Puzzler in the house

I am not a real big fan of the jigsaw puzzle. I used to like them back I was of the age where 100-piece puzzles were deemed acceptable. Once I outgrew them I realized that I so very much lacked the patience to complete an adult-sized one. They frustrate me only because I can't complete them in short order.

My mother, on the hand, loves puzzles. A surefire quick gift is a new 1000 piece to work on. She does puzzles online. She does the hard ones. She does ones with pretty pictures. And I'm fairly certain she'd be thrilled to have someone else in the family that likes to do them too. She may have lucked out.

Logan loves puzzles. He loves them so much, in fact, that we went out and bought up three more today in light of the threat of major snow this weekend. I, personally, although I did like those aforementioned smaller puzzles, never liked them so much that I'd stock up on them and beg to do them repeatedly. This is where Logan and I differ. Now I love puzzles because I know if I can amass his collection at just the right spot and the right time, he's well entertained for hours. All I need to do is sit on the floor near him and we're good to go.

About a year ago he got his first one. It was this wooden puzzle that makes noises when you put in each of the nine pieces -- all various means of transportation.

By summer he was growing impatient with the puzzle. It wasn't challenging and he was bored. He'd play with it only to set off the various sounds - but his other, more quiet puzzles sat ignored. We upgraded him to this other noisy puzzle of a train. Instead of nine pieces each its very own entity, this was in the neighborhood of nine pieces making up a single larger image. Of course on the board, painted under the removable pieces, is the exact same image. Its a cheat sheet of sorts for the toddler set. Put the piece that looks like the smoke stack over the smoke stack in the picture. Again, this one has lasted in circulation at our hosue as long as it has only because it makes noises.

Now he's all about the jigsaw. We tried it out on a whim this summer. A 24-piece jigsaw Grandma found. It said "Preschooler Puzzle" and was marked for ages 3-5. Oh why not. At first he needed lots of help. You had to show him where the piece would go and how to position it, then Logan would put that piece in. Today, however, is a different story.

Recently he came across his abandoned wooden puzzles. He pushed them aside saying, "These puzzles are too easy for me. I'm a big boy now." Then he pulled out a 24-piece puzzle we keep here (three others live at Grandma's house, plus he has two big floor puzzles here as well.) He sat down and pieced it together with a few hints here and there.

Last night I handed him a new jigsaw I had picked up on my lunch hour. We sat down to work it together. He started by studying the picture on the box - taking a moment to glance from it to the pieces laid out before him. Then Megan whined and so I got up to change her before feeding her. I had to let the dog out. I had to let the dog in. I had to locate a missing baby sock. In the 15-minutes it took me to do all that and settle back in to help Logan with this brand-new, never before seen puzzle. . .

He had finished it.


Perfectly pieced back together.

So today we bought those three new ones. He inisisted we bring them into Grandma's house with us when we went over to retrieve Megan after our Mom/Logan quality time. He then insisted we open each one and try it out. Within the hour (a few milk and snack breaks scattered throughout, plus a moment to chase the dog) Logan had completed all three. The first he did all on his own. The second he decided I needed to finish for him because he was ready to torment Sydney the dog. The third he conned Grandma into helping him with by repeatedly saying things like "You put this one in for me right there?"

It should be noted that apparently he's picked up on the concept of positive re-enforcement. When I put in his last four pieces for puzzle #2, Logan clapped loudly for me and yelled "Oh great job Mommy! I so proud you! You are such a big girl!"

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