Kella is not getting the attention she wants. Considering the whirlwind month we’ve had with Finley, from his birthday to his seizure, that’s not too much of a surprise. Those feelings of jealousy has led to her plotting how to get the spotlight on her, including, but not limited to, demanding that her birthday be right now, insisting that she needs medicine too, wrapping her arms around my legs to try to trip me while I’m bringing her food, and, most of all, crying about inane things.

That last comment might sound a little condescending, even for describing the actions of a four year old. I don’t mean it to be. The triggers for her wailing fits have been scraped from the bottom of the Pit of Banality, not just for her, but for four year olds worldwide. Someone else using the Doc McStuffins cup even though she asked for My Little Pony? Meltdown. Hair brushed not in the right way? Meltdown. Refusing to trip when she grabs both your legs as tightly as possible? Meltdown.

While these kinds fits can easily dismissed with a laugh, a sigh, or a hug, one stuck with me more than week old Paula Deen mashed potatoes.

Amy likes buying the kids piggy banks. I guess they’re cheap objects that the kids love, but I’ve questioned if they need more banks than they have money (I’ll probably get in trouble for writing that). Anyway, each time Kella gets a new bank, she has to transfer her funds from one account to another like a Wall Street investor, leaving last week’s model to rust on the wayside.

The newest bank was a party favor at Finley’s birthday. As soon as Kella got home from the party, she washed out the new bank, working for almost an hour to remove the stickers and make sure every inch of it was squeaky clean. Once that was done, it was time to rollover into a new account.

The old one was a gift from great grandma Schultz

The old one was a gift from Great Grandma Schultz. The new one was a cheap old can that I couldn’t find this morning.

Kella gathered up coins, treating each–from penny to quarter–like they’re her Precious. To my knowledge she has no end goal in mind with her money, no toy she wants to purchase or app she wants to download (at least with her own money. I have a credit card to buy those things, as she likes to remind me every time she finds an enticing game on iTunes…which I don’t buy, just to clear things up). In that, she reminds me of me when I was young, always hoarding money with vague, far away plans of how it would be spent.

Finley, of course, couldn’t let her alone while she was carefully pulling each coin from the bottom of her dragon and placing it in the top of her Paw Patrol can. “What are you doing? Is that your new piggy bank? Why are you moving your money over? Can I see it? Can I have a turn?” With each question, Kella started huffing more and more, lips curling to a snarl, a barely repressed scream in the back of her throat.

“How much money do you have?” Finley asked.

With that last question, the switch was flipped. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she screamed at her brother, “A LOT!”

Of course it wasn’t a lot. A few dollars, maybe. But here she was, defending her savings, fighting to keep Finley away from what had taken her at least 15% of her entire lifetime to accumulate.

That’s when the irrational tears threatened to roll out of my own eyes.

Mixed thoughts flooded through my head. First, that sometime soon she’ll realize what a pittance she has, and her little world will be crushed. Next, I thought how focused we are on money, that even my four year old is running around collecting every last cent she can find. Then, lastly, I thought of the Parable of the Bicycle.

For those unfamiliar with the last one, it’s a popular Mormon story of a dad promising his daughter that if she saves up enough money, she’ll have enough to buy a new bicycle. After working for weeks and weeks, she comes to him with all her money, a mere 62 cents. At the store, she discovers not only is this not enough for a bike, but at her current earning rate it’ll take her until she’s in college to buy one.

The dad smiles wanly and makes her a deal. She give him all her money, and he’ll make up the difference.

Some weeks, I think I have life more or less figured out. That’s when the reminders come. They’re typically not as dramatic as a trip to the ER, but they’re enough slap me upside the head and jog in the realization that I can’t do this on my own. I’ve worked hard to take care of my family, but when the real trials come, it’s worth less than a handful of coins.

All that was running through my mind when Kella yelled out “A LOT!” As much as I would like to protect her from realizing how little it’s really worth, even if her pittance was multiplied by many thousands, some lessons in life have to be learned. I just hope she’ll forgive me for having to hide away in a dark room for a few minutes when she learns it.