On Sunday (or Monday if you live in a city that was once a walled city, like Jerusalem - don't ask) we celebrate Purim. As with many Jewish celebrations, the old joke applies - How do you define a Jewish holiday? They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat. However, each festival does have it's own special flavour and Purim is our answer to Mardi Gras and Carnivale. As today is the last day of school before the holiday, all the children dress up in costume and have a fun-day instead of lessons.
DD has a fantastic costume - a present from our friend S. It is a ladybird complete with dress, antennae, gloves and wings. DD was so excited. She knows all about ladybirds because her nursery is called The Ladybird Nursery. We hung the costume on the wardrobe and, for the past week, she has shown it to everyone who came into the house.
This morning I put on her red tights and black shoes and took out the Ladybird dress. DD screamed. There was no way she was wearing that dress! I cut off the black netting under-skirt because I thought it may have frightened her to put this over her head. I bribed her with chocolate for breakfast. She put on the dress, ate the chocolate and then screamed, frantically trying to rip the dress off, until I relented and took it off for her. I was almost as upset as she was, whilst still being able to appreciate the irony: You will have a good time whether you like it or not!
"OK, at least let's go to the party in something nice," I said. She didn't want any of her dresses. Eventually I pulled out a new top with flowers on it and she happily put it on. I got out the trousers. "NO TOUSIES!" The law according to DD says you don't wear trousers with tights. I suggested we took off the tights and put on socks. "NO!" So I stuffed the costume and the trousers into her bag and we left the house with DD wearing red tights, a T-shirt, and her pink jacket on top. Almost ridiculous enough to look like a bizarre costume. I was fully dressed.
On the way to nursery we passed Darth Vedar, clowns, fairies, boys in drag, Disney characters, super heroes, and even a banana. Every time we we saw a little girl with wings I pointed them out to DD. She was happy to appreciate the beauty of wearing wings, from a distance. The parents sympathised with me. "I'm more upset than she is," I said. And I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Oh, for God's sake Rachel, it's a costume and she's two years old! Shut up inner voice, I know it's just a costume.
At the nursery I left DD and her costume. "I'm glad we're not the only ones," said Y's father as he dropped Y off. I felt a bit better. "Don't worry," said the assistant nursery teacher, "at the end of the day I'll have a photo of her in her costume."
"Or not," I replied.
"Or not." We both smiled.
P.S. Pictures on Sunday.