An Edmonds Kind of Dad: A different kind of bedtime story…

Reading to and with kids before bedtime is a time-honored tradition for families around the world. And our family is no different when it comes to Ty. Stone doesn’t yet have the attention span (or interest) in sitting still for a reading session but we’re hopeful that will develop over time.

But with Ty, this tradition has its own unique twist, one I’m quite sure isn’t very common among most 5-year-olds. You see, Ty likes to read and learn about freeways and Interstates.

Yes. I’m serious.

I’ve written before about how incredibly smart Ty is, and how he has long displayed an intellect far beyond his age. He has been fascinated with our freeway system for sometime now, and more recently has expanded this fascination to the point where he spends hours on the iPad, iPhone or laptop carefully studying Google maps so he can trace the routes of I-90 across the country or Highway 99 down the Pacific Coast.

Ty on a recent train trip. Maybe railroads will be next?

Last weekend he told me he wanted to learn more about I-405 in Washington as well as Highway 101. So we sat together and Googled each highway and found Wikipedia entries for each. I read the description and history of each and we also checked out the maps included on the page. He absolutely loved it and asked me to pull up information on Highway 520, 525, 20, Interstate 5 and Interstates 580 and 680 in California (because he knew my mom lives close to them). He’s absolutely obsessed with the maps and the entries. We’ve taken turns reading the pages together and he likes to read on his own too. There’s something incredibly bizarre and awesome hearing him carefully read “SR 20 begins at a wye-junction in Discovery Bay, Washington at U.S. Route 101 and goes north to Port Townsend…”

I don’t think I even knew what a map (or freeway) was until I was at least 10!

And Ty is clearly learning. He can tell you which freeway intersects with other freeways and where they begin and end. He can tell you that I-5 covers the span from Canada to Mexico and how far Highway 101 goes as well. As I’ve read entry after entry to him, I’ve also been able to pick up a lot of interesting information too, so it’s a mutually educational exercise.

Ty has been known to have intense obsessions over a period of time so it’ll be interesting to see how long he’ll stay into highways and freeways. In the meantime, I will just have to get used to him asking for me to read to him about interstates at night – instead of “Goodnight Moon.”

David Kaufer is a fun-loving Super Dad of 5-year-old twin sons, an insane Oregon Ducks fanatic (follow him on Twitter @DavidKaufer), advocate for green/sustainability and autism issues, and connoisseur of Northwest microbrews. He and his wife Renee moved to Edmonds in 2005 to raise their family (and enjoy the gorgeous views).

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