Thursday, January 14, 2010

Puzzling Development

It's been interesting to watch The Boy develop the skills needed to put a jigsaw puzzle together. As an adult it seems bloody obvious where things go, especially when you're used to doing 3000 piece puzzles and the one in front of you only has a dozen giant pieces.

I didn't react very well at first. The Boy would hold a piece in his hands, stare at it, try it one way, try it another way, then try it the first way again. Even when he had two pieces that obviously connected he'd try every possible combination except for the two sides that actually fit. It was pretty uncanny how bad he was, and I often suspected he was doing it on purpose just to drive me crazy. I would explain over and over how an edge piece has to be next to another edge piece, then he'd try to cram it into the middle of the picture.

After a few months, though, I learned to take it easy and just let him do his thing. The shapes don't seem to influence him, but he's remarkably good at finding parts of a certain object in the picture. So we'll focus on the castle first, and he'll grab pieces with just a hint of crenelation and put it down right where it needs to go. I'll hang back and offer suggestions when he gets stuck, or subtly move missing pieces closer so he'll notice them, but he's getting pretty good on his own. Sometimes he'll even crank out several in a row with no discernible rhyme or reason, which makes me still suspect he's smarter than he lets on, but that's probably just the law of averages at work.

I'm looking forward to the day he can be trusted with a real puzzle. I've got several stashed away in storage, and each one is guaranteed to make a grown man cry.

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