An AFOL’s guide to having a newborn

As some of you may know, my wife and I welcomed our third little kidlet into the world on March 5th. I don’t recall how I juggled babies and LEGO with my first two, but over the last month I have observed a few things, in particular by reviewing what I have been posting to my flickr stream recently. As a result I thought it may be useful if I point out a few tips for those that are about to, or are in the middle of, juggling LEGO and babies.


Disclaimer: The Brothers Brick in no way endorses the act of actually trying to juggle with a baby and LEGO. Feel free to juggle with LEGO at your leisure, but NEVER throw in a baby!

1. Yep, you REALLY should have finished sorting:
I learned this by not doing it. With bambinos comes a lack of free time, a lack of free time means you really don’t have time to rummage through bins of unsorted LEGO. So add ‘finish sorting LEGO’ to the list of baby preparations. As a serious LEGO maniac this should be as important as putting the crib together, stocking up on diapers, and getting a bunch of meals made and in the freezer.

2. WIP it good:
If you get a stroke of inspiration, run with it. Even if it means throwing a few pieces together in order to be able to go back to it when you have time. The theory is, that with a bunch of partially constructed models, you will not forget about them, and over time will complete them all. That being said this theory is still a work in progress (pun fully intended), and I am just hoping that I eventually finish the 5 or 6 projects that I currently have going.

Jiangshi (Rogue ICAF) - just brainstormin'3. Doodle like there is no tomorrow:
One more thing to add to the baby preparation list; buy a Moleskine, preferably a LEGO version.  When you get that stroke of inspiration (see rule # 2) but do not have bricks on hand, a quick doodle is the perfect thing to keep the idea fresh in your mind.  Even if you don’t have drawing skills (see left) it is worth getting the idea on paper to come back to later.  Also it makes you appear 27% more artsy.


4. No honey it really is for him:
This only works if you have another kid already, but they are perfect accomplices. I have mastered this technique. All you have to do is show your other kid some cool concept art or watch something on TV or Youtube and then say, “Hey, we should totally try and build that out of LEGO!” They will of course totally agree as you have already spent the preceding 5 years molding them into the little geek that they are. The key is to do this right before supper, because then while sitting at the table they are sure to ask, “Daddy are we going to build that [insert model idea here] after supper?”

“Why yes son, I am sure we can probably do that…but only after Daddy does the dishes!” (this step is important…browny points never hurt anyone)

ZK-8 Lao Hu - Jiangshi Heavy Assault Robot5. Pfft! Size doesn’t matter:
Remember that grandiose plan to build that giant spaceship? Well forget that! You just have to lower your expectations slightly. Build small, it is amazing how gratifying a small build can be, in particular an impromptu one (see left).  This usually happens as a result of my failure of step # 1.  But I suppose that it can be looked as a positive side effect of unsorted bricks.  This is also another fun thing to include your other kids in.  You just set a big unsorted bin of bricks on the floor and all start building, if the spouse walks downstairs you are ‘playing with the kids’, not ‘playing LEGO when you could be doing something more productive’.



6: Don’t be afraid to FIGBARF:
If you are anything like me, when you are short on buildy time, you will Figbarf, a lot! But don’t worry, the act of barfing figs can be very therapeutic. You feel like you are ‘building’ LEGO, and it is at least some small means of creative release. Again a perfect thing to include your other kids in…they really are the pefect little cohorts!

Disclaimer Part Deux: Only attempt the above once you have helped your spouse with the laundry, made sure there is food in the cupboards, done the dishes (refer to rule #4), gotten them a cup of tea and changed the baby’s diaper. On the surface it may appear that these tips are intent on weasling out of work and/or spending time with your spouse or new baby…but that is just silly and/or means for a swift slap upside the head

9 comments on “An AFOL’s guide to having a newborn

  1. maedhros1980

    I’ve got the second one on the way in October. My building time reduced drastically after the first became mobile a few months ago. She isn’t old enough to do anyting other than possible choke on LEGO right now so your number 4 isn’t going to work yet. I’ll have to keep it in mind for the future though. I usually have to lose sleep to find building time.

  2. bruce n h

    7. Realize that the garage might become your new LEGO building room. When our first was born, that great extra room that was the home to my bricks (also the computer, random storage, etc) became the baby’s room. But the bricks – aka that box full of choking hazards (as my wife knows them) can’t just move out to the living room. And so my garage becomes a nice building area. Of course this greatly cuts down on building for several months of the year.

    8. Time disappears. I had MOCs that were completed before my daughter was born that didn’t get photographed for over a year. Much less completing WIPs.

    9. Wait a few years, and you’ve got the best building partner in the world. I’ve built mostly DUPLO for the last few years, but I’ve got no complaints there. Now my four year old and I just built the Helm’s Deep set together and it was my favorite build ever. Now I just have to convince him of the benefits of sorting … :)

  3. eilonwy77

    Oh TR, how I do love thee. Except that I’m so anal about number 1 that I could never quite get to do 5 with the kids…. let them have access to my LEGO? Unsorted? Ack! That’s why they have their own LEGO! But then I can’t pretend to my husband that I’m playing with the kids and not just my own thing….

    I’m embarking on a similar mission — but it’s a new job, not a new baby. Not nearly as fun. And it’s hard to justify buying LEGO and claiming it’s for the job, not the kidlet.

  4. intrond

    So I’m assuming that “figbarf” is some kind of mash-up of figure and barf. Meaning to mix mini-fig parts together or something. Checked the TBB glossary but nothing there.

  5. Tromas Post author

    @ Ramone & Maedhros: thanks guys!!

    @ Bruce: hahaha, those are some pretty truthful additions :)

    @ Katie: ha, thanks right back at you buddette ;D

    @ Intrond: Yep, sorry should have defined that. But you summed it up brilliantly. The term was coined by a buddy of mine on flickr Dano.

  6. meiguizi

    I have a 5.5 month old who has a bit of reflux, so she isn’t supposed to lie down flat to sleep immediately after eating. I usally take the first shift at being a first responder to her if she wakes up, and stay up a little after my wife goes to bed. So I’ve got a shoebox of bricks hiding in the bottom of the China hutch that I break out every night after they are both asleep to work on whatever I have on my mind.

    I’ve also started planning builds in LDD a lot more, and making them much more modular, so I can dig out the pieces i need for one section, put them in the box, and try get it built before moving on.

    Granted, I also have four or five various contest entries that never got finished because I couldn’t get away to finish everything and/or take pictures of it. Sooner or later I’ll finish my little Ghost Rider mech ;)

  7. eilonwy77

    I have to admit that I’ve come up with some pretty great ideas in the middle of the night when my toddler wouldn’t sleep. (Wasn’t he supposed to learn the magic sleeping lesson once he could start talking?? Or maybe he just knew that I’d do my best LEGO thinking from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. every other night….)

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