Thursday, May 10, 2012

leggo my LEGO

move over, DUPLO.  we have become a fully-integrated LEGO family.

steve and i each grew up with legos.  he kept a lot of his.  i retained mostly my memories of playing with my brother's space sets.  oh, and the awesome TECHNIC shock cycle (8838) i used in my master's thesis research (yeah, i was the grad student who didn't have any trouble finding research participants, once they knew they'd be playing with legos for class credit).

anyway, a couple of years ago we gave diana several sets from the harry potter line, marvelous, unopened hand-me-downs from her generous aunt and uncle and cousins.  she acquired more sets for her birthday last year, and she saved up her allowance and gift money and purchased a hogwarts castle set all on her own.  she disappeared all weekend and then emerged from her room, flushed and enthusiastic to share all the details she had discovered while building it.

as things do, the craze about the harry potter line diminished after a while, but the love of all things lego re-emerged during a lego engineering class diana took earlier this year.  twelve weeks long, each week with a different engineering project, most with moving parts, some even powered with motors.  diana was inspired and motivated by this class.  she didn't understand why there weren't more girls in the class; just she and a friend were the only two amongst the boys.  she was undaunted by the tasks and set out to complete them with her own personal twist.  i was particularly  pleased for her on one occasion when the most of the other students told her that her design would not work.  even her teacher was doubtful and suggested some modifications.  boosted by her girl friend's confidence in her, diana implemented her design and it worked!  she told me after the class that she believed in her design and wanted to test it out on her own, rather than giving up because of the doubts of others.  more than just an engineering lesson was learned that day, and i hope it will stick with her for a long time.

ander has been playing with the duplos for the most part but i think he's felt limited in using them.  he can pretty much make rockets, like a simple version of the saturn v or delta iv, but he often comes to us, steve mostly, to ask for help in building water towers, crawler transporters, and the waterford crystal ball that drops in times square on new year's eve.  (steve and i joked that he would next ask for a model of the international space station.  and why not?  steve's always been so creative and accommodating when ander has asked for things to be made of play-doh, so this is another extension of that, right?!?)  we got him started on some of the little CREATOR sets, a ladder fire truck and some construction vehicles.  with a healthy dose of guidance, he can follow some of the diagrams and gets really, really, really excited about what he can make together with daddy.

the whole family worked on the apple tree house last week in celebration of finding a new home.

for steve's last day home before departing for his new job, we had a an extra-special surprise for the kids - a trip to the lego store to choose whatever set they wanted.  it was an indulgence that made us all happy.

we knew just what ander would like - the CITY space centre.  he's been watching a particular video on you tube about this set, and now he can act it out himself with his very own rocket.  it's awesome.  especially when both kids are absent-mindedly humming the background music while they build.

diana took a while longer to decide.  there are so many themes in legos these days, but they are not what appeals most to us.  diana felt like she had enough harry potter legos, including the game, and she didn't see other things that she wanted.  (i was hoping for individual pieces or supplementary sets to continue what she learned in the engineering class - motors, leads, treads - that we could add to what we already own, but those were not available at the store.)  she selected a KINGDOMS kit - the joust set - partly because we are studying medieval history and partly because the minifigs and detail pieces are so very cool.  i was glad she picked this one - i've always loved the castle sets, though i don't remember if i had any growing up.

it didn't take her long to finish, though it has about 1500 pieces.

now ander talks about his space legos in his sleep, wakes up and eagerly jumps out of bed to play with them, and wants to show them and talk about them to everyone he comes across.  "my daddy and i built them!" he proudly announces, naming each component to the set.

i think we're gonna need a bigger table.

i'm happyer at home today because of all the legos we build here at home, individually and as a family.  it's truly something we can all share.


  1. Are you moving?

    We love legos here too.

    1. we did, though not very far. i'm going to post on that, too, when i can.

  2. very, VERY sweet. funny, I'm always happyer at home when i read your posts, too ; )