I’ve always been puzzle-minded.  I grew up doing cryptic crosswords with my mother and grandmother, and other newspaper word-games and jigsaw puzzles were regular family activities.  Having married a like-minded man, the traditions continue.  Pearl is starting to join in some of the word-games, and we have a large collection of jigsaws just waiting for long rainy weekends when the children are older.

Pearl has always been very good at jigsaws.  She has several of her own, and as a pre-schooler developed quite a reputation as a puzzle-solver.  If the teachers couldn’t fit a puzzle in its tray (some of those geometric ones are quite tricky!), they would give it to her and she’d do it for them.

Fainjin has been enjoying a large foam puzzle at daycare, which has the dubious distinction of all the pieces fitting no matter how you combine them.  The children get great satisfaction out of putting pieces together, but they don’t look at the picture or learn to match pieces.

This week he has discovered the stack of children’s puzzles at home.  He’s been very sweet and polite.  “Please, Mama, I have the Tigger-Pooh puzzle?”  “Please, Mama, can you come and help me?”  … and he takes me by the hand and leads me to the pile of small pieces on the coffee table.  At first he tried to put them together any-old-how, but quickly found that that technique doesn’t work here.   I’m a great fan of separating the edge pieces and doing those first, but I wanted to get him looking at the picture, so we’ve been going through and finding all the “Tigger” pieces, and putting those together, then all the “Pooh” pieces, and so on.

He’s caught on very well.  He can’t do the puzzle himself yet (it’s 100 pieces!), but he is really enjoying it.  He spent the whole morning working on different puzzles with his Dad today.*

It won’t be long before I have a couple of helpers on the cryptic crossword in the mornings…

* The Dad says, “Several times each, over and over.”  My hero.


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