Man oh man… sometimes you know that an idea is ridiculous, but you proceed anyway. And sometimes that’s not so bad. 🙂

Last summer Finn spotted—and immediately fell in love with—a particularly gigantic Lego set at the store. That alone is no big deal, and as with most kid-crushes, we expected the infatuation to fade quickly. Not this time, though: For the last eight months or so Finn’s been totally hung up on the Lego Unimog. He’s constantly built crude facsimiles via his other bricks, telling me about how great it’d be if he had the real deal with its stabilizer legs, motorized winch, and more. A few months ago a friend’s mom asked him what he’d like for his birthday, and he dutifully reported, “Well, there’s this really expensive Lego set that’s meant for teenagers…”

So, what to do? I knew it was crazy (and Margot certainly felt that way), but I figured, hey, if a 4-year-old can maintain that level of focus for that long, it’s as if I’d wanted something for 10 years! So, what the heck, we ordered the “‘Mog” and had it sent to Colorado. As you might have seen in the previous gallery, he went totally mental upon receiving it.

Aaaand, that’s where things got tougher. Assembling this 2048-piece monster made me remember a certain acerbic poster:

Trying to build the huge vehicle while Finn & Henry danced around the table, constantly babbling & stealing parts (!), was a huge challenge. I mean, for crying out loud, this monster is an honest-to-God, self-propelled 4-wheel-drive truck that features independent suspension, a working differential gear, an elaborate pneumatic power system, and a screw of Archimedes! I started describing my status as “Unimugged,” and what I thought would be a father/son bonding experience kind of turned into a father/son/mother/brother/psychiatrist experience. Okay, leave off that last part, and give Margot huge credit for swooping in, helping me debug my handiwork, and building the big arm assembly. Without her I’d still be in Leadville, rocking back and forth, wallowing in my own crapulence!

But all’s well that ends well, at least so far. (We still have to somehow get this fragile contraption home!) Henry keeps claiming the ‘Mog’s a low rider because of the suspension, and Finn’s devised an elaborate story about a driver named Duck who fishes ducks out of a pond using the arm, then eats them. Here’s a gallery showing the finished piece.

In the end the whole thing felt like a metaphor for parenting: Insane, unbearable, and totally worth it.

Oh, and Henry, if you’re reading this: Getting a giant Technic fire engine for your birthday in July is a terrible, terrible idea! ;-p

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