Caleb completed the 550 piece puzzle this morning. :) Not bad for an almost 4 year old. Five minutes after finishing it, he tore it apart and started again. But, not before I got the photographic evidence...and he's even smiling...a true rarity in photos!
So how, you may ask, did this love affair with puzzles begin? I guess it all began last fall when he found a 12 piece puzzle and started putting it together over and over...and over. Boy was it nice when he could do it alone. Although, he was very specific about his method. He always did it exactly the same way. He stayed at this level until June when I found a 25 piece puzzle at a yard sale. I didn't really think he'd be able to do it, but gave it to him to try, and on the first try, he had it. I asked my parents for some of their old kid puzzles and a few weeks later we had a 60 piece and 100 piece. We did them together and I thought it would be left at that, but he immediately wanted to try them alone. Amazingly, he was able to do them. Huh, I thought. So, then I found a 200 piece one at a yard sale and didn't even want to show it to him because I knew it would be too hard and didn't want to get him frustrated. Alas, he saw the puzzle and wanted to try it. In two days, he had it together. Next, came a 250 piece that was a challenge even for me. No problem for Caleb! So, all summer I have been looking for a 500 piece puzzle he could do (needs to have a busy enough pattern that the pieces can be reasonably differentiated) and 2 weeks ago I found it. We did it together one time, then he was off to the races. He probably would have finished at least a week ago, but he kept losing his "puzzle privilege." A discipline tactic imposed once we realized that was the most valuable commodity around here!
I guess I was holding Caleb back, though, because Joshua, at just over 2, is easily working the 25 piece puzzles and helping Caleb with some of the larger ones. He also loves to help with the big 500-1000 piece ones and periodically gets a piece in, which is always followed by jumping, bouncing and an excited proclamation of "Joshua got a piece in!" Joshua requires much more acknowledgement of accomplishment than Caleb does. It's quite amusing at times. This morning he completed a new yard sale find Nemo puzzle and requested a "standing" ovation...not a sitting one. :)
Caleb teaching Joshua how to put the cat puzzle together