Unicorn Fail

Hello Friends,

while the past few Mondays have been reserved for a “Sweet” joke, this week started with the joke on me. Sweetie had a social crisis and I was completely clueless.

One theme ran through the entire kindergarten year: unicorns. Many of the little girls were having unicorn-themed parties, wearing Halloween costumes, hosting spa-days (really!), drawing pictures, etc.. Unicorns invaded!

We were not safe. Sweetie showed an interest so we bought unicorn-themed books, threw her a unicorn-themed birthday party, and as a cute gesture I gave her the unicorn knight Lego collectible mini-figure. Apparently the min-fig was the straw that broke the unicorn’s…no. Apparently the min-fig was the final “thing” as Sweetie responded to it not with joy but with tears. And me? I was all, “huh?”

UniKnight

What’s not to love?

After calming down, and taking the min-fig completely apart, Sweetie admitted to me that she didn’t really like unicorns. Again – huh? “But your birthday party,” I probed, “you asked for the unicorn theme.”

Sweetie’s response – “Some of the other girls really like unicorns, so I said I liked them too.”

Wow.

It is still early in our summer break and we are already into the life lessons. What followed was a brief and gentle conversation about how Sweetie needed to be honest with herself about what she liked and did not like, and then how to represent herself genuinely. I did my best to explain peer pressure, pack/group mentality and social norms to my 6 year old without making her feel ashamed, silly or like she was in trouble. First unicorns, then what? I had to resist spiraling down that path.

We revisited the topic when Wife came home. Again, gentle, brief (as in “no lecturing”) and hopefully empowering. I think Sweetie was worried she had disappointed me as she promised to make me a custom Lego set which she hoped I would like. I assured her that if it came from her I was sure to like it.

I do like it. Besides that it came from my daughter, I also felt it was fitting to our situation. What to call the scene? I couldn’t decide. To be more specific, I kept getting distracted, falling into thoughts about social pressures already creeping into my First Grader’s existence. And that won’t stop. I know it’s more about teaching her how to navigate the pressures, not trying to prevent them or have her ignore them. There is, and will continue to be, so much to unpack here. This will be a lesson we hone together over time. And that’s real life, actual, not imaginary like the invading unicorns.

So that’s my take away, and the working title for Sweetie’s MOC: Finding Our Way.

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100 Days

Hello Friends,

The girls just celebrated the 100th day of school. The teachers use this milestone to teach about the number “100”. They excercise creativity and make up fun counting and grouping activities. Sweetie’s teacher requested that the kids bring in 100 pieces of a particular item for their celebration. Here’s her submission:

We discussed the project for two weeks without settling on a particular item. Then, while cleaning and sorting some bricks, I came up with a Lego-based project (okay, didn’t mean to be literal there). I ran the idea past Sweetie and we agreed on three sets of 25 bricks and one set of 25 random pieces (understood and translated by Sweetie as “rainbow”).

After double-checking my brick count, Sweetie got to building. She went with a school/classroom build in alignment with the theme. And I just let her build.

This is all her, with one exception. She was having a time getting the yellow gate to act like a door, so I made the suggestion to put it on the propeller. I pulled that bit o’ genius from my “Lego Maniac” days. See if you can spot some pieces from those days. Yep, there’s some classic space in there, along with windows from the town hospital set, and obviously two of the minifigures are retro.

I’ll write more about my history with Lego bricks at another time. Suffice to say it was many happy years of building. My long-time friend Captain Jack and I were often at odds as I would keep the kits together and organized, while he would combine them to create complex, original structures. Isn’t that the Lego dilemma? Good times, though.

I enjoyed watching Sweetie build her project with Lego. So thank you TLG for inspiring yet another generation to build with your blocks. I have to admit I was taken aback by the project as a whole, though. Are we really that far into the school year? It feels like time is flying since we moved back into the house. And I really can’t use that as an excuse anymore. Well, we’ll just have to look forward to the next 100 days!

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 7

Hello Friends, While finishing some gift items today I built a couple of ornaments and thought I would share. Talking yesterday about our Star Wars decorations also helped set up this segue.

So this is Lego polybag 30497 , the First Order Heavy Assault Walker. Totally says, “Merry Christmas”, right? No – no it does not. But I thought I could change that and maybe give the girls a craft to occupy their time/hands/minds/insatiable need to do something. So add some holiday stickers, some ribbon for hanging and:

Whoa, I know – fiercely festive. Tidal wave of good Yule tidings. Merry Craft-mas (as in, Spanish, for “more”).

Alright, enough silliness. Much like that last sentence, this altered-toy ornament is alright, bit not epic. So far the reception has been good though; people think they are neat. Downside is that the kits are just outside Sweetie’s abilities, and Cricket was lost at the dump of the polybag. And forget the sticker placement and ribbon tying. So I have been building these and decorating them, not the girls. Not as sweet as I intended, but the girls love them! Lesson learned (again); craft in the age-appropriate range (it’s usually on the packaging). So if you like this ornament idea for your favorite Star Wars fan, have at it. If you think it’s silly, well, you’re probably onto something.

I want to take a minute to acknowledge Greg and Clarkman of the brickitect youtube channel. It was Greg’s review of this polybag that got me thinking about the ornament idea. If you’re a fellow former “Lego Maniac” looking to share your love of bricks with your kids, you might dig their channel.

Happy Holidays to all of you out there, and Happy Holidays to Greg and Clarkman!