How not to do Father's Day

It was such a beautiful afternoon on Father's Day and we were all outside enjoying ourselves so much that I thought it might be a good opportunity to paint the dolls house. This is the kind of thing that I do. I'm never content just to sit on the grass and look at the view. I always have to be fixing or making or weeding or doing something.

The dolls house is for the baby: it belonged to my older daughter 10 years ago but it is now in need of a facelift.

I thought it might be nice to take my own advice about doing things with my children and I decided to let them help me, obviously fully aware that children and paint are not a good combination, but I was focusing on the shared experience, and my own flexibility. "It'll be fine," I thought. "I can manage this!"

In order to avoid too much mess I got them to take their clothes off. It is a lot easier to scrub paint off bare skin than to try and remove it from clothing.

As you can imagine the paint went everywhere. Baby was covered pretty much head to toe. The six-year-old was not much better. When they had finally done enough I asked my husband to put them in the bath. It was not long after that that he stomped down the stairs.

"The paint you used is not water-based!" he said.

It was true. I had pulled a tin of paint from the cupboard without reading the instructions and did not realise that this was not a simple wall paint. This was the semigloss for doors and window frames and it needed turps to get it off.

And I had no turps.

Thankfully I was able to borrow some from a friend down the street and thankfully it did actually come off the baby skin without injuring her. But by the time I was finished it was late and the cupboard was empty.

"Oh no!" I thought. "It's Father's Day and I have actually forgotten to cook dinner."

It was like one of those bad dreams but I was saved by the fact that the supermarket down the road had bacon in their fridge. We had a fry up in front of the telly, smelling of turps, and everything was okay.