Why is the sight of this six-colored toy so intimidating? Every time I see one in a store I cautiously rotate a side, silently squeal with rebellion, and then quickly turn it back before I twist it into an unsolvable state. It’s merely a palm-sized cube, but the interlocking faces pivot to reveal seemingly limitless and certainly baffling color combinations.
Somehow Gadget inherited a joy for the pursuit of defeating this puzzle and received a Rubik’s cube for Christmas. He enjoys tangling the colors and spends hours trying to demystify the secret in order to arrange all six sides into matching faces. So, what better way to annoy your older brother than to mess up his Rubik’s cube? Somehow, the unattended cube found its way into Boot’s hands and then we heard the yell. Gadget was furious. Boots had messed up the mechanics and succeeded in getting under his brother’s skin. It’s the age old tension between brothers. Boots never knows whether to annoy, copy, mimic, or admire. I guess that day he chose infuriate.
Always looking for a teachable moment with these boys, I came up with the great idea that Boot’s punishment was to solve the cube for his brother. He couldn’t leave the table until he figured it out. Well, he didn’t figure it out and this argument stretched out beyond the Christmas break. In an attempt to foster teamwork, Hubby modified the punishment and made the boys work together. Boots looked up the right YouTube video, and Gadget implemented the solution. As they made progress I asked Gadget how did he maintain uniform faces while he twisted the cube so much. His matter-of-fact reply, “algorithms.” Well then, excuse me. I’m sufficiently satisfied and impressed. They figured it out together.