Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Jump Rope

We spent the morning doing chores so that we could put together the jump ropes we got for Easter (these, though I believe ours had free shipping). "Work before play," I told the girls. I was surprised with how well they chipped in. Rachel, specifically, was bustling about doing her work. Miriam also did her work but with a lot more whining and lolly-gagging.

They were both so excited for their jump ropes.

Rachel made a Gryffindor-themed rope using red and yellow beads.

Miriam insisted that they weren't beads at all—they were noodles. Beads, of course, are much shorter than these. Rachel told her that they couldn't be noodles because they're made of plastic, so they must be beads. Miriam screamed, "Noodles!" and stuck her tongue out.

"She stuck her tongue out at me!" Rachel said.

"Girls," I sighed. "Just string your ropes and stop fighting."

They did.

Miriam strung her jump rope grabbing beads at random. She understands patterns but making an entire jump-rope-length pattern was beyond her grasp/patience.

I also tied together two of the ropes, as some friendly reviewers suggested on Amazon to make an extra long rope (though I just found these ones on Amazon so if we ever feel like mastering double-dutch we might try these). Anyway, a lot of the reviewers had said they just tied two ropes together and—bam!—super-long rope, so I tried every knot I know (which is basically just the square knot) and my ropes kept pulling apart. I didn't really want the ropes to come apart and have the beads fly everywhere in the middle of Cinderella, Dressed in Yellow! I obviously needed a different knot so I searched for "knot to tie two ropes together" and found a guy claiming he uses the Double Fisherman's Knot if he's "going to be hanging from one end" of the rope.

It worked like a charm—that knot's not budging!

And now I know that I can tie one of these to save my life if I'm ever lost in the middle of the woods...with a computer and internet access to guide me through the process step-by-step.

I loved that the instructions for the jump ropes suggested that "to avoid conflict, if a group of 6 is making jump ropes simultaneously, you may want to have...each person select one bead and go around in a circle until all the beads have been equally divided." We didn't do that, but I loved that the instructions were so quick to dissolve conflicts. Whoever wrote up the instructions must really understand children. They also suggested that instead of stringing the beads from one end you could string the beads from both ends to make a symmetrical pattern. That's what we ended up doing for the long rope (and not only because there was a big knot in the middle).

You see, Rachel wanted to do an official pattern but Miriam also wanted to help and if Miriam was helping the pattern would be that there would be no pattern. So, what we did "to avoid conflict" was have Miriam sort the beads into piles and then she got to choose beads in whatever order she wanted for Rachel and me to string on either end of the rope. Miriam dictated a completely random pattern but because it was mirrored on either side of the rope Rachel was happily convinced that it was a pattern of order. Win, win, win!

After we had the ropes all beaded, I cut them down to size (we made a smaller rope for Rachel and an even smaller rope for Miriam) and then "fired" the cut end with a match so that it wouldn't fray. The girls came up with that term all on their own—they thought it was fascinating and told Andrew all about it when he came home.

"Momma fired our ropes so they won't break! She used real fire!"

Tying knots and using real fire on the same day? I should probably audition for Survivor.

Daddy arrived home just as we were getting ready to try out our ropes—and it was good timing, too, because it was just then that a giant icky thing decided to pester us.

I have a feeling I'm going to kind of miss winter now that all the creepy bugs are starting to pop up all over (I'll cancel my Survivor audition now).

Rachel was very diligent about learning to jump rope. I'd never seen anyone jump rope and end up flat on their face multiple times or get grass stains on their elbows...until today. She was fairly successful by the end of the day but got pretty beat up along the way. She was whipping that rope around as fast as she could and it would slap against her shins—so painful! I told her to put on pants or something, but she refused.

These are how her poor legs looked at bedtime:

She eventually started swinging the rope slower and managed to jump over it a time or two. She was very excited to memorize the Cinderella chant and would sing it line by line as she jumped over the rope—one jump per line.

Cinderella, dressed in yella... *jump*
Went upstairs to kiss a fella... *jump*
By accident, she...

"Rachel, it's 'by mistake,' because that rhymes with snake."


By mistake, she kissed a snake... *jump*
How many doctors did it take? *jump*
One *jump* Two *jump* Three...

