Our kid is a good kid.
For that I am endlessly grateful.
Since we became parents, we’ve been learning first-hand how not all kids are sweet and wonderful. Some kids are complete little shits.
Of course, they are not to blame, in any way, for being the way they are. They are merely clear reflections of their adults.
But being, for many years now, in close daily interaction with many different kids, it makes me happy to see our boy is just – a really good kid.
Like most proud (and often very annoying) mothers, I could tell you endless fantastic things about him. In fact, from his youngest age (he is now 7), when he just started talking, I’ve been filling out notebooks with most incredible things he did and, most of all, said. The fact that he was born into a trilingual family definitely has a lot to do with it.
I still write down his thoughts, questions and observations about Life, Universe and Everything Else and I think all that very much deserves to be in a proper book, and one day soon I’m sure it will.
Apart from everything else, he is just – a very cool little dude. With an enormous, gentle heart. Which sometimes worries me, ‘cos it often seems as this world is made for some other kind of people.
Our boy couldn’t care less about football or basketball. He is at high risk of being shunned by his whole class for not being interested in Novak Djoković in any way, but he is a total Legomaster. Together with reading his favorite Roald Dahl books, building incredible objects from Lego is just his thing.
It’s what he loves the most and does the best. And I’m not talking about „simple“assembling of the sets following the instruction booklet. Sure, he does that first, but only to show some basic respect for the proper procedure. And then, once that’s completed, he destroys it and makes something completely different, his own creation, always much cooler then the original one.
If he doesn’t have the set, and especially the minifigures, that he wants the most, he will make them. Out of plastelin.
If he wants to play Ice Kingdom (or Ice Chima, Ice Ninjago or anything else Icey), he will put Lego bits in the ice cube tray (one tiny bit per cube), freeze them up and then have the real deal.
All that makes me unable to get upset whenever I slip on the wet floor or have to scrape plastelin layers off of it. It is wonderful seeing his creativity, imagination and resourcefulness take over.
If we could, we would probably get all kinds of Legos for him, whenever he deserves any kind of reward or a treat. We would do it mostly because he loves it so much, because he deserves it, because he makes incredible things with it and, last but not least, because he never in any way whines about not having the ones he desires the most, never demands to get them. Never ever.
He might pull me to the computer to show me “the coolest thing ever!” and explain it in great detail WHY is it the coolest thing. Or he might startle the living crap out of me by suddenly appearing out of nowhere and shoving some Lego catalog in front of my face, joyfully shouting “OH LOOK MUMMY!”.
He will admire the pictures and imagine out loud how it would be to have all those amazing things… If at all possible, he will try to make them, from the bricks and parts he’s got already… or plastelin… But he will never ever in any way whinge, demand or be in any way immature (!) or impolite about it.
Even after countless scars and bloody wounds on the soles of our feet, and all the awful, truckdriver style loud swearing and screams of pain echoing throughout our house at night, both C. and I still love Legos and think it is one truly fantastic, universal, timeless invention.
But, as much as we would like to lavish our boy with Legos, we simply can’t.
Since by now I became a complete hard-core pro in Lego-research, I can tell you that for some deeply disturbing reason, it seems that Lego sets are more expensive in Serbia then anywhere else.
Luckily, our boy has some seriously awesome family friends, and especially family members abroad, who know all about this passion of his and who never ask what to get for him when visiting, but only “what is the set number”.
And for that, we are truly endlessly grateful. The wee one especially, of course.
I don’t know if he actually still believes in Santa Claus or if he just goes along with it, ‘cos it’s much cooler then the mundane truth. I don’t know and it doesn’t even matter.
Christmas, and even more so, New Year, is what he impatiently waits for, counting the days from the very moment jumpers replace t-shirts.
New Year and his Birthday.
Two things our boy regards as the best days of the year. The Holy Days.
In other words, the two major Present Days.
He never does really naughty, mean things, but right about now is when he switches to his seasonal Extra Good Mode.
He helps around the house, cleans up his room and all the other rooms invaded by Lego bits.
He sets up the table for dinner, feeds the cat, waters the plants, helps me do the laundry… He does his homework and doesn`t complain when I interrupt his important new project `cos it`s time to brush teeth and go to bed…
When he was younger, I know he was doing all that with a clear thought in his head, that Santa IS watching him, carefully keeping track of all the good deeds and deciding on which list to put him.
Now… it might not be about Santa so much, as it is about him, working really very hard to earn what he wants the most.
Which I think is completely fair.
Which also makes me want to reward all of his little efforts, more than I can say.
He knows our family is far from rich, unfortunately. We`re ok. We work very hard, but as many of my friends know, freelancing is a tough way to make a living. Anywhere. But especially now, here in Serbia.
