Lego Dad

Picture if you will a medieval castle made from Lego, complete with barracks, towers, stables and a wind mill overlooking the manicured gardens, gardens festooned with topiary, trees, a river and a err speed boat. The image you have in your mind is perhaps, if you are thirty plus, incorrect and constructed from the old school Lego bricks of yore.
These days Lego has moved on and, unlike many childhood favourites it’s better! First off you can do away with all those building bricks, what we have, spread out upon a rug in my son’s bedroom, is a multitude of small interesting bits and pieces, some of which can only be seen in the atomic world in which they lurk; albeit it is possible to feel their presence when you step or kneel on the buggers.
Removing the more obvious materials and replacing them with less obviously practical pieces stimulates the imagination. This is how it goes down in our house. A Lego toy is desired by son, Lego toy is bought for son in an attempt to buy, in turn, his love and favour. The original toy comes with instructions which are carefully followed by the son as father, keen to interact, scratches his head while turning the instructions this way and that. Eventually Father declares that there must be some pieces missing and retreats to his default setting, a setting unique to fathers, a setting that favours beer, nuts and the Beano.
Before the Father can finish reading ‘Denis the menace’s’ latest instalment the son has completed the Lego car, truck, alien space craft or fighter jet. Father is impressed. Once the son has followed the instructions, quietly and patiently to their eventual realisation he quietly and patiently takes it apart, scattering the new atomic pieces amongst the existing mêlée on the rug. The original toy will never be made again but instead new creations are fulfilled, each and every one of which springs from the well of his imagination like Zebedee on acid.
Ok back to the castle we go, and we find that a castle wall or rampart is required but before we start work on the ramparts, pieces pending, we must first send the spy out in his speed boat to spy on other castles, all of which exist in a virtual world, obviously. I’ve registered my concerns about a speed boat being readily available to the average medieval man but to no avail. But no sooner have I been corrected on my historical comprehension we are now to build an army of giants, ‘not monsters Daddy, giants’ I’m told in no uncertain terms. So it’s giant building duty, followed by outhouses, then peasant accommodation, what happened to the ramparts? No time to waste thinking about ramparts I’m too busy using my binoculars to search the rug for the relevant pieces.
All good fun I hear you say, but unfortunately there does appear to be a down side to all of this amusement. Yes Lego stimulates the imagination, keeps children away from the television – another good babysitter – computers, loose women and drugs. Yes it keeps them occupied and quiet – oh the quiet – and teaches them to follow frankly impossible instructions. Yes Lego is something that lends itself to an only child or a group if so desired and yet, and yet dare I say it? Whatever I manage to make, no matter how hard I’ve worked on it, no matter how many interesting pieces I’ve managed to rescue from the minute weave of the aforementioned rug, whatever I proudly produce as a finished masterpiece and hold up for scrutiny; I’m told its crap!
‘It’s crap Daddy’
‘It’s rubbish’
‘What do you mean it’s rubbish, I rather like it?’
‘Well just look at it Daddy, can’t you see?’
‘It looks like a duck’
‘A duck! It’s a tree house for goodness sake!’
‘It’s a duck Daddy, don’t be silly’
‘Hmm yes I suppose it is a duck, a good duck though right?’
‘It’s a rubbish duck Daddy’
If I want to please my son all I have to do is turn up at the edge of the rug and yet I know by doing so I’m setting myself up for a fall! I also know that my confidence will be knocked and booted about like an unwanted puppy, before being stomped on repeatedly. I cannot expect his praise, there will be no praise, I’m crap at Lego; full stop.
Being crap at Lego is, I’m afraid to say, not the only thing I’m overly incompetent at according to the world’s leading authority on such matters, my son. I’m rubbish at monopoly; I cheat at chess (how can one cheat at chess?) and my knowledge of the Power Rangers television show is frankly embarrassing, bordering on the non-existent. I can’t dance or sing very well either and my jokes aren’t funny; yeah right! I’m rubbish at not drinking beer, not drinking wine and not eating cheese, actually that last bit is true, I do agree with him on that one. So despite the fact that I am, in his words, ‘a massive fart’ what am I good at?
I’m good at loving him unconditionally; which is less than it sounds because it just comes naturally, like flatulence! I’m good at wanting him to do better than me in life with everything he does. I’m good at being fair – more natural – and at trying to teach him to keep an open mind. So I want to remain crap Dad because crap Dad can be trusted to turn up and to play, even though it’s unlikely he’s going to walk away with any medals. I’ve won the trust of fair boy and even though I’m nothing but a bumbling old twit, one day, way out past the castle walls, he may need me, and when he does I’ll be there; with my army of giants.

About CageWriter

Englishman Living in France with my wife and bilingual son. I'm a struggling writer as in I struggle to write even though I feel it's my calling. I get easily side tracked, this blog being a case in point!
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