Remember how we were just discussing puzzles?
Michael got a 24 piece wooden jigsaw puzzle at Harper's birthday. It is covered with cars and trucks so he immediately fell in love with it. Up until now he'd really only been doing the type of puzzles where there are a handful of pieces and each goes into its own spot. I thought the wooden jigsaw puzzles in a tray would be a good transition to table top puzzles, since you get to work them within the frame, and I put some on Michael's wish list for Christmas.
I was pleased to have the new puzzle for him but figured it would be quite some time before he was ready to tackle a jigsaw puzzle like that. For a little while he just enjoyed taking all the pieces out and eventually Harper or I would put it back together and stick it back in the puzzles basket. Then he started showing an interest in actually putting it together. So I helped him with it, handing him one piece at a time and pointing out where they went while he worked on the fine motor skills of actually putting the pieces together. Still, I thought it would be a very long time before he could really attempt it on his own.
This weekend, however, I found him on the floor with the puzzle like this:
He put about 1/4 of it together before getting frustrated and sort of growling and taking the pieces back out - it was kind of hilarious. I was truly surprised that he could even do that much of it. Eventually he brought it to me and we finished it together.
But he went back to it again and again and yesterday put it together with only some gentle verbal coaching from me. Mostly me suggesting that he try another piece if he was determined to put one somewhere it didn't belong. The best thing about watching him work at it is that he talks to himself while he does it... "Dis piece goes wite dere," puts the piece together, "Wite!" And then he gives himself a little cheer - so cute.
Today he brought the puzzle to the table before dinner and did it twice all by himself! I was shocked and so proud.
I know he can do it on his own only because we did it together so many times. He recognizes where in the puzzle the pieces belong. I know if I handed him a brand new 24 piece puzzle he wouldn't figure it out by himself. But I was still really excited for him.
The thing about Michael's speech delay is that it is really only very recently that I have any idea what is going through his head. Now I'm starting to see that his brain was just churning away while we were waiting for him to figure out how to express himself. He really has been putting the pieces together all along.
There are still a few days left in the Christmas music giveaway!