It’s a little after three on a Friday afternoon in Bunny and Lulu’s Fifth Avenue living room, and Bunny would like to sit on Big Daddy’s lap right at this very instant. The problem is, Lulu has already staked her claim. A practical bystander less attuned to such dilemmas might suggest that there’s room enough for both girls on the lap, or that Bunny should crawl over to Little Daddy’s, usually her lap of choice. But that wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as muscling her way onto the Louis XIV–style chair occupied by Big Daddy and her sister.
Bunny and Lulu are fraternal twins who turn 3 this January. Both girls enjoy Elmo and old black-and-white movies. Bunny fancies the color pink; Lulu, white. Bunny has a habit of decorating herself with Disney princess Band-Aids. Lulu dons them only occasionally.
Before Bunny and Lulu were born, each of their fathers—the interior designer Darren Henault and the corporate attorney Michael Bassett—hoped the twins would eventually call him Daddy. So, to avoid confusion, they designated Bassett, the taller of the two, as “Big Daddy.” As soon as they began to talk, the girls added the “Little” to Henault’s title. Things seemed unbalanced otherwise.
In July, Bunny and Lulu moved from a Soho loft to this grand Upper East Side apartment, which was built in the late 1800s and maintains its original mahogany paneling. Bunny and Lulu have the run of the very grown-up house—so long as they don’t put their shoes on the velvet-covered tête-à-tête that they love riding like a horse or take food outside the dining room.
“I was like, ‘You know what? We moved here because this living room is so cool. I want to make sure that we live in it,’ ” Henault explains. “They can climb on the furniture. I mean, it’s part of life. They’re 2!”
Mostly, though, it’s the proximity to the Central Park Zoo that earns the new home a thumbs-up from Bunny and Lulu. Asked to name her favorite animal, Lulu jumps up and switches into full duck mode, flapping and quacking. Bunny, abandoning Big Daddy’s lap, then does a very convincing penguin impression. Big Daddy scoops up Bunny onto his shoulders. Lulu wants a ride, too. She climbs up onto Little Daddy, wraps her arms around his neck, and whispers, “Little Daddy, where’s the silver tea set?”