Guess Which Popular Toys Athena Received Today

Here’s a hint:

Take your time. No rush.

Oddly, we managed to get through nine and a half years of Athena’s childhood without actually getting her any of these. Thinking about that now, that seems damn odd.

62 Comments on “Guess Which Popular Toys Athena Received Today”

  1. 9.5 years without Legos? Sounds like child abuse to me.

    Remind me to work that into the next hate mail contest.

  2. She seems to have quite an evil glint in her eyes there. I’d watch out.

  3. Legos are the all time best toy. My kids kept coming back to them as they grew, making more and more complex structures. The key, unfortunately, is volume — to really build something cool, it takes a lot of blocks.

  4. Basic set!? Back to the store with you, Dad, and don’t come back ’til you’re laden with Technics, as well. (Lego = awesome; Lego + gears = \m/ rawkin’ awesome \m/)

  5. 9 and a half years without access to LEGO?

    Sir, I may have to contact the authorities.

  6. No Lego until 9!? What is *wrong* with you!

    My kid gets Lego sets when he turns the age marked on the box. I keep telling my wife that we have to get the Lego Millenium Falcon now for when he turns 16, but she won’t listen. Something silly about how that’s a whole 11 years away…

  7. @Sean Eric: I’d say she gets it honest… :)

    (Heck, I *never* had Legos. I had Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs, though. Then again, there was quite a while when we didn’t have a TV atall… when they wired our neighborhood for cable the salescritter came ’round taking orders…. when Mother told him we didn’t have a TV, he was so shocked he dropped his pen.

    I still don’t watch much TV. Small wonder….)

  8. So Athena has lived without Lego so far? So what?

    I never really managed to connect to Lego, in spite of being given a starter set for Christmas at the age of approx. 4. Instead, I vastly preferred traditional wooden building blocks, which were more tactile and versatile.

    I did briefly like Lego when they released their Fabuland line of cute animal figures to interact with Lego (do they still make those). But I only collected the animal figures and still didn’t care for the Lego aspect.

  9. “Oddly, we managed to get through nine and a half years of Athena’s childhood without actually getting her any of these. Thinking about that now, that seems damn odd.”

    Damn smart, I say. You’ve cleverly skipped the stages where you might have to worry about her trying to eat the Lego (my parents didn’t, and I still have the tooth-marked Lego somewhere to prove it).

    I must warn you, you can now say goodbye to being able to walk barefoot around the house without fear.

  10. My mother found a great solution for the legos-underfoot problem. It was a big circle of cloth with a drawstring around the edge, with plenty of room for playing with my legos, and I could clean it up just by pulling on the drawstrings and turning it into a bag.

  11. That’s right. You start the young’uns out with Duplo, move on to Lego, then K’Nex and various other toys of that ilk, then when they’re teenagers they move onto pipe bombs and handheld thermonuclear warheads. I’m just sayin’.

  12. Well, there aren’t enough teenage girls making handheld thermonuclear bombs, now, are there?

  13. Haha, legos are the best! I can’t believe you avoided getting them for her for so long!

  14. Max, that is brilliant, and I will be using that as my daughter gets old enough to play with Lego.

    Of course, I’ll have to get her some of her own, as she is not allowed to play with my Star Wars sets.

    John, next time you all come to San Diego, head over to Legoland – it is surprisingly cool.

  15. Wise move dude . . . I gave the kids legos when they were littler. They’d leave them on the floor. We walk around barefoot.

    Just like stepping on a nail, you realize it as you’re doing it, but are helpless to do anything but put your full weight on the pointy things . . .

    Legos never caused cursing till my kids had them . . .

  16. john @19: I can help with that. If you want her working with thermonuclear warheads, of course.

    I leave it to parents’ discretion, as with drums and firearms.

    But they make for great science fair experiments…

  17. I personally prefer to keep the Lego robotics (Mindstorm?) out of the house. When the Intarweb gains consciousness, I don’t want to be killed by toy plastic robots. I want it to have to send military grade plastic robots.

