sorting lego



School holidaysare almost over again. Time passes quickly, with little time for the computer. We are staying home for the two weeks. My son needs a good play with his toys, and I think it is good for children to experience mundane everyday life occasionally. I belong with the grandparents who moan about how overstimulated children are these days, with the constant succession of activities after school and on weekends. I even know of a grandmother who is denied access to her child because the only day he is home is on Sundays, and that is ‘family time’, not to be interupted by a grandmother. Another suspects that her granddaughters are cranky when they come around for family dinner on Thursdays because they have been exhausted by the number of activities crammed into their week. Just the time in the car would have me cranky.

Anyway, we are having a relaxing time, with bits of origami, painting, walks to the local shops and such. And there has been a good chunk of Lego time every day. 

My way of playing with Lego these days is to provide voices while putting away loose pieces. It sounds insane, but that is the way it has evolved, and we are satisfied enough. I tend to be clumsy with Lego, and the more I try to avoid breaking it, the more it dissolves into pieces in my hands. I think the connections work themselves loose over time, which makes sense in terms of high school physics lessons, with inanimate objects subjecting each other to forces just by fitting tightly together – there they are, trying to get a bit more space around them, pushing each other apart. So I sit on a footstool, plastic containers around me, piling pieces of Lego onto a dusting cloth, giving them a quick wipe, then dispensing them a handful at a time into the appropriate container. Our Lego storage has gone through a few stages. There was the single tub, but it was difficult to find anything. Then there were the cat litter trays, and large flat pieces were kept separate from the others. Soon I learned to keep tiny pieces in their own container too, those with a single hole in them, or those special pieces such as tools and accessories. The people now have their own box that they share with the animals. Train track has a container. Wheels go in the container with the browns and oranges, as there are few pieces of that colour in my son’s collection. At some stage I realised that it was best to keep contrasting colours together, and a little later the accumulated fluff annoyed me, so cat litter trays were replaced by containers with lids.


For all of that, most of the Lego is on the floor, made up into buildings, vehicles and goodness knows what else. Occasionally I gather up loose pieces in a plastic container (one of those litter trays), and that might sit around for a week before the pieces are recycled into another creation, or before I get around to sorting them into their containers. One day my son will do this, but not yet. I used to be the one finding the pieces when they were wanted, but that service is no longer required. It is a relief that my role and his capabilities keep changing.

I used to frantically ask other mothers in the school yard about how they stored Lego, and received some peculiar looks. In some houses, once the model is built, it goes on a shelf, sometimes behind glass doors. Others have a single large tub for loose pieces. They do not assist in the building, and never did. A few mothers put the sets away in containers with many compartments, sorting according to size and shape, and keeping sets isolated. Their peculiar looks were returned. 

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