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Don’t Mess With My Entourage!

December 15, 2010

Every now and then, I travel with my entourage. I know in these economic times, people are scaling back and it may be considered in bad taste to travel with your masseuse or dance choreographer. Trust me, Mariah, J Lo, 50 Cent and I were just having a laugh over this the other night…

However, since my babysitting expenses keep getting rejected by Finance  and we haven’t opened our on-site daycare yet, sometimes I must travel with one, two or all three of my children to get some Smashing work done, thus my Entourage.

The day after Thanksgiving, when there was no school, I had made arrangements to visit one of our factories to pick up our samples. Earlier in the week, I asked the owner if it would be ok to bring “my entourage” with me to the front office to pick up the samples. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t violating any child labor laws or OSHA standards. She said, “of course”.

So, I packed my entourage in the car and headed down to the northside of Chicago. Keep in mind, that all three of my children were born in downtown Chicago. My son, who is my oldest, lived in the city until he was three when we moved out to the suburbs. Now, he is a seven-year old first grader.

It was a very cold Chicago morning in the teens and I parked on the same block as the factory which is nestled in a residential neighborhood in a good area on the northside. Upon getting out of our car and walking towards the office door, my son suspiciously looked around and asked, “Mom, do they do drugs in this neighborhood?”. I carefully chose my words and replied, “Probably not any more than where we live. People make good and bad choices about drugs no matter where they live.” Next, he astoundedly pointed out that there was spray paint on the wall!  Someone is going to get a major time out for that!  His final question was “why does that parking lot have a fence around it?”. At this point, I realized that my son had become quite sheltered in the burbs and seeing a building without professional landscaping was really throwing him for a loop.

As we walked into the factory door, my three-year old was proudly showing her My Little Pony to anyone who came within ten feet. My son did not like this behavior and sternly took on the father figure roll and told her to stop immediately. We waited patiently in the office for the owner who showed up in a couple of minutes. She was excited to see the new baby as she had met me several times pregnant.

I gathered all of our samples and soon realized that walking to the car with an infant car seat, holding a three-year old’s hand, holding the samples and my son would be very difficult especially in 17 degree weather. Since my car was just down the block, the owner suggested that I pull it up to the door and double park and she would watch the sleeping baby in the car seat. Before I could even utter a word, my son loudly said with conviction, “We are NOT doing that. We are NOT leaving her here. I WILL stay with her and you can get the car.” I had never heard my son talk to me like this before and had it not been for the protective nature of his tone, I may not have liked it. But, the fact of the matter was that I was really proud of him. I assured him that I knew this lady and that his baby sister would be alright for two minutes. He shook his head and directed me to get the car and he would watch BOTH of his sisters.

I felt a shift in roles and I agreed and ran to get the car. I pulled up 60 seconds later and piled everything and everyone in the car. I guess there is usually a bodyguard in an entourage and today my son played this role.

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