‘Mom, you play Lego with me’ my oldest asked on Tuesday. I mulled it over while trying my best to look interested. ‘Sure,’ I finally agreed. And we hunkered down on the living room floor and dumped out all the little Lego pieces.
Creating things from tiny pieces of plastic is not my strong suit. If it’s, say, a pirate ship Lego set, I am more than capable of following the instructions and producing something that resembles the cover image on the box. But put a few rectangles together so that it looks like…. something….without any sort of picture to guide the process?
Can’t do it.
‘You make me a car,’ the Hen asked, nicely. So I surveyed the heap of plastic. I found wheels. I fastened them to a rectangle. I tried hard to imagine the shape of a race car….in my mind. I failed miserably.
Perhaps, I thought to myself, if I just handed him an abstract sort of car – something with wheels – he’d be appeased. But he wasn’t. ‘That’s not a car,’ he pouted emphatically. ‘That’s for a plane,’ he accused as he pointed to the yellow wing-like piece I’d slapped on the back. Of my ‘car’. Then he started crying.
The professor always manages to be at ‘work’ when I really need him.
These are the moments when I’d like to say ‘fine, forget it’ or ‘make your own car’ and stomp off. If only to escape the obvious truth that I can’t make anything but a basic house with Lego. But I didn’t think it would be a good idea to act like a two year old, so I forced myself to try again.
I grabbed one of the toy cars lying on the living room floor and used it as a model. Wheels. Wheel base. Car body with some height. I ended up with a jeep-like shape that would definitely be identified as such in a game of Pictionary.
But the critic was still not satisfied. Something about the steering wheel. Or the windshield.
So I gave up on building something and organized the Lego by color, instead. I put each monochromatic pile in its very.own.ziploc.bag. It served no purpose, it did not foster creativity in any way. But it made me feel….useful.
When the Gort came home, he gazed upon the collection of bags with excitement. Then he subdivided one of the bags, because I’d put all the people in the same bag, instead of dismembering them and putting their ‘parts’ in the appropriate color bags.
It was a warm, fuzzy moment for me.