Piecing it Together
September 13th, 2011
Miss Mouse and I have discovered that we share a common passion for puzzles.* I absolutely adore a good jigsaw and will happily spend many hours carefully piecing one together, preferably with a book on tape on in the background. Sadly, I don’t get to do much puzzling these days since I don’t have a big enough table that doesn’t get used nightly for dinner!
Yesterday, my daughter put her new Woodland Princess puzzle together at least thirty times. As soon as she finished, she’d pat it lovingly then announce — “I’m going to do it again” — and disassemble it. I love that girl.
Miss Mouse has been a fan of the chunky block puzzles for quite some time, but we only recently introduced her to actual interlocking jigsaws. We started with a 12-piece barnyard scene and within two days I realized she needed something harder so now we’re doing 24-piece puzzles and I have a couple 36-piece numbers waiting in the wings.
It takes her a couple times through with a lot of help, but she picks it up fast. We’re teaching her to use the picture (when available) as well as the clues within the puzzle. Shapes. Colors. Flat edges. Corner pieces. It’s amazing to watch it “click” for her.
Unlike her brother, Miss Mouse is not particularly self-directed so I’m thrilled to see her passionate about something she can do by herself. She still prefers to work her puzzles with me sitting next to her but she’s getting more willing to sit at the dining room table with her puzzle while I make dinner or clean the kitchen.
Her love of puzzles also gives me some Love & Logic leverage on the bedtime front. Last night, she was up at least a half dozen times in the night, so today her puzzles were off limits, on the grounds that Mommy & Daddy were too tired to help her because we were up so much (which is called a “logical consequence” — a negative outcome stemming naturally and directly from her behavior rather than an arbitrary punishment invented by us). She’s sharp. She immediately got the hint and said seriously — “If I get out of bed tonight, we will not do puzzles. But if I stay in bed, mommy will not be tired and we will do puzzles!” Now, whether she will be so clear-headed and rational in the middle of the night when faced with imaginary marauding gorillas remains to be seen, but it’s worth a shot!
* I should note that I’m not sure the origins of this shared genetic bond, but it definitely did NOT come from my mother. She hates puzzles and was recently stumped by a 20-piece fish puzzle for preschoolers. Give her a word puzzle and she’s all over it. A picture puzzle, though, is a whole ‘nother story…