Spreading paint to spreading kindness: How a 2-year-old's epic mess inspired a business for social good.

Picture this:

You gaze down at your infant baby, so beautiful and innocent. As you nurse your baby you look up to see your spirited two year old frolicking around the room full of joy. All is good in the world. You’ve got this mom thing down.

Maybe you’re not doing such a bad job afterall.

Then suddenly, it’s silent.


Where did she go?

At this point, you set your baby down in the middle of your nursing session. The silence permeating the room is not the breathe-a-sigh-of-relief-the-kids-are-napping, kind of silence.

It’s chilling. To the bone.

I turn the corner.


2 year old white paint picture


What followed is difficult to explain.

I’d like to say that I exclaimed, “Aw shucks!” and gleefully whisked Anistyn away to my pristine bathroom to take a delightful bubble bath complete with aromatherapy and classical music. 

I’d like to say that I didn’t spend the next three hours wavering back and forth between complete disbelief, and near total meltdown. 

I’d like to ignore the chaos that ensued and jump straight to the part where, with a burst of motivation and inspiration, I began my new business for social good. 

But let’s be real.

A few things went down in the meantime.

The thing is, when your child becomes infamous for an epic mess, YOU become infamous for being a terrible parent. A dream come true, right? 

To be honest, most people who saw the viral picture thought it was hilarious. It was almost as though people felt it gave them permission to relate their own parental mishaps and have a good laugh about it. I mean, all kids have been two once. 

The media blitz was a whirlwind. The morning after I posted Anistyn’s picture on Facebook, my phone rang.

“Hello! This is so-and-so from Good Morning America. How are you?”

Is this what people from Good Morning America do on a Wednesday morning?

Do they simply call sleep deprived mothers to check up on them, have a nice chat, see how their child’s latest string of bad behavior has impacted them? 

Before I knew it, the photo was all over the web. It was spotted on the home page of Yahoo, Reddit, and in every language I could think of.

We had been asked to do interviews for several news outlets. Inside Edition called and asked for an interview

In case all of the publicity was going to my head, the universe kindly handed me a live interview on Fox & Friends, in which Anistyn had her most public meltdown to date.

Aniston waiting for her first live interview with Fox News Network's Fox and FriendsAnistyn waiting for her first live interview with Fox News Network's Fox and Friends (above)

There was once a time when a tantrum in the aisles of Target would cause me to step away in a moment of panic and pretend she was someone else’s child.

Let me tell you something. There are few things that can phase you once you have survived a two year old’s tantrum on one of the world’s largest TV networks.

As always, there are two sides to every coin. For every person who got a kick out of the picture, there was another who was horrified that this could ever happen. 

I must admit some of the comments caught me off guard. A shocked and concerned mother questioned what type of mother could actually dunk her child in a bucket of paint just for attention and insisted CPS needed to get involved. 

Really, people? 

Another viewer expressed his complete disgust that my two year old daughter was 

still wearing diapers

I know. I’m disappointed too. I’ve also expected her to get a job for months now and for some crazy reason all she wants to do is make mudpies and nap. Ok, let’s be honest. Anistyn refuses to nap. 

Much of what happened that couple of weeks was a blur. 

I remember being up late one night with Madox, my sweet, insatiable baby, when I stumbled across yet another article, with many more comments. It was like a gang of cyber bullies, just eating it up. I was amazed at it. 

And as I sat there nursing my sweet boy, I looked down at him, and just wondered what he would be like as an adult.

And then I thought about how all of the people in this world were once as little and innocent as he was right at that very moment. 

It’s funny how your view of people can change when you envision them as a young child. You become much more compassionate. You begin to wonder what it is that has caused them to become the way they are. 

Whenever I’m having a tough time understanding someone’s actions or motives, or have trouble showing them compassion, I think of them as a young child. Nine times out of ten, it helps.

People aren’t born mean. 

Somehow, along the way, we become distracted. We forget what’s really important, and that’s a tragedy. 

I know I’m not alone when I worry about raising children in an increasingly selfish world.

Sometimes, as parents, we want to protect our children by shielding them from all of the bad things in the world. And why wouldn’t we? That’s our job, our most basic instinct.

Realistically, that’s impossible. Not only is it impossible but we need to ask ourselves, is that really the best choice? 

I’d argue that shielding them is not the best choice. Building their characters in a way that helps them to overcome the obstacles that will surely come their way is the best choice. They need to become empowered and enabled to deal with life’s difficulties. Not sheltered with a false sense of protection.

