I live in Lego land. Truly so. The living room is home to a half-built castle which is home to a half-built garage which is, temporarily, just temporarily they say, home to some lost Lego souls (plasticky yes, but in Lego land that is norm) that have lost their hats, hair and an arm here and there. Yes, it’s all small parts. Very.
As you make your way into the kitchen – small open spaces allow for little if any delimitation of such areas, but please allow me – there is a box of Lego which I cover out of respect for myself. It’s a bit too much to see. The remains (if you are a pessimist) or the building blocks (if you’re an optimist) of an airport, plus some aircraft bits.
I am a realist, which is why I choose to put a lid on it. Literally. I know it’ll be a while until any Lego aircraft will be on takeoff status. It’ll come, just not yet. There are only that many hours in one day you see.
Just as you veer into the hallway leading to the boys’ room, a nice pine dresser almost invites the unawares to pull open the drawers. The bottom one I suggest you leave be. Yes, it’s the Lego of many sets, grouped under that impossible to describe category that shall not be named.
That’s the drawer where I throw pieces as I find them, when I clean up or, in a more unfortunate turn of events, in the middle of the night. Which I do, more often that a human should be allowed to. I am not at my most gracious when that happens, but there’s nothing like a square little bugger like that to remind you about living in the moment.
If you’re still with me, we are now in the boys’ room. Under one of the beds there are two bins of … Yep, Lego. The Hobbit series came in strong because you see, when the kid has Lego on his Christmas or birthday wish list, you oblige, because, and only because… Lego is a game of building, thinking and well, growing up in a most harmonious way. Thinking, while staying out of trouble. For now. And not every day, but that’s a story for another day.
There are three more bins, a recent and lovingly passed on inheritance from my partner’s busy Lego past. Lots of exciting, now long extinct sets that need but busy hands to exist again in all their glory. Busy hands are here, I see them every day.
They do get busy. Every now and then, a fever runs through the house and I am never sure whether to bask in the fresh breeze of that enthusiasm or pack some quick bags and run out the door to hide until the fever passes.
Why, you may ask? Creativity is my most favourite ally in day to day life, so should I not encourage it when it hits home? Yes. And I do. But here’s the darker side, if you will allow me to call it that. As the fever carries on, great ideas materialize into half-built this and that. Like mushrooms after a copious rain, they sprout all over, especially on the kitchen floor because ‘Mom, I love sitting here while you cook and build Lego.’ Hence the kitchen becoming a mine zone. I am, in many ways, a survivor; a good thing.
Now when we call it a day, nothing really disappears. This plastic new species that inhabits our abode is work-in-progress for days to come, so I have to let the various contraptions be wherever they find some living space. On the dining table is tops. Location, location, location! Then there’s the floor, under the chair in the corner, on the old chest-turned-coffee table-turned ‘don’t you dare brush by it or everything falls off’ and so on.
A mere 800 square feet of living space can only allow for that much storage space though. So once the Lego cavalcade sets itself comfortably all over our living quarters, we politely retreat to dine outside. Al fresco as they say, with complimentary bugs. The bright side is that we get to see growing structures not made of Lego for a change.
Bad weather sends us back inside every now and then but then again, bad weather is a rare occurrence.
I’d like to keep on doing so, because you know what? At the end of the day, no matter how many stray pieces attempt to tear my plantar ligaments, and yes, they do, the pain passes like a fleeting cloud and the happy glow of seeing the boys create and getting excited over building ‘something I’ve always wanted to build’ is a sight to behold.
The latest development is that any leftovers are picked off the floors as opposed to being shoved under the bed. Most days anyways…
As for the real Legoland (real is in the eye of the beholder)… well, for now I will choose to maintain the same attitude I have towards zoos. I prefer seeing the wild stuff, if I happen upon it by any chance. As you can easily infer from what you’ve read so far, chance favours me quite a bit. I get to see lots of wild stuff, hence my polite decline to seeing more. For now anyways…
So you see, although challenging at times, life in Lego land means a few things:
- That the boys learn patience (ever tried to search for the tiniest, say, white piece, in a big mound of many white pieces? It’s a skill.)
- That they learn to be bold in how they create…’It’s a barn’/’No, it’s not!/’Yes it is, because I am the one building it!’ Feel free to replace barn with anything that crosses your mind.
- That they don’t care much about an orderly house and that allows them to just be. Clear of anything that might hinder spur-of-the-moment creativity, they learn to follow the impulse that allows them to transform ideas into palpable things.
Which in turn allows me to know they are still boys. In no hurry to grow, in no hurry to dismantle their castles, trains, train tracks, barns and people, in no hurry to stop playing.
Which is something we often forget. We start favouring orderly houses and having everything where it belongs at the end of the day, forgetting that children belong in that place where they can play at their hearts content to the point of having to be peeled off at bedtime and waking up early because they have to build further. From one day to the next, life is Lego land is as real as it gets. And seamless.
Continuity… The strongest argument to let Lego land be… A reminder of now and of all the tomorrows to come. Feet hurting or not, it’s a great place to be. Really. Age-proof too.