It’s 4:30 AM. Kevin and I have been up for an hour. Our kids seem to have adjusted just fine to Daylight Savings Time…we’re not sure we’ll ever be quite the same again.
Part of the reason I can’t sleep is because I’m worried about Rocco.* I worry about everything, so it’s no surprise. I’m assuming there is a direct correlation between the amount one worries about one’s kids and how well one’s kids turn out, and at this rate, mine are going to be president of the United States. And also France.
Anyway. Rocco is a hilarious kid. He has a whole bag of tricks he knows will make us laugh (Funny Face and the Duck Walk, to name a couple), and he pulls them out whenever he wants. More often, he’s funny without trying to be–like the other day when Vincenzo was at school and Rocco was making a humming noise that he knows his brother doesn’t like. He’d hum a bit, then yell at himself angrily, “Rocco please don’t do dat!!” then start humming again. The kid is a party. He has a huge vocabulary that includes the words “Delorean” and “thingy.” He can recognize anyone by the car he/she drives.
I worry, though, because “no” never quite means “no” to him. If I tell Rocco not to touch the stove, he interprets it as, “Don’t touch the stove for this exact one second in your life, but after that go balls out touching it.” He thinks it’s funny to push Vincenzo, or to try to rip a book out of my hands over and over and over again, or to bang on the computer when I’m trying to use it. We tell him things like, “Stop!” and, “That hurts!” and, “Wait your turn!” All he ever says is, “Dat funny!” None of us are laughing.
He passes out the “sorrys” like they’re car wash coupons, so we’ve started giving time outs. The weird thing is, he likes them. In fact, this weekend he kept trying to take a toy Vincenzo had and I said, “Stop, Rocco, or you’ll need a time out.” He got all excited until I told him he doesn’t need one yet and he had a mini temper tantrum because I didn’t give him a time out.
It’s just so different from raising our first son, who took “no” so seriously that “maybe” meant “no” as well. It took Vincenzo four years (and a lot of hair-pulling from me) to ever tell anyone he was sorry, and time outs were so traumatic they would have made the Super Nanny cry.
I project Rocco and his strong will out to the nth degree and I’m worried about having a teenager who thinks that messing with other people and their stuff is funny, and who breaks the rules when his parents tell him he can’t do something. I don’t know how to make “no” important to him, but I know it’s important to do.
But it’s really your problem, America. And France. After all, he’s your future president.
*The other part is because we went to bed at 8:30.