Five by five: Happy birthday, Toby

Toby blowing out his birthday candles

Toby turns five today, and the past year has been a big one in his little life.

He’s started school. For a boy who has an aversion to change, we’ve been surprised and delighted at the way he has embraced the move up from preschool to primary school. He takes a lot of pride (and rightly so) in his reading ability but he’s also shown a real creative streak – particularly when it comes to art – that far surpasses anything either of his parents are capable of and never ceases to please me.

He has learned to ride a bike. He’s getting to grips with chopsticks. And he’s developed an obsession with goats (of both the toy and real varieties).

Other things remain unchanged. He loves a trip to the coffee shop (as do all our kids). He’s still the only one of our children who will happily sit alone and do his own thing for hours on end. And on any given day you can be sure he’ll be watching Top Gear and talking about Citroens at some point.

In short, it’s been an eventful year – and one in which I’ve felt that the bond between father and ‘mummy’s boy’ son has taken a quantum leap forward. We’re much closer and we have a better understanding of each other than we did this time last year.

In radio communications, the term ‘five by five’ indicates the highest possible signal quality. In common parlance it has come to mean “I understand you perfectly”. I’m not sure he and I are quite five by five yet. But we’re getting there.

So to mark Toby’s birthday, here are 25 photos from his fifth year, laid out five by five.