The Exploratorium is closed on Mondays, so I have a side job babysitting a four-year-old boy named Tommy on Monday mornings.  He loves power rangers, star wars, and shooting bad guys.

He also loves robots.  A lot.  Especially ones with weapons.  So on Monday morning, I built an incredible number of robots out of duplos (bigger Legos).  Probably about thirty, and I’m not even exaggerating.  The problem was that Tommy really liked the first one I built (which he promptly hijacked to use for his own devices) and kept wanting me to build more.  And then every time we had about 5 of them built, we would crash them all together, destroy them, and start over.

In order from left to right: Baba, Stegawhat, Pirate Mateys, Strawberry Maker, and Armor Up
In order from left to right: Baba, Stegawhat, Pirate-Mateys, Strawberry-Maker, and Armor-Up

Thirty robots is a lot of robots, especially when their destiny is to get smashed against another poor robot.  On the bright side, Tommy had some pretty good quotes.

As we were building, he said to me, “Make the robot Plex and ok.”. I said, “What?!”  “Make the robot Plex and okay.”  I said, “Tommy, I don’t think that’s English.”  He replied smugly, “Duh, the robot doesn’t speak English.”  Obviously I should have known that.  My bad.

I also asked him what he wanted to name the first robot he built, and he said “Waddle-waddle! No, Bottle-bottle!”. All I can say is that I’m not betting on Bottle-bottle to win any fights.


After building a particularly large robot, he announced, “This giant robot is gonna be named Armor-Up. And his weapon will be this staff of flowers! Which can also be used as a car wash.” To his credit, the flowers linked together did slightly resemble those tall vertical cylindrical brushes they use at car washes.  Slightly.