With Six You Get Eggroll

November 16, 2010

Image Credit: Geekologie

Danny Katz is a columnist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. He writes the Modern Guru column in the Good Weekend magazine. He is also the author of the books Spit the Dummy, Dork Geek Jew and the Little Lunch series for kids.

This question from J.M. of Leichhardt, NSW was answered by the Modern Guru this last weekend.

I think there is something in this for all of us.

When my four-year-old twins play with Lego, I get focused in a weird way, finding it frustrating how they just want to add random blocks that have nothing to do with the house we are working on. What can I do?

Kids are such jerks sometimes. You try to get involved in their childlike world of wonder and imagination and they just bugger it up by being so childish. You sit down with them to do some playdoughing and your effort will be first rate: you’ll be sculpting some hyper-realistic Ron Mueck miniature man, then your kid will just smoosh some big obscene doughroll right into the middle of the head, not even close to where a big obscene doughroll should be smooshed.

Or you try to play a fun game of tournament chess and they open with a risky Queen’s Gambit Declined – it didn’t work for Kasparov at the 1977 Moscow Championship, it’s not going to work for you, bozo. And they’re making horsie noises every time they move their knight, more interested in whinnying than winning.

Image Credit: With a Twist of Lemon

Which leads us to your Lego construction: you were channelling Grand Designs here – you were architect, builder and project manager because you didn’t want to compromise on your sustainable Bauhausian hover-bungalow with space-tractor wheels. And everything was going superbly: you were under budget, on schedule …. then you glanced away to look for a blue block to act as a load-bearing beam for your cantilevered lap pool and your four-year-olds plonked on some random bricks without architect approval, blocking all sunlight to your north-facing Euro-appointed eco kitchen. So you were right to get mad, you were right to go Lego-loco; suddenly you’re stressed, behind schedule, and your Lego family are supposed to move in by Christmas.

LEGO MOC Steampunk Train Locomotive

How are kids meant to learn to be the best they can be if parents don’t set an example by being the best they can be?

You should never compromise or underachieve in your creative play: next time you enter their childlike world of wonder and imagination, keep them out of it and let them watch and learn and applaud softly when you’re done. And next time they try to get involved in one of your Lego projects, build a security hoarding around the site using Lego cyclone fencing with barbed wire.

Picture of Jewish children posing behind barbed wire at Auschwitz after liberation.

(Picture from the Central State Archive of Film, Photo and Phonographic Documents, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.)

STILL FROM A POSTWAR SOVIET FILM: Jewish children, kept alive in the Auschwitz II (Birkenau) concentration camp, pose in concentration camp uniforms between two rows of barbed wire fencing after liberation. (After January 27, 1945)




  1. I hope J.M. is capable of understanding sarcasm. Otherwise, his kids are doomed.

  2. is it just me, or is there the barest hint of sarcasm in his reply? 😉

  3. Lashings and dollops of sarcasm……Australians like our sarcasm laid on thick, like our Vegemite

  4. I personally believe J.M. is a figment of the Modern Guru’s imagination; invented to show off said Guru’s wicked insight into the grown-up mature um………chronologically aged Ego.

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