The LEGO piece, the vacuum cleaner and the stain on my conscience.

I have recently been fighting a losing battle to keep our house tidy. I’m constantly having to remind the kids to tidy up after themselves and the one thing that never seems to get put away is LEGO.

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One unfortunate LEGO character gets sucked up by the vacuum cleaner while its friends try to escape. Clearly my reputation is spreading.

With Christmas celebrations about to get underway, we will have guests visiting and so I want the place to be tidier than usual. That said, I have been very busy recently and struggled to keep on top of the housework.

This led to an awkward situation last week. Izzy, my six-year-old daughter, had been building several LEGO models in the living room. Having been asked 45 billion times to times to tidy up, she eventually cleared away her models, but a few rogue pieces had been left scattered across the floor. The effort to put away absolutely everything was clearly just a tiny bit too much for her.

The carpet needed to be vacuumed and so I got the Dyson out and stealthily got to work. I lovingly stopped to pick up several LEGO pieces, but I watched in horror as the decapitated head of a LEGO character was sucked up into the vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner made a very loud clicking noise as the head whizzed around and around inside the cylinder.

I have no idea how the head came to be separated from its body, but I imagined that LEGO character to have been a real person. “What a horrible way to meet your end,” I thought. A head, detached from its body, bumping and whizzing around inside the vacuum cleaner’s cylinder with no way to put up its hands and arms to defend itself and no control over the situation.

I very quickly snapped back to reality. I turned the machine off and went to open the cylinder, so I could take the head out, give it a clean and return it to a LEGO set. In my mind I was already lecturing Izzy about not having tidied up properly.

Then I stopped myself. In a move that went against every value I was raised to believe in, in a move contrary to my aims of living an environmentally friendly life, in a move that went totally against all those lectures I give my kids about looking after their possessions, I carried on vacuuming that carpet. Yes, I emptied that contents of that cylinder into a bin bag, including the head.

It was not my finest parenting moment and it has been on my conscious ever since. The harsh truth is, I simply don’t have time to go retrieving one, solitary LEGO piece, especially something as unimportant as a LEGO character’s head. Sure, if it had been some incredibly rare piece that was platinum plated, I’d have got it back. On this occasion, it wasn’t. It was a run of-the-mill LEGO head.

LEGO characters trying to escape a vacuum cleaner.
These LEGO characters attempt to escape from the vacuum cleaner having been sucked up from the floor.

I couldn’t resist doing a poll on Twitter. It appears am not alone. To my amazement, 74% of those who took part said they would have done exactly the same.

It makes me feel bad. I know I should take the time, but conversely, my kids need to tidy up after themselves. I don’t make allowances for all the other items they leave lying around that end up in the recycling, so why make allowances for a small LEGO head?

Where do you sit in the Great LEGO Debate? Do you lovingly pick up every individual piece on behalf of your kids and put it away for them? Do you simply launch a full-frontal assault in with the vacuum cleaner and say; “Your faults kids, I told you to tidy up”? Would you have done the same as me? This has been weighing on my conscience so please do let me know, either by commenting below or on social media where you’ll find me as @dadbloguk.

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10 Comments

  1. Vicky
    December 10, 2018 / 8:47 am

    A fully complete Lego character, NO!! They have feelings too John! Have you not watched Toy Story??
    But just the head, well you probably gave it a merciful release……ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. (See what I did there)

    • John Adams
      Author
      December 16, 2018 / 7:17 am

      Yes Vicky, I did see what you did there! I hadn’t really thought about the LEGO character’s feeling to be honest, just the immense effort I have to go to to keep the house tidy!

  2. Symatt™ (@symatt)
    December 10, 2018 / 9:15 am

    This is more upsetting than I would like to admit.
    You paid good money for both the toy and the vacuum cleaner. Yet you treat both with contempt.
    The toy you bought for your child and now you see no value in it. For yourself as a gift for your child or the fact you spend out to aquire it.
    .
    On a secondary note.
    My parents (dad) did exactly the same thing to me. I hated it.
    As a child I believed I had eventually cleared all my toys away. If I missed a piece or a car or whatever it was it was not intended.
    Then to be punished by that item being removed forever.
    At some point id remember that I couldn’t find said piece.
    I would overwhelming hate you.
    .
    I hate you

    • John Adams
      Author
      December 16, 2018 / 7:21 am

      Oh dear. I have really touch a nerve haven’t I?

      In my kids’ case, the attempt to clear up was a little lasez faire. The reminders were repeated but things weren’t cleared away. Trust me, I’d never vacuum up an entire model, but if they leave the odd bit here and there, tough.

  3. December 10, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    I think we all loose the plot occasionally. I remember one of my finer parenting moments was losing the plot with the two older girls room and tidying it all into the garden through their bedroom window.
    Did not make me feel good afterwards and certainly never encouraged them to keep it any tidier.
    Wrong place wrong time and I would be more worried about blocking my hoover than one piece of brick they probably will never miss.

    • John Adams
      Author
      December 16, 2018 / 7:16 am

      hahaha, yes, wrong place, wrong time. Could happen to any of us. Interesting approach to encouraging your kids to tidy but then I guess we can all be pushed too far sometimes can’t we?

  4. December 10, 2018 / 11:42 pm

    I had to chuckle at this one, John. I don’t even have kids but have gone through this with my nephews. I was on a cleaning binge a few days ago and found a few of their old toys (they are grown up now, one has his own kid) buried away in one of the many plastic bins under the stairs. Two of them were tiny trucks and how they didn’t get sucked up in a vacuum cleaner I don’t know. I love the toy poses too. Well, you know, hardy toys for a hardy vacuum cleaner and sometimes you just have to keep cleaning.

    • John Adams
      Author
      December 16, 2018 / 7:15 am

      Now I’m not saying I would vacuum up absolutely everything….but the odd piece of misplaced LEGO, I mean come on, I just don’t have time!

  5. December 31, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    I used to get the cleaner out and use it in the room when the kids were still playing with the lego after being asked to clean it up, they would scream in horror. I’d then put the cylinder contents into a carrier bag and put it outside leaving them to rescue their precious toys, they never learnt, but i did get less cheek from them

    • John Adams
      Author
      January 3, 2019 / 10:35 am

      Yes, yes, I can imagine this would have the desired effect! It’s an imaginative approach and one I may consider!