Toby has two default settings – full-on whinge and hyper-enthusiasm – and little else in between.
He’s often at his happiest in his own company but, as I’ve noted in the past, he needs a little one-to-one time every now and then and yet, as both the middle of three children and the sole introvert, he is easily overlooked when he does want that attention.
This weekend, though, with Isaac off at Cub camp, the parent-to-child ratio in the household has been more conducive to him having some undivided attention. He and I spent the whole of Saturday morning together – nothing special, riding his bike, getting a haircut, a little food shopping, coffee shop – followed by some post-lunch mummy-time – a trip into town, coffee shop (spot the recurring theme here!)
Over the course of the day, he and I played Battleships. We chatted about school. And about cars. (Of course we talked about cars – this is the boy who should really have been given the middle names Jeremy, Richard and James, after the three former Top Gear presenters.) And Strictly. And just about stuff – trivial, meaningless, inconsequential stuff – the kind of things that mean absolutely nothing in the greater scheme of things and are quickly forgotten, yet mean absolutely everything in terms of building that father/son bond. The little things in life. The glue between the bricks that holds everything together.
The end result? A smiling, content boy who enjoys his brief moment as the centre of his parents’ attention before he goes back to being the quiet one of three clamouring for airtime. It isn’t much but it’s enough.