My kids tend to be a bit, oh, obsessive, about their interests. When Kyle, my nine-year-old, was a toddler, he immersed himself wholeheartedly in the world of Thomas the Tank engine. He knew every one of the dozens of trains, their characteristics (cheeky, naughty, fussy, brave, really useful) and gave us all train names.
Mine was Percy.
Every day, he watched Thomas tapes and built elaborate train tracks.
He slept with at least one train and more than a few of the pricey wooden creations made their way into the bathtub.
I had the preternaturally chipper and chirpy "He's a Really Useful Engine" song ringing in my head for years.
Then one day, it was over.
Hurrah! (As they say in Thomas-Land.)
Or maybe it's Huzzah!
A new obsession emerged quickly: Legos. Or, more specifically, a robot cum monster cum alien known as Bionicles.
Kyle embraced the whole complicated back story with joy (good guys, bad guys, interplanetary travel, unintelligable names and language, a wide variety of weapons, masks of power--a real boy-fest).
There followed years of Bionicle birthdays, Bionicle Halloween costumes and thousands of Bionicle pieces strewn about his room, secreted into his school backpack and carpeting his bed.
At least the Bionicles didn't sing chirpy songs.
That Kyle happened to be unusually good at building was a bonus; nothing delighted the little cutie more than a new set with a loooong instruction booklet. We loved peeping into Kyle's room to watch his little fingers hard at work, putting complicated sets together.
It was his happy place, profoundly so.
All kind of other Legos made their way into the mix as well. Even the bigger (and presumably more babyish) Duplos held magic for Kyle, and for his little brothers.
Other items held sway for a while—second grade was the year of the Pokemon—but Kyle always returned to his Legos.
Until early this school year, when it seemed like his Lego lust had finally been sated.
The Legos sat unused for months, as Kyle and his little brothers turned to video games and Bakugan, a rolling monster/card game that held the kids at school in thrall from September onward.
I suggested we donate them all, just to get the thousands and thousands of itty bitty pieces littering our home the heck out of there. (Have you ever stepped on a Lego piece? It's shockingly painful.)
My husband, AKA Pack Rat Man, refused. "What if the boys get back into them?" he asked.
And he was right. Because, for reasons unknown, Legos once again rule in our home. All three boys now beg for Lego sets, build legions Lego armies (the Star Wars Legos are particularly good for combat, they tell me) and create everything from forts to robots to animals from the little bricks.
The floor is once again covered; my feet are dimpled with Lego injuries.
And all is right with our world.