If you were following me across social media, you might have noticed at the end of last month that I attended the AMAZING Mom 2.0 conference in Scottsdale. It was an amazing opportunity, and I was really excited to have got to meet some great brands and media personalities. One of the main sponsors of the event was LEGO, who were kind enough to give us all little LEGO block sets for our kids. Of course, I knew if I showed up with just one set, my kids would fight for a year, so I managed to sweet talk someone into giving me a second set, and I was really excited to bring them home to my boys.
At four and two years old, Dex and Dan haven’t really had a lot of opportunities to play with this type of toy. The pieces are small, and they can be a choking hazard, so we have not wanted to introduce them until we knew they were old enough to play with them. This past Christmas, we bought them an activity table which included one side where they could attach LEGO blocks, but they hadn’t shown much interest.
But with two awesome building sets to dig into, it was not long at all before they complete LEGO fans.
At first, they weren’t really sure what to do, merely sticking blocks together willy-nilly. Then, Dexter discovered the “map.” It was actually a set of printed directions for various cool builds, but I wasn’t going to argue terminology. As a family, we sat down and began to work together to build a couple of the smaller things.
Once he got the hang of how to follow directions, Dexter was pumping out new builds like a master! I was actually really enthralled watching his little mind at work and seeing how he was able to logically follow the instructions. He was so proud each time he completed something.
Of course, then we had a battle of wills between the little guy who wanted to build build build and his little brother who wanted nothing but to destroy destroy destroy!
It seemed like every time Dexter would create his own little masterpiece, Dan would come along and rip it apart or throw it or stomp on it. It caused quite a few tears, and I had to remind them that I brought them TWO sets so they could each have their own if they wanted. But they’re the closest brothers in the world, so even when they disagree, they want to do everything together.
What’s great is that Dex started teaching Dan how to build. When he realized that Daniel was a little too little to follow instructions, he encouraged him to build whatever he wanted. Together they build tiny little boats, mini airplanes and at one point a LEGO monster!
But when Dan got bored, Dex continued on in his quest to build EVERYTHING. Some of the builds are available only on the LEGO website, and he asked nicely if we could look them up so he could build a race car. As I was making dinner at the time, I told him that he’d have to wait a little while, but we’d definitely do it later.
Lo and behold, just as I was finishing the cooking, he came in and handed me this!
He had figured it out just by looking at the picture on the box! What a star!
He’s learning and growing each day. He’s making up stories to go along with his builds. He is creating animals and plants and vehicles with moving parts, and they each have their own stories to tell. He asks me to join in, and I am only too happy to do it. I see him working through his emotional issues as he builds.
The child at school who hit him yesterday is made into a LEGO cow, and LEGO Dexter (an airplane in his story) gently reminds him to play nicely. His teacher becomes a tiny grocery shop with a garish pink roof, and the Dexter-plane sidles up along side of her and says, “You’re my friend.”
I see so much growth in just the last two weeks as Dex builds and plays with his LEGO creations. He is now asking for more of them as he wants to build bigger and better projects. He speaks of a Carnival, with real moving parts. He wants to build his baby brother, Chester, a toy boat big enough to sit in. He draws pictures at school and brings them home with tiny instructions on how they should be built.
And his father and I sit back and smile and admire his gusto. I think we’re going to see great things coming out of that kid.