Le’go of the old
Friday December 04th 2020, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

There were three people being helped and one ahead of me in line at the post office. Even this early, I’ve never seen so few there in December.

But the stuff I ordered for the grands to come here first so I could wrap it–those haven’t come yet. So much for bypassing Big South American River. Turns out Monday we go on total lockdown for three weeks, and I don’t think going out to ship presents to young children counts as an essential trip under the new guidelines.

2020 is almost over.

We’ll figure it out.

Legos came in plain squares and rectangles of mostly red and blue and the occasional green or yellow when I was a kid, one or two sizes each and plain and hard and uninviting and I remember my grandmother wanting me to go play with the ones in her basket and me feeling like, Are you kidding me? How old do you think I am? Toddlers build towers!

As they got far more sophisticated I didn’t see for the longest time why a kid should just assemble from a directions sheet whatever someone else had dreamed up. Why not use their own imagination?

As if I ever did with them, so never mind.

But yarn! I remember watching my mother’s hands assembling plain straight string into beautiful, warm, cabled sweaters. Her projects always got my attention and the firmest determination that someday I was going to be able to do that, too. I remember studying the puzzle of her motions, the steady, accumulative loop-over-loop.

My husband’s family has always loved puzzles.

Watching my seven and nine year old grandsons showing off their Lego creations over FaceTime, I finally really got it: they’re putting together not just a puzzle but a 3-D one that helps develop fine motor coordination and their ability to envision what comes next and to check and correct and not be satisfied till it’s right and when they’re done, it’s not just a bunch of plastic bricks that fall right back apart but an actual toy that they play with with pride.

It teaches them about taking care of things that have unseen fragility.

Of things falling apart, of resilience when they do if they get a bit too exuberant flying their planes and that if work must be done to repair it, it means something to you, then you sit down and you spend the time and you repair it.

A frog/reknit, if you will: the resources remain, all it requires is you.

If their baby brother plays bam smash crash at them you forgive him, because, he doesn’t know, and they’re old enough that they get that.

But soon enough he will and it will be his turn.

Their sister’s already there.

But for her sixth birthday, and to be as different from Christmas the next day as possible, I decided she’s ready for the tactility of making her own fabric, too.

The old-fashioned metal loom from my childhood, with that bit of a loop shape at the top of each little bar to help hold your work in place. Cotton loops: you can make an actually useful (if small) potholder, unlike acrylic which could melt in high heat. Harrisville did it right.

That present, at least, is being sent straight there.

5 Comments so far
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I recently sent each of my two nieces one of my grandmother’s sketchbooks. They both love art, so I thought they’d like to see what great grandmother had done. Kept two for myself, for now.

Comment by Anne 12.05.20 @ 2:22 am

And I saw a neat knitting machine on the internet: wind the yarn on and turn the crank. I only taught my granddaughters to knit, not to do anything else and only a couple stayed with it, which is ok. Anything to get a kid going and thinking,

Comment by Sharon Stanger 12.05.20 @ 12:55 pm

I have heard there is an amazing lego set. The biggest they have ever made – something like 9000 pieces. The subject is the Roman coliseum. Can you imagine???

Even to some itty bitty scale it would be huge. You’d need a room or garage just for that! Yikes!

Comment by Chris S in Canada 12.05.20 @ 3:35 pm

Also consider buying them snapo. These are very much like Lego except you can attach them together on every side. My nine year olds are very busy with Lego, magnetile, snapo, playmobil, and other simple building kits with basic electricity. They build huge set ups, whole villages, complete with characters and architecture concepts,..one of my kids is currently making all the appliances that he thinks should go into his house. Today he made a vacuum cleaner and a lamp, as per his grandmother’s suggestions!

Comment by Joanne 12.05.20 @ 8:42 pm

Could you order prepaid flat rate boxes from post office, to be delivered to your house? And then arrange pickup from your house if they don’t fit in mailbox when ready to send out?
Just a random thought.
Toronto is supposed to have all non-essential businesses closed – the post office is open.

Comment by Lisa RR 12.06.20 @ 8:00 am

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