Screw you, Sensei Wu (A Lego rant)

I think I’m a pretty decent mom.  I’m not perfect, but neither is Laurie Berkner, and she sings Victor Vito, and anyone who can fit the words rutabaga, tabasco, and Alaska in the same chorus is pretty damn close to perfect in my book.  Sure, I yell at my kids from time to time, but I also write them little notes for their packed lunches.  I don’t drop what I am doing to coo over every scribble and slash, but I have taught them what irony and sarcasm are.  I will admit within these pages, however, that my children got shafted on two fronts.  One is my disinterest and disinclination toward domesticated animals.  Though my heart expanded with the addition of each of my sons, when it comes to Fido and Mittens, my heart, like the Grinch’s, is 3 sizes too small.  The second is my increasing exasperation with Lego.

In case you’ve forgotten, I have two sons.  I also live in Denmark, the Motherland of all things plastic, sharp and brick like.   It practically rains Lego here.  You cannot sneeze without ending up with a tissue full of bricks.  There is Legoland, several Lego flagship stores, Lego Expos, Lego parliament members.  I suspect the monarchy may be Lego as well.  Lego, damn it’s omnipresence, is everywhere.

Nathan Sawaya. Photo: brickartist.com
Art by Nathan Sawaya. Photo: brickartist.com

Taken in the abstract, Lego is a wonderful concept.  It’s durable.  It promotes creativity.  It strengthens hand-eye coordination, instruction following, independent play, and design skills.  There are artists now who work solely and exclusively in Lego, and their creations are phenomenal.  Hell, you could probably throw some physics lessons in there too.  What’s not to love about a toy that does all of that?

Shall I count the ways?

It is in every conceivable corner of my home (and travels with me too)

Those damnable bricks are in backpacks and purses and the fold at the front of my front loading washer.  It’s in the pockets of my bathrobe, where I pick up the pieces that are too big to get sucked up in the vacuum cleaner.  It’s in the vacuum cleaner.  It’s in my bags, my wallet, my kitchen drawers.  I have, on occasion, had to pick out a piece from between my toes and from the tread of a boot.  Yet despite this,

You can never find the piece you need

When your 5-year-old is having a meltdown because he’s missing the last two pieces of a set that’s been deconstructed 19 times you can rest assured you will not find those two pieces.  I have spent countless hours searching for the ‘gray two-er with the slanty edge—no, not that edge,the other’.  There are decapitated heads floating around and toupees that remain unclaimed.  There are the teeniest, tiniest accessories you can imagine.  You thought Barbie shoes were bad, Mom?  Try to find the blaster that goes with Han Solo in a plastic storage bin the size of a compact car.

There’s no easy way to store or sort it

I am neurotically capable of organizing and storing.  Yet I am flummoxed by Lego.  We have tried sorting it by set, by size,  by color.  I have 7 small Tupperware bins filled with ‘specialized pieces’ which include, but are not limited to:  joysticks, hinges, connectors, ‘one-ers’, tiles, axles, and those STUPID round button like pieces that are everywhere.  I am running out of room to store the pieces, running out of room to store the ‘creations’.  I pull a book off the shelf and am confronted with a mash-up of bricks that I am informed, with an eye roll from my 5-year-old, is Kit Fisto’s starship.

LEGO_logoIt’s not for the spatial relations challenged

Remember those standardized tests you used to take in high school?  I do.  I always scored toward the top of the charts on the reading, writing, and math portions.  The year they included a test dedicated to visual and spatial relations, I scored in the 5th percentile.  For those of us who have trouble with parallel parking and map reading, Lego building can be a nightmare.  My 8-year-old can look at a piece, at any point in the construction, and know exactly how it fits.  My 5-year-old works it differently, but still gets there in the end.  If I am confronted with a finished piece that crashes to the floor after it gets caught on the blind cord (true story), I have to take the entire thing apart and start over.  And you can guarantee that all the pieces aren’t there when you need them.

Nails on a chalkboard?

The ubiquitous metaphor for annoyance has nothing on the sound of my sweet boys pawing through bins of plastic early on a Saturday morning.

