True Confessional: Legos

...Or Evidence that I Need More Cognitive Stimulation


Shh! Lean in close. I have a secret to tell you. I’m actually kind of embarrassed about this, so either stop reading now if you’re prone to making fun of me or swear yourself to secrecy — come on, make it a pinky swear! And under no circumstances, should you suggest to anyone that he/she read this Peanut Butter Urinal nonsense this week!


Ok, ready? I love Legos. Love ‘em! We have a shitload of Legos and seem to accumulate more every birthday or gift-giving holiday — Isn’t Arbor Day coming up soon? Hint, hint, hint to all Nate and Sam’s childless aunts and uncles with nothing else to spend their hard earned money on: buy Legos!


Sometimes, I even find some in a catalogue and pretend that Nate really wants them. “Oh yeah, Ruthie, he’s been talking about these Dusty Legos for months now. Wish somebody loved him enough to buy them for him…Think what these Legos would do for his self-esteem. And his fine motor skills. And his spatial awareness. And his active working memory. And his mom — I mean…Sam…would like them, too.”


Anyway, we’ve got a pretty sick stash of Legos and it’s getting harder and harder to share them with Nate. Sometimes I’m building a pretty dope tower, with alternating shades of blue and one of those new semi-circles on the top and the bottom, so it looks kinda like an elongated oval — and I like to add in some of the lime green pieces because they’re awesome. And then, Nate’s all like, “Hey Mom, can I please use that purple Lego?”


And I think to myself: What?! Are you serious? Can you NOT see that that purple piece will be the crowning jewel of this tower?


Or one time, when I was using every single lego we own — or at least the ones not hidden way underneath the sofa or under Nate’s pillow (hoarder!) — to make one giant Lego car, and Nate suddenly comes out of nowhere and demands that I give him some of the pieces. 


“Mom, can you please share some of those with me? I want to try and make a car.”


“ It’s nap time.”


“But my minion watch says eight-one-one-one degrees.”


“Yep, that’s nap time.”


Because during nap time, I can do whatever. I. want. I can build all kinds of epic towers in a rainbow color pattern. I can make a breath-taking mansion for the little Lego people: two guys — not that there’s anything wrong with that — whom Nate has dubbed Big Nate and Little Nate. I can finally test whether or not it’s possible to construct a bridge between the sofas, as I’ve long suspected it is, with the capacity to support Sam’s body weight. 


These are my nap time goals. And yet, somehow, I never get around to these tasks. I remember that I have to clean the kitchen floor, fold some laundry, write this babbling blog, or watch something on The Food Network. In reality, I just lose my steam. In other words, the coffee wears off.


Sometimes we work together. You know, because we’re trying to teach teamwork and sharing and other B.S. social skills. This is often painful. For both of us.


“Should we fix the roof, Nate? It looks kinda hodge-podgy. Like Will Smith’s parachute pants.”


“No, Mom, it’s perfect.” And because I know the dangers of raising a child to be a perfectionist and because it was far from perfect, I knock it all down and make him start again.


Or other times I work more discreetly. As any Lego enthusiast knows, roofs are a tricky business. You have to use two hands and you have to have very well-developed fine motor skills, not to mention some knowledge of the basic laws of physics, such as gravity. It’s a biggie, but not always obvious to your average three year-old. So I often find myself covertly fixing his blunders.


I have to distract him by demolishing over one of his smaller towers behind him. “Oh no, Nate! You’ll have to fix that!” Meanwhile, I’m scrambling to reassemble the roof as quickly as possible, before he sees, in a fashion that’s more aesthetically pleasing. It needs to be able to bear the weight of the chimney and have a symmetrical roofline. 


My Lego fetish doesn’t even let up once I leave the house. About once a week, Nate and Sam and I trek over to the public library to pick up some new books. They have a great children’s section with little computers, tablets loaded with games designed for literacy, puppets, wooden puzzles, and LEGOS! Pretty sweet ones, too. Dinosaur Legos, Thomas the Tank Engine Legos, and unique shapes and designs that I’ve never seen elsewhere. In other words, they’re Legos that I need.


As Nate searches for books or diligently works on a puzzle and Sam clambers up on top of the card catalogue computers alternately holding down the space bar and “F” key, I dig through the Lego bins. With every new piece I pick up, I imagine how I could incorporate it into my mental Lego-scape. The one I’m planning on engineering during nap time this afternoon.


If I can just slip some into my bag while the librarian’s not looking — poop, why is she always looking at me?! Maybe she’s wondering whose kids those are wrestling around under that table. Oh, they’re mine. Perfect! They’re helping to distract her! Way to go, Nate and Sam! Uh-oh, that’s a really tight headlock — I should go.


Oh, well I can dream…bigger house…new puppy…third child…boarding schools…world peace…new Legos!



We — er, Nate —  also loves jigsaw puzzles. And crosswords. And Ken-kens. And clothes from Athleta and Lululemon. And a new microwave. In other nerd-related news, my birthday is April 21st.