Purim: An Essay

February 15, 2013

By Emily Rosenbaum

While I was gloating about how my daughter doesn’t have to bring in Valentines because she attends a Jewish preschool, I missed the whole flip side. Purim. On Wednesday, we got an email that the kids should come into school in costume on Friday.


“I want to be a girl pirate,” Lilah announced on Wednesday. We’ve recently purchased a copy of The Purim Superhero for the preschool and another for ourselves. There is a girl pirate.

Thursday afternoon, I suggested we get cracking on the costume. “I have three suggestions,” my daughter offered. “One, you could sew one. Two, we could go in the dress-up bin. Three, a girl pirate.” Did I mention one of the dads in The Purim Superhero sews the kid a costume? Fucking bad role model for the rest of us.

“Well, there’s not enough time to sew something.” And I don’t own a sewing machine. “So how about girl pirate or dress-up bin?”

Girl pirate didn’t work because Mommy can’t tie a schmata correctly and we couldn’t find the eye patch in the morass of effluvia that is Benjamin’s room.

“Well, my friend is going to be a ballerina. I could be a ballerina.”

“Do you want to wear the tutu?”

“No, I can wear the tights I wear to ballet class. Not the new ones, but the other ones. And a – what do you call that thing?”

“A leotard.”

“Yes. A leotard. And – well, it might be dangerous – but people don’t step on my feet that much at school.”

I guessed. “You want to wear your ballet slippers?”


But we needed to explore all the options, so we went to the dress-up bin, where she was serially a knight, a king, a queen, and some sort of glittery soccer player. None of it was quite right. Brainstorming continued after dinner. “How about if you’re Queen Esther?”

“Yes! But do we have a Queen Esther costume?”

“You can pick a dress and wear a tiara.”


She picked a dress. A big, poufy dress. I packed it in a bag. I hung it on her hook. We were done.

“I don’t like the Queen Esther costume,” she told me at breakfast. “I want to be a ballerina like my friend.”

Here’s the thing. She’s not such a quick draw with the tights and the leotard. And she likes to wait till the last minute to go to the bathroom. This has caused a number of incidents. “Honey, I don’t know if your teachers are going to want to help you get the leotard and the tights off every time you have to go to the bathroom.” We were now, by the way, 25 minutes from leaving for school.

“But I want to be a ballerina!”

“How about if you’re a doctor? You could be Doc McStuffins.”

“But my friend is going to be a ballerina.”

“How about if we pack both costumes and see what the teachers say?” Because I still needed to get three sets of teeth brushed.


“If you finish eating your breakfast, I’ll go look for the doctor costume.”

Ten minutes later, I was tossing the doctor coat, the stethoscope, and a stuffed lamb into a bag. “I don’t want to be a ballerina. I just want to be Doc McStuffins.”