A pink taxi

A pink taxi

June 12, 2011

Learning how to Jump Rope Late in Life

Dear A:

Your parents are very versatile and quite athletic so I am sure you will be skipping rope very soon. Learn from my own misfortune.

At age 4, yours truly used to point 4 fingers of one fist to indicate her age. She used those same 4 fingers to answer the question: "how many languages do you speak?" (English, French, Arabic and Farsi). I was a multilingual child but I still hadn't learnt how to skip rope.

At French schools, we exercise our brains, rather than our limbs. A few mechanical stretches, a few ball games and we were back into class, grinding numbers, practicing penmenship and memorizing lessons and poems.

Admitedly, some girls did bring skip ropes to recess. The jump rope, like the baguette, immediately bring to mind French kids from the 1940s. My parents, however never bought me one,and  never taught me the art of jump roping. I didn't seem to learn from my peers either....

But then, in my early 40s, I was challenged by a U Concept trainer, who happens to train your dad too. "Just do it",  he told me of another exercise. "It is as simple as skipping rope." In my case, that analogy certainly didn't make things easier. That is when I had to embarassingly admit that I didn't know how to jump rope. And then I requested shyly: "Could you teach me?"

And so today, my trainer gave me a skip rope, bunched it up and asked me to hold it in one hand. "Jump for 20 seconds. Little boxing jumps." Then he told me to stand still and asked me to swing the rope onto the floor, in one hand, with rythmn. I accomplished step 2.

He then told me to jump over the rope and stop. Jump and stop. Single unlinked jumps. I could do that.

He asked me to do two jumps at a time. I remembered the girls at recess, how I used to watch them jump with ease. "Hey, those are girlie skips" he corrected. "Jump with two feet." I was able to perform four jumps and stalled, but I was thrilled!

It's like teaching an adult to swim or read for that matter. It's amazing how skills we learn as children, namely speaking many languages, are taken for granted. Perhaps, if I do finally succeed in jumping rope, I will encourage my children (your cousins) as well, and I will break the vicious cycle of not knowing how to jump rope at an early age!

As for you,  who today turns three,  you are a whiz at scootering, and kicking a soccer ball. You have always been so coordinated and daring. Nudge your parents, and ask them to teach you how to skip rope like a boxer. If they don't, you can always knock on my door...after I practice all summer! Happy birthday sweet nephew!


  1. Happy Birthday Ali!

    May you blow many many candles and may all your life wishes come true! We love you very much.

    Aunty N, Uncle Croco, and S

  2. Thanks for the shout out auntie Yasmine! My mum has always been a 'skipping rope' kind of a girl. I will take your advice :) love from A3!!!

  3. Happy Birthday Ali! We hope it's a fabulous one and we are always up for jumping rope so come on over to our pad and we can jump together!

    The Tabrizian Triplets!

  4. What a lovely bonding between a special boy and his "amtu".Though there are several wrong information that the blogger mentioned about her youth.Her mom had a rope in her room that she skipped with on daily basis.It is the 4 year old girl who took some of her clumsiness from her dad,that could not perfect it,nor did she piano and horse riding.Everything else,especially sports acquired at middle age,were perfected by her to the extreme.
    Happy birthday little Prince,may you grow up to be a sportsman like your "amtu"

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