We painted Child 3's room this weekend. It chose a nice blue, bright but not cold, and I set about training the available Children in the fine art of DIY painting.
Step 1 - purchase supplies. This is an art in itself. Not only must one negotiate the Mammoth Home Center, one must avoid the charms and allurements of the power tool section (mmmmmm.... sliding compound miter saw.... laser cut line... oooooh), forcibly pry all three children away from the color sample chips (NO Child 2 you may not paint your room a. black or b. red), resign oneself to handfuls of paint sample chips lying around for days AND remember to get all those little niggling extras like two rolls of masking tape, a drop cloth, and edging tools. Check. Success on all fronts. Also, does anyone want to buy slightly used paint sample cards? We have a few...
Step 2 - move furniture. Designate - that's the key. In other words, children are slaves and should be used for all heavy lifting and other manual labor. However, the adult in charge should stand around helpfully saying things like "mind the walls," and "didn't I tell you to mind the walls?"
Step 3 - tape. Here's where the adult in charge has to dance carefully between the perfectionist's need to get the masking tape EXACTLY in a straight line around every baseboard/window/door and the aforementioned slave status of children who really should be doing this tedious job as well. It's a difficult life I live.
Step 4 - drop cloth. Realize that going cheap and buying only one drop cloth (even though it's a tiny room) and also going lazy and not removing the large and bulky bed means it's going to be a harrowing morning as we shift the drop cloth c-a-r-e-fully from one side of the room to another. Inform the Children that dripping paint is one of the signs of the apocalypse, and war and/or pestilence will be visited upon them if they get any paint on the pristine surface of the drop cloth.
Step 5 - edge. Child 2 realizes at this point that messiness is going on and passing it by, and wanders casually into the confined space of the semi-drop-cloth-covered room. It is allowed to edge because it of all the children has inherited that perfectionism, but it should not be left alone as it also has a tendency to lie prone on the floor in the middle of everything and sigh heavily.
Step 6 - roll. With drill-sergeant precision one must coordinate the efforts of the edger (with rolly edgey tool thingy), secondary edger (with paintbrush for the corners) and roller. Special attention should be paid to height/reach, and the ability to notice when bright blue paint is dripping down one's arm. Assign child 2 to checking walls for bald patches, which it does happily and with great thoroughness, but remove it from duty after two walls because no one wants to go back and fill in at that point.
Step 7 - clean up. Adult in charge should do the primary clean up as Children seem to lack grasp of staining capabilities of paint on carpet, furniture and concrete. However allow Child 3 the delight of holding its thumb on the hose and creating a high-pressure spray for the roller. Point out that it is possible to do this and have most of the milky-paint water spray forwards rather than backwards at the hose holder and its closest relatives.
Step 8 - assess damage. Final count - three highly painted bodies (me, forehead and temple plus arms, Child 2 arms with marvelous coverage, Child 3... easier to point out the small bits still flesh toned), not one drip or mark on the carpet, and one freshly painted blue room.
Not bad. Not bad at all.