My son is going to be a premiereship footballer. He is a good kicker, he kicks more than three or four times together sometimes.

This is the sort of thing excited prospective parents say in television documentaries, if their baby kicks in the womb. If they know the gender. And if they are a bit dim, or just more excited than self-aware.

To be fair, I do not know whether a lot of kicking during pregnancy does mean greater physical dexterity. There might be one of those studies where they count one thing and find a variety of numbers, and then count another and find the same variety of numbers, but I am not sure how seriously I would take it.

What is more certain is that the feeling of life that kicking brings is tremendously reassuring. There is much less desire or need to listen to the heartbeat or fuss about what this or that other observation might mean. You know there is a lot that is probably right, and that a lot of what you are doing is right, or at least not wrong.

That said, kicks from within, twenty hours a day for six months, do begin to elicit other feelings in the mother-to-be after a while. She described the feeling later in the pregnancy as a sort of nudging, a bit like a finger prodding your cheek when your mouth is open: not exactly painful, but definitely uncomfortable when constant. As our child has grown bigger, and presumably fitter, things have become clearer still. I am confident I now know the facial expression that first came with the words, spoken through gritted teeth “Tell your offspring to stop kicking”, heard one evening about 30 weeks into the pregnancy.

In its defence, another up-side to kicking, at whatever stage, is that it is a piece of contact with one’s developing baby. There are not many such communiques; it will be a while before he or she can speak and longer still before we can discuss phosphoinositides or thermodynamics. We can listen to the heartbeat and count the rate, but that is no more under the child’s control than mine is under mine. It is really quite tempting to believe that the kicking is the result of conscious control and that this does say something, even if unfathomable, about our baby.

The truth is that we have no more idea about his/her personality than we would do if the child were quite physically silent. The next pregnancy may be like that, and may well be fine despite it. What we have here then, is a clue about someone’s personality from a trait that is about as strong as their regional accent.

I wonder what our child will be like. I suppose one day, I will find out.