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Posted Oct 17 2008 9:14pm

The first thing I want to say is: thanks to all of you who answered the facebook plea. I figured it might take a day or two just to rack up the 10 confirmations I needed to claim (my own) blog; instead, it took a few minutes and a pile of you joined up as fans and gave me a bunch of very complimentary ratings. So thanks.

The second thing I want to say is tricky. Some images don't translate into words very well, and this I suspect is one of them, but I have to tell you anyway.

I want to tell you about the way Frances skips.

Girls her age skip. It's a new skill. They skip into class, they skip to the park, they skip to the bathroom. They skip. It's fun, it's cool, it's what all the heroines do on TV and in their favourite books. Most girls her age, however, skip demurely. They skip small. Their feet barely raise above the earth; it's a bop and a glide and a bop and a glide.

Not my wee Frances, oh no. You can see her skipping from half a block away.

The bop, for starters, is not a bop; she propels herself into the air. UP. The knee likewise is jacked skywards and rises to about her waist; her foot is straight out front, flexed hard. Then she rolls into the next step, and repeat. Propel UP knee high go go go!

Today I saw Frances and her daycaremates returning inside from their afternoon outdoor playtime, holding hands in pairs; I was in the parking lot and Frances was beyond the other end of the school. Of course, I recognized her bright pink fleece jacket and the mass of ash-blond hair regardless, and she stands out in any crowd of her peers because her head falls several inches below theirs. But today, in addition, I saw all her little friends demurely walking or skipping back into school--and in their midst, like an easter bunny after twenty cups of espresso, Frances skipping. UP bounce roooooll UP bounce roooooll. And I stood in the parking lot, covered my mouth with my hand, and laughed. I love her so much.

It's just so her. She gives herself over so completely to everything. To her friends, to her favourite toys, to whatever game she's playing, and now to skipping. Why skip unless you really SKIP? If you're going to skip, why not put your very heart and soul into it?

She skipped beside me all the way home, exhausting for her and very slow for me, but oh I loved it. UP bounce roooooll. "Frances bunny, I have to turn you skipping into a movie. I love your skipping."

"You do?"

"Yes. And I don't ever want to forget it."

She skipped on, UP bounce rooooll, as poised and confident as ever, taking in stride her mother's perfectly understandable decision to visually document her mobility patterns. I could almost hear her thinking, but of course, of course Mummy wants to turn me into a movie, I am loveable and important.

What I really wanted to say was, I wish you would never stop skipping this way. I wish you would skip like this for the rest of your life. What I wanted to say was, I will be heartbroken when you learn to skip small like other girls. What I wanted to say was, this is the most beautiful thing about you, how wide open you are, how you give yourself completely to everything you love; and one day it's going to break your heart, because not everything or everyone will love you back the way you love them; but don't change, don't change, don't change.

Next week I'm going to talk about characterization and the fallout between Frances and her "sister" C in the wake of the Little Green Alien Incident. But first, I had to tell you about the way she skips.

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