“Hey, there son. You are playing so nicely by yourself. Why don’t we do another activity instead,” said no mom ever. I am sure there is one of those e-cards that expresses this sentiment better than I just attempted, but those are definitely my thoughts these days. For the past two weeks my 3 year old has been a puzzle-doing maniac. He wakes up and does puzzles. He comes home from school and does puzzles. He eats his meals while doing puzzles. He is calm, he is quiet, and he is very, very proud of himself each time he wiggles in that last piece. And me? I am amazed! I knew his naps weren’t going to last much longer and I was looking for some quiet time activities. When the grandparents asked for Christmas gift ideas I suggested that they buy him a few puzzles. A month ago doing puzzles with him was majorly frustrating! Pieces were being chucked across the room when he couldn’t find a match, boxes were stomped on and broken (our puzzles now live in freezer bags), and a nice mommy-and-me activity ended in a screaming match. I channeled my inner teacher and attempted a different approach…. my husband! I’m not sure how he did it (the beer he was drinking at the time must have helped with his patience), but the two of them attempted this Melissa and Doug box set one Saturday night and since then he has become a little puzzle wizard. He does this one a few times per day and never fails to say, “Mom, Daddy is going to be sooooo impressed when he sees this!”
We have been to the toy store, not once, but twice to get new puzzles and besides finding pieces in every crevice of my couch, I am loving this new obsession. Of course we had to get the little guy involved too…puzzles for everyone! He can do this chunky wooden puzzle on his own and I must say it is pretty cute when he comes into the kitchen, grabs my hand, walks me over to their puzzle table and says, “Wook! Wook at dat, mom!”…
…. and then we celebrate! High fives all around. And just out of curiosity I googled “benefits of doing puzzles for toddlers” because an activity that they can do on their own, they enjoy, and lasts more than five minutes seemed too good to be true. Here is what I found: improved problem solving, cognitive skills, hand eye coordination, motor skills and confidence… just to name a few.
In other news, I bought milk today that expires on my due date. Either they are putting some crazy stuff in milk these days to make it last that long, or we are officially in the home stretch!