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Friday, May 15, 2009  

Developmental Blocks

When M. Edium's birth mom was pregnant with him, there were long periods of time when she was stuck at home doing nothing. So she did something that most of us, in that situation, would probably only hope we had the presence of mind to do: she bought herself a shitload of Legos.

After M. Edium was born and she went back to work and school, the Legos got packed away in the big plastic tub where they live. And that's where they stayed, until this week. M. Edium's birth parents moved to a new apartment recently, and guess where the Legos ended up?

Let me just first say that there are very few things M. Edium loves more than Legos. Usually, when I pick him up from school in the evening, that's what he's doing: building spaceships and rockets with a group of boys (and occasionally a girl) on the floor of the main room. And then he sees me and says, "Oh, darn!" because he has to stop. So clearly the Legos were a big winner when they showed up on Tuesday night.

Now, these are not his first Legos, to be sure. He's had the Duplo and the Quattro and the Octuplo and the Hexadecuplo sets almost since birth, and a while ago he inherited some old "expert" pieces of mine form the seventies, of which there wasn't much left but some gears and hinges you can't really build anything out of, but this was his first significant trove of standard-sized Legos.

And it was significant, in both the quantity and quality in which they appeared. There are about two gallons of them. Also, some of the few things M. Edium likes more than Legos are Space Shuttles and dinosaurs. So what are the chances he'd suddenly, one evening, out of nowhere, find himself in possession of a Lego tub that had mixed in it pieces for a Lego Space Shuttle and Lego dinosaurs?

Well, obviously when he saw the instruction book for the Space Shuttle, we had to get that put together. Except what ended up happening is that the Space Shuttle calls for so many small and oddly-shaped pieces that Trash and Bmom ended up digging through the giant pail for them, while I tried to fit them together in the order they came out and M. Edium happily built himself one of the more traditional, squarish, multicolored rockets that are the usual stock in trade of his Montessori shipyard.

Suddenly we looked up and realized it was time to get going to his swimming lessons. Except he didn't want to stop playing with the Legos. Perhaps we would have pushed it, if he hadn't been so heartbroken at the thought of leaving the house with his Shuttle unfinished, where simply anything might have happened to it. And also, to be totally honest if we weren't having just as much fun with the Legos as he was.

Because let's be real: if you haven't gotten down on the floor and played Legos with your offspring, it can only mean you don't have one or more of the following:

1. Offspring
2. Legos
3. A soul.

If you only have #1 but not #2 or #3, just get #2 and #3 will take care of itself.

Some of the pieces for the Lego Space Shuttle never did turn up, so we ended up fudging with some substitutes. It's a little clunky, but it's close enough, especially for M. Edium. He's barely let it out of his sight since then. He's been encouraging me to help him build the hauling trucks that go with it, and I've been working on it a little, if only in the hopes that having more bricks tied up in completed pieces will make it easier to find the ones we need.

We've had several Lego play sessions on the living room floor since Tuesday, and I have to admit, I love them almost as much as he does, if not more. One of these days I'll get so absorbed in building stuff with him that he'll look up at me and say, "Daddy? I'm kind of sleepy." And I'll look at the clock and it'll be 2:30 in the morning.

I don't even feel that bad about letting him skip swimming for a week. Lots of kids his age don't know how to swim, but not knowing how to play Legos would be a deal-breaker.

posted by M. Giant 8:46 PM 4 comments

4 Comments:

I heard you on NPR the other day talking about "previously ons". How exciting! NPR turns to the author of the potato book for expertise. Well done!

By Anonymous Kristen, at May 15, 2009 at 11:05 PM  

Being in possession of two and three, I spent many fun and satisfying hours with borrowed nieces and nephews, back when they were medium-sized. Now that they're all in the 16 to 25 age range, they love to reminisce about it. So I consider it to be time well-spent.

By Blogger Dimestore Lipstick, at May 16, 2009 at 7:32 PM  

Losing Lego pieces can really put a cap on the users imagination. That is why a lego computer game or digital alternative can be less of a hassle and messy.

By Anonymous backup system, at May 18, 2009 at 10:16 AM  

I totally agree about your offspring/Legos/soul pronouncement. As the mother of a 4-year-old and a 20-month-old, I have spent countless hours on the floor with piles of Legos around me. In fact, our living room is now officially referred to as "The Lego Room". Seriously. The other day when we had guests over and one of them asked my daughter if she would show her something in the "living room", my daughter looked at her blankly until I translated. I didn't know whether to be appalled or proud!

By Blogger Lisa, at May 19, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

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