It started at Mormor’s house. Their 5-year-old cousin took some puzzles out of the toy cabinet and asked Happy Boy if he wanted to do them together. Happy Boy nodded. Once his cousin showed him how they worked, he was transfixed. For a couple of hours he put together one puzzle after another, even after his cousin got bored and ran off to play with something else. When it was time to go home, Happy Boy wanted to stay and fought leaving the last puzzle undone—until Mormor said that he could borrow it.
“Looks like we need to buy some puzzles,” Mom said.
At home, Happy Boy has to make do with the puzzle he borrowed and the two Avengers puzzles that Mom and Dad bought years ago, until Mom can go to the dollar store. As Sassy Girl watches her brother doing these puzzles, she is bitten by the puzzle bug, too. She wants to try them for herself. She sits next to Happy Boy and helps. Sometimes this help is welcomed, sometimes it is not.
Mom and Dad have to pry Happy Boy away from the puzzles when it’s time to go to bed. The next morning, he runs into their room shouting, “Dad! I dreamed about puzzles!” The happiness radiates from his face and he can’t wait to go to the living room and put one together again.
Happy Boy isn’t just happy. Sassy Girl isn’t just sassy. They are also smart. The more often they do puzzles, the faster they work, fitting the pieces together with patient, careful hands. Mom and Dad watch but don’t interfere, impressed at how well their children understand how to assemble the shapes and colors. When Happy Boy and Sassy Girl ask for help, Mom and Dad offer suggestions, but never tell them what to do. They let them figure it out for themselves.
Happy Boy finishes a puzzle and dances around the room as Mom and Dad cheer. Sassy Girl places the last piece into her puzzle, throws her hands in the air, and shouts, “Ta-da!” Mom, Dad, and Happy Boy clap.
Their puzzle collection grows. They have Paw Patrol and Vampyrina, dinosaurs and pirates. One puzzle helps them count to ten while a 100-piece Spiderman puzzle offers a challenge.
But the gemstone fairy puzzles are saved for family time. Happy Boy, Sassy Girl, Mom, and Dad help each other and share pieces—100 pieces of fairies, mice, colors, and imagination. Sassy Girl takes command of the gemstone pieces, handing them out and trying to be as fair as a 2-year-old can be.
As much fun as Happy Boy has with his 12-, 24-, and even 100-piece puzzles, he knows that there are puzzles that Mom and Dad don’t share. More puzzles wait to be put together, offering an even greater challenge. He has seen one in their room—one that they work on after he goes to bed. This puzzle is his new dream. That dream is—