“Kids Trash Home With Flour in Minutes” has become a viral sensation, with some two million views on YouTube in less than a week. But the video — showing Vince and Mary Napoli’s 3-year-old and 16-month old boys spreading flour willy-nilly all over the family living room — has elicited cries of hoax.
More than a few folks have commented that the video shows flour spread over pictures on the wall and on lampshades — too high for the boys to reach. And Mary’s relative calm as she videotapes the pre-Thanksgiving Day disaster has also raised eyebrows.
On TODAY’s Facebook page, many parents sympathized with the hijinx kids can create, but others called out the Napolis: “Oh my gosh!!! It is obvious this was planned,” wrote Laura Ingram, while TODAY Facebook fan Loane Ross added, “Either this was staged and the flour was given to the kids strictly for the video, or these kids have to be the absolute worst behaved kids in the world.”
With their mischievous kids in tow, Vince and Mary Napoli appeared live on TODAY Wednesday, submitting to some good-natured grilling from Matt Lauer.
Mary Napoli told Lauer how the whole mess started. The St. Claire Shores, Mich., mom had just returned from grocery shopping with the boys, buying a 5-pound bag of flour to make some pumpkin bread for Thanksgiving.
She admitted she was “a little under the weather, I won’t give you details here,” and went to the bathroom for “five minutes at most.” But she said those five minutes were enough for sons Zachary and Andrew to wreak havoc. The boys grabbed the bag of flour and coated the entire living room in white powder, from the couches and ottoman to the walls, picture frames and lamps.
Mary said she grabbed her video camera, which was also covered in flour, and began shooting the carnage. When husband Vince got home from work, she asked him to post the video on YouTube, since “my sisters and my in-laws don’t have Facebook. I asked him to put it on the internet (so) my family could see it.” And when the view clicker spiraled up past one million, she thought, “Let’s just roll with the punches, here.”
But the Napolis didn’t expect the backlash from nay-sayers who contend they staged the video event for a quick grab at fame.
“When people look at this video, it brings out the forensics investigator in them,” Lauer told the Napolis. “They look at the couches and they say, 'Wait a minute, these kids would have the flour in one spot and then spread it around a little bit, but they look at how even dispersed it is.'
“They say there’s no way these kids could have done this; this is an attempt at YouTube fame.” Dad Vince countered, “We challenge those people to give their 3-year-old and one-and-a-half-year-old a bag of flour and try it and see. (The flour) is so light, it just flies.”
The Napolis found more sympathy on the TODAY Moms Facebook page — where parents more familiar with the mayhem-making of toddlers totally believed the flour video.
“My two year old got into flour, cayenne pepper, countless boxes of cereal. Desitin and baby oil gel,” wrote Healther Schultz Dragone. “I take pictures and post on Facebook. Life's too short to get bent over these things.”“Really, people? Is that the best you can do?” wrote Danielle Smith on the TODAY Moms Facebook page. “When my boys were 4 and 2, they painted the neighbor’s couch ORANGE! Lesson for everyone — "washable" paint isn't that washable.”
Mary Napoli defended her calm demeanor in the video; she utters a series of “oh my goshes” and “oh boys,” and even throws out the one-liner “It’s like a snowman puked all over my living room,” but doesn’t sound particularly upset by the outrageous mess her boys made.
She says before picking up the camera, she “dropped a couple of words I maybe shouldn’t have,” but took a deep breath and began filming the kid’s mess for posterity. And she knew her family would be watching the video.
“I was sending it to my family, I’m not going to swear as I’m recording, that’s ridiculous,” she told Lauer.
Mary told WJBK-TV in Detroit that cleaning up from her boys’ handiwork took nearly eight hours and broke the family Shop-Vac in the process.
And she withstood Lauer’s asking, “No help from you…you didn’t spread it around a little more than they had spread it around?”
“No, no, no,” she replied.