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It’s A Puzzling Thing, Really

I’m a smidgen of a puzzle geek and have been for as long as I can remember.  When I was in the hospital as a young child, I credit my Cinderella jigsaw puzzle with saving my life.  If I wasn’t running away from doctors and nurses, I was doing this puzzle of the future princess as she climbed into her carriage.  I believe I was doing it for the 941st time when the doctors decided to discharge me.

As an adult, I have done many a jigsaw puzzle with my mom.  The more pieces, the better.  The more complicated, and I could hardly contain my excitement.  I know.  Geek.  Someone told me I might need a little more of something else in my life.  Different blog post entirely, my friend, different blog post entirely.

Not completely sure if it’s down to nature or nurture, but my son seems to share my love of puzzles.  I don’t think he likes the fact that I’m neurotic about my line of attack to puzzle completion, but this dislike of his has taught me a thing or two about self-control and the fact that the journey is often more fulfilling than the destination.

In our puzzle pursuits together – as I hold back from completing the cardboard conundrums and timber toughies in 0.8 seconds – I have to remind myself that the little guy is developing his shape and size recognition, spatial relation skills, logic, and perseverance.  And at my son’s current age, such development often requires minimal interference, so I’m told.

As my husband observed me and my son doing a puzzle together one day, he gave me a somewhat alarmed look, asking why I never disclosed my love of puzzles pre-marriage, to which I responded, “Oh sweetheart, my honey, my snuggle buggle, you do know that puzzles are considered brain-challenging activities, right?  And do you know what such activities do?  Well, my dearest, they build up a reserve of neuron connections.  And do you know what this reserve does, sweetie pie?  Well, let me tell you.  It takes longer for the Alzheimer’s process to destroy enough neurons, which ultimately means that jigsaw puzzles can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, which means I might actually remember that you’re my husband when we’re in our later decades.”  After listening to my response, his look was even more fretful, prompting my son to ask, “What’s wrong with pa?”

Because my affection for interlocking and tessellating pieces of joy is on par with Simon Cowell’s fondness for tight shirts, I was over the moon when Bags of Love asked me to review a personalised photo jigsaw.  Christmas came early in our home this year as I unwrapped the Bags of Love package to reveal a silver tin box which sheltered 96 chunky wooden bits of happiness.

I immediately cleared a space on our dining table, using one forearm to brush away any and all plates, bowls, cutlery, papers, toys and other slab stuff to the floor.  In one fell swoop, broken belongings were scattered on the ground.  Who cares, it was puzzle time. 

My little prince commented on the photo on the hinged lid of the tin box, saying, “That’s me!”  My husband – holding a few pieces in his hand – remarked, “Wow, these are pretty cool.  There’s a nice weight to them.”  Truth be told, the thick, glossy, laminated pieces did make for a posh little puzzle.  And waterproof?  Perfect when the whole family is doing the puzzle together and someone decides they’re thirsty, and…

Although the 14” x 9.5” puzzles are supposed to be ideal for ages six and up, my little guy is three, and he did okay.  He managed to incorrectly connect a few pieces, but such minor mishaps were outweighed by his delight when he finished connecting the pieces that made up his own face.  And when my son accidentally knocked some of the wooden pieces on our hardwood floor, their weight made it easy to hear where they fell.

It has to be said that it felt a tad narcissistic initially to do a jigsaw which included my own photo, but I got over it when I entered the puzzle zone.  It was about completion, and the image became an afterthought. 

A fan of personalised gifts in general, I was excited to find out all the goodies that could be individualised, including Kindle cases, iPad slip cases, wallpaper, and a variety of baby gifts.  With a handful of pregnant friends, I’m eyeing the photo cubes.  And I’m really partial to the photo books, especially the Book of Love.  What better gift could there be for my better half on our swiftly approaching 10-year anniversary than one of these books?  I’ll need to decide which title would be the most appropriate – “Good Lord, I Can’t Believe We’ve Been Together A Whole Decade Without Killing Each Other”, “Haikus For My Darling, From A Master Haikuer”, or “Marriage Is Not Malarkey, It’s Utterly Magnificent”.  Which do you think might work best?

[Disclosure:  We were given the personalised photo jigsaw puzzle from Bags of Love for the purposes of this review.] 

Category: General, Reviews

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