After I mentioned in one of my blog posts that the Gort was saving up his ‘allowance’ to buy a Transformer, I received an email from a friend. She works for a toy manufacturer and offered to send the boys a Transformer. I gratefully accepted the offer even if I’m thoroughly incapable of assembling the little gems.
When we got to Michigan, I received word that the ‘shipment’ had arrived at my sister’s house. So I told the Gort that a benefactor had sent him his very own Transformer and that it was waiting for him at my sister’s house. Naturally he spent the rest of the week asking ‘how many more days until we go to Tattie’s house so I can get my Transformer?’
Finally the day arrived when the box and the boy would be united. I’d assumed the box would contain two Transformers – one for the Gort and one for his younger brother. But the box was filled with toys. Big Transformers and little cars that ‘transformed’ and I kind of lost count of just how much stuff was in there. The boys were thrilled – it was like Christmas…in July. We doled out the littlest toys but held on to the more complicated ones, promising to (do our best to) assemble them when we got home.
Fast forward ten days and we were finally home. We’d been awake for two hours when the Gort remembered about the Transformers. And insisted the professor transform his new Optimus Prime.
The professor, uncharacteristically, had taken a peek at the instructions that came with the toy. He realized right away he’d need help from a higher, more interactive power: youtube and searched online for how-to-transform-Optimus Prime-videos. I understood – I’d tried to transform one of the smaller toys by following the provided instructions and nearly lost the plot. Something breaks down in my brain when I try to make sense of tiny drawings with arrows pointing all over the place.
My better half sat on the floor with his laptop beside him while some (surely geeky) guy boasted about his ability to transform Optimus Prime in just seven minutes. “Maybe I could just pay Marko to do this,’ he muttered. ‘Marko’ being the nine year old son of one of his colleagues. Many, many minutes passed and the professor wasn’t making much progress. Every couple of minutes Optimus Prime piped up in his battery-operated voice: ‘we must stop the Decepticons……….we must stop the Decepticons.’
But Optimus Prime was in no shape to stop anyone. The professor got a little stressed out on account of being a fairly intelligent man completely stumped by a toy intended for children. The stress was only exacerbated by the Gort’s asking, every two minutes, ‘is Optimus Prime ready yet?’ “Are you done with Optimus Prime yet?’ Followed by some decidedly terse responses from his father.
‘Dad, why does it look like you want to throw Optimus Prime?’ my oldest son asked naively. ‘Because I want to throw it,’ his dad replied. Things weren’t going well so I ushered the boys downstairs, away from the madness. ‘You can’t keep asking daddy if he’s done with Optimus Prime,’ I tried to explain to the Gort, ‘because he’s….[insert poorly masked laughter] having a really hard time with it. He’ll tell you when he’s done, I promise.’
The boys went downstairs for a few minutes before reappearing upstairs. Meanwhile, the professor had taken refuge in the bathroom. ‘Where’s Daddy,’ my oldest inquired. ‘He’s in the bathroom,’ I told him. ‘He’s working on Optimus Prime in the bathroom?!’ ‘No, it’s right here,’ I pointed to the slightly disfigured autobot. ‘He’s getting close,’ the six year old remarked.
‘Hey mom, when Daddy comes out of the bathroom can you say to him Daddy, the Gort wants to help you because I want to help him. Can you remember to say that to him?’ Apparently he’d gotten on board with the ‘don’t say anything else to your dad’ order.
Jason emerged from the bathroom and, as if on cue, I looked at him: ‘Daddy, the Gort wants to help you.’ Father and son sat side by side for a few minutes, staring at the toy. ‘You know dad, you’re the oldest, you’re older than Henners and I so you shouldn’t look like you want to throw toys. You should know better than that.’
The professor bit his lip while I tried not to burst out laughing. Minutes later I found a disheveled-looking Optimus Prime perched on a chair. Seemingly abandoned. The assemblyman was trying his luck with ‘The Ultimate Bumblebee’ instead.