Thursday, December 14, 2006

Life with Legos

What an optimistic title: Life WITH Legos. Maybe it should be Life vs. Legos. At any rate, I am decidedly Lego-challenged today.

We've had an unusual relationship with Legos. When the child was a tiny toddler, I had more interest in Legos than did he. I used to buy outrageously expensive sets (designed for age 10-adult) which featured 3-wheeled cycles, various workers with interchangeable hairdos, and elaborate service stations apparently intended to keep the tricycles up and running. I'm the one who assembled these sets, and became quite adept at it, I might add, since Legos were tragically absent from my own childhood toychest.

The child never did participate; he watched me with polite amusement. At one point I distinctly recall feeling a sense of relief that I would not have to take out a second mortgage to support the Lego Corporation. We lived in peace for a while, with the Legos shelved.

Then one day last month everything changed. His bedroom was transformed in one afternoon from a pleasant boy's bedroom kept very tidy for real estate showings into a massive mound of Lego pieces concealing the bed and furnishings. Although I always said I wanted him to have wholesome interests, I was highly dismayed by this turn of events, and expressed it loudly.

Besides, the child's very character was affected. A hitherto unknown level of frustration began to rear its ugly head whenever a Lego creation fell apart, as they inevitably do. The child began to rage so vehemently that I feared he'd pop a blood vessel. Now, every time he calls me in to view a finished project, I grab my phone in case I have to dial 911, since the collapse of the creation usually occurs within seconds of completion.

The child, being known for his expensive high tech taste in gifts, had the good sense to present me with his Christmas wish list last October. I ordered as much as I could reasonably afford, glad to have that task out of the way. Then, just yesterday I was informed by said child that he wanted nothing but Legos for Christmas this year. Mind you, Legos were not included to any extent on his fall Christmas list. The Lego sets he wants are measured in hundreds, not tens, of dollars. I have no idea what I'm going to do about this bit of unpleasantness.

Then this morning the child exhibited an abnormally delayed response to my urgings to get ready to leave for school. I should have known that Legos were to blame. When it became too late to walk to the bus stop, I yelled for him to get into the car. With horror, I watched him march to the car with his latest Lego invention in tow, another new behavior for the child who had up until this point confined the Lego world to his bedroom. When the bus pulled up, he shrieked bloody murder as yet another structure bit the dust. He had apparently intended to take that creation to school, as far as I could determine from his wailing as he boarded the bus. Even the bus driver looked shocked at the extreme display of emotion. His red, tear-streaked face mouthed desperate, indecipherable words at me as the bus pulled away.

What's a mother to do? Well, a stable, sane one would have gone on with her day, knowing the child would be OK, and that maybe even he'd learn to put Legos into their proper perspective. This one drove to the child's school to deliver the fallen Lego pieces to her son, lest he fall apart like they had.


Jo said...

So glad I'm not the only mom buying those gigantic Lego sets this year. And, while I've never delivered Legos to school, I did leave work early the other day to build a papier mache volcano. We must have the same brand of mom-nuttiness. Have a happy holiday.
Found you on BlogExplosion -really enjoyed your blog.

Betty said...

Thanks, Jo. I, too am glad to not be the only one!


Sideways Chica said...

For so many years Legos and Erector Sets were under the tree and given as Birthday gifts every year. I miss those days! Wish I had all the old sets to send you and the child. Just what you need...more mess! ;)

Having said that, I do remember an unusually obsessed period of time when the youngest would not do anything without the legos in tow, including eating and sleeping. It was after several months of this behavior that I finally realized the root of the sudden obsessive attachment. Something important was on his mind. He put all his energy into building, creating and controlling those legos, and blocking out the rest of the world, because he could control this make-believe environment. You see, we had our house on the market and we were trying to find a house...with more room. Once we did find that bigger house, and got him all settled in his new room, it was business as usual. He went back to his normal semi-obsessive lego behavior. :)

I'm not saying this is the case with your little guy. Maybe he just finally developed and interest and whamo!

Even if I had know the cause of his behaviour at the time, I think it would have been best to let it play out as it did. It was his way of coping, and cope he did. To this day I know when something is on his mind by the projects he's involved in. Funny thing. My husband is a builder and he does the same thing. Son number two gets this trait straight from the Daddy Tree.

Just a little food for thought...and I know you didn't ask, so I hope you don't mind that I mentioned this. ;)

Ciao bella...

Betty said...

Dear Teri,

Of course I don't mind! I always appreciate your thoughts, and you never fail to make perfect sense. Lately I have been talking about moving as if I'm sure it's going to happen, and it's possible that the child finds that stressful. The dreaded Legos offer him the opportunity to control an environment.

Thanks, Chica!


kathy said...

I still love playing with leggos!

Betty said...

Kathy- I'm sure that's one reason Legos prevail in toy stores year after year! I can't think of that many toys which appeal to adults.


garnet david said...

That kind of committment to loving your child will be returned when he's an adult.

I'm glad he's showing a renewed interest in "wholesome" activities.

Betty said...

Dear Garnet,

I sure hope you're right, not that I'll get a payoff when he's an adult, but just that you seem to think that what I do is OK, and maybe even beneficial.


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