Warning: the rant you are about to read has nothing to do with editing, books, or any observations on the world.
I am blessed to be the mother of two gorgeous little girls, Eliana who is three years old (right) and Tzofia who is 18 months (left).
Both girls attend gan (daycare), and today being their last day in gan before Purim, the children were supposed to come dressed up in costumes. (If you want to find out about the origin of the custom to dress up on Purim, check this out and scroll down to the title, Masquerading.)
My oldest, Eliana, is a princess through and through, so it didn’t require much effort on our part to fulfill her dream of dressing up as a princess. Luckily, she fit into last year’s princess dress, and thankfully she had no recollection of the fact that she wore this outfit last year. All is calm chez the Weinsteins.
Now we turn to our little one, Tzofia, who is just a year and a half and as well as recovering from a stomach bug is teething terribly at the moment. Now that we are older and wiser(?) as parents, and realize that Purim has absolutely no significance or meaning to an eighteen-month-old toddler, we figured we’d save her the discomfort and annoyance of dressing her up in an uncomfortable outfit – especially since she has no comprehension of what is going on. (She’s an extremely bright kid, but I am not going to subject her to wearing a Purim costume until she is able to say, “Purim” and actually be conscious that her friends are wearing Purim costumes.)
When my husband dropped her off at her gan this morning, he was accosted by the sight of twenty toddlers posing as stuffed animals in ridiculous heavy outfits. Tzofia was conspicuously human in her sweat pants and sweater. Josh came out of gan, got back in the car, and said, “I hate it when people make me feel like I am a bad father.” Apparently, one of the women at the gan (who, by the way, has no children of her own – I’d like to see her force a teething baby into one of those heavy things) was horrified that Tzofia didn’t come to gan dressed up. “You have to dress her up,” “What – you didn’t even bring the costume with you???”
Now, I ask you, for whose benefit is dressing up a child of that age? Trust me, the kids are not getting a kick out of it – if they were old enough to actually speak, they would be saying, “Save me! Take off this ridiculous outfit so I can actually breathe!” The kids are being dressed up for the parents’ amusement and so they can pose in the group picture.
It is a scary thought that even at this extremely young age, when my daughter is still in diapers, that they are trying to make the children conform. I say, it won’t be long before my kids are doing all sorts of bizarre things out of peer pressure, so why not try to enjoy these few years of blissful innocence?