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If you came here thinking I was going to tell you how to organise Lego, then I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place; I'm the one who’s after the help. 

The children have a pretty vast collection of Lego, most of which has been inherited from Keith’s childhood, and then added to over the course of the last few years. 

Once upon a time the collection was contained in tool boxes, but the Arctic Base Camp was the final nail in the coffin of that arrangement. The orange department -which had been teetering on the edge of dangerously large - started to flow into the red department, and I think we can all agree that kind of contamination requires immediate action. 

We looked at some second hand library catalogue drawers, and some industrial tool boxes, but the call of the sale time deal was too strong for a certain member of the family, and so the Lego is now housed in a vast collection of stackable crates which fit together in a mysterious Tetris-like configuration in the drawer under Alfie’s bed. 

Are those good intentions paving my path to Hell? Why yes they are! 

The problem isn't the organising of Lego into containers, it’s the fact that children want to use it all, leaving a weekly tidal flow of Lego looking a little something like this: 

Saturday: Lego is colour coded in the correct tubs, with lids on, and stacked according to the secret logic of Tetr’Is in the drawer under Alfie’s bed. 

Sunday: The first creation of the week: Usually something small; a plane, or a car perhaps. The Lego table has been restocked with discarded pieces, and is now just a glorified holding area for planned future works. 

Monday: The creations multiply. The Lego table is still full of potential future projects, while the completed projects are now dotted around the flat spaces of the house. There is one on the dining table that starts World War 3 every time the toddler hulk-smashes it, and several booby trapped window sills which deposit their payload - pointy end down - on my toes as I draw the curtains. 

Tuesday: The creations have decided to throw a party, and have invited half the neighbourhood. The crates are mostly open, and spread haphazardly over the bedroom floor. The lids are off, of course, and any space in between them is littered with scattered bricks. It looks a little like the Lego fairy has flown in through the window, and left lots of colourful, pointy turds all over the floor, in much the same way that a house rabbit would. 

Wednesday: There are many creations leading to many threats of vacuum vs Lego doom. My children respond well to this development by wailing inconsolably, and throwing themselves onto the floor at the outrage of wasting valuable creating time with such trifles. 

Thursday: Lego has now achieved full floor coverage. I have now resorted to using the dustpan to shovel Lego off the floor, and back onto the Lego table. I'm grateful that Keith through to make the Lego table so deep and consider installing a life preserver in case any of the children fall in.


Friday: Completely lose my shit at the fact that the tubs are empty, but every other square inch of house is covered in a random scattering of bricks. Give children well-worn speech about caring for their possessions, and how sad they’ll be if they can’t finish their sets because the dog has chewed Uni Kitty, or I have accidentally stepped on the limited edition piece and heard it dissolve under my heel in a sickening crunch (true story). Realise the only person who is sad about this whole debacle is me. 

And so it goes, week after week; and I am fully aware that this is a problem of my own making, but please, just for one minute, allow me to sing you the song of my people. 

I am trapped in a private hell somewhere between the house I think I ought to be keeping and the way in which I want to parent my children. 

For five days a week, I miss out on the benefit they see from being given free creative rein, and walk through the door in time to witness the aftermath. I’ll be honest; it makes my eyeballs burn and my brain resonate with the noise of an old copper kettle at full chat. 

It makes me want to weep. 

And I own the fact that this makes me slightly less generous than I would otherwise hope to be. I accept the fact that a sweeping look around the steaming wreck of my house puts my mother on one shoulder whispering “I didn't raise you to have a house like this” and my husband on the other saying “it’s the process, not the product”. 

I stand between them desperately trying to embrace the creativity of the food truck underneath my dining table, while at the same time resenting that the only part I get to play in their games is the crappy part at the end that makes them act like I am pulling out their fingernails. 

For me, this more is the hardest part of being a working mama. 

This is my witching hour

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