I hand the blocks to the three-year-old architect/engineer/builder and she piles them up. “This is the roof,” Tina explains, laying a large red block on the floor. Blue blocks, then green, then blue again as the square structure takes shape.
Oh no! There are two blue blocks left over! She can’t put them on top—that will spoil the symmetry.
What to do?
At this point, my extensive experience in applied mathematics and building design come to the fore. I have a pretty good idea that if there were two blue blocks left over the first time, there will be two blue blocks left over the second time. Just my opinion, of course.
We demolish the house.
Aha! Tina has the answer!
She lays the large red block on the floor again.
She’s working feverishly now. Adrenalin, fueled by inspiration, courses through her veins.
“Each, each, each, each,” she announces, laying the blue blocks CROSSWISE rather than LENGTHWISE on the red one. Surely this will do it.
Again, she builds her square house . . . but what’s this I see? Two errant blue blocks with nowhere to go!
Tina demolishes the offending structure and prepares to rebuild.
“Let’s build it funny,” I suggest, standing a block on its edge. Will the originality of design distract Tina from the house’s glaring lack of mathematical proportions?
It does. We build and then demolish a “funny” house, and all is once again well in Toddlerdom.