And baby makes four as the latest Banks is born

For Ollie Banks and his family, every moment of the last nine months has been leading up to this afternoon. Alice’s sibling in on the way, and will change their lives for ever, starting from now.

Groans and cries of pain filled the room as the 30 rugby players of Scotland and England crashed into each other on the TV screen in rugby union’s oldest competition – the Calcutta Cup between England and Scotland.

But sports-mad Ollie Banks felt compromised. Already allowing himself only half an eye for the televised rugby, he felt guilty for even that when there were other more important life-changing events afoot.

The TV’s volume was actually muted, and the cries of pain were coming from the other end of the room, where his wife Lizzie was about to give birth to their second child.

The real meaning of ‘try’
Between the ever-accelerating contractions she made her feelings plain: “Scoring a try? Rugby players don’t know the meaning of the word try. They should give this a go. And while we’re talking about trying, you could try turning the TV off and try paying more attention to what’s going on over here, Banks.”

She was right again, as she invariably was, and Ollie flicked the button – though resisting the temptation to say there were just a few minutes left to play. It was, he supposed, the opening weekend of the Six Nations, so there would be more rugby to watch in the weeks ahead. And he was hoping to watch the 50th Superbowl in a few days. At least he’d have an excuse to be awake long into the night, even if, being a new Dad again, he would no longer have the inclination.

Helpless and a little guilty
Feeling pretty much helpless, Ollie tried to see past his wife’s pain, for which he felt a pang or two of guilt. But it would be worth it in the end. They’d have another child; a sibling for Alice, and the two of them would be lifelong friends, he felt certain. Both he and Lizzie were ‘only’ children, and had never felt the closeness that existed between siblings.

Lizzie’s fingernails dug into his hand, and he resisted the temptation to complain, thinking hard about if the new addition would be a boy or a girl; they’d asked not to be told. And the nursery had been painted in a neutral colour, chosen by Lizzie, so there would be no problem there. There would be no problem anyway, so long as the child was healthy, and there was no reason to think otherwise.

He wondered what Alice would think about the new arrival, and guessed she would be besotted with it, just as he would be.

Managing the money
All the same, it was a daunting time. Quite apart from the child’s health, Ollie worried about their money management. Since he’d started using expense manager app Solo Expenses he’d become a better expense manager, and controlling household spending meant they seemed to have more money available for the things they really needed. But a new baby? The price of everything to do with them seemed to be enormous, and expense manager appwhilst using Solo Expenses did make things so much easier, it couldn’t create an endless supply of cash.

But other people managed having two or more children, and he supposed the Banks household would be just the same…

He was jerked out of his reverie by some of the most appalling language he’d ever heard. Had his wife really just said that? Goodness. The medical staff hadn’t reacted; they must hear it daily, he supposed.

‘Hi, I’m your Dad…’
Suddenly, Lizzie wasn’t swearing or screaming any more, a new voice was added to the general hubbub, and the midwife was giving him a pair of scissors. “Cut here, Daddy,” she said. “It’s a boy, and he’s wonderful.”

A boy? Wow! Ollie bent forward to kiss his wife. He could feel the heat coming from her skin, and knew again just how hard the experience had been. Floating on a cushion of wellbeing and pride, Ollie let the baby hold his finger. He whispered: “Hi. I’m your dad. We’re going to have lots of fun.”

Lizzie smiled at him. “We all are, and before you suggest it, we won’t be naming him after a rugby player. Now, let’s be practical. You’d better get on the phone to tell Grandma Lorna and Grandad Ron the news, and get them to bring Alice. And while we wait for them to get here, we can have a few moments alone with our son.”