boys tick.

I grew up with two younger sisters, you see, and although I actually have twin brothers as well, we didn’t meet until I was almost thirty and they were in their late teens. Small boys are therefore something of an unknown quantity to me and preferring the idea of a daughter over a son was probably a case of ‘better the devil you know’.

Observing friends of mine with their sons from a safe distance, I’ve often found their levels of boisterousness overwhelming. And I’ve noticed other differences too. The way infant males tend to cling to their mothers, for example, often quite literally, wrapping themselves around their mummy’s legs like bindweed when they are going through the separation anxiety stage.

The Boy was adamant that he wanted to find out the sex of our baby at the second ultrasound scan, and I decided doing things differently this time was a good way to ring the changes, so we informed the doctor of this just as she was noisily squirting a huge quantity of lube onto my belly. She nodded, but explained that she’d be taking all the usual second scan measurements first, and would look at the genitalia afterwards.

And by the time she got to the money shot, I have to admit that I was so preoccupied with the baby’s SIZE that all gender-related considerations had taken a back seat.

Baby’s estimated weight – at 22 weeks – was 570g. I happened to know for a fact that the average weight at this stage tends to be more like 430g, meaning that baby was about two weeks ahead of him/herself. The head, femur and foot measurements were all equally supersized, placing baby in the 90th percentile. How on earth, I began to wonder, eyes watering in premature anticipation, was I ever going to get this baby out of my womb without breaking my pelvis in two?

And then there it was, the turtle-like outline on the ultrasound screen that clearly indicated that my (and the Boy’s) intuition had been correct. Le bébé is indeed a he, just as we’d both suspected.

A few days later, I find I’m getting used to the idea of male offspring and I even bought a delightful blue robot-print babygro in the sales, by way of celebration.

But as for the size issue, my eyes still water every time I allow myself to think about that.

Oh, boy.

June 15, 2009

knocked update

Filed under: knocked up — petiteanglaise @ 5:52 pm

My first trimester blues (and headaches, and tummy aches, and indigestion) began to fade once I’d got the first three and a half months behind me. Now, just clear of the halfway mark, I’m starting to feel much more energetic and an awful lot happier, something for which I suspect The Boy is just as grateful as I am.

The fun part of pregnancy – feeling baby’s movements – began much earlier this time around. With Tadpole, I remember feeling the first flutters while wallowing in the full-length bath (oh the luxury! If only Parisian apartments had proper baths!) at my parents’ place on New Year’s Eve 2002, helpful timing which conveniently allows me to date the event with some accuracy. But I’d barely passed the three month mark with #2 when I detected the first twists, kicks and flutters. I think there are several reasons for this. First of all, I knew what to look for (and, above all, knew better than to confuse these faint manifestations of life within with more prosaic complaints, such as the aforementioned indigestion). Secondly, my tummy ‘popped’ much earlier this time around, letting it all hang out, as it were, so that, to my mind, I already look more like a woman nearing the end of her sixth month. And, last of all, the first scan showed that, this time, the placenta is placed towards my back, effectively removing a potential frontal shock absorber from the equation.

But at first, whenever I sought Tadpole or The Boy’s hand and plonked it across my bare belly so that they could share the spooky internal thudding sensations with me, baby invariably stopped moving, prompting sceptical looks from The Boy and impatient scowls from Tadpole. Her attempts to spur baby into action – mostly by shouting things into my tummy button as though it were a megaphone – were futile and, for a while afterwards, she couldn’t be prevailed upon come and touch my belly at all. ‘No thank you, mummy,’ she would reply firmly. ‘It never works.’ Or ‘it’s too boring.’

But a couple of weeks ago the baby got a whole lot more active, enjoying long bouts of hiccups and putting a lot more oomph into those kicks and punches, causing visible tremors. So now my belly is providing free, wholesome entertainment for the entire family. Who needs a TV?

I still have some unspeakably annoying little pregnancy-related complaints – nothing, I realise, compared to the real medical complications some unfortunate folks suffer from – most of which come into full force shortly before bedtime. Late in the evening, my skin often begins to itch ferociously, causing me to scratch up a storm, remove my bra (the main culprit, often not helped by the fact that stray food particles seem to find their way into the cleft between my newly ample bosoms at dinnertime) and wriggle about on the sofa like a woman possessed. From what I’ve been able to glean online, it’s a hormonal thing, and no amount of soaking in emollient baths seems to make a blind bit of difference. There’s no alternative, I fear, but to scratch and bear it.

Another complaint I often suffer from at bedtime is what I call ‘fidgety leg syndrome’. Suddenly there is no comfortable position and I have to keep moving my legs in order to avoid a kind of dull, heavy aching. Perhaps I have finally succumbed to the famous French malady known as ‘heavy legs’ or jambes lourdes which I hitherto assumed to be a fictitious complaint. Whatever it is, it’s unbelievably annoying and calls to mind those episodes of Grey’s Anatomy or Dr House where a healthy patient tries to convince the doctors that he wants to have his legs removed because of a phantom pain.

Last but not least, there are the increased levels of clumsiness to contend with, which have seen me head-butting open kitchen cupboards, stubbing my toes and causing myself all manner of minor injuries. In today’s example of cack-handedness, I managed to gash my forearm open while attempting to open a parcel from DHL with a pair of not particularly sharp scissors, narrowly missing a major artery. This resulted in a rather surreal scene in which I found myself holding the offending arm above my head, blood slowly trickling down my arm, while I one-handedly googled “how do I know if I need stitches?”

June 11, 2009

window seat

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 11:53 am

I’ve written a guest post for the folks over at the Window Seat blog on Travelocity which might interest any readers planning a trip to Paris in the near future.


« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Blog at