On a recent Monday morning my four year-old son played with Lego while I typed, deadline looming.
He sat on the floor by my desk, stirring Lego around a big plastic container to find the pieces he needed to make a racing car from an instruction booklet. This worked well until the rattling of Lego reached an angry crescendo, ending in demands for me to find a long black piece.
And so our search began. We started with a systematic stir of the plastic container, rattling Lego here and there, then checked the pieces he had strewn on the floor. Then under the bed. To put your hands under a bed in our house is to come up trumps with all manner of discarded items. Over the years, in no particular order, I’ve found:
• Apple cores
• Used tissues
• Lolly wrappers
• Banana skins
• Long forgotten pull-ups
• Unidentifiable Goo
When I write from home, it’s from the confines of my oldest son’s bedroom. To get to my desk, I step over his pajamas and navigate a path through Lego. Once there, I’m angry about the state of the room and blank out my surroundings to gratefully enter the world of words.
The carpet under my son’s bed has not seen a vaccum cleaner for longer than is decent. Lying on the floor with my four year-old that Monday morning, I reached out my hand and felt where my eye couldn’t see.
The carpet was more lush, softer and longer, than the parts we’ve trampled on for ten years. Then I felt something hard, and something sticky, and recoiled from the feeling as if it were Mr Twit’s beard. Santa’s elves had had a party under the bed and left their candy cane wrappers behind. But still no Lego.
By then my four year-old had tired of the search and was easily convinced to veer off the instructions and make a Lego car of his own creation.
Still, there was one place left to check – the vaccum cleaner bag. Which brings us to the most effective use of plural. That evening, regaling my husband with the tale of lost Lego, I said: “We need to check the vaccum cleaner bag.” And it was done.
Everything is awesome.