Santa always brings a couple big bad puzzles, and right now, the final 2014 puzzle is almost complete. Riley’s been working it over and has completed about 80% of it, with some help from dad. We’ve taken great care to ensure no puzzle pieces fall onto the floor, where our senile and visually impaired dog can find them and consume them, a lesson we learned last year, the hard way.
We fabricated a cardboard table perimeter and affixed it with packaging tape. So far, the puzzle piece prison has been a success. That is, until today. I’m sorry, young Cole, for what I am about to share.
I was in the kitchen, staring at the dirty dishes, pretending to clean them, when I heard the trademark shriek, double pitter patter chase, and tearful eruption. I pretended to feel exasperated to have to stop washing the dishes and polishing the countertops, and turned toward the sibling shuffle.
They were already en route to the tattling hole. (Like the watering hole but louder.) Riley wailed, “He took one of the puzzle pieces, and he put it in his mouth, and then he ran away, and he threw it in the wood box and now I’ll never find it again!”
Hmm. I walked to the wood box, where there was no puzzle piece in sight. I looked at Cole, sitting on the rug waiting, with his hands folded nicely in his lap. He said, “Can I watch some Caillou?”
I sifted through the wood dust and chips. No puzzle piece. I got the dustpan, and asked Cole to help me find the piece. He graciously moved all the wood, one log at a time. We tipped the boxes out, we swept, and still no luck.
“Cole, where is the puzzle piece?”
“It’s in my tummy. I ate it all up.”
“Yep. I did.”
Riley, from the puzzle prison, “Mom, you should give him a time out.”
A stumper. I was very quiet, assessing the many ways I wished the kitchen were cleaning itself. Ever so slowly, reluctant neurons fired.
The frenzy had ensued from what I call “the big sib dig.” It sounds like this – “Yooou can’t help with the puzzle, you are too liiiiiiittle.” Elbow/elbow, bump with the hip.
“Well, I can’t very well time out him for feeling upset because he was excluded. We don’t eat puzzle pieces, and we don’t exclude one another from family activities, so I think it’s a wash guys, unless you both want time outs?”
Problem solved, and that is when I found the puzzle piece. Little fibber. Incidentally, he is watching Caillou right now in his “I hit my sister hat.” Because he hit his sister a few minutes ago.