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My teenager was reading the Lego catalog. Not that she herself would ever be interested in her brothers’ geeky obsessions, mind you—she had some Latin sentences waiting to be parsed.

So she was idly turning pages and clucking dismissively over the Mindstorms NXT and the Star Wars Exo-Force and the Bionicles, all of which make the boys in this house hyperventilate with longing, and saying, “What boring person would want the ‘Trade Federation MTT, ages 9-14, 1,326 pieces,” when suddenly from the other room—I think I might have been taking laundry from the dryer, or possibly putting some in—I heard her screech.

“Dude!” she said. You make them parse Latin sentences, and this is how they talk. “I thought they only made dude Lego. But look at this.” I came and looked. And sure enough—”It’s pink girly Lego,” she said.

The Lego you love now comes in two great flavors: “Everything,” including Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Lego City, Knights vs. Skeletons, Undersea Adventures, Star Wars, Bionicles, and Lego Creator; and “Just for Girls,” including the Sunshine Home and Horse Stable, a pink Lego-brick-shaped backpack, and a “New! Lego Pink Brick Box: Build a house, pony, or anything else you can imagine with this special box filled with LEGO bricks in colors you love.”

“Wow,” the teenager said.

Of course, I remember when Lego came in one flavor: primary-colored. They came in a big box with a jumble of accessories, windows, doors, wheels, and so on, and were given to your brother for Christmas. At least, ours were given to my brother, though we both played with them, as we played with his Lionel trains and my dollhouse.

Now, presumably in the new Lego dispensation girls can play with whatever they want, though I haven’t met many girls who find Star Wars riveting enough to want to put together the Ultimate Collector’s Milennium Falcon (5,195 pieces). As I look at the picture of this item, here at my desk at home, the telepathic effect is such that my ten-year-old son, at choir practice right now, feels his heart rate go up inexplicably; while the teenager, sitting beside him, merely experiences a brief frisson of apathy and then swats him with her Voice for Life workbook and hisses, “Would you please not breathe so loudly?” Such is the telepathic effect of their behavior, that I can read it from a mile away.

Even my four-year-old, who likes to play Star Wars because she thinks Leia is pretty, and who also likes putting Legos together because that’s what there is to do around here, gives the Lego catalogs only a passing glance before her brothers seize them up in fevered hands and paw them to pieces. All those machines, she clearly thinks. And not a rabbit or a fairy or a pair of ruby slippers among them. Of course, she’s just this minute stomped with great purpose on some kind of Star Wars ship—it had a lot of clone troopers on it, that’s all I know—which her five-year-old brother undoubtedly left for a reason on the floor in the doorway to this room. This leads me to think that Lego has missed its mark with the ponies and the Sunshine House. What they really need is a line of Terminator Princesses who fight everybody .



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