Someone’s Eight

Spoiler alert: it’s Rocco! 


It’s hard to shrink Rocco back down to a baby in my mind because he never really wanted to be a baby.  He wanted to build and create, to make and do, and he just wasn’t into all the regular baby stuff.  He was more into studying the fan spinning on the ceiling than playing pat-a-cake with me.  I remember him playing with trains before he could walk and getting so frustrated because his little baby body couldn’t make the trains do what his brain had in mind for them. 


  Baby Rocco had places to go.


Now Rocco is bigger and finally his body has caught up with that gigantic brain of his, and he is often seen with a screwdriver or a pile of blocks or a shovel in his hands, building the latest thing he dreamt up. 


Yesterday I went out to lunch with some friends and when I came back, he had built this.


Rocco already understands how the world works in ways I’ll never be able to.  On his birthday he wanted to go to the Ballard Locks to watch the ships come through.  Afterwards we hit up the visitor’s center, where we tried to make the model of the locks work but it was broken.  A couple other adults tried and came to the same conclusion.  Five minutes later, Rocco came up to me saying, “I fixed it, Mom.”  Because of course he had.

That same persistence and Rocco’s There’s-Got-To-Be-Another-Way mentality works so beautifully for him in engineering situations but it gets him in trouble at other times.  I tell him to put on his swim clothes and get in the car.  He says he’ll just wear these clothes because he doesn’t plan to get wet.  I tell him to was his face before bed and he tells me he’ll just wash the one area that is dirty.  I tell him to brush his teeth because his morning breath is hard to be around and he says, “I’ll just move over here instead.”  I say what I say to him 100 times a day: Follow directions.  But unless you’re a robot waiting to be built, following directions isn’t really his thing.

He’s loved math and numbers for a long time.  There was a period in his life when all he wanted was for me to count to 100 out loud over and over again, so I never wondered whether or not he’d love math.  What’s new this year is how often I find him like this:


He read the first Harry Potter last year, then skipped to the fifth.  He explained that he wanted to read the fifth because looked like a bigger challenge.  In case you need a visual on that, the fifth book is the one on top:


In case you didn’t know, Rocco knows all the answers to everything.  Sometimes it might seem he doesn’t know something, like why an owl’s ears are asymmetrical, so you explain it to him and then he says, “I was just going to say that!” 

Okay, so maybe he doesn’t know all the answers, but he definitely thinks he does.  He at least has all the confidence.

Rocco will steal the blanket off your bed and when you ask for it back, he will try to convince you it was his blanket to begin with.  He’ll come out of his bedroom wearing a pink shirt, green shorts, fluorescent yellow socks, and teal shoes and you tell him his clothes don’t look good together.  He’ll launch into a courtroom worthy speech about why they do.

I never knew how much persistence can look like stubbornness until I had Rocco.


Rocco’s generosity is endless.  If a friend lays eyes on his candy collection he’ll offer them anything he wants.  Then he’ll ask Vincenzo if he wants anything and he’ll dig up a bag of banana Runts and bring them to me because he knows they’re my favorite.  Then Leo will ask if he can have a piece and Rocco says, “No.  Eat your own candy.”

Okay, so maybe his generosity isn’t completely endless; there’s the Leo Clause.  The two are still working some things out, but I have hope.

Before we had kids I always imagined we’d have a kid with my ambition and Kevin’s engineering brain, a kid who could dream big and then make that dream happen.  Rocco is that kid.  I just never imagined how challenging it would sometimes be to raise a kid like this.  Rocco is a kid whose brain is bursting with thoughts and ideas that he feels compelled to act on, he doesn’t take no for an answer, and he will never admit he was wrong; he just was seeing if we knew the answer. 

But also, I also never knew how utterly amazing it would be to raise a kid like this. 

Rocco makes me proud.  He makes me frustrated, amazed, and exasperated.  But mostly, usually, almost all the time he makes me proud and in awe of all that he is and all that he does.


Oh Baby Rocco, the places you’ll go.


The places you’ll go.

Harissa marinated top sirloin
Ricotta gnocchi
Roasted wax beans with peanuts and cilantro 
Vanilla cake

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