Four and 20 photos

Toby has the misfortune of having a January birthday which comes not only after Christmas but also his brother Isaac’s birthday (in early December). Not that it’s an afterthought, but by the time we’ve negotiated the final manic month of the year there’s certainly an element of celebration fatigue in evidence in our household.

Nevertheless, I think he had a good fourth birthday weekend. He had a party at McDonald’s for a select group of friends on Saturday, followed by a family birthday tea at home for the day itself on Sunday.

The birthday boy (right) poised to blow out his candles

The birthday boy (right) poised to blow out his candles

The McDonald’s party did not, it has to be said, live up to its promise of offering a series of magical adventures brought to us by our dedicated party hosts (or whatever guff it says in the bumph). But we’ll gloss over that because (a) he and his mates loved having the run – and run they did! – of the entire upper floor and (b) it was about as inexpensive as organised birthday parties get.

Our little soirée at home hit the spot, though. Toby’s a boy of relatively straightforward tastes. Give him a few presents to open, some cocktail sausages, a chocolate tray-bake, his grandparents and his beloved uncle, and all is well in his world. Sometimes – make that most times – a little simplicity and a whole lot of love is all a boy needs. It’s all any of us need, I suppose.

This is normally the point in proceedings where I would try (and fail) to say something profound about turning four, but suffice it to say that the helpless little baby I delivered on our living room floor back in January 2010 has grown and matured enormously in the past year. He’s no longer a little toddler and is now fast developing the confidence to express his own preferences and personality in a very different way to his big brother. And the next year will be bigger still as he makes the jump from preschool to school and sets off on a whole new set of adventures.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Below I’ve selected 20 photos, presented in vaguely chronological order, which tell the story of Toby’s fourth year. Regular readers may have seen many of these before and won’t be surprised that a lot of these shots revolve around holidays or food (and often both). Oh, and the mother of all black eyes.

Love you, Toby. I’m looking forward to sharing your fifth year with you.

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13 thoughts on “Four and 20 photos

  1. We have my wifes bday end of Dec, Diggers in Jan, Trumpet in Feb and the No3 will be in March so I think I might set asidr a date in Apr to celebrate surviving the cmas and bady slog! Great photos BTW :-)

    • Ouch!

      We have something similar in my family where my wife, my brother, my mum and I all have our birthdays in a 17-day span in late August/early September. It’s a busy time … :-)

  2. We have all of our birthdays packed into the last quarter of the year, right before Christmas! Your Toby looks like a bundle of fun – shame about the black eye :(

    • The black eye swelled up even more than the image I’ve used indicates – at one point it seemed to occupy two-thirds of the right side of his face!

      Toby’s a lot like his dad – quiet and stoic most of the time – but he just lights up completely when he’s having fun. Which, thankfully, is quite often (in between the volcanic tantrums …)

  3. aww a birthday in January must suck! having said that, it does help to beat the January blues lol

    Now subbed – found you on Single Mother Ahoy blog hop :)

  4. Weird how birthdays and other festivities seem to cluster in families, almost as if there is some kind of DNA-sensitive coagulant in time. As you say, all you need at any age is the people you love around you and a chocolate tray back to feel birthday-ish. :)

    • I’m grateful that all our kids seem to enjoy birthdays as a celebration and not solely an exercise in accumulating more toys (although they do, of course, enjoy that side of it too!)

      I like the concept of DNA-sensitive coagulant! In our family, my wife, my mum, my brother and I all have our birthdays in a 15-day span in late summer. That’s quite convenient in some ways, although it does mean my dad has to buy a lot of presents in a short space of time … :-)

    • Thanks Sharon, he did. Perhaps more than any of our three kids, Toby enjoys simply being the focus of attention for the day. Sadly, it’s not something he gets enough of as our middle child.

    • Thanks Sarah. I’m a great believer in the power of photos, both as keepsake memories and as a supplement to the words we use to tell life’s little stories. Particulalry since the kids came along. the focus of much of my photographic effort is on capturing candid moments that tell so much more about how my kids are growing up than mere words ever will.

    • I never quite managed to capture just how big, black and puffy that half of his face was at its worst, but you get the idea. He took it all with remarkable good grace, even though the bruising took the best part of three months to finally clear.

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