The Last Sixth Birthday

I could do a whole post for my youngest in the “You might be the third child when….” theme. You know the ones with the long lists that induce familiar nods across the parenting spectrum. I could cite all the examples of how ha-ha-ha these various incidents showed that we have the stereotypical third kid challenges. Almost no photographic existence of him in the house (or anywhere off of my phone). No baby book in sight.

Or, maybe, when you didn’t know your third kid lost his first tooth until you saw him throw it in the trash, not knowing it was even loose. Why did he throw it in the garbage? Oh, because he didn’t even know about the Tooth Fairy.

In my defense, he lost this tooth like almost two years earlier than my older two ever did and there was no disgusting-dangling-tooth drama. It just happened one day. Also, yes, I went into the white trash bag and found the equivalent of a needle in a haystack so he could have his Tooth Fairy moment and I could feel less like a dumpster fire (no pun intended) of a parent.

So now it doesn’t sound quite so bad that it has taken me almost four weeks to get around to writing this birthday post.

Shhhhhhhhhh.

Anyway, I’m here now, at my keyboard, feeling terrible about this lapse. You know what didn’t help? This, last night, at bedtime:

“Mom, you’re my favorite person in the world.”

I’m not even kidding. This kid is either the absolute sweetest person I’ve ever known, or the greatest emotional manipulator in the history of children.

I’m going with the former.

Aidan KF 2

While not without the moods and impatience that come with his age, he is the child who asks me to lie down in his bed with him most nights as he wraps his arms around my neck, who reaches out for hugs multiple times a day, who declares his love for me unprompted and randomly.

Add this to the stark contrast of two tweens who alternate eye rolling and sighing at me, and this youngest child just makes me smile.

Six seems so old for him. Past any clothing sizes with a letter T after them, past pre-school traditions, past needing everything done for him.

This is the kid who is dressed and ready, discussing the day’s plans, and basically reprimanding his siblings for not being equally prepared each morning. He calls his brother and sister — six and almost four years his senior, respectively — “the kids,” as if to remind everyone who is basically in charge.

“Mom, I called the kids to come up for dinner but they’re not listening.” <insert exasperated shrug>

“Mom, I’m not sure, but I think the kids are watching something inappropriate on YouTube.” <pronounced sigh>

“Mom, I’m ready to go but the kids literally can’t find their shoes. Unbelievable.” <raises hands in the air in disbelief>

 

Aidan mask

 

Aidanxmas

This last year was a big shift for all of us when I went back to work for the first time in eight years. I have to remind myself that while the change felt seismic to me in many ways, it had to be odd for my kids too. In some respects, they seem to like having our routine changed up with a babysitter sometimes, but there are other times when my youngest in particular wants to know why I can’t be home with him, or why he has to go to after care at school until I’m finished working.

And that’s hard. But change is good, right? Seeing a parent do something to improve herself is important. Wait, I’m talking to myself here. You get the idea. I appreciate your silent agreement and support from the other side of the monitor.

My six year-old has a mind of his own. There’s no wavering, no looking around the room to see what other people think, no hesitation. He’s in or he’s out, and good luck getting him to change his stance. He wants to be seen, be heard, and be counted in the plan.

 

Aidan skating

Aidan ice pop

He will start Kindergarten in September, and I am torn between not believing it at all and knowing this is exactly where he should be. He loves to be with friends, create intricate stories, and side-eye anyone who’s not following the rules.

Aidan school JK

He loves being around his siblings and their friends, and craves being in on their jokes and interests, although ideally he’d really just like to convince them to play Bey Blades instead while making up stories about ocean animals. Recently, he has been saying that he wants to share a room with his 12 year-old brother, which is a negotiation whose terms may require a UN-level ambassador. As much as I love the idea of them being close, I don’t know that a six year-old should be hearing about the Ancient Roman testudo battle formation, recaps of middle school group chats, or jokes from The Office with any regularity.

It’s in those moments that he does, in fact, still seem so small as my older kids veer towards adolescence and all that comes with it.

Aidan Green Bay

Aidan beach Turks

This kid. He has my whole heart, even if he couldn’t get a birthday post remotely close to on time. He doesn’t care. He just wants to give out hugs and charm the hell out of all of us.

Happy (extremely belated in writing) birthday to my sweet, sweet boy.

Aidan stratton

Aidan bowtie

Aidan KF

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