Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Puzzles and Pansies

I have always hated puzzles.

To me, they make absolutely no sense.  Someone takes a perfectly serviceable picture and then, for reasons I cannot fathom, cuts that picture up into tiny pieces. Of course, the craziness doesn't end there. People throughout the world then lay down good money to purchase these ruined images and spend hours reconstructing them.  Seriously, if we are ever visited by an alien culture, I wonder if they'll think something inherently wrong with us once they discover our obsession with puzzles. 

It's not like I haven't tried to like them. I received my fair share of puzzles as a child, but I never enjoyed them. Over the past 35 years, I recall completing only one puzzle of more than 100 pieces, and that was because my then girlfriend (now wife) wanted to see it through. It's takes a very special person to force my hand into the puzzle box.

Now, as you most likely have already guessed, Mimi, of course, absolutely adores puzzles. The obsession started in her Russian daycare (I think the puzzles are a gateway activity to chess) and has now spread to the home.  Each night, sometime between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00, there is a clear, loud, toddler-inflected yell for "Puzzles!" 

And so it has come to pass that my disdain for puzzles has been overruled by an obsessive, but overwhelmingly cute and excited toddler.  We start off with me completing the border of the puzzle (I have to start here because not only do I dislike puzzles, I'm abysmally bad at them). Once that's done, Mimi can pretty much take over.
With the puzzle box as a reference, she'll search the floor for pieces...
 ...and fit them with ever-growing dexterity. When it comes to completing the middle of the puzzle, she's actually significantly faster than me. It's rather humbling, but it does make me proud.
 What makes it all worth it is Mimi's reaction when the puzzle finally comes together. 
It's been three months since I last wrote (at least) and Mimi has grown by leaps and bounds. She's now potty trained (hooray!) and can brush her teeth on her own (almost).

A few months back we decided to order TV Japan for Mimi. Sumie was concerned that Mimi's Japanese skills were declining.  She now watches three Japanese kids shows each day and her fluency in Japanese has already surpassed mine.  It really is breathtaking how plastic her little mind is.  And, like with her puzzle ability, rather humbling. I'm soon going to run out of things to teach her. 

But that hasn't happened yet. In fact, there's one little phrase Mimi just learned that makes me very proud.  For as long as I can remember, at least the last ten years, I have yelled out the following whenever someone came across a Daily Double in Jeopardy: "Bet it all, you pansy!" Over time, Sumie has taken to making sure I say this each and every time, even if I'm in another room. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before Mimi got into the act. 

The other night Mimi, Sumie, and I were watching Jeopardy together. One of the players came across a Daily Double.  Sumie said in Japanese, as she always does, "Say it, hon!"  And so I began, loud and clear, "Bet it all, you..." and that's when Mimi broke in with: "Pansy!"  That's my girl.

My apologies for the many months between posts. The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, in a good way, but it's looking like things will be calming down a bit in the next month or two. I hope to be a bit more regular in my posts so that Mimi can continue to share her ongoing triumphs and tribulations.  

1 comment:

Mom said...

Thanks for the post Steve! I love reading them and seeing all the cute pictures of Mimi!!