It was during Covid that a set of twin girls burst into our lives. There is no history of twins on either side of the family, so no one was more shocked that my daughter and son-in-law.

During the the initial crazy months, it was all hands on deck. Once things settled down, though, there were moments when I was able to simply observe and interpret (or imagine) the developing relationship between these little people.

From the beginning, Isla was working towards earning her next gold star, while Mia played the scrappy upstart. While Isla sat quietly in her bouncer, Mia zoomed around the house on all fours. At eight months, Mia was technically old enough to crawl, she just didn’t seem big enough. The parents called her their house-mouse.

Both girls were small, as twins often are, but Mia was a feather-weight that could blow away in a light breeze. Still, she climbed, she fell, she face-planted. She was never still. When she was finished exploring, her attention might turn to her sister.

What’s Isla doing?

Still happily bobbing up and down in her bouncer, favourite glow-in-the-dark dummy securely in her mouth, Isla didn’t suspect what was coming. But it had occurred to Mia that, at this moment, a dummy wouldn’t be half-bad. The pint-sized opportunist beetled over to Isla, pulled herself up on the side of the bouncer and, like popping a champagne cork, plucked the dummy from Isla’s mouth, put it in her own, and made her escape. Isla took a moment to process what had happened, then yelled out in protest. But the thief was long gone and Isla remained stranded in the bouncer.

But despite this, a bond was developing. They created a rap song to celebrate their differences. It only had two lines, but it told their story:

Who’s a good baby?

Who’s a bad-bad baby?

They repeated it endlessly in their minds, dummies bobbing rhythmically to the beat of the music.

Isla was clearly a Good Girl and her life’s goal was to be called a Good Girl as often as possible. She telepathically pleaded with Mia not to cry when they woke from their naps.

Just lie still in your cot, Mia, and be a good girl because then they’ll call you a Good Girl.

Who cares about that? thought Mia, as she issued a loud demand to be picked up.

Isla was such an exemplary baby that she was given her own imaginary cable television show called Being Good with Isla. As host, Isla was strapped securely into her moulded plastic seat, spine erect and chubby hands just meeting to grasp the microphone.

In the background (and filmed in black and white), Mia could be seen crashing into walls and knocking things off the coffee table.

The voice-over said,

Is this you? Are you tired of being a bad-bad baby? Join me at “Being Good with Isla.”

Cue theme music (gentle piano sonata — calming and optimistic).

‘Welcome back,’ Isla would say to her loyal followers (she has six but is hopeful of ten.)

The die seemed cast.

That was until the twins’ cots were moved from the parental bedroom into the nursery. To everyone’s surprise, Isla went ballistic. She was simply not having this demotion. Meanwhile Mia was sleeping like a baby, so to speak. For weeks, the parents wandered around bleary-eyed after yet another overnight battle of wills with their freshly-minted terrorist.

Isla’s cable television show was not picked up for another season.


*This recently appeared in The Parenting Portal, a Medium publication






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Janet Grundy

Wow! That photo almost stole the show … but the words that followed topped it.
More please.


Can’t wait til they’re teenagers …