Before I had kids, I swore that when I did their toys would be the educational wooden ones. Quaint, quiet and educational. And then when I had toddlers and realised how naive I’d been, I gave them anything that made noise, ate batteries and, ideally, couldn’t be used as a missile against the cat. But I never thought it would be my husband’s toys (no, not those ones) that would be the most annoying.
I’m in a position of power with the kids – I (mostly) get to control what comes into the house, and can recycle the most annoying bits when nobody is looking. This doesn’t include Christmas gifts, which are drowning us, but surely that’s what Christmas is about when you are 3?! But with my husband, we are (mostly…!) equals, and so I don’t have the right to tell him what to do. But oh-my-god, I want to tell him that his Lego obsession is beyond annoying.
He’s in excellent company. There are forums dedicated to AFOLS – adult fans of Lego. David Beckham’s love of Lego has been documented before, and Brad Pitt and Britney Spears have both been quoted as enjoying playing with the tiny plastic bricks. But they presumably have staff to fish it out from under the sofa, pick it up off the floor (because treading on it is INCREDIBLY painful,… and I’ve birthed two kids) and sort it into pleasing Muji (or whatever the celebrity storage equivalent is) blocks. And he justifies it with its educational properties – ok, our youngest is only one, but he will grow into it, and it’s widely available on eBay so it’s not as expensive as it could be. Seriously, build a replica of our house, brick for brick, and it’s probably more expensive to buy in Lego form.
It’s a love-hate relationship. One minute I’m pulling it out from between my toes, swearing and hoping the limp will fade by lunchtime, and the next I’m all warm and fuzzy watching my three year old build a house out of the multi-coloured bricks. One minute it’s all over the floor and driving me bonkers, the next I feel my moody heart leap as I watch my husband explain to the toddler how to create a zoo for his plastic animals. It’s educational and infuriating. Creative and exasperating. Experimental and tiresome. Essentially, it’s just like a toddler.
I fight with Lego. Trying to separate two pieces is harder than parting snogging teenagers, and of course the one piece you need to complete the figure was eaten by the baby last week (sure, it’s a baby choke hazard, but it’s also an imagination stimulator…) The pieces seem to breed in the night, like randy rabbits, creating more pieces to be posted into the toaster or built into the tallest tower. They are small, they get everywhere and they are SO annoying. Yet the positives about Lego are multiple – not just the creativity and imagination that they promote, but the fact that they can go through the washing machine without incident (unlike Crayolas, that was a bad day) and even though the unique sound a crate of Lego makes as it is poured onto the floor makes me nervous for my feet, it also buys me time to have a cup of gin, ahem, tea. Everyone’s a winner. And my husband’s a bit like Becks.
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