Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick… In two weeks’ time, the Duchess is due to be legs akimbo in one of the premier lounges of the maternity ward at Jimmy’s producing the second heir to the daddyfool throne. Just at the moment the Boy Wonder is showing encouraging signs of self-sufficiency – moving with speed and power, debating whether the vehicle ahead is a van or truck, removing his socks in the snow – we will be doing it all again and then returning to our semi-detached palace with a little, wondrous, frightening baby.
The first time we did our bit for the Yorkshire population, two and a bit years ago, the Duchess assured the entire hospital staff that they shouldn’t expect to see the newly-minted daddyfool family ever again. Despite the blood, the bruised forceps, the tear-stained man precariously holding the Boy Wonder in his arms, the medics collectively smiled and sighed in equal measure. If we had a pound every time we heard that one, they no doubt groaned to one another, we’d have enough cash to plug life-threatening holes in the NHS budget should politicians ever catch a cold.
The Second Coming is already having a dramatic effect on me. I’m actually having to stick to my no-booze-it’s-January-after-a-gallon-of-ale-in-December commitment because the Duchess is now probably too big to fit behind the steering wheel of the car. If, as planned, we’re in and out this time in a tidy six hours, rather than thirty-six hours of labour and five nights on the post-natal ward, there’ll definitely be a moment when I wonder which bottle to sort first.
The Boy Wonder, meanwhile, remains calm and good-humoured, despite the obvious threat to his control of our attention and energy. Ever since the Bump appeared, I’ve experienced strange feelings of guilt just at the thought of no longer giving him my undivided attention. While I know deep down that the incredible love I feel for him won’t halve, it’ll only double to accommodate our new miracle, I worry there’ll be that moment when he sees me doey-eyed for another and he reluctantly retreats to the shadows of the room.
In the early stages of the pregnancy, the Duchess was so overwhelmed with emotion and love and hope that she ventured the idea of a third. I’m nearly 40, which meant the idea was a non-starter. But it also meant I’d accumulated enough common sense to simply smile, shrug my shoulders in a non-committal, who-knows-what-the-future-might-bring kind of way and play the long game. Sure enough, this close to the finishing line, her back is aching, the Bump is a nocturnal gymnast and she keeps overdosing on Rennies to quell the heartburn. So she hopes the good people of Jimmy’s will be seeing us sooner rather than later but once we’re done that will be that for good. And I’m willing to bet a lot more than a pound on it.