Baby 1 gurgles, splashing her feet as her mum dangles her in the kiddie pool. On the other side of the fence, Baby 2 crosses his arms, trapped in a jump-up chair that makes him want to puke. What’s she so happy about? he thinks. She sleeps through the night – big fucking deal. He’d like a kiddie pool, though; it’s too damn hot and these soggy diapers don’t help.

Baby 1 has never seen Baby 2 but she’s heard him bawling. She can feel his negative vibes all the way over in her yard. Chill out, she thinks, you’re only a baby once. You can rule the roost if you’re smart about it. No one likes a crabby baby. They’ll be medicating you if you’re not careful.

She’s probably already on a list for preschools, Baby 2 mutters. And all her clothes are bamboo. And she probably has a binky in every room. I have two and one’s always missing and dad never even rinses it off when he finds it.

He might be lactose intolerant. Baby 1 rolls her eyes. Maybe he can’t help being so annoying, though seriously, he could make an effort. Those pathways are forming in his brain as we speak. He could listen to NPR once in a while instead of to that stupid mobile music which clearly just makes him cry louder.

Baby 1 rolls over on her tummy on her hand-quilted French alphabet comforter. Applause and exclamations of approval issue from her mum. Baby 2’s mum glances at the fence. La-dee-dah, she mouths. Baby 2 feels his heart warming toward his mum. Right?! he thinks and then burps and dribbles creamed carrots down his onesie. His mum sighs and returns to the article on hoarding in her magazine.

 

© Mercedes Lawry
[This piece was selected by Sommer Schafer. Read Mercedes’ interview]