Dylan has this Melissa & Doug box that has separate containers for four small jigsaw puzzles. Each puzzle is supposed to be stored in its own little section of the box, like so:


The problem, of course, is that he’s constantly dumping the whole thing out so there are puzzle pieces all over the floor, and I’m the one who always sorts through every damn piece in order to get them back in their proper container. Imagine, if you will, the time-consuming process of sifting through a pile of these things on, like, a DAILY BASIS. The painstaking effort of making sure the school bus puzzle is in the school bus puzzle area, the fire engine puzzle is in the fire engine puzzle area, and so on. Basically assembling each and every puzzle, each and every time, all the while grumbling about messy preschoolers and the never-ending cleanup jobs they cause.


Yesterday afternoon as I was rooting through the discarded pieces for the frillionth time, I suddenly noticed a tiny shape printed on the back of one of the pieces. Huh, I thought. I turned over another piece, and what fuck, that one had a shape too. Only it was a different shape.


Slowly, a dim bulb in the recesses of my brain began to flicker. I stared fixedly at the puzzle piece, breathing heavily through my mouth as I tried to chase down the creeping thought that there was something . . . something important about these shapes. Something that served a purpose. Something I maybe should have noticed many, many months ago.

I was kind of starting to get a headache from all the thinking, so I ended up just tossing them willy-nilly in their box and forgot all about it. Until approximately 11:12 PM, when I suddenly dropped my book, shot upright in bed, and moaned out loud, “OH. MY. GOD.”



99 Responses to “Mensa disqualification, #28605”

  1. josefina on September 3rd, 2011 4:49 pm

    HA! I needed that laugh.

  2. Kris on September 3rd, 2011 10:32 pm

    I have a dumper, too. I finally threw all his little blocks & flash cards & puzzles in the trash because they were missing half the pieces & I was so fucking sick of picking them up every night.

    Also? No Lego’s allowed in our house. Ever. (Or at least until he’s old enough to pick up his own crap.)

  3. Aviva (omyc.wordpress.com) on September 5th, 2011 7:29 am

    How I love thee.

  4. Lesley on September 5th, 2011 5:27 pm

    Oh, that’s awesome.

    I feel so much better when someone else admits something like this; it means I have company on my small portion of the bell curve.

    Although I may still be below you, because I was nine before I realized what those little E’s were on M&Ms. I spent much time while eating them wondering, Does E stand for an ingredient? The inventor? A company name? Then one day it dawned on me…


  5. Renee from GA on September 6th, 2011 6:55 am

    Oh man, thanks so much for sharing this. I feel slightly better about the fact that I *just* realized there is a gas cap holder on my car, just a few plastic ridges where the cap will fit when I’m fueling. This is on the car that I’ve owned for 11 YEARS. Sigh. Better late than never, right?

  6. Amy M. on September 6th, 2011 8:02 am

    That is awesome! Totally something I would do, too.

  7. Mary on September 6th, 2011 9:46 am

    Just another supportive anecdote in my quest to prove that “pregnancy brain” is not a temporary condition. Lord help us!

  8. Kateebee on September 6th, 2011 8:11 pm

    I learned this trick from an “old” teacher when I was doing my practicum. Saved me hours of frustration.

    Get a new puzzle. On the back of each piece put the initials for the puzzle (RR) AND THE NUMBER OF PIECES. (18, 24, 60)

    Print this information in the bottom of the box… since who knows where the lid went.

    Match the initials to the box bottom. Count the number of pieces.

    If they are all there great, good job, atta boy, have a biscuit.

    If they aren’t, well when that odd piece shows up in wrong box, back pocket, inside the truck, dog’s bed you will know where it goes.

    Also helps to check the pieces to see if they are all there and match to the puzzle “code” before starting.

    Just sayin’

  9. Erika on September 7th, 2011 5:50 am

    LMAO! We have two of these sets!!

  10. Crystal on September 28th, 2011 6:40 am

    Thank you for the laugh this a.m. That is just too hilarious! I also loved your comment on the ever messiness of preschoolers. Seriously who thought kids would be so messy CONSTANTLY!!

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