Oh, man! I messed up. That means it took two doctors. Just two. Let's see if it can take three doctors!"

Her doctors were always very efficient at healing Cinderella.

Miriam, on the other hand, didn't get to the doctor part at all. She's also convinced that a "fella" is a type of a snake. She and Rachel definitely had an argument about that, too. (How many dumb fights can we get into per day? A whole lot, let me tell you!)

She gave up jumping rope in favour of playing in the dirt...

But we were able to coax her out to help play some double-dutch...or whatever it's called when you only use one rope. We told her to just hold onto the rope and let her arm swing with it (because it went all wonky when she actively tried to swing it). She did a great job!

We put the hula hoop down to help Rachel stay in place while jumping because she kept trying to jump over the rope. If she ever tries out for long jump, she'll do great...but her long bounds weren't quite working for jumping rope. The hula hoop gave her a target.

I took a turn jumping, too. I used to love jumping rope. I would play it at recess with my friends and some of my elementary schools participated in Jump Rope for Heart and we had skipping units in PE and everything. Admittedly, it's been more than a decade since I've really jumped rope but I'm planning on jumping more (hence the jump rope set). It's great exercise, though I will say that my body just isn't what it used to be since I've started having kids. There are some parts that just took a lickin' (bladder, I'm looking at you. And I'm not even going to talk about my tailbone.)! I used to think that if I was just really fit that I'd be fine...but apparently running marathons, walking everywhere, and doing yoga didn't count as fit enough to avoid pregnancy wreaking havoc on my body. Oh, well.

Andrew was very impressed with my criss-cross since he'd never managed to master that in his jump roping days. I'm definitely going to have to practice more tricks and hopefully Rachel will catch on quickly so that we can practice tricks together. Her new school has a jump rope team she can join starting in grade three. I realize that's a way off, but it will give her something to look forward to.

Also, I'm hoping it's something she can do to get all her extra energy out (especially on those sad days when she doesn't get recess at school). Jumping rope is a compact activity—it can easily be done in the backyard—but it uses a ton of energy. My mom would always send us outside to run around the house when we got wild inside but my kids just won't do that (also the trend in these parts is to only have a gate on one side of the house (that's how it was in Utah, too); in my childhood neighbourhoods the fences seemed to have two gates, with one gate on each side of the house...or no fences at all). 

It will be great for me, too, because I haven't been able to find a running partner so I haven't gone running once the entire time we've lived here. 

Now I can jump rope in the backyard and not worry about being hit by a car or being chased by a dog or being attacked by a bad guy or anything like that. Well, I suppose I could still worry about those things but I try not to worry about too many things.

We still have another rope to string for Andrew to use. He borrowed mine, which I suppose is technically ours since he used it as much (or more) than I did today.

Benjamin also did his own jumping (though he was finished jumping and had started whining by the time I took this picture; his face says, "Mom! Pay attention to me!"):

Miriam started getting creative with the ropes near the end...

Today's high was only 61 (more than 10 degrees colder than the monthly average). I could not believe it when Andrew told me the current temperature. It felt much hotter than that. We were literally burning outside while we were putting together the ropes (why I was ever entrusted with all these blonde babies I will never know). I guess the "real feel" was around 68, but that still isn't even that hot.

I've never been concerned with "real feel" but am certainly well-versed in "wind chill." The idea that things can feel hotter than the thermometer reads is strange to me since when I was growing up things often (even usually) felt colder than what the thermometer read.

It was a beautiful day, regardless of what the thermometer said, and I'm so excited spring is here, regardless of the crazy bugs popping out all over! Here's to many more jump roping days!


  1. The picture of the bug made me think about all the cicadas that will emerge on you this year there.

    1. I know! We're just waiting for the soil to get warm enough...

      It looks like we're in for a periodical brood, though not necessarily *here.* But we have annual cicadas here as well.

      <a href=">This picture</a> kind of makes me shiver. We missed the emergence last year, but had little skins left all over our yard from their molting...or whatever it's called...and "enjoyed" their song all summer long. It should be interesting. :)

  2. You are such a fun mom! Lucky little blonde babies!