We've had a desk with a computer set up in the front of the house, oh say four or five years, and I've been working from home going on three. So having an off-limits desk should be familiar ground for the kids, now 6 and 4, right? One would think so. Sadly, it doesn't always work out that way.
The basic rule is Stay off of Momma's desk. Pretty simple, pared down from the former Always ask before you get something from Momma's desk. Easy enough to understand, but that simple rule can't always overcome the temptation to make yourself at home at Momma's desk, especially since she has so many cool things — pens, pencils, paper, stamps, glue, hand sanitizer, and the list goes on and on — right in plain sight of the entire family with apparently no order to how things go. (I'll address the placement and organization of Momma's desk later on.)
Of course getting something off of Momma's desk isn't as simple as that, since kids can't get one thing and leave it at that. They see two or three more things they must have, and leave a trail of misplaced items in their wake. I got up this morning to find things in disarray on my desk. Now this desk might not look too orderly to the untrained eye, but I did just leave it a few hours ago to go to bed and I remember clearly the order of the chaos.
"Who's been on my desk?" I inquired pleasantly enough for someone who hadn't had any coffee. The six-year-old piped up that it had been her. She had wanted to send her daddy a letter. "Okay," I replied, reiterating the rule. "Stay off of my desk." I replaced the box of envelopes, a DVD of "The Pelican Brief," CD recordings of Bible stories, and an old picture of my best friend and I taken half a lifetime ago, and turned around to make a pot of coffee.
A few minutes later I was heading into the laundry room when I spied a letter-size envelope placed near the door on the kids' computer desk. (Yes, they have their own, but the computer is an old Mac that no one but the baby can work, and we can all imagine why she was the only one who could get it to do anything. It's on it's way to the garbage, by the way.) Neatly penciled in childish letters were my husband's name and our address, correctly placed on the envelope.
My heart swelled with pride that my daughter was sweet enough to write a letter to her father and place it in an envelope and that she was able to (mostly) spell everything correctly and put it in the right spot on the envelope. But alas! There was a 37 cent stamp affixed — in the upper right hand corner, mind you — to this envelope. That means a trip to the post office for a 2 cent stamp to put on an envelope that will come right back to this house.
Something had to be said. I praised her for her spelling, penmanship and correct usage of an envelope but scolded her for getting it — AND the stamp! — off of my desk. I pointed out how mailing the letter will require me going to the post office for another stamp when the letter will just come right back here. What is more, I will be the only one at home when it is delivered. Stay off of my desk, I repeated the familiar command.
She smiled and said, "Yes, ma'am," but she was bursting with pride in herself and I'm sure we'll have to go through this again later on today.
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