For The Love Of Lego…

26 comments

I am writing this in the latter part of February.

President’s Day is over, STAR testing will be soon. We stopped singing the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ weeks ago and I’m now working off the Valentine’s Day chocolate.

I am an organized sort of person. I like things neat and tidy. After school drop-off, I regularly swoop through the whole house, putting things in their place and sweeping the floor.

So why is it, this fourth week of February, that the front room of the house, the one with the sweeping staircase, cathedral ceilings and wide open entryway, the potential for elegance unbounded, is cluttered?

With Christmas decorations.

The tree annually located in this formal space, lit up just so that it’s shine radiates outside into the street and therefore obviating the need for mechanical reindeer in the front yard, disappeared in December.

In its’ place came…Lego.

The entire formal front room and dining area have turned into a giant Lego laboratory for my son, Sebastian. Sofas have been pushed aside, tables and chairs worked around. At least three major setups are ongoing while thousands of Lego pieces are variously grouped in trays forming project hubs spread around the 325 square foot living space.

Moving around these rooms brings new meaning to ‘tiptoeing through the tulips.’ Trays inevitably get kicked and Legos fall out, where, of course, inevitably they get left.

And I know you know what Legos under a dainty bare foot can feel like. 🙂

So why have I allowed this commandeering of what is, or was, the only real stylish area in the house?

The only room that I would look at and go, ‘Ahhh,’ with a long sigh of contentment as I came down the stairs each morning and before I hit the family room with its odd assortment of train track, magazines, books and DVD’s combined with furniture that dates back to my and my husband’s respective singleton days (seriously) and soft furnishings left behind by the previous homeowners.

The laminated labeling of everything à la a kindergarten classroom provides a special touch of class, I think.

I let this Lego domination thing happen because it is his passion.

The one he exercises first thing in the morning before anyone is up, and last thing before he goes to bed. He’ll even forsake time on the computer to work on one of his projects.

I seriously question whether any girl will wield the same power later in life.

This way he has lots of space to work in, he can get as creative as he wants unfettered by space issues and I have enormous sympathy for that.

Growing up in England, where far too many people are squeezed onto a small island means everything is small and, by Californian standards, cramped, gives me an appreciation for the luxury of s-p-a-c-e.

I want him to know that his passions are important. More than material things and rooms that look like they come from Architectural Digest, more than impressing visitors, or an elegant space to relax in.

But most of all, I know that I will not have another chance. That time is precious. This time won’t come back.

Boys grow up and become interested in girls (or boys) and travel and careers.  They don’t want to spend time with their mums anymore. And besides when they’re grown up, they’re not all squooshy and mushy anymore. They’re big and stubbly and hard.

And that is how it should be.

I look back at photos of when they were little and the memories raise themselves. I miss those days but I’m content because I understood at the time they wouldn’t re-occur.

I made the most of them at the time.

Who cares if I have a messy front room for now? That socks that are pulled off and strewn about, the better to gain carpet traction. That instruction booklets of projects already assembled still lay around.

My front room has become a massive boy cave. Complete with holiday-decorations-in-February that somehow fit the overall look and feel of the space now that it’s no longer a showpiece.

I’ll get that cornucopia of elegance back. But for now, I’ve loaned it out.

On extended terms.

And that’s a-okay by me.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary E. Ulrich
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 11:51 am

My son loved Legos too. And now he is an engineer. I think there is a relationship.
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Alison Golden February 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Hi Mary, I’m sure there is a relationship. He loves doing the kits but is less into ‘What can I make from this box of loose pieces?’ which is a bit of a shame because we have boxes and boxes of loose pieces. It’s also a bit hard on the pocket book – his and mine. But he has engineers on both sides so not surprising.

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Mary E. Ulrich
Twitter:
February 23, 2011 at 4:16 am

I’m wondering if you could get the blueprints from the different kits online or from other friends, then you could use all the loose pieces. They are terribly expensive. You’ve probably already thought of this, but thought I’d throw it out there. Somewhere there must be a library of all the different formations.
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Jill
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Visiting from SITS 31DBBB. Love this post & Tweeted about it. =)

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Alison Golden February 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Thanks, Jill!

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Melody Granger
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I love this Allison!

During some of presentations with Mothers, I’ve been asked how to “organize” kids play stuff when they pull it out. I tell the Mothers that when a child is in creative mode, mixing and matching things…it’s just like when we adults work on a project and have things spread out. It may or may not make much sense to someone else, but we know what’s going on. So, do they.

I love that talk about how important it is to have the space to create. I’m happy you have the space because so many families have less space for their children to spread out in, which makes it harder to handle the “messiness”.

I often recommend to Mother’s that they give their children a beach towel or tray to let their children build their farms, barbie island, or whatever, so they can pull or move the whole creation out of the walkway, if needed. (Just like an adult may use a tray to hold their projects.)

After the child’s done with it (if ever!) then disassembling it is cool, but I think the child should agree to it, too. It’s a great way to help them build decision making skills. Those conversations between parent & child of pros & cons comes in at this time. Some children go along with whatever you want! lol Some don’t.

And I hope that made sense!

