The World According to Lego
My wife and I hadn’t realized that Lego were de rigueur before having a little boy. We’d been under the mistaken impression that Lego were optional. That it was an acceptable option to have our floor not become a landmine field of sharp objects awaiting our unsuspecting bare feet. That taking an hour to retrieve tiny arms, Han Solo’s hairpiece and the Goblet of Fire before being able to vacuum was something we could avoid.
We were mistaken.
Lego arrived long before our first son was able to make use of them. He was what the pediatrician called “orally fixated” and didn’t stop putting strange things in his mouth until roughly seventeen, so we didn’t dare release him on Legos until his trachea was wider than a Lego human head and he was at least capable of choosing not to chew things to smithereens every second of the day.
I think we might have got him the humble starter set in primary colors, but as if the call had been put out to the universe, Lego sets rolled in. Our neighbors delivered a wine casket-sized blue barrel of their teenage son’s unused sets, my younger cousin’s complete super deluxe Star Wars sets arrived in the mail. We were replete, even before birthdays and Christmases started bringing in Harry Potter sets with regularity, grandparents providing castles we could never afford.
Back then, the Legos lived on the floor in his bedroom, in a heap. He’d paw through the pile for the right piece, and never seemed to have a problem with that. Legos were built. Fun was had. He was through his Lego phase around the time his little brother was born, and the thousands of choking-size plastic parts lived in obscurity for the next few years, when I took advantage of the opportunity to vacuum at will.
Now we are in the thick of it again; little brother’s birthday money went to Lego sets. He can comparison shop online with the best, though no one has been fool enough to send him a credit card application and we’ll tear it to shreds if they do.
There are two major differences between our original Lego siege a decade ago and this one: 1) my Virgo wife spent two entire weekends organizing the pre-existing Legos into bins from Ikea, using drawer dividers to separate body parts from animal, wardrobe accessories from wands, and 2) I have a whole lot more patience now with the process.
Less time, yet more time. One of the odd space-time continuum aspects of parenthood—the more kids you have, the better you are at time management (until you have one too many and go A.W.O.L. and/or write a best-selling book about it).
The key is delegation, or lowering your standards. A varied diet doesn’t have to mean variety at every meal; it can mean cereal for breakfast, apples for lunch and a pork chop for dinner. One food takes less preparation than four. And one Labrador can mean never mopping your kitchen floor again.
So despite always having no time, I managed to build three large Lego sets this weekend with our seven year-old while single-parenting because the wife was out of town. I crippled myself squatting on the wood floor, but become expert at searching through the bins for pieces in black, gray and reactor-waste green, and mastered the art of reading Lego schematics.
No small feat for one weekend.
Blogger Bio: Beren deMotier is a Carol Brady in Levis/tattooed lesbian mama in a mini-van, obsessed with safety, doing the right thing and the amount of dog hair on her wood floors. She is a regular contributor to both Curve and Black Lamb, and has written for Hip Mama, And Baby, Pride Parenting, ehow.com, and for her blog, “That Lesbian Mom Next Door.” Her multi-award-winning book, The Brides of March: Memoir of a Same-Sex Marriage, recounts her giddy leap through a legal window, straight onto the barbeque pit of public debate when she and her partner married in Oregon in 2004, their three children along for the raucous ride. (berendemotier.com)