My favorite hyperfocus

Posted by Tracy

June 16, 2017 Uncategorized  No comments

The Boo is definitely back to the maps, and I’m so happy. Maybe it was the first-grade class’s Flat Stanley project that kicked it off. Each student colored a few little Flat Stanley drawings, and they sent out packets to family and friends around the country in the hopes of getting postcards and photos of Flat Stanley from lots of places.

Given the fact that we have family on three different continents, I was very excited to get these packets out. “Won’t it be so cool to see Flat Stanley in Thailand?” I asked the Boo.

Well, he had other ideas. He wanted to send all of his allocated Flat Stanleys to people in *this* country – and only this country. He even knew exactly which people should get them. Since it’s his project, I followed his lead and helped him send letters to California, Georgia, Florida and Texas. I’m told that he’s gotten postcards from all of those places, plus some bonus photos of Flat Stanley from Missouri and Pennsylvania – we’ve got some awesome relatives!

I don’t know if that’s what got him back on his map kick, but he has been playing Stack the States and Stack the Countries again, and he’s been trying to memorize a song he found on YouTube that names all the countries. I don’t know how out of date it is (South Sudan? Czechia?), but he’s been diligently watching and mouthing the words.

He’s also making travel plans. Of course, he plans to live in Germany, but he would also like to visit Portugal, Italy and Japan (where he will visit Kiki and her art museum). He hopes to get his “United States badge” someday, which I think means he wants to visit all 50 states. He’s also planning to visit California (and stay with his great-grandmother). He’s excited to get the first of his “middle states” this summer, when we visit Uncle Tim in Texas.

At bedtime, he also has initiated a little quiz game with me. He asked a lot of the types of questions that appear on his Stack the States and Stack the Countries games, such as “Which country shares a land border with Mongolia?” He gives me four choices and offers a hint when I seem stuck. We take turns asking questions, so I try to branch out a little from the simple questions the apps ask: “Big Ben is a landmark in which country?” Or “The Nile River flows through which of these countries?” A lot of the questions are about capital cities, too, which he’s getting better at recognizing.

Since summer vacation is here, I’m hoping that this hyperfocus will stick around for awhile. It’s a topic I enjoy, and one that Kiki has been focusing on in her studies (to be honest, the Boo probably has his state capitals memorized better than she does). The tricky part is trying to nurture that interest without pushing him far enough for him to lose interest in it. We certainly have enough maps around the house.

And travel is one of my priorities. We have probably spent far too much on travel in the past few years, but those are among our best memories. It’s not the easiest thing to do with someone like the Boo and his various sensibilities, but it’s so important to see different places with our own eyes. And he does enjoy himself, even if doesn’t always remember the landmarks we’ve visited. When he sees a photo of La Sagrada Famillia, for example, he doesn’t remember that we’ve been inside, but he does remember that we’ve been to Barcelona and how we got there. He would probably have remember the churros con chocolate that we ate, except that he fell asleep on my lap in the restaurant.

Most of my dream scenarios involve travel: a meandering, non-rushed road trip around the country; an around-the-world cruise (yes, those exist, and yes, I could stay on a ship for that long); exploring Europe on a train or a river cruise; and a whole bucket list of countries to see. I’d also love to earn my United States badge, but I’ll have to get to Hawaii and Alaska to do that, and I’d like to someday make south of the equator and maybe make a stop somewhere on each continent.

OK, so maybe my travel dreams are more like a checklist. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? We’ve got to start somewhere. And if the Boo is all about making his own list, I’ll get to work on mine that much sooner.

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