Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Woe is Lego

I still think about those first years in our old house, the original brick house for which this blog was named when I started blogging to fill everyone in on our projects and progress.  I still think of the somewhat tasteful decorating and I feel a sense of longing when I look at old pictures of clear expanses of floors and tables and couch cushions from those pre-kid days.  Our current house does not stir the same feelings.  We never had time to paint, decorate, or do much of anything before it instantly turned into a complete kid zone and since August of 2013 when we took ownership it has only gone downhill.  If that young childless couple who owned it before could see it now...At least I always had the dining room, which is an unusual luxury in mass produced split level builder grade homes of the post 1980's years.  It still holds my great grandparents' dining room set with the freshly covered chair seats that match my turquoise stained sofa table and my piano and a colorful display of Fiestaware behind glass.  But now it also holds this:

Yeah for real.  After months of legos infiltrating the living room and kitchen and having to move various lego sets off the kitchen table before every meal only to pile them on the kitchen counter I finally lost my patience and searched desperately for a solution to this problem.  Ben's room was not a good option because it is also now Milo's room and the floor space is very limited and I need to be able to walk to the crib without tripping over legos.  We have tried to get Ben to play in the basement but he only wants to be in my proximity and nothing I need to get done is in the basement so that didn't work.  We don't have room for one of those amazing tables with a lego surface and buying more storage boxes and bins seemed like it would only leave more things to trip over around the house and cause more fights about putting things away only to have them dumped out again minutes later.  I was in denial but I couldn't ignore the pristine expanse of rarely used space in the dining room.  So...yeah.  I live in a kid zone. 100%.  I'm already happy with not having legos all over the kitchen and spilling into the living room.  I have to say that I am starting to wonder about this whole "open floor plan" thing.  It seems like it is the only acceptable option anymore but I kind of miss the days of my closed floor plan youth  where me and all of my friends either lived in ancient farmhouses or 1960's era ranch houses.  Cooking messes and piles of dishes and food smells stayed in the kitchen and blaring TVs and snoring men and toys and other crap mostly stayed in the living room.  There were disadvantages to these houses and most people would prefer something newer but there must be a middle ground. 

And yes, I could insist that the legos be put away every day but he is getting really creative and they hold his attention for long periods of time which, in this world where I hear the woes of teachers who deal with kids who are so obsessed with screens and phones that they can barely focus on a regular school lesson and where I read studies about fine motor skills declining due to the lack of real tactile activities, I hesitate to interrupt and discourage.  Also, putting them away is a massive waste of time.

Here are a few of his recent creations which he is so proud of!  They are really crazy so it is hard not to laugh when he presents them with pride.

He called this his "machine".  It includes a tow chain, a barred window and various lego chalices. 

Then there is this little vehicle which is covered with as many yellow "lights" as would fit. 

He is really proud of this one because it has a TV screen in it.  My favorite part of it is the orange juice block on the roof.  He obtained many of these loose and very obscure legos from the huge Rubbermaid box my mom saved from my childhood.  Between my brother and sister and I we had many sets of legos and many loose kits as well.  One of my earliest birthday present memories was receiving a lego ambulance airplane when I was probably five.  I loved airplanes and I wanted to be a nurse at that time (should have stuck with that practical ambition!) so it was a perfect toy for me.  I'm sure the pieces of it are mixed in with the others in that box.  I think the orange juice came from a beach windsurfing set that I had.  It included a snack bar. 
Ok, I'm going to drool over a House Beautiful magazine and then cry in the corner of my eyesore of a dining room.

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