Rocco Turns Two Handfuls!

Yep, he is officially two handfuls of fingers, all of them ready to poke you.


(He’s the one on the left, in case you didn’t know.)

Two of my boys ask for donations to charitable causes in lieu of gifts for their birthdays.


Rocco is not one of them.

As much as I love his brothers for not wanting gifts, I love Rocco for wanting gifts. His mind is a hungry, hungry thing and the more you feed it, the hungrier it gets. This year he asked for things he could build. Before he unwrapped each gift, he’d give it a shake and announce “Legos” or “Not Legos.” One shake is all it took, which tells you how many boxes of Legos he’s opened in his lifetime.


Rocco hasn’t changed much from that 18-month-old baby trying to build a train track bigger than his dreams. He’d get mad when the trains wouldn’t stick together because he had them backwards and he’d get madder at me when I tried to help. Me, who knew a little bit more about magnets than he did at 18 months.



Of course, now he most certainly knows more about magnets than I do. He knows more about most things than I do…though to be clear, he doesn’t know nearly as many things as he thinks he knows.

Rocco is voracious about just about everything. He reads voraciously, builds voraciously, eats kale salad voraciously, irritates his brothers voraciously.


And he always has a Big Idea.






As is fitting, Rocco tends to run with a crowd of big personalities.


Wherever you live in the world, you probably heard them singing happy birthday last Wednesday around 5:30 Pacific Standard Time.


It sounded like a bunch of dying seagulls and the pack of fortunate walruses who were about to eat them.

His cake was a challenge because I’ve never figured out the whole fondant thing. I tried talking him into one of many, many other options, but once Rocco makes up his mind, there is no un-making it.


As the children were eating it, I gave them a head’s up to not be worried if their poop is a weird color tomorrow, due to all the black fondant. This might have slowed down a meeker crowd, but this these guys just asked if they could have a second slice.


But I digress.

Rocco is energetic, creative, non-stop, stubborn, strong-willed, independent-minded, brilliant, generous, happy, inclusive, sweet, mathy, confident, intense, loud, dorky, and ready for absolutely anything. When friends are around he is silly and immature. If only his sense of humor were as advanced as his math skills but alas, no. Rocco will say something too stupid to be silly, so we ignore it, so says it again and again until we tell him we heard him the first time, the whole neighborhood heard him the first time, and saying something two or three or twenty times doesn’t make it funnier. He doesn’t take offense. He probably thinks it’s more a reflection of our own inferior senses of humor than his. So he says it one more time.

Because of this, you sometimes lose it with him. You yell at him, you take away video game time, you throw his cake down the garbage disposal in a fit of unjustified rage. He gets upset. Of course he does. But like a buoy he pops back up to the surface again and bobs merrily along the top of the waves, commenting on what a nice day it is.


(Did I mention confident?)


(And dorky?)

And he is generous. Like at the arcade last weekend when his cousin was at the prize counter, wishing he had a few hundred extra tickets to buy a Minecraft sword. Rocco didn’t even hesitate. (To be fair, Rocco never hesitates.) He handed all his tickets to his cousin, then went to ask Vincenzo if he would donate the rest, which he did, and Ari got his sword. Later, a lady handed Rocco her tickets to spend and he spent them all on candy for Vincenzo since Vincenzo had donated some of his tickets to his cousin. Rocco is more generous than I ever taught him to be.

Do I worry about him? Absolutely. I worry about all my boys. I worry that Rocco won’t learn to really, truly, fully listen to another person. I worry that his stubbornness will get in the way of his personal and professional relationships. I worry someone will punch him in the face. I worry that the someone will be me.  I worry that his sense of humor will not evolve beyond using the words “butt” and “fart” at the dinner table.


(Okay, it’s a little bit funny.)

But mostly when it comes to Rocco, I don’t worry. I just sit in the boat and watch the buoy bobbing happily in the water beside me and I think what a marvelous, beautiful, perfect thing a happily bobbing buoy is.


Camp fare!

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