Legos and dollies

“Would you put the dolls away while Henry visits? He is scared of them,” his mom said over the phone last year.
Afraid of the popular 18 inch style dolls?! Perfect poses, Mona Lisa smiles and eyes that stare right through you? Yes, those dolls moved to the top shelf of the clothes closet. That initiated a weeding out of excess toys at Grandma’s house. Weeks after he left, all the dolls and their clothes went to the thrift store. Mostly they went because Henry’s girl cousins had ignored the dolls for a couple of years.
Then Katy his youngest cousin came to visit and found the doll stroller waiting to be used. With no doll to ride in the stroller, Katy rolled up a hand towel, plopped it in the seat and pushed her new baby around the house. She enjoyed that doll stroller so much, and the doll bed looked so empty, that the search began for dolls that would not scare Henry.
Four, small, cloth body, baby dolls settled into the doll bed. Each had one outfit and maybe a second outfit to share with another doll.
Katy dressed the dolls, found a doll beauty salon chair from a yard sale and set it up shop in the living room. She proceeded to give all the dolls manicures with a collection of small items she pretended to use to polish and paint their nails. Seated in the beauty shop chair, the dolls received several beauty treatments that weekend.
Katy decided to help shop for doll outfits at the thrift store. She placed her choices in the buggy but those clothes did not go to the four dolls in the crib. Before she went home, Katie swooped up all the clothes and took them home for the dolls at her house.
Without Katie to help choose clothing, the four dolls have slowly accrued a small wardrobe.
Recently, with Henry (and his brother Sam) coming for another visit, the kid guest room needed a slight change: A small pink blanket neatly laid over the top of the doll bed. Not one doll face peeked out to scare him. Not even the doll with permanently sleeping eyes.
Henry did not notice the pink hiding spot. His first question was, “Where are the Lego blocks? Do you still have some?””
Well yes, this house still has Lego blocks if only because one 83 year-old grandpa protested after the last toy purge, “I like to have some Legos around to build with.” Yard sales and thrift produced more Legos for the toy cupboard.
He bought the family’s first Legos decades ago. Those first sets included gears, blocks, building platforms and very few instructions. Children (and adults) had to use their imagination.
They had none of the plethora of sets featuring a movie or story theme. Grandpa held the title of the family’s master builder for many years.
Henry and his brother Sam have received many Lego sets with detailed instructions.Many directions disappeared. They now, like us, have bins of blocks awaiting their imaginative constructions.
During their visits, Legos come to the living room for the duration of the visit. Constructions vary, but it looks like Katie and Henry had laid out and begun to build a small house. Maybe it’s for the dolls. Meanwhile, adults beware, watch out for nearly invisible Lego blocks lurking in the carpet. Even after gathering all the toys to the side of the room each night the blocks hide incognito until the bare foot steps on them. Shoes are highly recommended when grandchildren visit. Around here the rules say toys are meant for play. It won’t last. Very soon the dolls and blocks will be tucked back into the toy closet until the next time the grandchildren come to visit.