Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Ode to a Lego
I think that I shall never know
The awesome power of the tiny Lego.
Why doest Thou bring the young such joy?
Is there some chemical imbalance in each girl and boy?
OK, enough bad verse. But I have to admit, I don't quite understand the strange attraction in this little piece of plastic. Now, don't get me wrong. I do not have any ill feelings towards the Lego itself. In fact, I will go so far as to say that I rather enjoy building a little house out of them now and then. And I did participate in building and racing my own Lego car a few weeks ago at the Lego store with my sons. (Yes, I won! I don't believe in letting someone else win when my skills are obviously superior. I think it builds a false sense of accomplishment. Let no one accuse me of building my childrens' self esteem on a false foundation.) Back to the Lego. It is a wonderful toy that stimulates the imagination and is so versatile that it can be transformed into almost anything. This goes without question. I see it's attraction, I just can't believe the strength of that attraction. My oldest son, for the first time, has a bedroom of his own. His own private sanctuary. A place to retire when life (and parents) are so unfair. A place of solitude from the crazy life he shares with his brothers. In short, a refuge. However, he has willingly given all that away in order to build a place of security for his Lego creations. Yes, he is once again sharing a bedroom with his younger brother and has turned his room into “THE LEGO ROOM”.
The need to store his Legos securely began when his 3 and 4 year old brothers developed a strange need to carry small Lego men in their pockets. Since they did not own any small Lego men, they of course “borrowed” their older brothers. Strangely, even after they got small Lego men of their own, they still continued to “borrow” from their big brothers. In fact, the “borrowing” continued through disciplines too numerous to mention. The final battle ended with a Sponge Bob Square Pants Lego man circling the bowl before being launched into the depths of the septic tank forever. Now, as sad as it was to see Sponge Bob go down, I had no intention of digging up the septic tank to retrieve him, as my son suggested. Though we replaced the entire Sponge Bob set, the need to keep his Legos safe sat heavily on my son's mind. He would run to the bathroom any time he heard the toilet flush and ask, “What did you just put down there?” He would stand guard in front of his bedroom door when his little brothers were playing in the room across the hall. If he was the first one awake in the morning, he would wake his youngest brothers and make them follow him downstairs while he ate breakfast. He admitted to have nightmares about Legos going down the toilet.
Believe me, my son David is the world's greatest flusher. In fact, I firmly believe that if flushing improbable objects down the toilet was an Olympic sport, my son would certainly be a gold medallist. We will never truly know the depths of his flushing accomplishments. The things that have been retrieved before the point of no return are many. The number of things that have been written off with no chance of resurrection are far greater. However, the unusually high percentage of things that are “missing in action” around our house, leads me to speculate as to the true capacity of our septic tank. So, I do share my eldest's frustration with his little brother's habits. In fact, I have on occasion, been tempted to run into the bathroom myself after hearing a flush and demand, “What did you just put down there?” However, I have yet to succumb.
Yet, toothbrushes, dog toys, underwear and the countless other objects that have taken “the big swirl” are not as traumatic as watching a Lego hit the drain to the dark depths. Our family was on high alert for several days before we came up with the Lego Shrine solution. Not only has my son given his room in protection of the tiny toy, but we have also installed a locking doorknob on said room. Oh yes, even Dad was willing to shell out the bucks to buy a new doorknob in order to restore peace in our home once again.
I do have to admit that the room does hold some attractions for me that I had not thought of earlier. For once, I can confidently walk into my sons room at night to close a window, or retrieve a lost cup without the pain and agony of countless little Legos adorning the bottom of my feet. Also the words, “clean your room” are no longer a source of horror for the boys. (I have not been brave enough to utter the words “clean the Lego room” yet.) As strange as it may be, the Lego room has been a good solution to our family crisis. However, I still have a hard time understanding the depth of devotion it takes to give up your own private bedroom for the sake of a toy. My understanding will probably never reach that level. I am still grappling with the age old question of whether Lego sets were meant to be built and then kept together to be played with, or whether they are to be built and taken apart to be re-built into numerous other creations. That's one argument I have no intention of trying to sort out. It will take far greater minds than mine.