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.
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.
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.
For a brief history of Lego, read more here: