A return to LegoLand

My dad has taken to making repetitive motions. He rubs his hand back and forth across the top and around the edge of the kitchen table. So Mom gives him a dishcloth and tells him to wipe the table off for her. Sometimes he slaps his leg incessantly. Recently a home health aide witnessing this said to  my mom, “He needs something to do with his hands. Try getting a remote-control car or Legos.”

Legos I can do. I have two huge plastic-lidded tubs of Legos and Lego sets in my basement.

I love Legos.

When I was young my brother got Legos one year for Christmas. They were the simple primary colored ones; I’m not even sure they had white or black ones then. They came only in rectangular shapes—the fours, sixes and eights named by the number of little nibs they had on the top. My brother’s Legos also came with a book of instructions to build various models. I loved that Lego set. I systematically built all the models in the book. I played with that Lego set more than my brother did.

When my children were young I started them out on Duplo blocks (the large Legos for toddlers). Then we moved to tubs of regular Legos not unlike what I played with as a child but with the modern additions of doors, windows and wheels. From here we graduated to Lego sets of all kinds—small $3.00 ones of a vehicle or building to large complex sets of pirates, castles, and space craft that contained all kinds of intricate parts and cost a small fortune.

Yesterday I dug out the plain rectangular, primary-colored Lego blocks and took them to Dayton when I visited my parents. After lunch I brought them to the kitchen table where Dad and I worked separately and silently, side-by-side building with the Legos. As I picked up the colorful little blocks, in my mind, I could see the small fingers of my sons handling the Legos, snapping them together.

Dad did pretty good with the Legos, but occasionally tried to connect the wrong sides of two blocks together.

I built a simple rectangular building with a door, window, and roof. Dad built a top or roof onto a boat form and two simple vehicles using a few of the wheels. My building was neat and conventional. Dad’s constructions were unorthodox and unconventional. But he seemed content and pleasantly occupied while working with the Legos. It was a pleasant way to pass some time.

I love Legos.

1958—Dad working at NCR as a model-maker. He is standing up on the left side of the room and is using what looks like a drill press.

10 thoughts on “A return to LegoLand”

  1. I love Legos! When I was a child, I had always wanted them. Then when my children came well it was time for me to play too!

    In fact, I might even get some just for me now:) They are great.

    I think this is one of the best things for you and your Dad. Especially since he was a model builder. (his genes passed on to you I see:) Bonding over fun and building.

    When my dad was here (alive)…we put together picture puzzles but soon the puzzles that had been easy for him became a source of frustration. Maybe Legos would have been fun for Dad.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely moment…I enjoyed your sharing fun with your family:)

  2. I love Legos, too! I definitely played with them more than my brothers did, too. And now, I bet we have 1000s of Legos floating around our house! I even have a Lego space vehicle on my desk! Glad they are helping your father; what a great idea.

  3. I love the moments you are spending with your dad, even just playing with Legos. I feel guilty to be so far away.

  4. My daughter loved playing with legos as a child. A good friend’s husband built a lego table as a Christmas gift for our daughter one year. We have it stored in our garage to pass along to a grandchild, that’s how special it is.

    Stimulating activity seems essential for Alzheimer’s sufferers. That’s one thing my mom was unable to get because my sister with whom she lived still worked.

    Fortunately my brother-in-law had retired so the brunt of the daycare of my mom fell to him. Of course he couldn’t be expected to get creative in ways that would stimulate her. He did the best he could.

    My mom just sat around watching TV all day. My sister didn’t allow my mom to garden anymore for fear she’d fall or injure herself. Unfortunately she had too much time on her hands, and began fantasizing all kinds of negative scenarios.

    The few times we were able to fly back to the islands for a visit, we’d have my mom stay with us so we could keep her entertained. It seemed to help, but when we left she returned to her usual, non-stimulating routine.

    all this to say…good for you…for doing what you can…hugmamma. 😉


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