Screw you, Sensei Wu

Lego marketing is genius.  Any given year they come out with new sets, new series, movie and book tie-ins.  Just when I finally understand the difference between Ninjago and Spinjitsu, Lego discontinues the series and comes out with a new one.  Screw you, Sensei Wu.  I never wanted to know what a Spinjitsu was anyway.  And now Disney has gone and bought out the Star Wars franchise.  I can only hope that by the time episodes VII, VIII and IX hit the Lego store, my boys will have outgrown Lego and/or Star Wars.

It never ends

My kids pore over the newest catalog like it’s toy porn.  Forget the fact that they have roomfuls of the stuff, that they have whole fleets and cities of vehicles and accessories and little headless people. They always want more.  And the more they get, the better they get at building it.  My oldest is now so adept that he built the Millennium Falcon in one sitting.  It sits, in all it’s gray and plastic glory, on his dresser.  Too expensive to take apart, too fragile to play with, it sits.  I have to carefully move it to dust, lest I lose a brick or god forbid, the thing drops and falls apart because I would cry.  Tears of bricks, no doubt.

So there you go.  I don’t like pets.  I don’t like Lego.  I’m not perfect.  Don’t cross me though.  I can get all Spinjitsu on your ass.

150px-Sensei_wu_clipart
Sensei Wu. I hate that I know that.

For a brief history of Lego, read more here:

Lego Story

History of Lego

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28 thoughts on “Screw you, Sensei Wu (A Lego rant)

    • dhonour February 21, 2013 / 10:16 am

      Thanks, Allison. When I’m tidying up those little bits of punishment for some unknown karmic disaster, I mean Lego…., I will try to remember to laugh.

      Like

  1. doublewhirler February 20, 2013 / 11:56 pm

    Wonderfully observed as ever! My personal Lego pet peeve: as toys, as you note, those Lego designers knew they’d be everywhere. Especially underfoot. Bare foot. The most painful thing ever! How do you manage?

    Like

    • dhonour February 21, 2013 / 10:14 am

      I manage with wine. Lots and lots of wine. I even have a Lego figure of myself holding a wine glass. (Well, I think in reality it’s a trophy, but I like to think of it as a giant wine glass).

      Liked by 1 person

      • doublewhirler February 21, 2013 / 6:51 pm

        …and is there a Danish word for “Ow goddamnit I just stepped on another piece of Lego!!” (preferably with those o’s with the slash through)?

        Like

      • dhonour February 22, 2013 / 6:44 pm

        Probably. And I’m sure it has 22 consonants and is unpronounceable.

        Like

  2. Grace February 21, 2013 / 9:20 am

    Hahahaha! This post made me laugh so much! You are an awesome parent for buying so much Lego for your kids and an awesome writer.

    Like

    • dhonour February 21, 2013 / 10:13 am

      Thanks, Grace! You have to laugh, to get you through the day. Until you step on a lego brick on your way to the bathroom at 3 am. There’s nothing funny about that….But thank you for stopping by and reading and commenting. I hope you come back again!

      Like

  3. Kimberly Stine February 21, 2013 / 10:32 am

    I feel your pain! There is one good thing about legos though….. for that 10 to 30 minutes of building a new set there is no sound of fighting siblings or nerf darts being fired. My wine glass is half full:)

    Like

    • dhonour February 22, 2013 / 6:43 pm

      Someone should commission a study that calculates the ratio of quiet set building time to wine consumption.

      Like

  4. Dawn February 21, 2013 / 4:50 pm

    Legos just entered my house this past Christmas! I – see that, I, have fun putting together THEIR kits only to have the boys destroy them 5 minutes later. They are finally getting to the point of playing with the “plain” legos and making squares aka stuffed penguin houses. We were just talking in my office the other day that people are investing in legos now. The Lego Taj Mahal is worth $1500! And I agree with the no fighting for 10-30 minute comment!