We need to raise a generation of children who are not only armed with the tools necessary to overcome their obstacles, but with hearts that will change the world.

It was during that fateful night, that the idea for a children’s company came to me. One that aimed to inspire children to be kind and give back. I needed a way to help children not only maintain their innate sense of kindness, but a means to enable and empower them to spread it. 

And I knew I needed help. That’s why I enlisted the help of my friend and fellow mother Jackie Konczol.

Jackie and Olivia with the first prototype for The Doll Kind.

Together, we founded The Doll Kind. We agreed on a simple yet powerful mission: 

To empower and inspire a generation of children to create a kinder world, one heart at a time.

the doll kind

We have a lot of exciting things happening for The Doll Kind in 2016 and we want to share it all with you. Join us on our kind mission by subscribing to our e-newsletter.

Be kind and change the world,


Feb 27, 2017

My granddaughter received the doll with purple hair as a birthday gift. The doll is so very charming and there is just something special about her. I did not know the story of the kindness coin, but soon realized that this was my granddaughters favorite part of the gift. I love the back story, the act of kindness, but the doll itself truly is lovely as well.

samie oneal
Nov 09, 2016

Try talcum powder on a freshly waxed floor( by a pregnant ,5 months third pregnancy ) and child ???funny now but then?

Jul 10, 2016

The photograph was truly one to enjoy and laugh about. It reminded me of my grown daughter,too. She once put on yellow kitchen gloves on her feet, and ran around with those as her adornment. She was deemed to be a duckling.

Your daughter will be quite creative. too. To explore a can of paint, to smear it on her body, to paint herself with it. One can not only see, but feel, and sense the possibilities. Admire her curiosity and wonderment. Encourage her, for these children truly look around and see the world. They are able to imagine so much more, than I would, and so many others!!

How exciting.


diane curry
Apr 28, 2016

I’m a grandmother and I am still having those moments where you take your eyes off them for only a minute. Messes to clean and lessons to learn has not stopped. I must admit it’s much easier to laugh when your a grandmother. I wished I had been able to have more grandmother qualities as a mother. I can sit and play, laugh at messes and read the same story five times in one sitting then act it out before bedtime. Good night kisses become sad, because good bye kisses come to quickly when Mom or Dad come to take them home. Although after a week, it’s an ahhhh moment to see those taillights going down the driveway.

Can’t wait to make Christmas gifts to the little ones in my life of your dolls. What a wonderful idea and I wish your company great success.

Apr 03, 2016

My daughter is three and has the same wild hair my sister in-law saw this picture on face book and sent it to me with the caption ( this reminds me of misty mae) i took one look and started laughing because that is exactly what she would look like if given two minutes alone in a room with a bucket of paint…. And of course while i was laughing she walked over and wanted to know what i was laughing about so i showed her the picture and her next words proved to me she is never aloud around paint. She said " that’s me then smiled and said can i do that again" she doesn’t remember ever doing that but no matter how many times i tell her the picture isnt her she will not believe me and want’s to do it again cause she says it was fun!! LOL!!

Mar 23, 2016

Good for you, it really is amazing what people will say. Yesterday I watched an adorable video of a toddler that the parent had taken to preserve memories of her speech. One woman commented that she did not think there was anything “cute” about it and that she always corrected her children’s speech. I had to reply with " so you are like Leonard’s Mom on Big Bang Theory, right? " I’m sure she won’t know what I’m talking about but I couldn’t help myself. I guess that makes me just as bad …

Mar 22, 2016

When my 24 year old son was two, he covered his bedroom (also his siblings’ bedroom) in black graffitti – he got his brother’s pen – walls, curtains, even the bed spread then his brother’s overall. He got the overall, soak it in the toilet ball and throw it back on his brother’s bed. It was , for sure, an epic episode. Ah, this same guy drunk car shampoo later on, when he was 5. Today, he is a Bachelor of Commerce, with minor in Economy and Spanish.

Regina Cid
Mar 13, 2016

This picture is so perfect!! My oldest daughter looks a lot like yours and we’ve experienced many similar moments! Thanks for sharing your story.

Jan 09, 2016

Thank you so much for your support and for your belief in us! Anahi, the dolls will be available to our kickstarter backers FIRST at a discount. We will be launching the campaign February 17th. If you choose to wait, the dolls will be available for preorder late march/early april!

The Doll Kind
Jan 01, 2016

Love you Victoria!!!!! Your kids are super cute and I love your idea. I have no children but I’ll gladly order your dolls to give as gifts. Hope to see them for sale soon. ?


Leave a comment