I Thought I Had My Desk Well-Organized…


Seeing as how it’s almost March, I cleared the Christmas cards off my desk. I pride myself on a clean, organized desk.

My 17-month-old granddaughter, Tess, prides herself on cleanliness and organization, too. Unfortunately, she just has a different take on it.

One of the things that Tess loves most in the world is to climb onto my lap while I’m typing and, with a broad, sweeping motion, clear everything out of the way so she can draw on my blotter. The blotter is really a large calendar, so now the time of my appointment reads as eight blue lines and a lopsided black circle.

“When do you see the chiropractor?”


“What time?”

“Black and blue.”

She also likes to pull open the drawer (which she does with much authority) and sort out my office supplies.

The way I originally had them (which was, evidently, the wrong way) was — rubber bands in one tray, large paperclips in a second tray, small paper clips in a third, safety pins in a fourth, binder clips in a fifth and random keys in a sixth.

Easy and convenient but — no. All these little trays need to be dumped into a pile in the bottom of the drawer so she can waggle her fingers through them and study their tactility. She smiles and stares at the ceiling while she does this. Then she sorts them back into the trays her own way (which is, evidently, any old way) and pours them back and forth.

I suppose it is a sign of weakness on my part that I sort them all out again when she’s gone.

Tess also loves tape. It’s sticky and bothersome, but nothing tops the sound of yards and yards of tape being pulled from the spindle. Turns out it’s not as invisible as they claim. She finds it every time. I let her mess with it because it’s difficult for her to get into the paper clips when her fingers are taped together.

I also have three little tin buckets on my desk — one with pens, one with pencils and one with markers. I put the one with markers as far from the edge as I can, so, of course, those are the ones she wants. I have to agree with her that a line drawn with a marker is much more satisfying than a line drawn with a pencil, but how does she always manage to seek out the permanent markers? She has her own collection of child-friendly, washable markers in an array of lollipop colors and smells, but she prefers to use the same brand major athletes use to sign basketballs.

In a quest to retain some semblance of order among my receipts and important papers, I have hidden little plastic toys and dolls throughout my desk drawers, but, like an FBI agent looking for damning evidence, she examines each toy upon discovery and then drops it unceremoniously onto the floor.

“Well, Deb, there’s an easy solution to this problem,” you say. “Quit taking the child up onto your lap!”

But I thought I already explained this — she’s my granddaughter.