I have this habit. When a conversation is full of text book phrases I go into a sort of translation mode. I mentally dumb down anything elaborate into something simple and catchy. So when Roan's teacher goes on and on about Roan's puzzle savvy in her Masters-Degree-in-Early-Childhood-Development terms I tune her out and think: Puzzle Man.
Puzzle Man's powers include undivided attention to putting together any puzzle ever devised. His single-minded focus is his greatest strength, but also his greatest weakness. Should a puzzle piece go missing, Puzzle Man will become distraught, even angry. The puzzle must be completed. He will not to be distracted from this mission. You will bribe him with other games, fruit, even ice-cream, and his will not even look at you except to insist that you produce the missing puzzle piece. You will explain the puzzle piece could be anywhere, under the stove, outside in the sandbox, downstairs under the couch, in the dark and dusty reaches under the bed and a thorough search would take hours, possibly days, and who wants to go to so much trouble when there are so many other puzzles to complete, so many slides to slide down, so many swings to swing on, and hey, shouldn't we go to the playground? And Puzzle Man will fix you with his steely gaze, undeterred and untempted, point to the spot where the missing puzzle piece belongs, and make that exasperated question mark noise that sounds like "eh?" and means, "Mom, we need to find it."
Back at the preschool, Roan's teacher smiles at me, somewhat expectantly. I have a bad feeling I've missed a conversational cue, it is probably my turn to say something with the words "executive function" or "synapse" but I've been checked out, daydreaming about Puzzle Man: The Halloween Costume. It's an awesome vision, but I let it go, and listen to her tell about the time that Roan commandeered all three teachers to scour the room for a lost puzzle piece. Eventually, they found it. Puzzle Man clapped, then dumped out the pieces and started all over again.