Legos are tools of genius, allowing children unlimited opportunity to flex their fine motor skills, color sorting, mathematic, spacial reasoning skills, etc. Legos are annoying overpriced pieces of plastic, all too easily lost and swept up in a vacuum, under a foot, or in a baby’s mouth. As you can see, I have a major love-hate relationship with Legos.
Bli ayin ha’ra, my son does wonders with Legos. I still remember getting him his first set of the larger kind. I had watched how he always headed straight to the Legos in any mommy and me class or at someone else’s house, and was reluctant to leave. I had in mind to buy him a set for Chanukah. But he got croup in November. He sounded awful and was really out of sorts. In the hopes of giving him a boost of serotonin and a dip in the immune system suppressant cortisol, we took him straight from the doctor’s office to Target to buy his gift a little early. After getting through the nice packaging, the disappointment settled in regarding how few pieces were actually in this large, not cheap, package. More irritating was the urge to not ever lose a single piece because then there would be even fewer pieces. This put a certain pressure on playtime that was unwelcome. But our son did love it and whereas he only had energy for television before, he seemed to feel much better sitting and playing with the Legos. My husband is never happy going the retail route and he looked into eBay. He bought a whole package of random Lego parts to build quite a collection.
I remember how I introduced my son to the little set. Costco had a Star Wars Lego book which included instructions and the pieces. The price was far cheaper than actual Lego sets. I bought it but here the pressure to not lose anything increased since the pieces were smaller and losing one piece meant the end of the potential to make the models. Also, I am ashamed to admit, I did not have the patience, or perhaps the building skills, to make these models. My husband had to help my son, and frankly my son could even do better on his own than with me. Again, my husband stocked up on more pieces on eBay. My son creates all kind of wonderful things and can sit for long periods of time calmly entertaining himself this way. It’s a real berachah.
But the Lego marketing machine knows it’s all too easy to buy one box of Legos and be content for life. They make sure to not let that happen. They create whole themes of Legos like Star Wars, dinosaurs, superheroes etc. and the children want the newest stuff. If not from seeing their friends with it, then from the Lego magazine or store displays. At first I thought, “How nice. This cute magazine for free. They must lose money on this.” Well, I don’t know how much money it makes or loses but it definitely generates interest in the new items on the market. I would suggest everyone sign up for it because they have coloring, comics, model ideas, etc. But be prepared that your children will want stuff afterwards.
Which brings us to the Lego store. It’s adorable to look at but it’s understood you will not walk out empty-handed. I once went to a building event, again thinking how it’s so nice they have these events and give you the stuff for free. But of course, we bought things other than the free item, and everyone else on the massive line did as well. It was a nicer experience than just going to the store, stam, but I also realize I would not have gone to the store without the extra push. Getting back to my nachas moment, my son did not listen to the leader’s instructions and I got a little anxious that he’s messing it up. But when the leader looked at my son’s model, he said he had done it correctly anyway, on his own.
But do we still have that model, or even all of those pieces? Nope. I’m sure some went in the vacuum, some may be behind his bed or under it. Who knows? That’s the frustration with Legos. Spoken as the mother of the probable future Lego Robotics Club president.