Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mr Grasshead

Two weeks ago it was Tu B'Shvat - this is a Jewish holiday celebrating the rebirth of nature after the winter and specifically the blossoming of the almond trees (though this year it's fallen early so the almond trees didn't quite make it). It is the sort of minor holiday that can pass you by and has done for me for many many years. The sort of holiday that you need a young child to involve you in. In English we have dubbed it the New Year for Trees.

In the DD's nursery they had a Tu B'Shvat party in which they ate (tiny amounts) of 15 different fruits, they planted seeds and plants in the garden, sang tree songs, painted pictures and... they made Mr Grassheads to bring home. Of course I've seen these before, but nothing prepared me for the intense excitement I would feel on seeing a bit of grass grow out of the top of a soil-filled stocking.

First let me describe our Deshy. Desher is the Hebrew for grass and a very suitable name for Mr Grasshead. He is basically a length of stocking tied at one end, filled with soil, topped with grass seeds, and tied at the top. Then the children stuck on eyes, a nose and a mouth. Deshy came home with instructions to keep him saturated with water and watch his hair grow.

We sat Deshy in front of a sunny window and watered him faithfully for over a week unitl, last Friday, I suddenly noticed a few small shoots poking through his bald stocking scalp. "Look! DD Look!" I cried. I could hardly contain myself I was that excited. After that it was running to inspect Deshy's emerging coiffe every 10 minutes. And believe me, the hair was growing as we watched.

For I while I worried that he was going to have a bald patch where the seeds were unevenly distributed, but he seems to have covered it up quite cleverly by keeping the rest of his hair long and letting it flop over the barer bits. Funny how a comb-over looks ridiculous on anyone else, but when it's your own you sort of understand the emotion behind it. I will have to consider a haircut for Deshy soon, after okaying it with DD first of course.

Tu B'Shvat comes and goes every year. Here in Israel we all know about it because the dried fruit gift-boxes appear in the supermarket. However, this year I celebrated Tu B'Shvat and loved it. Who knew that would happen?