In the 15 minutes it took me to put away groceries and make lunch for the kids, Madelyn perpetrated the following crime.
Please note that at no point did her abettor, Jillson, who currently delights in reporting Madelyn's every minor infraction, say a single word. I caught them red-handed when they came up the stairs in response to my summons for lunch. (Okay, I caught them pink-handed.)
They had paint on their hands, faces, legs, arms, and clothes. Scraps of toilet paper (evidence of remorseful attempts to clean?) were decoupaged to their fingers and lips.
Why yes, that IS paint and water all over my treadmill.
And on the carpet of the home we are renting. (Please note the hand towel--further evidence of an attempted cover-up.)
Baby Blue-a-Lotta was found face down in her own, um, paint.
The trail of evidence led to the bathroom, where the toilet paper roll was mysteriously empty.
I would like to note for the record that for once I remained calm. I did not yell. Madelyn said "I did it, Mommy" before I even asked. They both agreed they had been extremely naughty and that there would be consequences. Both apologized a hundred times.
After washing hands and faces and after an expedited and very quiet lunch, Madelyn went straight to a nap. Jillson was confined to the couch with books and a blanket (no TV). She meekly offered to help me clean, but I declined her offer. I explained that sometimes Mommies just need a little space.
I returned to the scene of the crime. Baby Blue-a-Lotta went into the washing machine with the kids' clothes and the hand towels. The paints and paintbrushes and clumps of damp toilet paper went into the trash. Hot water went into the steam cleaner, and an hour and a half later, it was over.
Oh, but there's an epilogue.
Before dinner, I heard Jillson shriek "Mommy! Come quickly! Maddie is drawing on the couch with a marker!" And, indeed, she was. A black dry-erase-board marker on my tan twill couch.
I have no photographs or energy left, but suffice to say that today was spent researching the removal of permanent marker from fabrics and thanking God for slipcovers, oversized laundry machines, and the internet.
Have I mentioned recently how much I would enjoy a glass of red wine?