London - It's the phase every parent dreads – when a toddler decides to exhibit their artistic talent, with all the mess that can bring.
But Zeb Porritt was more ambitious than most when it came to his canvas.
Not satisfied with paper, the two-year-old sneaked upstairs and found a large bottle of black poster paint, which he squeezed to create a large splat on the floor.
After apparently rolling around in it, he rampaged through the house, leaving a trail of black along wooden floors, all over the carpets and down the stairs. Zeb also managed to coat a sofa and walls with the paint, as well as the family dog – although no one noticed at first because the toy poodle was already black.
The toddler caused thousands of pounds of damage in just two minutes while his mother Ellen, 37, briefly left him alone to take a call as she was working from home.
"I left him in the kitchen with the baby gate shut. I thought it was safe but it must not have been shut properly," she said. "We could track his movement by his footprints – he literally walked through every piece of carpet in the house."
Porritt – who also has daughter Ruby, ten, and seven-year-old son Kit with her husband Richard, 37 – said Zeb had discovered a basket of poster paint bottles that Ruby kept in her room on October 20. "We taught him to go down the stairs on his bottom and he’s rubbed this black paint into every single stair," she said.
"It’s been a real disaster – there’s thousands of pounds worth of damage. We’re on our third child so we thought we had it sussed. He’s just hitting the terrible twos and he has a willful streak but we think he genuinely didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong.
"When we asked him who had done this he joyfully shouted 'Me'. My husband said it was like Jackson Pollock had had fun in the living room. Safe to say, we have now removed all the paint from the house."