I hate Legos. Unfortunately, I have a six-year-old who loves them. How then do I hate these overpriced pieces of colored blocks? Let me count the ways.
This year, Forbes honored Lego as the most powerful brand in the world, bewitching the hearts of kids and grown-ups alike. Man children have been known to mindlessly fork over US$5,000 for the Millennium Falcon at 5,174 pieces. What sane adult would spend so much for tiny pieces that you have to put together? Considering they’re that expensive, you would think that they would at least do the hard work for you.
We have thousands of pieces from separate sets combined, and no matter how hard I try to organize them, they’re everywhere—under the sofa where it’s hard to reach, in my ear, and most of all, under the feet when it’s dark, and I’m fumbling for the light switch. If you’ve ever stepped on one with bare feet, you will understand my passionate dislike for these devilish bits.
As hard as it is to assemble, they can be as easily dismantled. There is some joy to be had at finally completing a set after the hours of labor. But the misery is directly proportional to the delight when the little one decides to take them apart, and all I can do is watch and grit my teeth for the sake of deconstructive learning.
One of the worst things about Lego sets is that they encourage teamwork. Little hands like my boy’s need help. Most times I have to sit through the whole building process, looking for a 30 mm axel in a pile of parts no bigger than peas. When I’m finally making sense out of it somehow my partner is ready to move on to something else, like battling imaginary dragons, but I’m way in too deep to quit. I won’t let some dumb plastic blocks defeat me.
Several hours and broken nails later, I’m halfway through only to realize that the trapdoor wont slide open, because I’ve missed a crucial part and the only solution? Dismantle everything or heaven forbid the enemies will prevail. I would chew on my nails to keep myself from screaming but they’ve been chipped way earlier after trying to pull thin 1×4 plates apart. I resort to hair pulling instead, but it’s almost 6 pm and the culprit who started all this is hungry. I hurry through dinner to go back to conquering the defiant blocks mocking me. I refuse to admit it—I’m addicted.
You think pulling those plates apart are excruciating? I curse the day Lego creator Ole Kirk Christiansen was born as I try to force 12mm arms into pinholes. I’ve contemplated using the Kragle several times. If you haven’t seen The Lego Movie (you haven’t missed much), Kragle is superglue that the dad uses to ensure that all his creations are intact, protecting them from his inquisitive son who coincidentally is also named Finn like my boy. And if you don’t know it yet—superglue is the secret to inner peace.
Contrary to popular belief however, Kragle is not Lego’s worst enemy. The biggest threat to Bricksburg is the vacuum cleaner. Sometimes while I’m vacuuming, a few stray pieces would magically teleport to the land of the forgotten—an arm, an 8 x 6mm pin. Each swoop as a Lego bit gets sucked in followed by melodious clattering before it settles on a mound of dust and hair balls is music to my ears. Ahhh, one less to worry about.
I can gripe all I want but the truth is—I love Legos, especially since I have a six-year-old who loves them. How do I love these little colored interlocking blocks? Let me count the ways.
This year, Forbes honored Lego as the most powerful brand in the world, capturing the hearts of kids and grown-ups alike. For many Legoids, these blocks are not just toys to allow their imagination to run wild but also valuable collector’s items. Enthusiasts have been known to happily fork over US$5,000 for the Millennium Falcon at 5,174 pieces. I don’t think we will be spending as much for our Lego lover, but I know for a fact that we’ve contributed considerably to the Denmark based company.
We have thousands of pieces from separate sets combined. It was a pain to keep them organized in several boxes and an activity table, but we’ve recently discovered that a toolbox with compartments is the best way to keep the tiny pieces somewhat in order. The obsessive compulsive in me finds secret glee in organizing them in the partitions. Sorting has also turned into a game for Finn.
But no matter how hard I try to organize them, they’re everywhere—under the sofa where it’s hard to reach, in my ear and most of all, under the feet when it’s dark, and I’m fumbling for the light switch. But there is jubilation when Batman’s long missing batarang finds itself lodged between my toes. Never mind that it hurt like hell to step on them. The Dark Knight can be whole again.
As hard as it is to assemble, they can be easily disassembled and repurposed. Often Finn would build from his own design, usually a superweapon or a Pokémon. I love how it sets off his imagination almost as much as how it keeps him busy and entertained. Bless the day Lego creator Ole Kirk Christiansen was born. No other toy has kept him as preoccupied for hours every day since he was three when he put together his first model—SpongeBob’s Patrick enjoying an ice cream cone in a chair. Other times he’d ask me to build new characters with him, which means pulling apart 4 cm tall minifigurines. We’d come up with a whole circus of characters wearing flowers on their head and yielding a vehicle part as a weapon.
One of the best things about Lego sets is that they encourage teamwork. It’s nice to be able to build something together. Sometimes my teammate would move on to something else, but I would keep on building. It’s addictive. There is a sense of accomplishment at seeing these small pieces come together to form something awesome. Most days, my son can pretty much handle constructing on his own. I would watch with awe and pride as he earnestly follows directions, page by page, to assemble a set meant for eight-year-olds.
Sure they’re a little expensive for miniscule plastic pieces, but we never hesitate to part with a few dollars not only to see joy in our son’s eyes, but also because of the many learning benefits from fine motor skills, problem solving, engineering, science, technology and even math. It also sparks creativity and teaches persistence and patience. Cognitive psychologist Amy Shelton claims that when kids play with Legos “they’re using spatial reasoning skills.” She goes on to say that “these skills not only have a relationship to academics, but to the fields you might gravitate to, and where you’re going to excel.”
Contrary to popular belief however, the Kragle from The Lego Movie (which won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film and the Critic’s Choice Movie Award among others) is not Lego’s worst enemy. The biggest threat to Bricksburg is the vacuum cleaner. Sometimes while vacuuming, a few stray pieces would literally get sucked in a vacuum, horrifyingly teleporting a few pieces into the land of the forgotten. What have I done? Each swoop is excruciating to the ear. Please, don’t let it be Wonder Woman’s tiara.
And how about those cute pieces? A tiny mask, a magnifying glass the size of a fingernail, or a mini functioning treasure chest? It brings me back to the days, playing with dollhouses. Building forts with my master builder is the closest I could get to playing house again. Sometimes he’d let me get away with a vegetable garden in our command center. Super heroes after all need their vegetables, too.