It took a few days to get over the trauma induced by my eldest 2 daughters’ frenzy at painting stones. When the memories had faded a little, I got on with letting all 3 minxes paint the second coat.
Again, I insisted on old clothes and shower hats. Mini I just dressed in an old waterproof all-in-one. I sat the girls down and explained very seriously that I was going to let them open only 1 pot of paint at a time. They all had to take care not to spill the paint because the terrible mess would kill the grass and be wasteful. They were to sit quietly until it was their turn. They were not to hit each other with the paintbrushes. They were not to throw paint at each other. All 3 nodded seriously and sagely. Three seconds later, it had flown out of their feather-brains and they were creaming and fighting like a flock of seagulls scrapping over a herring.
Maxi and Midi were attempting to open pots of paint with their teeth; Mini was blithely sploshing paint over her feet and her sisters’ backs; Midi threw away a tube of black paint which was *instantly* grabbed by Mini, who squeezed it as hard as she could so that a thick glob of never-wash-that-out-in-a-million-years goo flew in the air and hit them all.
I attempted to gain control by shouting. Nothing. No reaction. I lowered my voice and growled. They just shouted over the top. I whipped away the sloshing paintbrush from Mini. She threw back her head and unleashed a banshee howl. I snarled, snapped and made a very horrible noise myself. They just looked at me like I was being a bit annoying. Where was the instant compliance? When had my skills at gaining immediate attention disappeared? I grabbed pots and stones and brushes like a snatchy octopus. All 3 howled. I threatened them with being sent to bed. They pouted. I tentatively handed over a single pot. They looked at it warily. I passed over a brush. They slowly picked it up. I moved back a solid centimetre. They snatched a pot each, applied it to teeth, and started squabbling again. I seethed. Painting done as quickly as possible, they were stripped, attacked with baby-wipes, and dispatched to run around the garden like over-excited, hyperactive savages.
The photos make it look like we had a lovely, calm afternoon of fun. But now that you know the real story of what happened, you can maybe spot mania in those 6 beautiful little minx eyes…