Daddy Cool: "It is a shock to see a newborn again"

SEEING a new baby still spears me with emotion. The wonder, the vulnerability, the memories of the birth of each of our three collude to make me contemplate having another child.

In the past we've often thought we would like more but decided we didn't really start this having children lark early enough to squeeze four in. But when you see a baby, a bit of evolutionary biology gets to work.

This has all happened because one of my best friends has become a father for the first time. We pop round to see the happy family when their son is only a few days old. It is a shock to see a newborn again. Suddenly our six-year-old, the baby of our lot, is transformed into a giant. He is quiet and on best behaviour but it still seems as if a tornado has swept in. With his older sisters, nine and 11, we fill the room. They are fresh from a swimming gala, hair still wet, medals clanging on chests and their heads still filled with races and fun.

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We all know the improbably small bundle in the arms of his exhausted mother will grow into a healthy lump of muscle, vigour and babbling language, but when he can scarcely open his eyes it seems unlikely.

We sit for a moment, contemplating our lives and where we are on the parenthood journey. And it is only a moment because six-year-olds, well our six-year-old, can't sit still for too long, unless there's a Tardis to colour in.

So we head off, as they have other visitors, and we recall how tiring it is to be on form for the stream of well-wishers.

There are any number of reasons why we shouldn't, perhaps couldn't, have another child now. If we were going to have four we would have to have produced another very close in age to our youngest.

And while there are plenty of women who have children in their forties, the odds of conceiving plummet with every advancing year while the risks of having a problem rise inexorably. This says nothing of the financial implications that would probably hole us below the overdraft line.

So our shared moment of imagining a new baby in our lives is simply that. I recall a friend with older children saying when our first was born she thought it was wonderful, but she was glad she wasn't in our shoes. Now I know what she meant. I am thrilled for my friends but it is their adventure, not mine. I wish them a safe, happy and not too sleepless journey.