Uchenna's blog: Toy Story on Laminate – An art installation by Commander-in-Chiefs

A Citymother's Diary

clock Released On 10th Jan 2021

Uchenna's blog: Toy Story on Laminate – An art installation by Commander-in-Chiefs

New Year, same deal: 2021 has not yet distinguished itself from 2020.

With the return to full lockdown, I‘m still incredulous at the sci-fi horror thriller unfolding with COVID-19 being stuck on repeat from last March. Positivity is a choice that I’m striving to make daily by intentionally reframing events and conversations so that I stay mentally strong for my five-year-old son and six-year-old daughter.

They’re asking: “When can we go on a sleepover? When can we go out to a birthday party? When can we go on holiday?”

Mummy doesn’t have any definitive answer. And it is breaking my heart.

So, my goal is for us to emerge stronger from this crisis. Because when I see their toys scattered all over the floor, I just.want.to.suck.them.into.oblivion.with.the.hoover.

And as I’m not doing any Benjamin Button, a stand-off with Commander-in-Chief Senior (my daughter) and Commander-in-Chief Junior (my son) is only for those who woo-sa on yoga to get limbs in check with an overdose of cod liver oil. I'm still recovering from the "festive break". For Christmas, I bought them a robot which can also record their voices so now I hear their voices and screams all over the place. It’s like having quadruplets.

But I pause, take a deep breath, and reframe dispersed toys on laminate as an art installation. 

Exuding with Turner prize appeal that will fascinate critics for decades to come. They will spar over how the collision of colours, depth, and texture of this plastic and metal volcanic eruption rages about the confines of space and order. Considering the political backdrop the artists were raised against Brexit and the redefinition of US presidential politics, one can't help but wonder if this is their response to the era of isms: ageism, classism, sexism, and racism.

Depending on where I position myself on the living room floor, the Toy Story art installation on laminate evolves in deeper meaning. It veers from being an assault course as I stealthily manoeuvre between construction bricks, Tiana and Barbie dolls, race tracks, felt tips, LOL dolls, and counting blocks to an intellectual struggle between championing STEM or creative self-expression.  All attempts to stimulate Commander-in-Chief Senior’s interest in STEM toys so that she'll have strong career prospects in this sector which has an acute skills shortage have fallen to the wayside. She is emphatic in showing me her dainty hands and stating: “Mummy, I want pink nail polish.”

Or, if I gaze from afar at Toy Story art installation on laminate as the children sit engrossed with either the phone or tablet, its interpretation is one of silent pressure points. How can you not see it is a cry out of labour pains about the disproportionate burden women are facing in this pandemic shouldering home schooling and domestic responsibilities?

It was meant to be just a KitKat moment for peace and quiet, but two hours later they’re still sitting there getting lost in app wonderland.

Because Mummy just wanted a brief break to work, to rest, to breathe...

And the guilt does not stop.


Uchenna works in strategic communications and engagement. Her/She has led initiatives on employee engagement and diversity and recruitment for different companies. Uchenna marvels at the new zest of life and clarity her Commanders-in-Chief have given her.


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