Death by Legos

The Legos are going to kill me. Or someone in our family. Or all of us.

My kids are 4 and almost 3. They should be playing with Duplo blocks – large, easy to manage, easy to spot. But they’re not interested. They want the Legos. The itsy bitsy colorful death squares.

Have you seen some of the new Lego offerings? You can build an entire Lego city (that I swear is going to overtake my house). We have a police station with itty bitty handcuffs and itty bitty bars and itty bitty phones. The criminals carry tiny backpacks that can hold even tinier hundred dollar “bills”. We have firefighters, who I remember coming with oxygen tanks when I was little, that now have hats and masks and wrenches. So. Many. Little. Pieces. They end up in the strangest places and too often under my feet. I don’t believe in physical torture, but if I did, I’m pretty sure this would send the loudest message.

In case you don’t spend much time around 3 and 4 year olds. They have chunky, clumsy fingers…fingers that aren’t made to hold half centimeter headlights. They are rough with their toys. They like to crash things and don’t quite understand the gentle grab. The delicate interlocking blocks turn to rubble in their hulkish grip.  So what should be a quiet afternoon of independent play with a pool of Legos on the floor and highly engaged builders, looks more like this:

“Mom, can you fix the helicopter propeller again?”

“Mom, he just crushed my spaceship!”

“Mom, where is the construction worker’s hammer?”

“Mom, I can’t get these pieces together!”

“Moooommmmm, the guy keeps falling out of the driver’s seat.”

“Mom, where are this guy’s pants?”

Check your brother’s poop because while we’ve grown out of the “everything in your mouth” phase, there’s something clearly appetizing about Legos. Do they spray them with invisible sugar?

Lest you think, I’m anti-Lego, let me set the set record straight. I like Legos. I like that you can get creative. I like that you can build and rebuild. Maybe even a little part of why I get annoyed with all of the above “mom” interruptions is because they are interrupting my construction time.

It was big Lego Christmas for us. While simultaneously cursing Santa for bringing so many small interlocking blocks to our house, I was secretly excited for all the projects to showcase my skills. But when did Legos get formulaic?

I’m pretty sure the Legos I grew up with never came with instructions. There definitely weren’t separate bags with surprisingly almost the exact type and quantity of tiny, itty bitty pieces necessary to build a freakishly lifelike gas station. (As I said, I’ve built my fair share of Legos, and I have yet to open a bag with the wrong, or not enough, pieces. Well done, Lego.)

So what has changed?

The answer I’ve come up with is that Legos have evolved in almost the exact manner as parenting. The Legos themselves are little replicas of the real world that will drive you crazy at times, but you ultimately love them…like your kids! Ha! And just as the evolution of building Legos has become more formulaic, so has the evolution of parenting. Parenting today comes with all sorts of “instruction manuals” in an effort to make you the most perfect mom or dad possible. There is still some element of creativity but if you really want to do it right, the way you are supposed to, you follow the manual, any manual. (Which, I’ve just realized is pretty much exactly what the Lego Movie is preaching. Maybe I’m not so clever.)

So parents, make like Emmett (from the movie) and drop the instructions. Or at least see how you do following your own instinctive and creative whims.

…Or wait, maybe this is all just part of Lego’s Master Plan to take over the world, one family at a time.  If that’s the case and you decide to make a run for it, be careful where you step!

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