Monday, January 31, 2011

My Love-Hate Relationship With Legos

I love Legos. They are awesome for Mister Man, whose fine motor skills aren't nearly so developed as they should be. He's gotten to be really good at manipulating them, and I feel like it's really helped him improve his handwriting and other skills. While he's getting OT and ST specifically to address his deficits due to Asperger's, this is something he can do all on his own just because it's fun.

I hate Legos. The clear ones are the worst because I think the floor is clean until I step on them in my bare feet. I've yet to truly break skin, but I've felt the need to check more than once.

I love Legos. It's something that can keep Mister Man and Little Miss entertained for hours, playing nicely while I make dinner or clean or complete some other task that must be done.

I hate Legos. Neither of the wee ones are particularly adept at removing the super small pieces from any projects they've built. Rather than asking for my assistance, they frequently use their teeth to attempt to remove the pieces. I've yet to have to make an emergency trip to the dentist, but that is my fear. They have left dents in the pieces that has made them ... unhappy, however. I had to implement the "if I see a Lego in or near your mouth, it is now my Lego" policy.

I love Legos. The creativity they inspire is wonderful. Mister Man looked at the side of a Lego box once when he was relatively new to Legos and saw numerals built from Legos. He built the one, two, three and four he saw pictured. Then he made his own five through nine because he could. He's created whole worlds and stories and movies based on the Legos he's built.

I hate Legos. The Legos Mister Man wants now (Little Miss, too) are all Lego creations from Atlantis crab submarines to General Grievous's Tie-Fighter from Star Wars. Although there is tons of creativity going on with the way the wee ones play with them after they're built, I'm sad that their overall creativity with the Legos is somewhat stifled.

I love Legos. It isn't a "boy toy" that makes other children look at her oddly when she wants to play with them. It's all inclusive, and it's great for improving her visual spatial skills, something that interestingly isn't her best talent. I love that they are a toy both the wee ones can and do play with.

I hate Legos. Those things are expensive! And just like me who had 33 Barbies as a child because each one is different and there are different ways to play with each of them, there are always more and new and different Legos that the wee ones want.

I love Legos. They require no batteries. They don't make noise. They don't wear out suddenly where I need to immediately find a screwdriver to open a battery case and then pray that we have the dead battery size in stock.

I hate Legos. Those sets I mentioned above? The wee ones tend to misplace a single piece somehow all too often for my tastes. And then the world stops until one of us finds the mysterious piece that Mister Man can't quite describe to me but will know if he sees it.

I love Legos. They require patience. They require following directions. They require organization. Those are life skills that so many toys these days don't teach, and it's why I've bought varying sizes of Legos for the wee ones since Mister Man was old enough to push two blocks together.

Today, I really hate Legos.

Little Miss received the Pizza Planet Truck for Christmas (as did Mister Man, ironically). She put it together, with Mister Man's help, last week over a four or so day stretch. She's slower at doing the Legos, but she gets them done. This morning, she dumped out the Pizza Planet box with the Lego back into individual pieces. As I gawked at her in awe, she explained that she had made some mistakes and so needed to redo it.

She proceeded to work on putting it back together. As she had difficulties, I would help her put a piece into place. Or I'd dump out one of our massive boxes of Legos to help her discover one of the pieces to her Lego set that had somehow migrated into our general Lego population. A few hours later, she was nearly done, and I was called in to do the delicate work. I succeeded.

Once the truck was put together, Little Miss began putting the characters that came with the truck inside it to play - as described in the directions. We got Rex in with only minimal issues. She got Buzz in just fine by herself. I couldn't make Hamm stay they way he was shown in the picture. Trying to put the alien on, the Lego broke into a few pieces.

I hurriedly put Little Miss to the task of cleaning up all the Legos we had searched through while assembling her truck. I pressed the Lego back together. The more I put pieces together, the more they fell apart. Soon, I had to begin referring to the manual to figure out where pieces had dropped from. It was too fragile.

I continued working. Every time I got almost to the end, something else would break off. I did discover some major errors Little Miss had made early in the process and corrected them. That helped, but there were too many places that were too fragile to hold together as I needed to apply new sections to the truck.

Three plus hours later, the Lego sat on the floor in pieces. My back was so sore that I almost couldn't stand up. My composure was hanging by a thread. The Lego won, and I decided to wait until Mister Man was available to help us, trusting that his expertise would allow us to at least get the Pizza Planet Truck back into a single piece. And once it is, this is one that won't be played with. It goes on a special shelf where we can admire it from afar. With the Toy Story characters standing outside it.

Legos 1
Mommy 0


CM January 31, 2011 at 3:01 PM  

I am so with ya! I made the mistake of buying Sprout his first Legos for Christmas. Now, all he and Cubbie do is spread them all over the house! And yes, once they get them together, they can never get them apart, requiring my help every time!

Mary~Momathon January 31, 2011 at 3:13 PM  

I go back and forth with loving the Legos! Good to hear I'm not the only one. Whew!

Tara R. January 31, 2011 at 4:28 PM  

My 17yo still wants me to get him those crazy hard kits.

I've stepped on my share of the little bricks too, and they make a terrible noise when sucked up in the vacuum.

Susie January 31, 2011 at 5:22 PM  

Hated it!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog January 31, 2011 at 10:26 PM  

You know, once I got past my fear that my kids would be upset when the Lego sets came apart, I was so much happier. My kids build the sets, keep them that way for a while, and then destroy them so that they can use the "cool pieces" to build something else! You should SEE the set up that my eldest has!! Some amazing creations...

Cris January 31, 2011 at 10:27 PM  

I have not entered the world of lego yet... and now I am scared because we can't manage to keep 24 pieces to a 24 piece puzzle in one place... let alone special pieces for works of art!

Way to persevere mama. You may have lost the battle, but you can win the war!

Pat February 1, 2011 at 9:39 AM  

I had the same love-hate relationship with Legos that you have when my boys were young, but I've saved them for grandkids. All of their Legos ended up being in one big tub, but they still happily played with them.

Michelle February 2, 2011 at 2:06 PM  

CM - Legos are awesome, but ... there are definitely some downsides, as you've discovered!

Mary - Nope, definitely not the only one :)

Tara - I have a feeling that Mister Man is another one who won't outgrow these. And if he does? I'm saving them for grandkids. Wayyyy too expensive to just toss!

Susie - You aren't at all wavering on that, are you?

Tracey - They do that, but then they freak out when they can't find pieces. I can't tell you how often I've gone through one of the big bins searching for that *one* missing piece. I can imagine what your eldest has done!

Cris - Somehow you'll figure it out.... We have lots of bins. And I'm sure some have gotten lost but we just don't know it yet. There are jillions and jillions.

Pat - That's the way to do it. I'm with you that I'll definitely be saving them for grandkids somewhere VERY VERY far down the line!

septembermom February 6, 2011 at 7:55 PM  

I think I'll find random lego pieces in my home for the next 60 years!!! My boys go on and off again with lego. I like it when they are busy playing with them, but I hate stepping on pieces!!

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