Rocco Turns 12 and 1 Month!

Rocco’s 12! Since no one has any infections anymore, I have time to blog about it. I will begin as I begin every birthday blog for Rocco: by saying how much he talks. He talks so much! About anything and about nothing—about all the things. The letters TMI have no meaning to him.


Even though he is the wizened age of 12 and heading into middle school, he plays with Legos more than ever.* For his birthday we got him supplies to build a Lego table.


We’ve always wanted to have Lego bricks sorted by color but I did that once when the kids were little and the organization lasted for 26 seconds. We’ve gotten a lot more Lego bricks since then. A lot a lot. I was not excited to put more furniture into our stuffed house, but I was excited to get rid of the 6 giant tubs of Lego bricks cluttering the basement.

We spent a couple days sorting. We got pretty good.

And voila! No more Lego mess!


We can now live in a perfectly organized, color-coded house without Lego mines littering the floor!



Rocco’s main Lego love is boats. He has spent hours on-line, searching for boat hulls.


Lately he’s changed his focus to gathering parts to build a Lego set without actually buying the Lego set. He finds a piece on Brick Think for 12 cents and is all excited until we tell him shipping is $5.00 and it will also be $5.00 for all the other 150 pieces he put in his basket. He’s only slightly less excited. We do the math for him. He puts another piece in his basket. We explain again. “Only 465 pieces to go!” he says. We give him a full-on economics lesson with charts and diagrams and sound effects and ask if he understands. “Yes,” he says. We breathe in relief that we got through to him. It took a lot, but we finally turned him around.

“So, can I buy it?”


Rocco is the one kid who sometimes says “yes” when I ask if anyone wants to go for a walk or bake cookies or pick blackberries. Actually, he’s as obsessed about picking blackberries as I am. He understands the joy of finding the perfect patch. It’s much like finding an obscure Lego piece on-line. He gets it.

He played four roles in the school play, which suited him perfectly as he has the energy of four people, plus extra.


You may be surprised to learn that Rocco is a taker of gigantic bites of food. He literally bites off more than he can chew. He puts a huge piece of steak in his mouth, pushing it in with the food jammer, which most people call the pointer finger. “Small bites!” we say. Then we give him a 5 minute lecture on taking small bites, which he listens to with a sheepish smile on his face, as his mouth is so full he cannot argue back. These are the only moments in the day he’s not talking and I guess we should cherish them, but they are dampened by watching our kid struggle to make a fist-sized piece of beef fit down his throat.


What? Only a single bite of birthday cake this year?

He is a rider of  whales.


He has confidence. So much confidence!


I’m not sure why I took this picture or what Rocco was doing here, but $10 says it involves soliciting.

Rocco’s favorite thing to laugh at is himself. I’ve only seen him truly upset a couple times in his life (though I’ve seen him make others upset many, many times). He still completely looks up to Vincenzo and is always inviting him to do stuff Vincenzo has completely zero interest in doing, like playing Minecraft with his 6th grade friends and picking blackberries with his mom.


He still can make Leo cry at will.

Rocco is strong-willed, confident, good-natured, argumentative, happy, steady, smart (so smart!), hard working, industrious, forgiving, creative, never bored, never tired, always friendly, always helpful. He feels welcome everywhere. He invites everyone in. He assumes they want to know every tiny detail about how he built that Lego boat.


He pauses in his Lego boat play-by-play oration. “Mom, what did you like to play with when you were growing up?” I answer, and he listens. As long as you’re not trying to talk him out of something, he really listens.

Rocco is a big-hearted kid and he’s worth every minute of exasperation.


We love him to pieces.

Lego pieces. Dillions of ‘em.**

Fair fare!

*I will unapologetically use the word “Legos” instead of “Lego Bricks” for the same reason I say, “a whole nother.” It’s common law.

**Inside joke. Rocco will get it.

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