  18. “Well, there aren’t enough teenage girls making handheld thermonuclear bombs, now, are there?”

    Clearly you’ve yet to meet my daughters.

  19. Practical tips: Get used to wearing shoes in the house. If you hear something rattling up the vacuum hose, don’t bother to check what it is. There’s no point sorting the LEGOs into bins according to size or shape. Bionicles pieces can extend your LEGO toolkit in interesting and disturbing ways. If you value your spare time, do not start to play with them yourself.

  20. I had Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Kenner Modern As Tomorrow Bridge and Turnpike sets — we didn’t have LEGOs as kids. My mother pretty much refused to step on sharp little plastic parts everywhere.

    I got my first LEGO sets as part of a Crest toothpaste promotion while in grad student. We ended up buying three of the sets. I stayed up one night and made three battle destroyer starships — the third one didn’t have all the parts, since it was rushed into the war unfinished. (grin)

    Dr. Phil

  21. In my estimation you have two months worth of stepping on small parts as you make your way to the bathroom in the dark to make up for. Please go back three spaces in the parenting board game.

  22. I think Bionicles are cooler, because you can pose them like ballerinas to annoy your son, because they’re so fearsome and awesome.

  23. Legos were my chief storytelling tool for years. They held a lot of the plot details and characters for me before I learned to type quickly enough to make writing them down worthwhile.
    I have the Indiana Jones lost tomb Lego set on my desk at work. It doesn’t quite fit into the mini-Zen-garden in the top drawer.

  24. My daughter had the Duplo Legos and my husband is still playing with Legos. Although he mostly buys the specialty sets like the ones with Samurai, pirates and dirigibles.

  25. Oddly, we managed to get through nine and a half years of Athena’s childhood without actually getting her any of these.

    Just curious John, which county do you live in? I need to make a call to the Child Welfare authorities there.

  26. Stuff the Legos, who here noticed the look in her eyes? That is a crafty look. That is a knowing look. That is an understanding look. Athena has grown pre-frontal lobes, and that makes her dangerous. She now sees, and that is going to change her world and her relationship with her parents.

    She sees you now, John, and soon you’ll be wishing for the days when she was an innocent. :)

  27. I had Duplo blocks, WITH the red bunny bag for them. The blocks are still somewhere in the house…the bunny got stuffed with my old baby dolls’ blankies and slept with for years! Duplos are freaking great for blocking out the big stuff, and then you get into the smaller stuff with regular Legos.

    You don’t have to give in to the specific kits though, Scalzi. I only ever had a couple and all the bits and pieces from them always got incorporated into whatever I was building with the regular Legos. It’s only fun to build the helicopter/spaceship/whatever pictured on the box a couple of times, not when you have the giant Lego block container full of loose Legos to make ANYTHING with! I also had a girly-ass Tyco playhouse set…imagine the stereotypical Legos topped with pink and blue hearts, lol! Oh man, it was great. Now I want to raid my parents’ house for my Legos…they better not have loaned them to someone’s grandchildren, is all I’ll say! *folds arms and harumphs*

    Do make sure you buy Athena some Lego wheels, though. I used to make hilarious cars using that selfsame green base she’s holding that would hold all the tiny animals that lived in my dollhouse. Good times, good times!

  28. I remember, being her age and my brothers and I forcing our dad to build us platforms in the basement so we could build a Lego city. We called it “Storyland” and it took us three years to finish.

    In that time there were ferris wheels, a train station and bus depot, as well as a scale model of the Chrysler Building and the Sears Tower.

    Looking back on it, it was quite fun planning it all out, not so much fun when dad stepped on a mini sub and fell, spraining his ankle.

  29. I use the husband’s classic castle Lego to make historical execution scenes. Lot of heads on pikes last time. He won’t allow my to touch his grandfather’s Mechano sets we inherited.

