Saturday, March 22, 2008

Managing Money and Children

We went to a financial planning seminar today and learned that we really have no idea how to actually manage our money. We'll have to try to fix some things, consolidate some others, and completely undo or redo some of what we've already done. Who knew finances were so confusing. They kept bringing out these graphs and charts and used all this crazy terminology that I didn't really understand.

I suppose that if we had gotten a babysitter, like the Wilsons, so that I didn't have to run out in the hall with a squealing Rachel every two minutes I would have understood a whole lot more.

She certainly was a handful. The first thing she did when we sat down was pee in Andrew's lap. It had to happen eventually. How many times has she done her business on me?

Andrew spent the rest of the conference with a burp cloth spread across his lap. When we had to get up to move to another classroom he carried the diaper bag to cover up in front.

I, on the other hand, spent the conference with Rachel. During our first session she discovered that the acoustics of the room were such that her voice could carry rather far if she squealed loud enough. I tried everything I could to make her behave: Cheerios, toys, crawling on the ground, standing on chairs, bouncing on my hip, using our whisper voices.

Nothing really worked. She would scream while she chewed on her Cheerios and toys, squeal while she crawled on the floor and walked along the chairs, and growled when I bounced her on my hip. The only time I could get her to be quiet was when I convinced her to whisper--she whispers "mama" really softly if you prompt her the right way--but that only lasted for a couple rounds of "mama" before she was back at full volume again.

No one really seemed to mind. There weren't many people in the room and we knew some of them. Most anyone who looked our way gave us an understanding smile. Even the speaker didn't mind that she was there.

Then this one lady walked in late. She clip-clopped across the room in her high heels, sat down in the back row, adjusted the twill skirt of her suit, primped her hair, and whipped out her laptop. She obviously meant business.

Rachel squealed and threw a toy across the floor.

Business Lady scowled. I shushed Rachel, not that it actually did any good.

Rachel made eye contact with a friendly woman a few rows up and showed off her cutest smile and giggled loudly when that lady made a funny face.

Business Lady glowered. I shushed Rachel and put my hand over her mouth, not that it actually did any good.

Rachel buzzed her lips, clapped her hands, and stomped her feet.

Business Lady glowered and then scowled, she heaved a humorless sigh, slammed down the top of her laptop, got up and huffily walked past me, almost snarling. She sat on the front row and opened up her laptop again.

I took Rachel out of the room while she gave me a big, long, noisy kiss on the cheek.

We played in the hall for the rest of that session, trying to avoid earning any more crusty looks from Business Lady.

I suppose I would have thought to get Rachel a babysitter had the conference been anywhere but BYU. Quite a few people brought their babies. It just so happened that Rachel was the only baby in that particular session. BYU is generally a child-friendly place and I wasn't expecting anyone to act so negatively to Rachel's happy babbling.

I don't know if Business Lady attended the next session with us or not. If she did, she didn't focus her crusties on me because Rachel fell asleep when I nursed her during the break and thus napped quietly through the entire lecture. Had Rachel been awake I would have felt safer in that room, anyway, with three other baby-laden parents in close proximity.

Aside from the sour Business Lady, the conference was a good experience. We were treated to muffins and got to visit the little museum in the Hinckley building and learned a lot about managing our finances. And Andrew's shorts had dried off by the time we got up to leave, which meant that he was able to walk a lot less conspicuously.


  1. That's one of the awesome things about the Middle East - no one will ever make your child feel unwelcome, anywhere! And chances are, Rachel will be the best behaved child wherever you go :).

  2. I wondered why you never answered your phone the many times we tried to call you. Now we know.