M y son wants to plant trees. Any and every kind of tree.

First, it was apricot pits in the planter on the windowsill. My son didn’t actually want the apricots that would eventually grow — he wanted the pits inside the apricots. We live in Israel and when apricots are in season, the boys collect the pits, or, as they call them, gogo’im or aju’im. All season long, the pits are usable currency in the world of little boys.

My boys’ cheder has a rule: No selling anything in school that could be purchased in a regular store. But that still leaves a lot of saleable items that little boys like. Junk. Corks, paper towel rolls, and tea packets (good thing they don’t allow used tissues).

The more enterprising boys even went to a publishing house looking to offload its unwanted seforim covers — as well as the gold ribbon the stores use to stamp names on leather siddurim. (My sons brought it home. Like the proverbial successful gvir, all it touched was gold. Fingers, clothing, toys, couches, and walls. And the blessed stuff doesn’t come off. Yeah, in my house, all that glitters is gold.)

So my son wanted a tree full of pits so that he could buy even more junk than he already has. After a week of scrutinizing the planter for some — any — signs of growth, I finally convinced him to sell the junk he bought to procure enough pits to buy more junk.

He moved on to wanting a tomato bush. He squeezed a tomato over my plant pot, and then soaked the dirt every day. The only thing that grew was my frustration at the brown puddles left along the windowsill. Then we discovered that tomato seeds need to be dried out before they’re planted. Oh.

We moved on to avocado pits and potato spuds. I don’t have a garden. Or a porch. I have a window ledge. Not ideal for projects of this scale. Especially when said area is also our washing line. I tried explaining all these points using reason, but logic and five-year-olds are mutually exclusive. Unless you use their logic and that makes no sense at all.

Finally, after Succos, he settled on the jackpot. He decided to plant an esrog tree. Great. Delicate, large, and unlikely to bear fruit. All the mishaps in one. Using five-year-old logic, my son decided that if I wouldn’t reason with him, he would reason with me. He appeared holding the book Yedidya and the Esrog Tree. A very nice fable if there ever was one. Yedidya planted an esrog seed that sprouted despite everyone’s doubts, and soon grew into a tree that he planted in the back yard. In Australia most people have big backyards, so that wasn’t a concern. Even then, he didn’t get fruit for a few years.

At least the kids’ series of Rimon books didn’t have a story about their moniker. I had visions of scrubbing purple-splattered walls during the trial plantings. Admittedly, if my neighborhood is anything to go by, pomegranate trees are far easier to grow. Every few buildings have a tree near the dumpster. Yeah, I never understood the proximity thing, until I realized that all the trees are planted behind the garbage dumpster, because that’s the only few inches spare in the entire neighborhood. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 577)