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Lessons in life: Don’t buy 950-piece puzzles for a toddler. Ever.

Fat Mum Slim /


I’ve just arrived back from 5 days in Malaysia. It was fun and hot and inspiring. And kinda overwhelming. I have so much I want to share and so many photos to post but my brain is all out of whack… so later.

I don’t know if 4 years of age is a toddler. I think she might have been promoted to child, but I still think of her as my baby so lets stick with toddler, OK? Just for today.

My Ma never really went anywhere without us. I was the clingy child of the family, always hanging on to Ma’s skirt, or standing within a metre of her where ever we went. It meant going to school camps was painful and filled with nights of homesickness. When I was about 9 years of age Ma had to go and look after my Aunt in another state, and I worked myself up so badly when she left that she thought about not going. I was a mess that whole week.

I’ve always wanted Lacey to be more independent than I was. A friend recently described my parenting style as attached parenting. I kinda am, I guess. She sleeps with us sometimes {OK, more often than not}, I am always with her, would rather take her with me if possible. So before I left for this trip I was a bit of a mess. I tried to hide my tears from her, but they flowed as my departure time neared. As soon as I’m on my way though, the anxiety falls away and go on about getting on with things. I miss my little family terribly, but I find it best to not chat on the phone or Skype while I’m away. It’s my rule. I just email Hubby and keep him in the loop and he does the same with me.

Except I broke my rule on this trip. I called them. I felt all jumbled and weird afterwards. So far away.

So to ease my homesickness I bought things. Hubby got some David Beckham undies {he looks like David in them too, promise} and I bought Lacey things she didn’t really need; a watch, a doll and some candy/lollies.

I spotted a puzzle shop and decided that it would be a brilliant idea to buy her the biggest puzzle in the shop. Well, the biggest one within my budget.

I searched high and low and decided on the Ariel panorama puzzle with 950 pieces. I imagined special mother and daughter time as we pieced together the puzzle. I smiled, filled with smug motherly warmness, and handed over my money.

And then I got home and reality hit. A 950-piece puzzles takes lots of patience and adult involvement. Surviving on just 1.5 hours of sleep on a plane, I started doing the puzzle. “Why is it taking so long?” she asked. “Why aren’t my pieces going together?” she said, her words brimming with frustration. “This isn’t a good puzzle!” she blurted.

Hubby looked on with a knowing smirk.

After finishing the outsides {a 1 hour task!} it was time for bed and I promised we’d get back to it in the morning.

The next morning Lacey woke eager to get back to it. While I was making breakfast she kindly undid my work from the night before and took each piece apart. Every single one of them.

I may have had a tantrum, like a 4 year old. That puzzle now lives high up where little people eyes can’t see it.

Lesson in life: Don’t buy a 950-piece puzzle for a 4 year old. Do not enter the puzzle shop. Buy a postcard instead.

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  • lol!

  • mary_j_j

    Oh dear, I cannot imagine a 950 piece puzzle with my 3 nearly 4 lad and nearly 6 girl. I hunt for 50 piece puzzles and that is enough of a challenge – for all of us! At least Lacey didn’t toss the entire box into the air to scatter the pieces lovingly! Hugs to you x

  • I’m surprised you even made it through the first hour! I could’ve never been able to. Big kudos to you!

  • reminds me when I bought 3 big lego kits for the kids when we were in a serviced apartment. We walk in the door and everyone is yelling out for me to build theirs, no one wanted to wait, everyone wanted theirs done first. I did lego all afternoon and night and was exhausted!

  • Trisha

    Puzzles are an Evil thing in my home pieces found in every crack corner and crevice they may fit…floating in the toilet in the aquarium and the pet turtle trying to choke on them. My efforts to try to help put the puzzle together is met with complete frustration from 2 of my three children (the third has no interest at all) My mother in law was the puzzle giver so I packed it up and brought it to her house to keep when we come to visit…she can now have fun doing the puzzle piece hunt at her house =) naughty of me yes, but my attempt to discourage puzzle gifts were ignored. Muuaaahhhaaahaha

  • Jodie

    I love this post. I love it for its honesty and candour. We have these amazing visuals and ideas on how something should be, how it’s going to pan out…and then it doesn’t and we’re all like, what??

  • Jodie

    oh…and the photo is DIVINE….the colours….gorgeous.

  • Kate

    I was labelling puzzles at toy library today and had a thought of doing that with my own at home, so they didn’t get mixed up. And then I got back to reality. I have never done so many puzzles or sorted as many shapes / toys / blocks as I have since having a child! Eventually I’m hoping we both get better at them 🙂

  • Maria

    Haha 😀 I wouldn’t have the patience to do a 950 piece puzzle, and I am 22 😀

  • Oh wow 950 pieces – you WERE jetlagged weren’t you lol I wouldn’t even have the attention span to do that puzzle little own a preschooler. Do it with hubby and then frame it completed.

  • Wow! I spent all day putting together three different 150 piece Star Wars puzzles with my 5 year old and that was pretty intense. 950 pieces and a false start? Most definitely tantrum-inducing!

  • I so do not have the patience for a puzzle…one that big is huge for anyone! And yeah a postcard would be so cool…arriving after you get home from a trip away is such a great way to bond together! Maybe the puzzle could be someones xmas pressie?

  • Julie

    Jet lag is evil I cannot even begin to image trying to tackle a 950-piece puzzle with a 4 year on no sleep. You must be crazy!