James says 'try…'

It’s James’s first birthday today.


I thought by now I’d have a list as long as my arm of helpful hints and tips for adjusting to a first year of parenthood. 

A repository of the finest child-rearing tips to be assembled since Dr Spock gave up writing books to concentrate on logic, tight-fitting blue polo necks and space travel.

Yet all I have instead is the nagging sense that we’re still making it up as we go along.

But then again, so is James.   And it doesn’t faze him one jot.  Every new and different thing that’s encountered is prodded, poked, often thrown, usually chewed.  There are no dos and don’ts.  There is only ‘try’.

Try and put the round peg through the square hole.  Try and pick up mum’s trainer whilst standing up at the same time.  Try and eat a whole plum all at once.  Try to catch cats.  Try to get dad to catch the cats that are too fast for you.

Try and hit the iPhone screen to see if you can make the colours and lights move around.  Try and hit the television screen and make it work like an iPad.  Try and reach through Skype to touch Gran and Pop.

When you’re one year old, anything is possible.  Which is mainly because you don’t know the meaning of the word impossible.  It looks like the most joyful, unconstrained existence I can imagine.

So if James has some advice for everyone, it’s ‘try’… because you’ll never know if you don’t.

And if I have advice for expectant parents, it’s this…

…while you can, try and get some sleep.