Kudos to you for letting your son have plenty of space to create 😉 I bet you come down that staircase & smile.

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Alison Golden February 22, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Hi Melody:

Yes, it made sense. And yes, I do come downstairs and smile. When the boys were younger, they would create these huge train track cities in our family room which also happens to be the main thoroughfare through the house. My rule was, and still, is to a certain extent – the creation can always stay but the loose pieces have to be put away. That way, they understood that I wouldn’t destroy all their hard work but that stray odd pieces that weren’t connected anything had to either be incorporated into the track or put away in the drawer. Even at two, they were able to understand that. After 2 weeks they had usually had their fill and because my eyes had to rest some time, we would agree it could be broken up. Now Sebastian has moved to a room we don’t use much, I am less strict about that rule but it was very effective in its’ time.

Thank you for giving us your professional organizing ideas! 🙂 Gotta love it!

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Mary E. Ulrich
Twitter:
February 23, 2011 at 4:18 am

Do I remember another post about how you took pictures of the creations, and a cleaning lady that played Destructo.
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Alison Golden February 23, 2011 at 8:24 am
Sarah Thacker
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Hurray for you! So many moms worry about the mess. The chance for unbridled creativity is an unparalleled gift. Your son is blessed.
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Alison Golden February 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Hi Sarah! Thank you. The mess gets to me too after a while but we somehow find a middle ground. Thank you for commenting. 🙂

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Lin February 23, 2011 at 9:41 am

Heading back over from Twitter to comment! 🙂 I LOVE this post! This is a great representation of how my mom raised my brother and me, and how I hope to parent, too. I think that, as parents, we should champion the things that our kids are passionate about….especially when those things also increase hand/eye coordination, problem-solving and other skills! Kudos to you for seeing past the clutter!
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Alison Golden February 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Hi Lin! Thank you for commenting. Interesting thought about how we are raised. I do remember having my own space in the farthest most corner of our sun lounge where no-one ever went and where it could be boiling hot one minute and freezing cold the next. I had all my dolls and teddies there playing hotel for day after day. I gave them meals, woke them up, dressed them, had them do activities, you get the picture, until eventually I’d got my fix. Then I moved on to the next scenario. Maybe that’s where my tolerance comes from 🙂

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Rachael February 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I love this post. My brother had a similar love for legos. Every surface in his room always had some kind of creation covering it. My son loves his action figure “guys.” Right now he has a Batcave set up in his room with guys and cars all lined up in a little scene. I love watching him play. I figure 20 years from now I won’t be looking back wishing I had spent more time cleaning. 🙂
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Alison Golden February 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I love watching them too, Rachael. I don’t clean 🙂 but I do fold laundry and I’d rather watch the boys lego (it’s a verb in our house) than do that.

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Beth
Twitter:
February 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Alison,

It takes a big person and a good mom to let her children have their space. especially with all those little lego pieces. I have two girls and I’d say the female equivalent, at least under foot, are those polly pockets. Talk about small and tough on bare feet.

Wonderful post!

Beth
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Alison Golden February 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Oooh yes, I can imagine those Polly Pockets hurting. Thanks for your lovely comment, Beth 🙂

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SuzRocks February 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I grew up playing with my brothers legos. Lo and behold…he is an engineer now.
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Alison Golden February 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Yes, it’s in the genes…

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Glynis Jolly
Twitter:
February 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Wow! Do you bring back the memories. Boys of younger elementary school are so entertaining. My son like Legos too but was in love with his Hot Wheels bike. He wanted to ride it no matter what the weather was. Next comes the age where a kiss is just a breif peck, no hugs.

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Alison Golden February 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I have one who has only ever been rather stingy with his affection although I know still waters run deep…:-)

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homschlr4ever February 26, 2011 at 3:16 pm

You go Alison. Personally, I think every parent gets to that point. We encourage their passions and they take over our homes and we delight in seeing them grow and discover and frankly after awhile, cleaning all that stuff up is just too much trouble. My friends all have kids. Their houses all look the same as mine so I realized, “Hey, I’m normal. Yea for me.” And take a deep breath, it doesn’t get any better until they leave. So I enjoy my daughters and if people don’t like my house, oh well, just one more person I don’t have to worry about keeping up with.
Susan

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Lisa D Liguori
Twitter:
March 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Because our kids come before our elegant living room. You will never regret this choice. Now, off to clear a path of doll houses in our playroom/family room.

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Alison Golden March 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Yes, paths. I have to do that sometimes. Clear them, that is. Because, after all, we do still have to live there.

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Caren with a "C" March 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm

My children love Legos. They are all over the house. My 12 year old is into making “safes” with his Legos. The 4 year old wants to make candy machines! LOL. They do hurt your feet though. We had tons of Legos as a kid and had them all spread all over the family room floor when an earthquake hit and I had to run on top of them. That I can tell you was the last time we didn’t have a clear path to get out of the room. LOL
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Alison Golden March 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

Ooooh, an earthquake AND stepping on legos. That wasn’t a good day, was it? I’m just about to update our emergency kits so I’m heading over to you *right* now. Thanks for commenting, Caren 🙂

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