Part of being a parent is trying to take care of things that can’t be taken care of…like putting together a thrift store Lego robot for your 3 year old at 6 in the morning. It only takes about 5 minutes to realize that the reason it ended up at the thrift store wasn’t only that the original child outgrew it….this ROBOT IS MISSING PARTS.
Try as I might…with my son egging me on, “Noooooo….it needs wheeeels!!!!”…I am not going to be able to get this miniature Optimus Prime together. His head doesn’t sit where it should because the one little transitional piece that you need for true structural integrity isn’t even in the box. The instruction manual with the pictures of Optimus Prime transforming into a car ARE IN THE BOX…the instruction manual that tells my son that IF DADDY WAS A REAL MAN HE COULD GET THE DANG ROBOT TOGETHER. Most of the instructions are in Japanese…so I suspect that the subliminal message of Lego impotence is buried somewhere in the characters of the ancient Asian language. Or maybe it’s some weirdly latent Pearl Harbor holdout…take us out with some embarrassingly impossible robot toys…swoop in when we’re all exhausted from trying to get the Optimus head to stay on the Optimus body.
When you tell a child who wants to play with his new toy to “be gentle with him…he’s very delicate”, the end is going to be less than satisfying. Children don’t do “delicate” at the age of 3….and the instruction manual shows Optimus transforming into a fully functioning motor car with a head, so that’s the way this morning should go down. I know it won’t…but it should end on a happy, “robot all together…robot good” note.
I don’t think that a parent ever gets it perfectly right. We just keep putting the head back on, trying to explain why the wheels won’t stay on because the transitional piece wasn’t in the box (and realizing that phrases like “transitional piece” moves the conversation into the “talking with the dog” zone when Nate’s eyes glaze over).
I had a friend who said that his father used to tell him “do SOMETHING…even if it’s wrong“. I think that he ended up designing software for Microsoft. I’m on page 6 of a separate 36 page section, trying to find the 4 pieces that allow me to transform Optimus from a rickety pile of semi-complete plastic robot parts to an equally rickety and incomplete Optimus car. I am getting good at doing it wrong sometimes… but I’m seeing that some of the secret is maybe just in the doing part of the deal. Just put my head down and push through this big pile of Lego….stuff.
Time to quit writing. Mommy just got up and told me, “No….the car was together when we got it.” I think Nate heard that part….so even if he can’t verbalize his complex feelings…it probably just reinforces my Lego impotence in his eyes. I guess we needed a project for a quiet Sunday…Optimus RISE….or Optimus ROLL !!!
PS…later in the evening…my spouse tells me that all the pieces were there after I notice that she has the car together. I am sure the pieces were not there. Maybe she was hiding them from me?