My Last Little Baby Boy Turned Five – And Off He Goes Into The World…

A little birthday boy with brownies in the shape of a 5

Somehow, without permission, my little baby boy – my youngest – my snuggly lapdog – my bonus suburb baby – my last little baby boy – turned five. I’m not quite sure how we got here. Especially because I’m still trying to come to terms with my oldest – who is now eleven – turning five. But somehow, some way, my youngest baby just became a whole hand old.

A little boy pointing to a five off of 5th Avenue in Manhattan

The Happiest Little Boy

This little boy came into the world totally chill and has been that way ever since. He is a big bag of smiles with a face that radiates sunshine. He is the youngest – adored by everyone – and totally knows it. He is the epitome of a “third kid”. He is my last little baby boy – and he turned five.

A little boy holding a firefly he caught at dusk on the 4th of July

Why is five such a big one? Because that means he has arrived. He is ready to go into the system. No passing go, no collecting $200. The next stop is kindergarten. Then – before we know it – he will be in middle school (and double digits) like the big one, getting big without permission.

3 kids in front of sunflowers at Meyer Farm

Mommy Preschool

I have been very lucky for the last year. Due to the pandemic, we kept him home instead of sending him to preschool. It has been one of the silver linings of COVID. Since he is the third kid I’ve been there and done that, so teaching letters and numbers has been easy. I don’t feel the pressure one feels with their first and knew that as long as he could write his name, he would be ready to go.

A little boy making bird feeders from recycled objects

He has been by my side for fifteen months and my little sidekick. He has been my super star student, my gardening buddy, my curious comrade, and my adventure partner. He is so much fun to be with in every situation. He is the child who finds everything interesting and asks fantastic questions. He is just simply delicious.

Two little boys dressed up as Iron Man & Captain America

He Loves Everything… Except String Beans

He loves pockets, worms, Captain America, action figures, history, trains, hugging trees, birds, playing baseball and spinning on swings. He does not like string beans. He is well aware that the biggest change from age four to five will be eating five string beans instead of four – our rule for a vegetable if he doesn’t like it. He is not looking forward to this.

A happy little birthday boy in his birthday fort

He likes to tell me he can’t read, but then sometimes he likes to figure out what a word says by looking at the letters and sounding out their sounds, which he reassures me is not reading.

A little boy with arms up sliding down a backyard rollercoaster.

He Sympathizes With Elephants & Likes 80s Music

He likes to giggle and take luxurious bubble baths, build forts, play with construction toys, wear mismatched socks and mismatched pajamas (at the same – or different – times), and puts on his brother’s shirts backwards without realizing any of the above. He likes to do puzzles and watch movies. Firepit s’mores are the best bribe we can offer him.

A little boy feeding a goat at The Bronx Zoo

He loves the zoo and hopes the elephants don’t feel bad that the tigers are now his favorite. He likes 80s pop music and playing with superhero figures. He’s a whiz at making pancakes and baking cakes. Somehow, he wins every game we play – without us letting him win. Really. Especially “Sequence.”

A little boy On a Ride on motorcycle

He likes the snow and to play at the beach and go down slides – both water and regular. He loves going on hikes and finding hidden flowers. He loves Taco Tuesday and fancy napkins. He requires ice in his water (no matter what the hour) and fresh water – with ice – the second we say it’s time to go to sleep.

3 kids around a kitchen table eating Tacos on Taco Tuesday with Hudsonest napkins

He likes to talk to our friends and often wonders how – and what – Joe Biden is doing at that very moment. He wants to go back to Boston for vacation and thinks lox is delicious.

A little boy crinkling his nose at a sunflower at Manor Farm in Huntington, Long Island

He is a little old man in a little young body. He likes newsboy hats. Sometimes he makes borscht belt jokes and motions. It is very, very funny. He is very, very funny.

A little boy holding up a 5 in a lawn “happy birthday” sign

Birthdays Always Hit Hard

I think the week of my kid’s birthdays always hits me hard. It is a representation of the knowledge that they are about to turn a year older. That they are growing up. But this one is my last. He just turned four. These little hands are getting bigger and there aren’t smaller ones on deck. When he grows out of his clothes, they leave the house. They don’t go in the attic for the next one. He is the last. He is the little. He is NOT allowed to get big.

A little boy at Wild Play at Jones Beach

Since his birthday was over Memorial Day weekend (and the same day as my Dad’s!) we planned a long weekend of celebrations. Sadly, the rain canceled most of it, but luckily, we got in his number one wish – to go climbing at Wild Play, Jones Beach.

A little boy in front of St. John’s Pond in Cold Spring Harbor

The day was also filled everything he loves – macaroni and cheese from Panera for lunch with my parents, visiting the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, and his favorite “sushi” dinner of noodles and chicken.

A little boy behind He-Man figures and the 2021 new Castle Grayskull

His love of water play toys and action figures make gift giving easy. Somehow, someway he fell in love with He-Man, which made my husband very happy. I surprised them both with the Castle Grayskull reboot as well as an army of Masters of the Universe action figures. I’m not sure who is more excited.

A little boy hugging a tree in Central Park

My Last Little Baby Boy Turned Five

Somehow he is getting bigger every day. Including waking up looking older on his birthday. I swear. He turned five. My last little baby boy turned five.

Family photo by the water in Port Washington, Long Island

Somehow in September I’m going to put him on a bus, wave goodbye and return to an empty house. I’m not ready for that yet or at all. But then again, I’m also not ready for my daughter – who used to look like a preemie boy, or my middle son – who used to look like a marshmallow – to go to 6th and 3rd grades either. Please.Time.Slow.Down.

A little boy hopping on a playhouse porch at Centennial Park

I’m glad he had an amazing birthday. I’m glad he is as excited about his gifts as I was to give them to him. Most of all, I’m excited he still wants to curl into a little ball and snuggle in my lap.

A little boy standing in a cardboard box

Published by Stacey Wallenstein

Stacey Gish Wallenstein created The Mint Chip Mama blog in 2013 to share her love and passion for giving children meaningful life experiences and helping moms like her navigate the challenges and benefits of raising children in the New York metropolitan area. Before becoming a full-time mom in 2010, Stacey spent the better part of the preceding decade as a high-end customer relationship management (CRM) professional for some of the most well-known brands in the hotel, luxury, fashion, and beauty industries, such as Harrah’s Entertainment, Chanel and Christian Dior, Inc. She managed customer loyalty programs for thousands of clients around the country and created social media strategies for a span of industries including healthcare services, restaurants, consumer packaged goods, specialty foods, local attractions and retail locations. After 13 wonderful years in Manhattan (the last three of which spent as a city mom), Stacey and her husband moved to Long Island in 2014, where they now reside with their three children (11, 8, and 5). There, she is a founding member of her local Parenting Center, which provides classes and coordinates events designed to educate and inform parents while fostering an environment of support and friendship within the community. Stacey is also an active PTA member ((including a former & current PTA president) as well as a Girl Scout troop leader. Her musings on motherhood, Manhattan, the suburbs, and more can be found here and on Facebook at The Mint Chip Mama. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Stacey has been active in the New York area alumni organization for nearly twenty years, serving as a board member on the school’s University of Michigan Alumni Club of New York City. She also holds a Masters in Psychology from The New School in New York City. For more updates, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

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