When I was a little girl, I loved to skip. My sisters and I could do the double dutch, manipulate the Chinese elastic rope and criss-cross like nobody's business.
We'd chant for hours:
Had a little sports car 1948,
Took it around the cor.....ner!
Slammed on the brakes but the brakes didn't work.
Policeman caught me and put me in jail,
All I got was ginger ale.
How many bottles could I drink?
A pip, a pap, a PEPPER!!!
Skipping songs are authentic folk songs - passed down through generations by oral and aural learning. Sometimes the words get changed around a bit, (Is that last line really "a pip, a pap"???), but that is part of the nostalgia of it all.
This spring has been the first skipping hoorah for my two eldest daughters. Sweetness always wants a turn, and sometimes gets two jumps in, but mostly gets just one before the rope becomes entangled around her ankles and she grins a completely content "I don't care" grin.
Precious, on the other hand, is competitive by nature. She is competitive with others, but also with herself. Daily she requests for us to go skipping, and daily she becomes more confident, more skilled, more driven as the rope rhythmically circles around her. She's got all of those folky skipping songs down - "Bluebells cockle shells", "Cinderella dressed in yellow", and yes, "Had a little sports car". But more importantly, she's got an unremovable smile that seems to accompany all little girls while they skip to their lou.