Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Warning: Long rambling post ahead.
You might want to get a beverage.
And maybe a snack.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

The "aaarrrrggghhh"? No, it's not "Talk Like A Pirate Day" (though that's coming next month, just in case you wondered.) For that you'll need to check with "Cap'n Slappy" and "Ol' Chumbucket".

No, that was a groan of pain and frustration at the massive mountain of Legos we're dealing with.

Exhibit A:

Gunnar, posing with a very few (I'm not kidding) of the smaller sets we have begun to reassemble.

And Exhibit B:

This is merely one of the groups into which we have sorted our Legos. I think this represents "Small Special Pieces", as opposed to "Tiny Special Pieces", "Bigger Special Pieces", or "Flat Special Pieces"... you get my point.

I am so not kidding.

Feel my pain. (And by the way, needless to say we're not exactly toddler-safe just now.)

When the boys were really little I bought what I thought was a big set of Lego bricks. I might as well have given them meth. Oh, they loved 'em, all right. And they wanted more. For the past several years they have consistently asked for Legos for their birthdays and Christmas. But not just Legos, Lego kits. And we have fed the addiction gladly obliged.

And they play with them continually. Wonderful, creative play. They create new worlds, new vehicles, new adventures. They even made me a Lego Nativity last Christmas.

Of course, boys being boys, there are also continuous Lego battles, shifting alliances, and demolition derby type of events too.

But mostly what they make is a huge stinkin' mess that routinely takes over the entire family room. And they just can't pick it up because that would ruin everything. Because what looks to me like the aftermath of an F5 Tornado represents several boys' "bases" and heaven knows what else. And some of those boys don't even live under my roof.

So, tired of the bickering and the clutter, I proclaimed the Great Lego Fast earlier this summer. For cryin' out loud, we have a pool and a trampoline. Go outside. And stay there.

Well, I don't really have to tell them to do that.

So here are my dilemmas.

#1 What's mine is mine.

Though the boys can't seem to remember simple things, like unloading the dishwasher before breakfast, not out-gassing at the table, or washing their hands after visiting the bathroom, they know exactly which kits they own, and which "special pieces" came with each kit. Two small green apples. Several fire ants. A purple light-saber. A pack of red dynamite. (Which was lost today, causing tears and grief, and then found again to much rejoicing.)

But - here's where it gets complicated - they have bartered and traded the "special pieces" to each other over the course of months (or years), teeny tiny weapons - predictably - being the most sought after.

Well, I nipped that crisis in the bud by declaring the "Year of Jubilee". (Which may be the best thing to come out of reading through Leviticus earlier this year... in Jewish tradition, all property reverted to its original owner in the Year of Jubilee.)

So, the first hurdle was over.

#2 Destruction and devastation.

Getting things back to their rightful owners means reassembling all the kits. And before you can do that, you have to disassemble all the kits (which may have been "modified") and all the other creations.

Let me just confess right here that when I saw the size of the pile we had I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you. We own an obscene amount of Legos. ("How obscene?" "Really offensive." Bonus points for identifying the quote.)

But we did it. We took them all apart and sorted them, loosely, by categories into large tubs.

And, finally, #3 Enough is never enough.

Looking at the piles and piles of Legos leads me to wonder just how many Legos can they really enjoy? What is the saturation point? I find myself fantasizing about trying to imagine one of the boys approaching me and saying, "You know, Mom, I couldn't possibly enjoy playing with Legos any more, even if I had every kit they ever made."

(Then, after I stop laughing hysterically and get up off the floor...)

I remind myself that I'm the mom. I could put my foot down and say, "Not. One. More. Lego. Ever."

But I'd really rather say no to nintendo, playstation, xbox, and all that other gunk.

So at the rate we're going (which is slow, due to the frustration level of actually finding all the pieces for each set) we'll be putting kits together for the next few weeks.

And I'll have lots of time to think about Christmas and what will - or won't - be under the tree this year.


Anonymous said...

What an enjoyable post! I read it twice just to see if I'd smile as big the 2nd time through as I did the first. And hey... I wanted a 2nd snack so it was win-win!


leah said...

I love the idea of "Lego Jubilee." We only have chunky Duplos in our house at the moment, though Matt is eying a certain Lego firetruck set. Maybe for Christmas...

I'm not sure if you can actually own too many Legos- I loved them as a kid and can't wait to get the "real" Lego sets to build castles and trains. And my brother-in-law has a fully motorized Lego monorail kit he is going to give to us "when the boys get old enough." I can't wait to get that one!

Craig and Heather said...

Just remember, you will be a grandmother some day (insert evil laugh here)

I feel your pain, and it sounds like you are being much more patient than I would be.


Herding Grasshoppers said...

Thanks for your support... all of you :0)

Today's goal is The Clone Turbo Tank. (No, we did NOT pay $259.99!!!)

Note that this kit contains 813 pieces, I kid you not.

Pray for me.

Deborah said...

I guess I can be thankful that (currently) there is only one boy in this house (no Year of Jubilee rules). The girls like Ello. Lots of little pieces like LEGO,except even worse many are round so they rrrrrollllll -- everywhere.

I heartily agree that if the addiction keeps them from the electronic stuff, keep it coming! LEGO builds imagination and creativity. Something many children are lacking these days.

I can't quite say I feel your pain, but I can envision it :0). Happy building!!

Gramma Grasshopper said...

Should I really admit that I knew the quote "immediately" - it's from the movie Pretty Woman with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts...from the shopping scene! There, I admitted it.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Denise, I'm glad to have been able to facilitate your snacking wishes :0)

And Deborah... I'd never heard of Ello, had to google it up. Too cute! The pieces look about the size of small Lego pieces too.

And Gramma G nailed the quote.

The Squirrel said...

OH the joys of many an afternoon playing with Legos back in the days of my youth. Then, when I became a parent, I got a girl... I had to learn to play with Barbie...

Wonderful post, and I fully endorse the "Lego Jubilee" - wonderful save!


Herding Grasshoppers said...

To be honest, I've always been kind of a tomboy. I preferred Legos to Barbies.

Good thing, now.

Ann said...

A couple of years ago a family with two boys lost everything in a fire. It was a perfect opportunity - we parted with a full half of our Legos and guess what? Lego play has not been hindered in the least!! So, when you say you have an obscene number of Legos, this is one family that can definitely identify!