When he was 3, Joseph wasn't interested in jigsaw puzzles and found them a struggle. When the nursery teacher came to pay us a home visit before he started pre-school, she brought a range of activities for him to try out and commented that he struggled with the puzzle. I wasn't concerned. I knew that Joseph had good problem solving skills and watched him problem solving in his play all the time, often very creatively. I recall that one day around this time he adapted a toy crane in order to give it a longer string to pick toys up from the floor, so the fact that he wasn't interested in puzzles didn't matter to us.
Last week we were playing with an alphabet puzzle that Charlie had been given for his birthday, and Joseph came over and enjoyed putting it together with ease! It was a gentle reminder that sometimes all a child needs is time. Joseph didn't need practise at puzzles, or any strategies to help him improve his skills at doing them, he just needed time to grow and develop and reach a point where they made sense to him. Fussing over something he found a struggle would no doubt have put him off trying. When he wasn't doing puzzles he was doing other things and developing other valuable skills.
Charlie loves to draw and recently went through a phase where he was asking for paper and pens often. At some point this stopped, and I was thinking the other day that it had been a long time since he had asked to draw. Then last night when his brothers were in bed Charlie asked for pens and paper and settled down to draw. His pictures really surprised me because they were so different from those he had been drawing a couple of months ago, and it seems that all of a sudden they are taking a form that others might recognise. Between now and the last time he wanted to draw, something has happened. Something that needed time to emerge.
Here's a picture of Joseph dancing that Charlie drew a couple of months ago...
Here's a picture he drew of himself yesterday, at his birthday party with wings!
Here's another picture he drew yesterday, of a crab.
He seems to have far more control over his hands now, and is able to draw with more precision. Perhaps his little break from drawing enabled this to happen. I'm glad he wasn't in a place where he was expected to put pen to paper every day, I value time and space for my children and they grow and develop, and as their skills emerge.
Its a shame that anybody ever did a jigsaw puzzle with Joseph for any reason other than because they both wanted to and were both enjoying it. It's joy first here, and learning inevitably grows from there.