Four and 20 photos

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

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.