A few of months ago, during Christmas time, someone in the family had this great gift idea: puzzles. Little did we know this simple detail was gonna turn my husband and I and then my sister and her family into puzzle maniacs.
Since, every family member is in danger of being the recipient of a puzzle or two for their birthday or any occasion. My brother doesn’t want one. Bahahahaha!
When a puzzle is completed our fingers get weirdly tingly. “We need another puzzle” is a phrase that pops out of our mouths almost involuntary. 🙊
Years of parenting autism has taught us not every activity we want to plunge into is necessarily autism friendly, but we have also learned we need to consider all family members’ interests and just help our special needs child cope with it, somehow.
Now a teenager, our son has a lot more patience and tolerance with us. We also try to include him even when he doesn’t show interest.
During our initial stages of puzzle mania syndrome, I tried several times to attract my son to the puzzle activity. It didn’t interest him one bit. Only one kind of puzzle ever got his attention a little, Star Wars. He is a big fan.
So I began to find pieces with obvious patterns and leave them on the outside of the edge close to the area where they belonged. I would then ask my son to help me with those pieces because I didn’t know where they went. He would put those pieces in and then leave.
Ok, that was something, but I didn’t want to be pushy so I gave him space.
My husband and I tease each other a lot. So we played this possessive game with our puzzles. “That’s my puzzle.” “Help me with my puzzle.” “I’m not helping you with your puzzle. You’re on your own pal.” “Don’t put pieces on my puzzle without me knowing.” We’ve had a lot of fun with that.
The last puzzle was my husband’s birthday gift from my sister and family (I told you, we’ve all turned into enablers). It sat unopened for some time because we were recovering from puzzle fatigue. One day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I opened his puzzle and began to assemble it. I know, I’m horrible.
He jumped right in at one point and between the two of us we got it mostly done.
The other morning, I sat on the couch with my cup of tea, and looked at the coffee table where we have assembled at least six different puzzles since the holidays. The puzzle was completed!
I messaged my husband, “I see you finished your puzzle.”
He replied, “are you teasing me? There were two pieces that I couldn’t fit last night. They would not fit in either one of the two open spots.”
Then he accused me, “you are messing with me. You finished it!”
I could not believe what puzzle mania had done to him! The nerve of him! Then it dawned on me.
So I again messaged him, “I believe I know who fit those last two pieces you failed to put in.” Yes I had to jab at him. It’s fun. Although we both kept doubting each other. Is he pulling my leg? I thought to myself.
Well, we asked our son and he confirmed he done it! And we were both so pleasantly surprised that our son decided to put those pieces in.
Puzzle mania has given us yet another fun memory and another sign of our son’s progress in his thought process. It is interesting, puzzle pieces have long been used as a symbol of autism. And this is exactly how his mind works. He is constantly putting pieces together in his quiet thought process. Sometimes we forget that’s how he works. And then he surprises us when he makes unexpected comments, writes some random thought on his white board, or completes an uncompleted puzzle on the coffee table.
And life continues to be sweet. ❤