I’ve seen and heard parents try this “counting” thing to get their kids to do what they want. The point is that if they reach some magic number (it’s normally 3) the kid suffers some form of punishment.
When the kid starts acting up, the parent says, “One,” meaningfully. As if the “one” might be followed by “two,” which they then follow with “three,” at which point something bad happens.
Kids use the counting time to manipulate the situation more than the parents want.
When I hear a parent start re-counting, especially more than once, I know the kid is winning. Out my apartment window, I just hear a mother start re-counting five or six times. “One … two … Jason. Jason. Jason! One … two … Jason! Jason … One ……..! Jason!” How long can you keep that up with your child?
I think that’s what happened to Dee Dee Ramone. His mother must have done the counting thing to him often as a child. He never could seem to count higher than three.