There’s plenty I could bang on about in this post. Our last ever family break not in the school holidays. Dylan’s birthday, including the bizarre cocktail of enjoyment, pressure, pride, horror and exhaustion that comes with hosting a five-year-old’s party. Or even his first day at school.
But I’ve already bored you with holiday tales once this summer, I have only fuzzy memories of the party mayhem and if you’ve seen one photo of ‘child-in-new-school-uniform-in-front-of-door’, let’s face it, you’ve seen them all.
So instead, I’m going to talk about Lego. Not because they sent me any (that’s about as likely as me being asked to front the new series of Bake Off) but because it’s recently provided me with yet another example of the bubble-bursting nature of parenthood.
Lego was, unquestionably, one of my favourite activities growing up – only behind playing sport and terrorising my younger brother, especially during the halcyon days when he had an abject fear of wolves (did you know England is home to the world’s only man-eating wolf, Little Bro?). So, I’ve been really looking forward to Dylan and Nathan getting into it too.
Images of joining my sons on the carpet for entire Saturday afternoons constructing cog mechanisms and hunting for vital pieces. Of building the Millennium Falcon and then taking it apart to create an articulated lorry instead. Imagine how impressed they’ll be by the trademark of my youth, the Lego ‘Indestructible’, I thought.
How wrong I was.
Firstly, kids eat Lego. More than they play with it. Instead of being left to get on with my pioneering ‘rock buggy’, I spent most of our early sessions repeatedly reminding a teething two year old Nathan not to chew on the tyres or, worse, reaching into his slobbering cake hole to haul them out myself.
They also only share in one direction. So, the piece I’ve just spent ages sifting a tonne of Lego to locate is suddenly absolutely critical to the success of Dylan’s rocket. Or Nathan’s mid-morning snack. Yet in contrast, every piece they have is absolutely not available for swapping. No matter how marginal it is to their latest haphazard recreation of a pool of plastic vomit.
Thirdly, and this is something I didn’t fully appreciate as a child, Lego is like sand. It gets everywhere, including previously unimaginable and uncomfortable crevices of your body. The other day I spent several frustrating minutes looking for a piece that was right in front of my eyes until Nathan decided to aquaplane across the Lego pile. It just vanished.
And that’s all before we go through the protracted battle of tidy up time. It’d be easier to just set fire to the room.
And lastly, of course, are the injuries. Should Laura or I have the temerity to walk across the kitchen during the day, the soles of our feet will almost certainly end up looking like a pin cushion. There may even be a couple of metal cars lurking amidst the plastic minefield ready to add insult to injury. I like to think of myself as relatively pain resistant but a pointy rotor blade in the heel bed really smarts, especially after a depressingly interrupted night’s sleep. See teething point one.
Anyway, despite all this, I still look forward to tipping out the box of bricks at the start of every day and we’re even off to see a friend exhibit at a Lego Show next weekend (yes, he is an adult by the way). But it’s fair to say that, thanks to the intervention of kids, my previous Lego love affair is now more like a love/hate relationship. Brangelina rather than Chas & Dave. Maybe things will get better when they graduate to Technic.
Oh, and by the way, the piece I lost during the aquaplane turned up yesterday in Nathan’s potty. The mind boggles.