Legos tonight with Helen

After dinner tonight, I spent quite a bit of time in the basement playing with and talking to Helen. It was pretty awesome.

When I went to Kansas at the beginning of June to pick up Megan for the summer, my parents bestowed upon us an enormous plastic tub full of Legos they picked up at a yard sale for the princely sum of 12 bucks. In this tub was supposedly a treasure trove of Harry Potter Lego sets; Megan, being the Harry Potter fangirl that she is, wanted these Legos – badly. So my parents sent them home with me so the girls and I could attempt to make some sense of what they had and, hopefully, get everything rebuilt.

Through lots of research at various Lego sites found scattered around them there Internets, which mostly involved downloading PDFs of the instruction manuals for every Harry Potter Lego set we could find and then matching up key pieces in the set with stuff we found in this box, we started building. And quickly found out that while, yes, many, many sets were once owned by the former owners of this box of stuff, many, many of the pieces to those sets never made it into the box. Last month, Megan managed to piece together an enormous Hogwart’s Castle that’s actually pretty impressive, and I was able to mostly build the train that takes the students back and forth from the real world to the land of magic.

Well, tonight Helen and I worked on Hagrid’s hut. As with the other sets we found we had, I got a good chunk of the hut built before I got stymied by the fact that there are just far too many pieces missing to complete it. But during the couple of hours I was down there working on it, Helen and I just chatted about all kinds of different stuff. She helped me dig up parts, rummaged through boxes of my stuff and asked me a ton of questions about my Star Wars and G.I. Joe collections, and was basically just great to be around.

For the last 20 minutes or so, she played with this McDonald’s Happy Meal toy of Spencer’s magic meatball from iCarly; it’s basically a simplified Magic 8 Ball that has three answers – ask me later, the magic meatball says yes! or the magic meatball says no! She asked it dozens of questions, about what she liked and what she might get to do in the future, but eventually settled in on asking the magic meatball questions about itself. She gave the magic meatball the third degree when it answered in ways that contradicted previous answers. One of the exchanges went like this:

Helen: “Magic meatball, do you like video games?”
Toy: “The magic meatball says no.”
…several questions later
Helen: “Magic meatball, do you like Pac-Man?”
Toy: “The magic meatball says yes.”
Helen: “But earlier, you said you didn’t like video games. Magic meatball, have you changed your mind?”
Toy: “The magic meatball says no.”
This brought on fits of hysterical laughter, both from Helen and from me.

Millie is amazing, with her toddling about and her wide-eyed astonishment at absolutely everything she can see and touch and the pure joy I can see in her face as a tiny little person who’s trying to figure out the world. This is the third kid I’ve watched like this now, and it just doesn’t get old – it’s magic, and even after having watched it for years, I still get teary eyed over how happy it makes me to be around it.

But having a kid I can play with and have a conversation with and laugh with — like I did tonight in the basement with Helen — that’s my favorite part about being a dad.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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3 Responses

  1. Darren Hoffmann says:

    This is a wonderful post. You brought tears to my eyes with your reflection at the end.

  1. July 19, 2011

    Embloggery: Medium Daughter and I played with Legos tonight. http://t.co/9NypjSp

  2. July 20, 2011

    Andy said that my blog style was too private (for him). But reading this proves he isn't dead inside šŸ™‚ http://t.co/q4IGDT3 #softie

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