For the past four years we have been lucky enough to be educated in every single model coming onto and off the Lego shelves, thanks to Casey. Then a friend of ours gifted Casey a book that had all of the previous models, dating from the start of the Lego industry in 1947. I don’t think our friend could have foreseen that for a Lego obsessed Aspie like Casey, looking was never enough.
Casey has an extraordinary memory. Handy when you need to memorise entire Lego catalogues and models. Apparently it doesn’t work so well for times tables. From Casey’s perspective, he doesn’t see the point of learning maths, as it doesn’t relate to Lego.
As well as memorising he also has a gift for obsessing. Once he decides he wants a particular Lego model he becomes completely obsessed with it, until he has in his hands. His entire school, including teachers, knew about the features and characters that made the Power Miners series “Titanium Command Rig”, Lego model 8964. For the three months from when Casey first laid eyes on it in a catalogue, till Christmas when he finally got one, it was all he talked about. He carried a picture of it in his pocket everywhere he went.
When Christmas arrived, and Santa provided, he seemed like the happiest kid on earth. For about one week. And then came the new Space Police series and the Galactic Enforcer Lego model 5974. His friends were delighted when he returned to school with a fresh new model to discuss. For about one day, then the novelty of the new obsession quickly grew tiresome, even for a group of six year olds. It was a long three months till his next birthday in March!
I’m a strong believer in not spoiling children. They need to learn that everything costs money and earning money often comes at a cost. Mummy and Daddy went to work to earn money, which meant that they were away from them and everyone missed each other. That was the cost. So Lego needed to be earn, not given freely.
There have however been a few exceptions to this rule. “Few” being more like 13. Thirteen is the total number of hospital admissions Casey has had in the past 4 years for asthma. His admissions total 19, but several of these were pre Lego, otherwise known as his “Thomas the Tank Engine obsessed years”.
During his many admissions for asthma, the use of oxygen masks, yucky tasting medicines and drips were not uncommon. Because of these visits Casey developed a phobia to needles. In 2010 Casey was rushed to the emergency department with expected appendicitis, which ended up being pneumonia. During the triage process they needed to take a blood test. For an Aspie with a needle phobia, who was prone to atmospherically piercing meltdowns, this was not going to be fun. For any of us.
There was an answer. His then obsessive item was from Star Wars series. It was the ARC-170 Starfighter, Lego model 8088, currently for sale about two blocks down the road. So off I went to fetch one. It not only contained a functional Lego fighter, but also his very first R2-D2 droid character. Droids also became an obsession….but that’s another story. Producing the $120 Lego box and proceeding to rip open the packages and drop all of the pieces on the emergency floor was enough of a distraction that he didn’t even notice the drip being inserted into his arm. Crisis avoided.
Casey’s current obsession is Star Wars series Death Star model 10143. It costs around $400. We’ve told him he can get it when he can buy it for himself. He’s decided when he’s old enough he’s going to get a job "flipping burger patties", or driving trains or becoming Australia’s second Certified Lego Expert. In the meantime we’re hoping to do a family trip to Denmark’s LegoLand in 2014. If it were up to Casey, I’m sure he’d move there permanently. I have no doubt his bedroom could be submitted as a Lego exhibit in it’s own right!