The difference between male and female Legomaniacs



My grandchild is not due to make an appearance in the world until Sept. 1, so I don’t have a legitimate excuse to go see the new Lego movie. However, just seeing the trailers brought back memories of the days when those little plastic toys were a big part of my daily existence . . . from stepping on them barefoot to impatiently threatening my son to make up his mind which Lego set to buy.

I wrote the following newspaper column about the subject years ago but it is still appropriate today. It will appear in the chapter of my book titled “The Whole Mars vs. Venus Thing.” The book will be called “Letters from Home: The Adventures of Mad Mother, Lemonade Man and The Kid.”

There must be something to recent controversial allegations that males and females have very different brain functions. You don’t even have to watch Oprah to know that men and women think differently.

Take the subject of Legos. A book I’m reading says that male children like to build tall, complex things out of blocks that they can later knock down. Girls, given the same set of blocks, build horizontal structures that are stable and domestic. Now that makes me feel less guilty about my disinterest in helping my son build Lego contraptions that only later were found in shambles on the living room floor.

Yes, the Kid is a confirmed Legomaniac. Even at the ripe old age of ten, he hones in with his Lego radar on the latest set to be issued from a company dedicated to depriving parents of their retirement incomes. This child will spend an hour at the Lego display of any Wally World, becoming clearly agitated when I give him a hairy eyeball and a two-minute warning to get out of the toy aisle unless he wants to see an exploding mother.

This weekend he decided to get his Legos organized. Out came the flat box that a mountain of microscopic and colorful plastic has been stored in. Within an hour, without instructions, he reassembled a space buggy, a galactic something or other, a space shuttle, an ice sled and a motorcycle. The buddy who joined his Legos with the Kid’s is just out of luck, because these re-created things are to be permanently enshrined on new shelving promised by a mother who wants to see toys off the floor of a room that would easily qualify for disaster assistance.

Now that those tasks are completed, it’s time to get out the Lego catalog conveniently included with each set sold. After remaining unconvinced that my child requires a monorail, a galactic space center and a $75 contraption with motor and moving parts, I made the flippant remark, “Where are the Legos for girls?”

There they were, in the back of the book. All pink and green. There were sets showing beach houses and boats, boutiques and bathrooms, complete with little Lego girls and boys. Instead of sporting space helmets and lasers, these cute little creatures were carrying barbecue spatulas and sporting sunglasses. They were driving boats through cool lagoons and relaxing under palm trees. “Now this, I could get into!” I explained.

“Those things don’t sell very well,” said the Kid, snatching the catalog away from me and returning to his dreams of future Star Wars-type battles to be fought with little plastic things under his command.

Yes, my confirmed Legomaniac has shown me clearly the difference between the bright red and blue of boy Legos and the hot pink and green of girl Legos, between wars and beach vacations. And he reminds me there aren’t too many shopping days left until Christmas.