    Like

    • dhonour February 22, 2013 / 6:44 pm

      The Lego Taj Mahal probably cost $1300 to begin with!! Those sets are expensive! Welcome to the world of Lego. May the bricks be ever in your favor…

      Like

  5. womanunadorned February 21, 2013 / 8:56 pm

    I have just officially cleared the house of Lego: we bequeathed it to some younger cousins. We had all the Hogwarts sets, even the Hogwarts Express, all separated into pieces in plastic boxes. The kids loved it, but their parents gave us a frostier reception on our next visit! I agree, it’s the sorting that kills you. Fantastic post.

    Like

    • dhonour February 22, 2013 / 6:46 pm

      Thanks. Sometimes at night I like to fantasize about what my house will someday look like without towers of bricks and boxes of trucks. I guess we’ll have to save all the Star Wars sets though–if and when I ever have grandchildren, there will be a new series out, I’m sure.

      Like

  6. Fi February 22, 2013 / 10:27 am

    This is so true if you have a boy. I have to add that I have spent more time making lego than Phil. Which basically means I can follow instructions. When asked to create something without a guide forget it. Great read and amusing as ever. Cheers Fi

    Like

    • dhonour February 22, 2013 / 6:47 pm

      I always want to just build nice little houses with trees. The kids…not so much.

      Like

  7. ElizabethWolf February 23, 2013 / 11:14 pm

    I just have to tell you we stayed at a dear friend’s house and he called a month later to let me know he’d been carrying a small, yellow window frame in his wallet all this time in the hope of running into my son to return it to him. He was 18 months at the time so thing Duplo.

    Like

    • dhonour February 25, 2013 / 9:27 pm

      Duplo is no easy thing to carry. It’s pretty big! I have random Lego heads in most of the pockets of my coats at any given time…

      Like

  8. Laney February 24, 2013 / 10:13 pm

    We have rules for Lego. If you want to build it, you find it. If you can’t build it, we won’t buy it. If you want to keep it, you put it away or Daddy will suck it up with the vacuum (yes, Daddy vacuums). My son has said that he will stop collecting once we buy him the Death Star. I am tempted but doubt he’ll keep his word.

    Like

    • dhonour February 25, 2013 / 9:26 pm

      That worked for the big one! The problem is the small one gets the leftovers!

      Like

    • dhonour March 6, 2013 / 9:20 pm

      Sad..but true! Thanks for coming by!

      Like

  9. dhonour November 18, 2014 / 1:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Wine and Cheese (Doodles) and commented:

    In case you’re thinking of buying Lego for Christmas. Think of it as a public service announcement.

    Like

  10. NotAPunkRocker November 18, 2014 / 5:03 pm

    Can you adopt me? I get the frustration but as someone who used their kid as a reason to play with the things, I need to expand on them some more 🙂

    Like

    • dhonour November 19, 2014 / 5:33 pm

      Lol. I WISH I liked them, I really do. Unfortunately my creativity tends to take a different lean. Even when faced with a bin full of brick and free to create whatever, I get stumped.

      Like

  11. Andra Watkins November 18, 2014 / 5:15 pm

    When I was 4, I had a friend named Kenny. (Ironically, I still have a friend named Kenny, only not the same guy. Even though they both share this Lego affliction.) And I too call it an affliction. I can still feel the pain on my bare right foot from stepping on multiple Legos at the age of 4. When my brother got big enough to want Legos, I lobbied HARD for them to be forbidden. (Thus, he ended up an engineer, not an architect, which was a favor to him. Engineering is much more lucrative.)

    Like

    • dhonour November 19, 2014 / 5:31 pm

      The pain of stepping on a Lego is deserving of its own post, Andra. I didn’t even want to go there. Honestly, the emotional pain of not being able to find the one, clear piece the size of a thumbnail in a tub the size of a car though, that’s right up there with the physical pain ;-). Funny that you ended up marrying an architect, though. Does MTM love Lego and all it’s brick glory?

      Like

      • Andra Watkins November 19, 2014 / 10:53 pm

        Yes. He invented an urban design game using Lego. I told him he should’ve registered it. He used to play it with school groups when they visited him at his old job.

        Like

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