Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Puzzle.

Our family beach trips have created a few traditions and routines...
 Almost every night the kids go to the BP for ice cream (or fat-buckets, if they are lucky enough to get the end of the gigantic containers). We ride on the beach on the way to the Raw Bar, and Carolina has a least a dozen of baked oysters all to herself. There is usually a football game on the beach, something grilled, sometimes a bonfire or fireworks. 

  Puzzles do not make this list.

For some reason, while I was cooking for our feast, Tradd said,
 "Hey, let's do a puzzle!"
and his younger siblings said,
"yeah! let's do one!"
 like it was the greatest idea EVER. 
(what do we think they would have said if I had suggested a puzzle?)
They quickly found one that hadn't been contaminated opened
and dumped it on the small coffee table.

 My heart was overjoyed!!! All my darling children, playing together so nicely, and without any cell phones!!
Then, my control-issues-concerning-puzzles kicked in.  "Why don't you wait until after we eat, so that you can move it to the big table?"
no response.
"Um, kids,??? you aren't going to have much room doing the puzzle there??!!"
no response.
Now I was getting nervous and the situation was getting serious.  Pieces were dropping on the floor.  The dog was sniffing some of them. The sweet potato soufflĂ© needed my attention but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
 "How will you find all the borders and make the frame first??? Measure the TABLE it is certainly not big enough to fit the entire completed project and THEN WHAT WILL YOU DO????  OH MY GOSH YOU MUST STOP RIGHT NOW YOU AREN'T DOING IT RIGHT!!!!"
3 pairs of eyes are now looking at me strangely while 3 brains send telepathic messages back and forth to each other:
 "Mom's losing it again.  Are we gonna have to let her play with us?"
 "Mom, it's fine", said the wise college senior. 
 "We'll just work on finding all the borders right now, and then after dinner you can help us move it."
("And that's how it's done, kiddos", said his telepathic message to his younger brother and sister.) 
 I'm pretty sure they were thinking by the time I finished cooking Thanksgiving dinner, drinking, eating, and cleaning up the whole thing I would a) forget or b) forget.  
No such luck! After I masterminded the entire process of moving all 1,000 pieces and carefully explained the correct method of puzzle solving the fun began! Soon my kids realized that ignoring my methods was such an easy way to drive me crazy! And after several hours of the four of us working on a really difficult but not attractive puzzle I realized that the ways in which we worked really said a lot about our personalities.
Tradd and I (first-borns, rule followers) worked on getting the border completed and turning over all the pieces.  He also worked fast and gave names to all the problem areas. Carolina soon had our music going, but liked her own "private studio" (as she named it) and her own section to work on.  However, she knew what everyone else was looking for and was constantly sharing pieces she'd find to help us out. Middle child peace-keeper all the way.  And then there was Tucker.  Tucker had to be constantly on the move.  He had to check in with Dad and all the scores of the football games.  He would go upstairs for a while to watch another TV.  Then he would look at the pieces for 3.2 seconds, find one that fit somewhere, and declare it "MONUMENTAL", letting us all know that none of us would be able to get anything done without his brilliance.
We worked on that thing for hours.  I sat with my kids for hours. at. the. same. place. at. the. same. time!!!!  Glorious!!!!!
Tradd and I tried to stay up and finish it...(first-born, over-achievers) but he finally had had enough and quit went to sleep.  I made it another hour or so (stubborn) but decided to be an awesome mom again, and allow my darling children to have the reward of finishing the puzzle.

The next day these two did, indeed, finish our ugly-but-interesting puzzle. We thought about leaving a "monumental" piece for Tucker, but the early bird gets the worm, and he was still sleeping.
He told me later that my puzzle OCD was ok, and that "you get like that sometimes, mom".
Tradd comes home next week for Christmas.  There may or may not be something interesting but ugly with 1,000 pieces under the tree.