The older one was putting together six piece jigsaw puzzles long before his third birthday, and has now graduated to the 100+ piece ones. When he was younger, I used to give him verbal cues, but since he’s now started resenting that, I only occasionally and very discretely push forward or rotate the odd piece.
Yesterday, he did not want me to do even that, and all I could do was to watch from a distance of over five feet. He started working in chunks, as he often does, and pretty soon the 60-piece puzzle had been reduced to three stray pieces and two giant chunks positioned almost perfectly.
But try as he could, he could just not put those five pieces together. His grandmother tried to tell him to look at the main picture, but that he would not. If I as much as cleared my throat, I was asked to shut up with a glare. He spent more time trying to fit those three pieces into the puzzle than he did on putting the rest of it together.
With his frustration levels mounting, I could stand it no more. Pretending I wanted to give him a hug, I pulled him back, and forced him to look at the puzzle from my vantage position. He could see the pieces leap up and take their rightful place in the puzzle. Less than a minute later, he was listening to our applause, the finished piece next to him.
Sometimes all you need to do to make sense of life is to step back for a moment.