My husband recently came home with twin baby dolls for Alfie. He’d picked them up from Kmart and when I asked him why he purchased a twin set instead of a single babe, he told me that all the other babies had looked too real. So real that you’d do a double take if you walked past them in the corner of the bedroom. So real that they were the root of all the darkest nightmares.
I didn’t probe him on this. I unpacked The Twins from the packaging, and the cable tie-like attachments holding their arms and necks in place. I freed them from the box and accepted that The Twins, Baby Jesse and Beak, had entered our busy lives.
For an already time-poor child, The Twins have certainly added to Alfie’s busy schedule. I have never seen Alfie so caring and gentle with any of his toys. He runs in the front door after day care and checks on The Twins, talking to them, putting them over his shoulder for a quick burping session and then inviting them to join him for tea at the table.
After tea, The Twins have an invisible bath, their bodies washed with a dry cloth in the potty (will that thing ever be used for the right purpose?). Then they are given a drink and put to bed after a gentle rocking session.
It all sounds so sweet and homely, but to be honest, I’m so effing sick of The Twins. They are really high maintenance. Because there are two of them, I’ve got to pick up the slack with Baby Jesse when Alfie is busy with Beak, and vice versa.
Alfie keeps telling me to ‘shush’ when I’m around them, like I’m too noisy. When I’m rocking Baby Jesse to sleep, he grabs The Twin off me and says, ‘No, mumma’, continuing to show me how to do it properly.
When we go to the park, Alfie usually pushes the double stroller with The Twins for, say, 20 metres, then I’ve got to carry them the rest of the way, along with the Tonka and a handful of rocks. Always rocks.
At tea time, I’ve got to help feed The Twins, trying not to mess up their Crayola-covered faces any more so. Their fabric bodies are covered in sticky jam, biro doodles and dirt. Baby Jesse’s head has a bite mark in it from where Cheef Dog had a chew. The outfits The Twins came in are beyond acceptable, with the Velcro adhesive holding half of my hair and something that resembles Blu Tak, but is more than likely a sultana.
I’m disgusted in myself as much as I am in The Twins. I should be showing Alfie that I care for them as much as he does. I should be giving them a proper bath, showing them how to use the potty, helping him to see that washing a face with a washer is not me threatening murder.
Instead, after Alfie goes to bed, I chuck The Twins in the toy box along with the other entire primary-coloured carnage and shush myself when I stub my toe on the miniature double stroller parked in the hallway.
The only joy I get out of The Twins is setting the babies up in random places around the house, their grotty drawn-on faces staring into your soul, and scaring the absolute shit out of my husband when he gets home from work late at night.
I’m too terrified to throw them out, just in case they reappear as they were the next morning, their heads spinning around ever so slightly. Shudder.