When I was a little girl, my mom used to buy a gigantic 500 or 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle for our family as a joint Christmas gift. The more complicated, the better. One year, it was the puzzle that looked like a huge spill of jellybeans. Another year, it was a bunch of different types of candy bars. (For some reason, food was a big puzzle theme in the '80s.)
After all the presents were opened, and the Christmas dinner had been devoured, we'd clear off the dining room table and dump all the puzzle pieces onto it. There, the puzzle would remain until we ceremoniously slotted in the last piece. Then we'd pat ourselves on the back and then put the whole thing back in the box...and we'd dig out a couple of puzzles from previous Christmases because we'd be in the puzzle zone.
I even had my own personal stash of puzzles that I could work on my own. The one I remember the most clearly was a huge Incredible Hulk floor puzzle. I have no idea why someone thought it would be a good idea to give a five-year-old little girl a puzzle of a big scary green monster man with bulging muscles, but there you go. And I guess to be fair, I loved that puzzle. And yeah, you see that that's the one I remember.
To our great delight, William must have gotten the puzzle gene, too. He always liked the little baby puzzles with the seven or eight wooden pieces, but now he's heavily into actual puzzle puzzles.
David started the craze when he...er, Santa Claus...purchased a big two-foot-by-three-foot Melissa & Doug puzzle for one of William's Christmas gifts. I took one look at the box, which proclaimed the puzzle, which featured a montage of dinosaurs, had 48 pieces and declared, "Oh, that's way too advanced for him."
Wrong. I was so wrong. (And yes, David has crowed smugly about this many times. What? I can admit when I'm wrong. I'm just not...wrong very often. Ahem.) William needed some help from his grandmother or his daddy the first couple of times that he worked on the puzzle, but after that, he had no trouble working the entire puzzle by himself. All 48 pieces.
Diane brought over a couple of smaller puzzles, and I added a second Melissa & Doug puzzle (a picture of a fairy tale castle) and a cheap Cinderella puzzle from Target to the stash. William immediately adored them all. And after a couple of trial runs, he was able to work them all by himself. He especially likes telling anyone who will listen about how he worked the puzzle "all by myself and I am so proud of me!"
The only trouble I have with William's puzzlemania is that he often doesn't want to clean up the puzzles once he's finished with them. He wants to leave them on the floor so you and everyone who might drop by can admire them. It'll be nice when we can finally put him up at the dining room table and let him work his puzzles there. That way, he can keep his work intact and we'll still be able to walk through the family room. And maybe in a few years, we'll restart the old Larson Family Christmas Puzzle tradition here. Wonder if Mom and Daddy kept any of those old puzzles?
William with his masterpieces: