petite anglaise

March 25, 2009


Filed under: Tadpole rearing, Tadpole says — petiteanglaiseparis @ 1:09 pm

I introduced the idea of a new addition to our family several months ago, long before I began taking folic acid or dispensed with taking ‘precautions’. Tadpole was predictably delighted at the prospect of having a little brother or sister to fuss over and urged me to ‘put a baby in my tummy’ as soon as possible.

‘Will Daddy come to live with us when we have a new baby?’ she asks me, between spoonfuls of cereal, a few days after our first discussion. ‘So he can help us to look after it?’

‘Um, no… I shouldn’t think so,’ I reply with a frown. I’m about to ask her why she would think such a thing, when realisation suddenly dawns. In Tadpole-logic, I realise, Mr Frog is the only possible daddy and therefore it stands to reason that he will father all my children. Hence the assumption that he will be sharing the responsibility for caring for the baby, which he can’t very well do if he is living 400m down the road.

I take a sip of coffee before embarking on my explanation. Best to test my theory first, I decide. So I begin with a tentative question. ‘When I have a baby,’ I begin, ‘who do you think the baby’s daddy will be?’

‘Daddy,’ Tadpole replies, her scornful tone making it abundantly clear that she considers my question a foolish one. I sigh and glance towards the bedroom, wondering whether The Boy can hear us. He could be awake – after all, he just snoozed the alarm not twice, but three times – but there is no way of knowing for sure, as he seems to be capable of banging his fist on the alarm clock in his sleep.

‘Honey,’ I say gently. ‘When Daddy and I made you, we were living in the same house. Now I’m living with Manuel. I’m married to Manuel. So this time it’s going to be different. The baby’s daddy won’t be your daddy. It will be Manuel.’

‘Oh,’ Tadpole replies. She falls silent, processing this new information, then gives me a smile and a nod, and spoons more cereal into her mouth.

‘So the baby will call Manuel ‘Daddy’, I continue, thinking it advisable to press the point home while I have Tadpole’s undivided attention. ‘But you’ll still call him Manuel. And you’ll call your daddy ‘Daddy’. Tadpole nods again, her mouth full.

A few weeks later, when the future baby has become less an abstract concept than a grape-sized mini-foetus swimming in nausea-inducing circles, we are discussing the Easter holidays, when Tadpole will stay with Mr Frog’s parents for a week, as per usual.

‘When the baby is born,’ Tadpole says, ‘It will come with me to stay at Mamie and Papy‘s house, won’t it? Because they will be the grandparents of the baby too.’

I smile and shake my head. This is going to be more complicated than I thought.

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.

January 26, 2009

tadpolecast – maya l’abeille

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 9:48 am

I think of all the things I’ve posted on this blog, the Tadpole sings category affords me the most retrospective amusement.

Listening to her ‘performance’ of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, in French and English, aged two, makes me realise what a long way we’ve come (and just how long I’ve been blogging).

Playing the song she invented, aged four, about falling down and ripping open her top lip on a jagged manhole cover simultaneously brings tears to my eyes and makes me laugh out loud.

I’m not one for taking a lot of photos, and almost never think to film anything, but I’ll definitely be hanging on to these audio clips for posterity.

Todays podcast features Tadpole’s rendition of the theme tune to a cartoon which was enormously popular in France in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Maya l’Abeille (Maya the Bee). Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Maya ever aired in the UK, even if the Austro-Japanese production seems to have enjoyed success elsewhere around the world.

So I have Mr Frog and his fondness for showing Tadpole clips of favourite children’s programmes from his youth on YouTube* to thank.

And the funny noises are, um, kisses. I believe there are three. Tadpole was in an affectionate mood…

*original version of the Maya theme tune. Extremely high pitched singing alert. Play at your own risk.


November 11, 2008


Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 8:26 pm

I’d only ever spent five days in the USA prior to my trip to San Francisco. It was back in May 2001, when the twin towers were still standing proud and tall and Tadpole was nothing more than an unfertilised egg in my ovaries. The weather wasn’t particularly kind to us on that trip, either. But Mr Frog and I bought cheap lightweight waterproof jackets on our first day and resolved to do everything we’d planned, regardless.

I remember getting the same nagging feeling of déjà vu back then too. Every time I sat down at the counter in a diner and the uniformed waitress refilled my coffee I felt like an extra on a film set. Every time I stepped off the pavement to try and hail an elusive taxi, it was as though I was re-enacting a scene from one of my favourite television series.

But this eerie familiarity didn’t mean that absolutely everything was how I expected it to be. It wasn’t, because however much I’ve been exposed to all things American by books and films and TV programmes for the past thirty-six years, there were still surprises. Tiny little culture shocks – scoring low on the Richter scale – that simply caused me to pause for a moment, to frown or to repress a giggle.

Random examples of things that amused/bemused me at first encounter include:

  • The tone of the announcements made over the tannoy on my US Airways flights. I was expecting Sweet’N Lo insincere politeness, but instead they varied from schoolmistress bossy to downright surly;
  • Waiters saying ‘pardon my reach’ when setting down my order as though they were terrified of violating my personal space without my say so;
  • The odd, discontinuous shape of toilet seats in public ‘restrooms’;
  • The take-away section in shops called ‘grab and go’ which sounded like an invitation to try out shoplifting;
  • Advertisements for specific brand name drugs on TV, exhorting patients to ‘ask their Dr about…’ and reeling off side effects at breakneck speed;
  • The food stand in a Fisherman’s Wharf market proudly advertising that it sold the city’s ‘finest pig parts’;
  • Being expected to pour maple syrup over my French toast, bacon and eggs;
  • Nickels and dimes. I brought home a huge wallet-full. Couldn’t memorise how many cents they were worth, for the life of me;
  • Being asked if I wanted cream for my coffee and finding out that in this context, ‘cream’ actually means ‘milk’;
  • Finding out that Heinz make mustard in a glass bottle shaped like a ketchup bottle. Who knew?

These were just a few random thoughts I scribbled down on the plane home while watching truly awful in-flight movies (tip: avoid ‘Made of Honor’ at all costs, even if you are a fan of McDreamy). It might have been a red-eye flight, but I knew sleep wasn’t going to be an option (even with the help of over-the-counter sleeping aid pharmaceuticals purchased at Walgreens) when I discovered that my economy seat only ‘reclined’ by five centimetres.

If anyone has any culture mini-shocks of their own they’d care to share in the comments box below, be my guest…

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Blog at