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On the Subject on Toddlerpreneurs

As an entrepreneurial mom who works out of a home office, I always ask myself if I’m doing the right thing. Yes, I’m at home, but am I really spending “quality” time with the kids as I juggle my blackberry, popcorn, and zoo-sized plastic elephant drinking cup? I mean, really, my kids can’t possibly think I’m also mesmerized by the elephant eating his own poo.

I quickly dash off a short-hand Blackberry message asking a client if we can move our 2 p.m. meeting due to “other commitments” aka cranky son and wildly active daughter. I stop and take a good, hard look at my beautiful kids laughing as an elephant shovels yet another chocolate biscuit into its mouth … and wonder. Would they be better off in preschool? I mean, let’s face it, we don’t have the wildly entertaining bean and rice table at home. Nor do we dig through Easter grass to find prehistoric plastic dinosaurs. Come to think of it, the closest thing we’ve come to Montessori in quite a while is my son making a macaroni “the Scream” next to his pint-size table.

I herd the kids out of the zoo and get their little sunscreen-greased bodies into the SUV. I pull out wondering … what am I doing? Is this really enough for them?

A few days later, I’m working from my home office and I am cranking out the goods. I mean, my day is really humming along. I’m actually doing the work versus looking at it. So I’m a little perturbed when there’s a knock on the office door.

I look up and find our nanny with a bemused expression on her face. “Do you have a minute?” she asks. I take one last look at my screen and turn my full attention to her. “Lay it on me,” I say. She points to the kitchen, “Ethan has something to show you.”

I head out to find my three-year-old with a masterpiece at his table. He smiles up at me. (A little too calculating now that I think back on it.)
“I painted this for you”, he beams and holds up a very well-crafted finger painting.

I reach out to see it and just as I begin, “Oh honey, thank you so … ” He interrupts with, “Do you want to buy it?”          

Let me interject a moment here and tell you that this is coming from a not three year old, people. Not only has he never had to buy a thing in his life, he doesn’t even know where money comes from. For all he knows, Benjamin’s spring eternal from the dinosaur known as “moneydoesntgrowontreesiasaurus”.

 “Do I want to buy it?” I stammer.

“Yeah, Ethan told me he wanted to paint you a picture so you could buy it,” our nanny laughs.

And as I look over the congealed, globby mass of color swirls, I have to say, I’ve never been more proud of my little man. This, my friends, is why I became an entrepreneur. My son has not only painted a pretty damn good picture, but he has drummed up an investor and is on his way to his first dollar.

I tell him I will absolutely buy his one-of-a-kind finger painting and pull out a paper dollar. But uh, as we all know, one paper dollar isn’t as good as four shiny quarters. So I have to haul out my purse and grub around in the bottom until I present him with four, cookie-encrusted quarters.

He hands me the painting, shakes my hand and skips out the door so he can buy a coloring book with his first commission.

After he leaves I hang the painting in my office and grin at my first preschool art purchase … my son may not know how to find a dinosaur in Easter grass, but the kid sure knows how to make a buck.

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