It was quiet in the front room. Ruby and Sadie and their dad, Mike, were with us for the weekend and they'd all been in their dad's room watching a video on his computer. I was sitting in my chair in the front room, reading. Ruby wandered into the front room and picked up a book of puzzles that Joe and I had bought for the girls. Ruby is a kid that likes to exercise her brain. She brought the book over to me, sat down beside me, and asked if I'd do puzzles with her. I told her that I loved puzzles too and that I'd love to spend some time puzzling with her.
We did mazes.
We did word searches.
We did pick out the word that doesn't fit.
We did find the difference between two pictures.
Then Ruby chose one that looked very difficult. It was a puzzle that had a picture of a Rubik's cube kind of structure with the top right corner missing. Then there were all sorts of pieces to look at to figure which one fit into the space on the cube. There were at least 10 possible choices. Ruby, sitting beside me, was getting a bit tired, I think her puzzler was sore, and she glanced at the page and said. "F, it's F." I looked at it, saw that it couldn't be F and said, "Ruby, you've got to really look at all the pieces and then look at the pattern on the cube and see which will fit.
"F, it's F."
"You ought not to rush. The fun of these puzzles is puzzling out the answer, taking time to check the options and find the right one."
"F, it's F."
"OK, it time to check the back of the book and see the answer, I won't let you see the answer, I'll just show you that it's not F and then you can look at other pieces."
"You can check the back of the book, but it's F."
I flipped to the back of the book. F, it's F.
How the hell did she get F from just a brief glance at the missing piece and all the options provided? That was one question. The other was, how was I going to tell her it's F? Do I have to tell her it's F, can't we just move to another puzzle?
"OK Ruby, it's F."
"I know," she said, "Sometimes a puzzle only looks hard, you have to see if it actually is hard first."
I think I do that in my life. I look at things and think they are hard, so they are. I need to find out if they actually are hard before putting myself through hours of work looking at all the options when it's just freaking obvious that the answer is ...