Our house was a veritable minefield of painful little bits of Lego – Dad’s Diary

Simon Carter's son Ben, then aged nine, building the Death Star out of Lego.
Simon Carter's son Ben, then aged nine, building the Death Star out of Lego.

One of the joys of Facebook – don't snort derisively, there are a few – is that occasionally it flashes up a posting you made years ago.

Reminding you of a time, a place, a memory, that you hadn't revisited since the day when Facebook last jogged your mind exactly 12 months earlier.

So it was on Christmas Day when I was reminded of a picture I'd taken on December 25, 2011.

It was of Ben, then nine years old, proudly posing with his main present – a Lego set. But not ANY Lego set, oh no – this was the Death Star from the Star Wars movie franchise.

It came complete with around 4,000 individual pieces, including over 20 mini figures, and an instruction book weighing the same as a large cat.

I was overjoyed with excitement, and it wasn't even my present!

It took us almost a week to build. Well, I couldn't let Ben build it all on his own, could I?

Like the proud dad I was, I posted pictures on FB every day for a week, the Death Star gradually taking shape as New Year's Day approached.

And seven years on, social media reminded me every day how the Empire's galactic superweapon looked after a few more hours construction. Fantastic, in case you were wondering.

Ben loved Lego back then. Our house was often a minefield of it, and you had to watch your every step – standing on a Lego brick with no shoes on is no fun. Ben had lots of Star Wars sets, the Power Miners, Ninjago.

I used to flip through the instruction booklets thinking how it was all so different, so much better, than the sets of my childhood.

Fast forward to today and Ben, 17 in two months' time, has left Lego long behind. Totally understandable; I did the same when I was his age, only to magically recapture the fun of it all when Ben started to be fascinated by it too. That’s how the circle of life works.

Because for all the technology available in the 21st century, some games will never lose their appeal.

I wish with all my heart that Lego will be one of the great survivors, and that Ben’s children will get as much enjoyment out of it as their dad and I did.

That, after all, is one of the delights of parenting – introducing your offspring to the toys, the films, the TV programmes that you once found mesmerising. And hoping they will ‘get’ them’, just as you did. Well, Ben definitely ‘got’ Lego and he definitely ‘got’ Star Wars.

The less said about the Clangers (‘daddy, I don’t understand’), Rainbow and Camberwick Green the better …

It had to happen some day…

Last week I mentioned the sobering tale of Ben playing Subbuteo, and being totally bored in the time it normally takes Southampton FC to appoint and then sack a manager. 

Well, I wrote too soon. In the space of a week, I have found a football-related game which makes no concession to new technology and which Ben enjoys.

My partner bought me a bar football game for Christmas, as I am obviously A) a big kid, and B) Mr Competitive when it comes to things like this. It’s not the usual pub-sized game; instead, a scaled down table-top version.

Anyway, to my surprise Ben agreed to a request for a fierce ‘father v son’ sporting confrontation, but with one major rule: no spinning. Only cheats and beginners spin their players. I was going to add ‘and women’ until my partner told me I couldn’t say that in the 21st century.

That wasn’t the end of my surprises, though, for Ben proceeded to win more games than he lost and was able to crown himself the official bar football champion of Anchorage Park, north Portsmouth. I told you I take these things competitively.

My misery was complete when Ellen, 15, then beat me as well, even though she conceded some of the most ridiculous own goals I have ever seen.

I sulked for a while. Bar football? Bah humbug, more like ...