  30. No Lego until 9!?! I can’t believe it, it’s… it’s… I don’t know, I’m shocked.

  31. I’m not sure- is there still a point in that now? Might be just a few years left until she decides she’s too old for them.

  32. for some interesting lego webcomic fun, see

    I started out with Duplo as a kid, then eventually moved on to Lego when my dexterity improved. Keeping them away from my teething younger siblings was always a hassle, though.

    I keep some Lego Indiana Jones toys at my desk at work, so I can have something to fidget with.

  33. Dayam. I’ve bought Lego for kids I don’t even have yet.

    Did you ever read Coupland’s Microserfs? I think he was right on the money with the idea that Lego is the one unifying childhood experience among all geeks.

  34. My sons, ages 13 and almost 16, still play with the legos, inventing new space ships and killer robots. That’s when I let them have a turn, of course. Legos now are *way* cooler than when I was a kid!

    One other solution to cleaning up the scattered legos is to get a small plastic snow shovel for use in the house. You can just scoop them up and dump them back in the boxes.

    If you declare a lego-free zone of the house, it makes it a little safer to walk around barefoot in the night.

  35. I never had Legos. I’ve missed out!!! I did have Tinkertoys, though. Never enough of those orange joint pieces…

  36. Oh man… my son had about a million of those things in all shapes and sizes which led to one of the funniest interactions between him and his sister. They were playing up in his room and I overhear the unmistakable sound of a million legos being dumped out of the bucket.

    Chris (age 8): Thanks a lot, Sarah!!!
    Sarah (age 3): oo welcome!
    Chris: ARRGGHHHH!!!

  37. Hooray, Legos! I can’t even imagine the first 9 years of my childhood without them. My parents’ solution to the stepping-on-Lego problem was to set up my entire Lego collection in a closet. No Legos ever left the closet. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, and built a city on the closet shelves with a pulley system to get the Lego people from one shelf to another.

    I do have to wonder what all those hours playing inside a closet as a child did to me, though!

  38. One of the biggest regrets I have is giving away all of my Legos to a family friend. I know that he enjoyed them, which made me happy, but as soon as I let go of that big drawstring denim bag I knew I made a bad decision…

  39. @9 Technoshamana:
    Allow me to express my sorrow at your misfortune, and — if you are so inclined — offer a largish[1], pre-TECHNIK assortment of LEGO which I’ve kept for many a moon.

    It’s never too late to have a happy childhood, is it? [2]

    [1] Largish: of a size to fill most of a mid-’60s television box; approx 0.4m³ volume.

    [2] Especially if the boob cube is an ignorable distraction.

  40. I might be late with this, but your daughter is adorable! Thank god she took after your wife, eh? ;)

    as for legos, I never got into them. Too small scale…I was always a construx man. and I always tried to make weapons…
    I made a passable tiger-claw, based on the one in Big Trouble in Little China (I think the lightning god used it…)

  41. For the last year, Athena has had access to her friend’s dad’s Lego collection, which numbers in the tens of thousands. Complete with drawstring denim bag, every standard Lego known in the US, Airbender fire ship, Star Wars figures, 8″ high ladders, and, of course, tiny little authentically sharp spears (Try stepping on of those)! John, you could have saved yourself and just sent her here to indulge.

  42. I forgot one other important LEGOs tip: thrift stores. Many people dump bags and bins of LEGOs off at thrift stores, so they are an excellent place to go stock up quickly.

    Sub-tip: watch out for invasive MegaBlocks.

  43. No childhood is complete without Lego’s and modeling clay. Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets / Capsella are optional, *but highly recommended*. Gone are the days of junior home chemistry sets – and probably with good reason since more kids likely wouldn’t survive to see adulthood with one of those in their possesion. (Food Coloring plus baking soda and vinegar in plastic tubes are great ways to accidently repaint walls, ceilings, and floors all in one shot via the ‘splatter technique’. It’s also a great way to have your parents reconsider putting one up for adoption as well. )

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