So, he knows we can`t give him all the Legos he`d like. But he knows that once a year, for his Birthday, we do our very best (and beyond) to make sure he gets this one present that will completely blow his mind and, traditionally, after he unwraps it, send the super pissed-off downstairs neighbor to our door.
Since we can’t really save up for those ridiculously expensive Lego sets, a few years back we thought of a cool way to get the Birthday Boy what he wants the most and deserves as much.
We offered all our family friends, who are close to our kid and who would come to his Birthday party anyways (always thoughtfully asking what to get for him), to participate in this one big collective present, from all of us.
We agreed that the maximum chip-in should be the average amount usually spent on kids’ Bday presents, which was about 1000 dinars (10 euros). That is the upper limit.
So for our boy’s last 3 or so birthdays, 10 to 15 close friends would chip in, and thanks to my Lego Guy (yes, I actually have my own Lego Guy, smuggling Lego sets and selling them for sometimes 50% of the Belgrade shop price), we would manage to get some completely fantastic and otherwise completely unreachable Lego sets.
Never THE biggest or THE most awesome ones they have (that was still very much out of the reach even with all our money put together), but still, we would get the ones our kid wanted „the second most“. And then, when he would open the package, it would immediately become his Absolute Most Favorite.
He still plays daily with all of those sets, some given to him years ago, by the way. Only now his projects have reached a whole new level. And I know it is just a matter of time before his space shuttle actually takes off.
He knows the holiday season is approaching fast. Which also means that his Megapresent Day, his Birthday is coming soon too, on 1st of February.
And the other day he was so overexcited and happy to show me The Set he fell in love with, on the Lego site.
His actual words were „THIS would make my whole life complete!“ and then he probably saw the look on my face and added, in a touchingly sad voice „…but I know it must be too expensive..“.
And then I looked at the price. My first reaction was to call the Lego CEO and tell him to go fuck himself, with some Lego bricks carefully put together in a life-size Lego-cactus.
Our boy saw the pictures and commercials of the biggest, coolest, most awesome, incredible Star Wars series set – The Death Star.
It is just spectacular.
I fell in love with it too, immediately. I wanted it for myself, right away.
It has all the best minifigs – Darth Vader, Han, Luke, Leia…everyone is there! And of course, those major character minifigs, Lego puts only in the most expensive sets, never in small ones which real people can actually afford for their kids, who love Legos, I’m guessing, just as much as rich kids. Maybe even a bit more.
Evil. Pure Evil.
The price of this insanely cool Death Star set in Serbian shops – equally insane: about 500 euros.
For a very, very cool Lego set.
500 euros. Lego set.
It just kept ringing in my ears as the overwhelming feeling of extreme rage and disgust started filling my soul…
Who is this toy for? I mean, apart from 1% of appallingly wealthy people in this world.
Who is Lego for? Why are they doing this evil, shameful thing to kids?
How can people possibly get this for their children who saw it once and immediately realized – THAT is THE best thing ever and I want it more then anything else in the world!
Then I checked out some other places and prices online and saw the same Death Star set for about 360 euros, on a discount. And it’s not even Christmas sales season yet.
I’m sure that, if I would’ve looked some more, I would’ve found it for a price that is reasonably high and totally acceptable – for people who live and work abroad, earn decent wages, have savings and can treat their kids, once a year, for their Birthdays, with this fantastic present.
We live in Serbia, both C. and I are freelancers.
Even if 30 or 40 of our dear friends would offer to chip in 10 bucks for our boy’s Birthday, so we could order this set from abroad (and not pay 500 euros in Belgrade shops), I couldn’t go through with it.
It would just be obscene. At least here and now.
Our boy deserves this Lego Death Star.
He wants it more than anything else, he’s been working extra hard, in school and at home, hoping he’ll somehow earn the best Bday present ever.
We would love nothing more then to present him on his Birthday a big, nicely wrapped box, with a huge ribbon on it.
And then have the camera ready to capture the explosion of unseen joy, happiness and excitement, that would most definitely follow.
So, fuck you, beautiful, awesome Lego Death Star with all the main characters minifigs, which our sweet boy will always be longing for.
And even more so, fuck you Serbian Lego distributors and shops, with your shameless mockery of prices, obviously established between hits from the crack-pipe.
Fuck you and your most expensive Legos in the world, to us mortals forever unreachable.
Go fuck yourselves with a Lego cactus.
December 13th 2013
Photo gallery: Death Star made out of Lego Duplo blocks & all Star Wars Angry Birds 2 characters made out of plastelin, all by Vanja (7). Toothpicks are for easy handling. Oh yeah, and there’s two pics of Lego Death Star from the internet.