Adventure in Babysitting

Hey! That’s a real thing. 

Anyway. I’ve been watching two kids a couple of days a week for next to no money for about 12 hours a day. The good news is they’re great kids. The even greater news is it’s really no work at all, especially since they started school. Frank is 14, and Lenie is 10. In fact, the only reason I’m even here is Frank has been having seizures since about January. He hasn’t had one during the day for five months, but he does have them. He has to take a nap every day. And now that school has started and he has to be awake and using his brain that nap is almost 3 hours after school. And he hates that he has to take it.

They’re good kids. I like them. They like sports, which meant I actually watched the Olympics, and not just swimming and gymnastics. In fact, hardly that. I watched basketball. I watched soccer. I don’t even know who I am anymore. Lenie dances. Lenie plays with Barbies. I’m not exactly ideal for either of them.

But last week I had a cool conversation with Lenie. We were watching TV, and a commercial came on for “Lego Friends.” If you don’t know about Lego Friends, let me tell you about them. If you do know, well good news, you can skip this bit.


Lego Friends has Lego bases. Those look like Lego flowers. And a few Lego blocks. But mostly Lego Friends is large pieces that make play sets for your Lego Friends, which are just over-sized Polly Pockets. You can’t take a tree apart and build a dragon. You can’t take a vet’s office apart and build a spaceship.

That being said this was a conversation I had with Lenie when the Lego Friends commercial came on.

Lenie: Those are stupid.
Hayley: Why’s that? (trying not to sound eager to agree)
Lenie: You can’t even build other things with it. What’s the point? If I want to play with dolls, I have my Barbies. But if I’m going to play with Legos I want to be able to build things. It doesn’t make sense. Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I don’t see that they think we only think about dolls and puppies. I like to build things too.

Mouths of babes. I’m not even going to say anything else.


2 thoughts on “Adventure in Babysitting

  1. All LEGO Friends sets come with *loose* bricks in the box for a girl to build anything she wants — with *only* the Treehouse set, I build a Pirate Ship: just like *any* other LEGO set or bucket of bricks, you just need to add Imagination! So, next time you babysit Lenie, you girls can build together with Friends — just like millions of girls all over the globe :-)

  2. Does Lego have a girl problem? Yes it does. But at least they are “trying” to address it. The reality is we live in a world where girls are attracted to different toys than boys. I have for years tried to get my daughter (who does not play with dolls or read princess books) to play with Legos with little success. My son, on the other hand, is an avid player. Lego Friends are changing that. And if Lego Friends get some girls hooked on Legos and some of those girls graduate to Lego Technic someday, so much the better.
    Should we expect Lego to do better in its marketing and product design? Yes. But let’s remember they have enough trouble as it is implementing their ping-gets-girls-to-play-Lego (for details see, let alone improve that strategy to a level that addresses their commercial needs as well as our social needs.
    Just as we expect Lego to be more creative and be a better social corporate citizen, perhaps we can also think more creatively on “how” they can do that while remaining profitable. Only when we start sharing that burden, will we realize what a tough task that is.

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