The Paint Job

February 15, 2017 1 Comments

A short tale about a tin of paint and an excitable 4-year-old. I bet you can tell exactly how the story ends already…


It’s mid-afternoon and I’ve taken the cranky over-tired Boo for a desperately needed nap. Downstairs Brodie has decided to tackle the next item on our to-do list… painting the front door. A short while later I’ve a slumbering baby snoring in my arms and am just about to attempt the risky maneuver of putting him down when there’s some kind of commotion below. The kind of commotion where you really don’t want to know what’s just happened because it will inevitably involve you cleaning up a mess of some description. Unfortunately the word ‘Mammy’ is already being mentioned.

No no no! The baby is finally sleeping! Alas, I can hear the Rascal repeating ‘Mammy’ and there’s no further input from his father. A series of bangs and thumps telegraph his journey up the stairs. I look at the bedroom door. The one I shut to reduce noise while the baby slept. The one the Rascal can’t open so he always ends up beating it with his fists and wailing to be let in. Dammit. Sure enough, he’s rattling the door handle and calling for me. I hiss at him to stop making a racket and that I’m not currently available for whatever it is he wants to tell me. It can’t be that important if his father isn’t calling for me. Though what is his father doing?

There’s a brief pause and I suspect he’s wandering off to his bedroom to see what mischief he can get up to in there. Then he’s back. I’m trying to weigh up the risks of waking the baby who is not yet in a deep sleep. Let the noise continue? Or put him down on sheets that aren’t as cosy as my arms? Then the Rascal starts mentioning the word paint an awful lot. I get a sinking sensation in my stomach. I gently place Boo on the bed (he immediately stirs and starts crying).

I open the bedroom door and there’s my eldest. Covered head to toe with spatters of bright paint. He registers my look of horror and starts to say something else. But I’m not listening. I’m looking at the trail of destruction. There’s paint in his hair, on his face, his arms, his legs, his socks. There’s also paint on the carpet. The lovely carpet we replaced last year. And there’s paint on the walls, the door handle, the door, the stairs… I yell something along the lines of “OH MY GOD, WHAT ARE YOU DOING UP HERE IN THIS STATE?!!!!!”

This finally elicits a response from my husband, wondering what the fuss is about. A shouted exchange reveals that there was an ‘incident’ involving the Rascal and the paint can. This much I’ve figured out. Downstairs my husband is busy scooping up paint from the floor with his headphones on – blaring music that renders him almost deaf. The fact that his son has made it upstairs is apparently news to him. More importantly, he’s unaware that paint has also made it up the stairs with our son.

He was finishing up painting the door (with his headphones on!!!) when he was startled by the Rascal and dropped the paint can. It exploded all over the hallway. Everywhere. There are splotches on the ceiling. My husband has been scooping paint off the floor with his hands meaning he hasn’t removed the headphones. Nor did he look too closely at his son. So there were no objections when the Rascal wandered off to tell me all about it, trailing smears of paint in his wake.

There’s not much I can do other than throw the baby in his car seat in the hallway while I grab white spirits and kitchen roll. I start scrubbing furiously on hands and knees slowly reversing as much damage as I can. I have no idea how my child has managed to leave blobs of paint on so many obscure parts of the stairs and hallway. He has a talent for it. Meanwhile he’s left sitting on the bottom step under strict instructions not to move an inch. He interprets that as ‘please kick your paint-covered socks against the floor while smearing more paint on the stairs with your bum and laugh maniacally’.

Oh the fun we had that afternoon. And no, we couldn’t really blame him for what had happened.



For Sale – one speckled green four-year-old. His hobbies include: throwing tantrums, not listening, painting, and making a lot of noise.