Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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The terrifying Blizzard of 2012 (4 inches of snow, from the looks of things - though admittedly I'm not the one who cleared the driveway, so my estimation could be low) had schools closed on Friday, and of course there was no school yesterday, so the kiddos had a long weekend.  At our house, most of that time was spent with Jake and Zoe building Lego stuff and actually not fighting  (much).  This is one of the reasons I love Lego, despite the fact that it has been voted the #1 Item Most Likely To Become Permanently Embedded In the Bottom Of My Foot; Legos have the magical power to make siblings play nicely together.

I'm not sure how it works, but the same was true of my brother, Ben, and me back in the day, even though all the Legos belonged to him and he NEVER LET ME PLAY WITH THE GOOD PIECES (luckily, I'm not still bitter about it).  We used to build a lot of boats and then test them out in the kitchen sink; Ben's boats were incredible feats of Lego engineering.  Mine usually sank.  However, at least I can blame my Lego failures on the fact that I only had access to the leftover blue 1x1 bricks and occasionally a random windshield.

As for Jake and Zoe, they each have their own Lego collections.  About 10% of their Lego Time is spent trading pieces, with another 30% spent with one claiming they "didn't mean trade for keeps" and the other one declaring No Tradebacks.  I'm always a little bit amazed that they have any Legos to trade in the first place, based on the number of pieces I find hiding in the hallway carpet and lost in the folds of their crumpled sheets.   But nevertheless, once the Lego Swap Meet is closed, it's time to get down to building.

I find it interesting to see how differently Jake and Zoe play with Legos.  I guess that's why the Lego People, in their infinite wisdom, invented girly Legos, though in truth I don't think they really needed to.  I think the success of Lego Friends has more to do with kids liking stuff that's marketed specifically toward them (I'm looking at you, useless Easy Bake Oven), rather than because of all Lego's gobbledygook about how girls don't like to play with the "boy" Legos; of course  we do, that's why girls have been playing with them for ages.  Don't get me wrong, I like the new Legos.  So does Zoe.  Now she just wants to play with both, because as much as she likes pink Legos, she's sure not going to give up her "boy" Lego bits.  In my house, anyway, the differences between how the kids play is rooted more in their personalities than in the toys they're playing with.  Allow me to demonstrate, by showing you what each of them built on roughly equal amounts of Lego square footage.

Jake's creation
Jake called his creation an Evil Hideout Lair.  He's a very neat, organized boy, so I wasn't surprised to learn that most of the hideout's gadgetry was all smooshed together because, as Jake put it, "Otherwise it feels all crowded."  Too right - the evil genius could give ballroom dancing lessons in there.  Jake was very meticulous in his placement and editing of what would be included.

He was kind enough to give me a tour:

  1. Resident Evil Genius
  2. Teleportation Area/ Dance Studio
  3. Landing pad for escape pod (not pictured)
  4. Excalibur (because, why not?)
  5. TV (because even Evil Geniuses need to kick back and watch Adventure Time).  I couldn't help but notice how he'd decorated the TV with permanent marker, but I decided not to interrupt the tour with a lecture from OCD Mommy, since it's unlikely he would've been taking these Legos to the Antiques Roadshow in 40 years anyway.  I was glad I didn't interrupt, because I then learned that the barrel next to the TV is where the Evil Genius keeps his practice swords.  Good to know.
  6. This is a chest from LEGO Indiana Jones.  In past creations it has held treasure, weapons, and was even once used as a grill.  Jake opened the top, and there was a Lego guy inside.  "Is that the bathtub?" I asked, hoping the little guy wasn't being bar-b-qued.  "Naw," said Jake, "That's where the bad guy keeps his human form."  Ah, but of course.
  7. Pizza, which is kept on top of...
  8. a huge pile of gadgets.  Jake had assigned very important tasks to each gadget, which he explained to me in detail but I'd lost track after the second gadget.

Zoe's creation
I asked Zoe if hers was also a lair of some sort, to which she replied, "No, it's just a general hang-out kind of a place."  If you say so, but it's not like any hangout I've ever been to.  True to her own personality, Zoe had a mixture of everything under the sun in there, and she just kept on adding anything that caught her eye.

She was also kind enough to show me around:

  1. "This is the main girl.  She's the boss, but she's not too commandy."
  2. Unicorn (Yeah, you heard me, a unicorn.  Zoe said the unicorn had to stand up on the edge of the wall, because if she lets it come inside it takes up all the room and tramples everybody.  Seems sensible to me.)
  3. Random pile of money
  4. Accessory storage
  5. Lip Gloss (this is obviously not a Lego, but these days lip gloss gets involved in everything  Zoe does)
  6. Pet spider sitting on her eggs
  7. Hat storage (Zoe informed me that "she can just move the hats when she needs to go to the bathroom."  I didn't request any details.)
  8. Various Servants.  Like Jake and his Pile of Gadgets, Zoe had very specific tasks assigned to each servant, such as Driver and The Guy Who Tells Everybody What The Boss Said Their Job Is Supposed To Be.
  9. Pizzas
  10. It's difficult to see in the picture, but behind the bouquet of flowers is a clear cup.  This, Zoe told me, is "where they keep the dust from somebody dead they really liked."
  11. The chain to catch people who try to jump overboard (Oh yeah, did I mention her Hang-Out Place flies?)
So, you tell me if you can spot any differences between Jake's Weapon- and Gadget-Laden Evil Lair and Zoe's Everything-Laden Hangout...  While they were playing, there was a lot of, "Pretend he swooped in on his escape pod and dropped a bomb," and, "Nooooo - but does he want to buy a pizza?"  Yet they still managed to keep themselves entertained for hours.  As you can see, Zoe has fully integrated her new girly Legos into how she plays - but until Lego Friends comes with a pet scorpion (complete with eggs to sit on), I don't anticipate them fully replacing the old stand-bys any time soon.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


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