Last week was Australian Literacy and Numeracy week and my children’s school planned a whole lot of great activities for the kids.
On the last day, the school encourages the children to dress up as their favourite book character.
My 9 year old knew exactly what he wanted to dress up as – Doctor Who. In fact, he got home that day and zoomed around the house preparing his costume.
But my 7 year old, Sean told me plainly and flatly that he DIDN’T want to dress up. I spent 3 days, gently encouraging him, making suggestions, giving him ideas, talking him through the whole dress up day (there was going to be a parade during the school assembly). But nope. I couldn’t change his mind.
Then 3 days before the dress up day, my husband asked him, “If you could dress up as ANY CHARACTER in the whole world, who would you go as?”
Sean’s face brightened immediately, and he said, “A Lego Man!”
I shook my head and told my husband the awful truth. I had already checked this out. No costume shop in Perth (or the whole of the internet actually!!) had any Lego Man costumes… we would have to make it ourselves. And there simply wasn’t enough time to make it. Sean’s face went sad again.
And that was that. My husband, in a moment of total and utter weakness, recklessly said “Don’t worry Sean… I’ll make you a Lego Man costume by Friday.”
Sean’s eyes lit up with joy and pride. His dad was going to make him the coolest dress up costume in the universe!
I smiled warmly, but really, I was thinking:
WTF??!! It’s Tuesday night already! He needs a costume for FRIDAY MORNING! THAT’S 2 DAYS!!
Sean went to bed as happy as could be.
My husband had committed us to the perilous art of LAST MINUTE COSTUME MAKING. The stakes were high. Our sanity vs our son’s happiness. Great.
My husband and I both consider ourselves to be creative geniuses. With HIS handyman building skills and MY problem-solving design skills, it should be a cinch right? Instead, we locked horns and had a bit of a brain clash on What Is The Best Way To Build A Lego Man Costume.
So nothing happened till Wed night. Clearly, we had to make it all happen very, very fast. By 9pm on Wed night, we were so scared of how little time we had that we forgot about our egos, and got on with it. The bad news was that the hardware store had already closed at 7pm. Crap!
In the end, this is how it went down.
The subject model on which we based our design – without the hair, so you can see the trademark Lego socket.
If only I could change my hair that easily!
By Thursday 6pm, we had gathered a few bits and pieces and the various tools that we thought we needed. It was also clear that with so little time, we were just making a Lego head, not a whole Lego man. Oh well.
We abandoned ideas of a beautiful paper mache sculpture (my preferred option), and went with the super-easy upside down plastic bucket solution.
An ordinary bucket was too tapered, so it would just look like… a bucket.
But my husband found a bucket with much better proportions… the only problem was that it was ENORMOUS! But we were out of time.
I made a stencil of the Lego mans’ eyes and mouth.
And my husband drilled some eye holes, so our son would be able to see where he’s going during the parade.
I hot glued a CD spindle cover onto the top (bottom) of the bucket.
My husband gave it 5 coats of yellow spray paint, then stenciled in the eyebrows and mouth with black spray paint.
This is at 11.30pm on Thursday night! Tsk tsk.
At 6.30 am on Friday morning, we had a Lego head that still smelled like fresh paint, and was three times the size it needed to be.
My husband used duct tape to fix Sean’s bike helmet inside the bucket, so he could actually wear it, while I made breakfast.
Hubby went to work exhausted and with yellow paint under his fingernails.
I put the rest of the outfit together.
Here are my big boys… they looked awesome!
Lego is made in Denmark and fortuitously, I was in Denmark in 2011, and bought the souvenir t-shirt.
The good news… Sean loved it!
He didn’t seem to notice that when he spoke, he sounded like he was wearing a big bucket on his head.
Even better news… the Lego Head received a lot of attention, including offers from other older students at the school to trade it for stunt bikes or video games. Thus, Sean had totally confirmation that the Lego Head was utterly cool. So he kept it.
Parenting Mission accomplished!
(But we may have to attend marriage counseling.)