Short is not a good cleaner-upper. For this, I blame myself. I tried everything the books recommended: sticker charts, rewards, punishments, praise, ice-cream sundaes, wine (that was for myself when we had a victory), and unlimited trips to Target (again, for me). Oh, how much easier it was to just say, “Short, Hon, don’t worry about putting those toys away. Mommy will make sure it gets done … hey, Tall! Wanna earn a dollar?”And thus, I have ensured a future full of both capitalistic ventures (Tall) and pawning work off on others (Short).
But that is not what this essay is about.I want to talk to you about Legos. Specifically, how Legos break apart the second you touch them. Or breathe on them. Or look at them.
As I previously mentioned, Tall puts his things away. Short does not. The result is about a million gazillion stray Legos pieces strewn about as if a nuclear bomb made of (you guessed it) Legos went off. Twice.In our last house, the kids’ play area was the basement. The basement also served as the laundry room and family room. Really, why did we even need three bedrooms, a study, a living room, dining room, and kitchen, when 99.9% of our living was done in the basement?
This became very problematic for me as a lifelong Virgo because I am one of those people who absolutely cannot relax unless everything around me (in the immediate vicinity) is picked up and put away. As you can imagine with a two-year-old and a four-year-old, that never happened. I would get stressed out trying to “relax” and watch TV when the kids had gone to bed because there were 10 loads of laundry to fold and dozens of plastic trucks littering the landscape of my basement.This made me sad.
So we moved.
I told The Husband that my number one priority in finding a new house was that the kids have a separate area to play in that is not the family room and not the laundry room. Who cares about good schools, a nice yard, or walk-in closets? My must-have list was short: a play area.I got my wish. The kids’ play area (we have affectionately dubbed it the “toy room”) is a 13 x 17 masterpiece in lime and turquoise paint, and the kids love playing in there. It is directly adjacent to my study, where (you may or may not already know this) I write my blog.
I can see the kids play, they can see me write, everyone is happy.Did I mention I can’t relax until things are picked up? Did I mention that Short is not a good picker-upper?
At 5 AM today (when I first went to sit down at the computer), I could not take it. The messy toy room was swearing at me. Loudly. Against my better judgment, I walked in the toy room with the intent of “straightening it up a bit.”In Virgo Land, this means putting everything away.
Things were going well until I got to the Legos. I have been a mommy for over eight years. I am well-aware of how precious Lego creations are, and how very, very fragile. Over the years, many a heart has been broken in my household when well-meaning Mommy attempts to gingerly move a Lego creation but accidentally breaks off an essential piece.You know what comes next: I broke some Legos merely be lifting them slowly and carefully and attempting to carry them to the bookshelf. (I am hoping to get the kids off to school without them ever coming in this room, so we can at least postpone the inevitable meltdowns until later this afternoon.)
And now we are at the title of this piece. This of course got me thinking, “What if every single thing in life was a delicate as Lego construction?” Imagine:
- “Honey, sorry—that sleeve just ripped right off your jacket when I picked it up at the dry cleaners. You can try to stick it back on. Oops, it’s upside down.”
- “I was going to reheat the lasagna for dinner, but all the knobs came off the stove. Oh, and so did the door.”
- “Speaking of doors, the basement door fell off. Again.”
- “You weren’t going to take a bath, were you? The tub broke in half when I was cleaning it.”
- “Yeah, I was going to drive to the drug store, but the steering wheel of my car came off. I tried to put it back on, but it just kept happening. So frustrating!”
- “Be careful when you make the bed, the mattress keeps breaking.”
- “Boss, looks like I won’t be coming in to work today. None of my shoes will stay together. Every time I go to put one on, it breaks. Bummer.”
I think back to when we took the boys to the Building Museum last summer. There was a special Lego exhibit where highly-educated Lego enthusiasts who are on the museum payroll put together incredible Lego masterpieces to mimic famous landmarks. There was the Sears Tower, The Gateway Arch from Missouri, The White House, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Falling Water, and many others that I am too lazy to google. They were all under glass or cordoned off with velvet ropes.
Tall stood staring at one of the “buildings” for a very long time. I asked him what he was thinking. “I was just thinking how lucky that Lego architect is. His mommy got that in here without breaking it.”