AP NEWS

Send help, our son has discovered Legos: Multitasking Moms and Dads

November 18, 2018

Send help, our son has discovered Legos: Multitasking Moms and Dads

<!--<span data-mce-type=“bookmark” id=“mce_0_start” data-mce-style=“overflow:hidden;line-height:0px” style=“overflow:hidden;line-height:0px”><!--p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 13.0px}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}span.s2 {text-decoration: underline ; font-kerning: none}-->

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Send help. Our son has entered the Lego phase. 

Ah, Legos. The little, plastic blocks are a favorite toy of boys and girls around the world -- and dreaded by every single one of their parents. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are many reasons Legos are one of the most popular toys of all time. I’ll get to that later. But for now, let me just vent. 

Legos are made from an absurdly strong plastic that make them more painful to walk on than hot coals or broken glass. I’m not being hyperbolic, it’s true. 

An article in smithsonian.com titled “Why Walking on Legos Hurts More Than Walking on Fire or Ice” lays it all out: “Legos are—for now at least—built from ABS plastic, an extremely hard and durable terpolymer plastic. They’re built to survive intense levels of abuse without shattering: A single two-by-two brick can withstand up to 4,240 Newtons, an unbelievable amount of pressure. That’s equivalent to a mass of around 950 pounds, and it would take 375,000 other bricks stacked 2.75 miles high on top to exert the same kind of pressure.” 

That means that while hot coals or shattered glass will shift under your feet to make it bearable to walk over, Lego’s really won’t, confirming every parents’ theory that Legos are the most painful thing to encounter in bare feet. (For a fun read, Nerdist.com even has a ranking of the 25 most painful Lego pieces.) 

Not only do we invite these small torture devices into our homes, we pay good money for them. We also spend good money for big storage boxes. But let’s be honest; those pesky plastic pieces don’t like to live in a dark box. They prefer to roam free in our living rooms, under our couches, and even in our beds. That’s right, my son likes to crawl up onto our bed to play with his Legos so it’s not uncommon for me to roll over onto a sharp-edged Lego piece at 2 a.m., my favorite kind of wakeup call. 

When my son was just putting a few pieces together building “cars” or “houses,” things were manageable, but then he discovered the Lego sets. That’s when things got really messy. Once your kid has discovered the sets, all peace and quiet goes out the window because while you may assemble that firetruck and it looks perfect the first day, it’ll soon be dropped or taken apart and you will never, ever find all the original pieces again. That will lead to all sorts of complaints about it not looking like the picture on the box. I have to re-assemble Batman’s lair on a near daily basis, and my son has no idea who Batman is. He picked it because he liked the Joker’s purple car. 

Now that the holidays are approaching, Lego mania in our house is reaching its peak. The evil geniuses at Lego headquarters somehow figured out that our son made an early entrance into Legos (OK, it was probably because we bought something at the Lego store), and they sent us a Lego catalog. My son found it, and now he sleeps with it. He already wrote his Christmas list, and is kindly suggesting to his grandparents that they should ask for the Lego sets that he wants but didn’t make it onto his wish list. 

Of course there will be Legos under the Christmas tree this year. 

As annoying at Legos can be for mom and dad, they do have a lot of benefits for kids. 

According to anthropologist and science writer Gwen Dewar, construction play with blocks like Legos are “powerful learning tools” that studies have found help develop motor skills, mathematics, spatial reasoning, cognitive flexibility, language, creative thinking, social and engineering skills.

Even what she terms “structured block play,” where kids aren’t freewheeling and inventing but rather following directions, can have benefits. 

“Kids must analyze what they see, perceive the parts that make up the whole, and figure out how the parts relate to each other,” Dewar writes on her website, parentingscience.com. “To be really successful, they may also need to think quantitatively -- to count. And it helps if they can imagine what an object would look like from another angle.” 

If only a small part of that ends up being true for my son, it already seems like a worthwhile investment, despite the pain. It’s certainly a better way to spend his time than sitting in front of the TV and with the long winter it’s a great way to stay entertained indoors. 

As for mom and dad? We can hope that Santa checks out our wish list. There’s just one thing on it; a special vacuum cleaner for Legos. (It’s real and called a Lego vacuum).

AP RADIO
Update hourly