When we had our first child, Cameron, we made a few mistakes about the stuff we bought. One of them was getting a conventional, but (for the time) upscale highchair -- faux-leather padded cover, two-layer pop-off food tray, and reclining seat.
The seams of the cover would get caked with food, and the apparatus was full of plastic crevices that -- to my boys, anyway -- just seemed to cry out, "Shmoosh a banana into me." In our first house we could open sliding doors off the kitchen and power wash the sucker on the deck, but with house and baby number two came the highchair's final descent to filth. The padded cover met its end one day when I went to clean it and a cloud of fruit flies emerged. (OK, I'm lying, this happened several times before true self-loathing set in and I pitched it in a fury of mumbled four-letter words.)
This highchair had a huge footprint that was probably responsible for about 17 black toenails, so prone were we to stubbing our toes on it while trying to move around our narrow dining room. And the reclining feature proved completely useless because neither of my kids ever fell asleep in it. Hell, if either of them were the "that-was-such-a-good-meal-of-peas-and-carrots-I-think-I'll-fall-into-a-satisfied-stupor-right-here" type of child, I think I'd be a different kind of mother. Instead, my toddler, Alister, and his brother before him, were more the "throw-a-bowl-of-cheerios-wriggle-out-of-straps-stand-and-say-'ta-da'" type.
So recently we moved the big high chair up to the attic and got this one, the Minui Handysitt.
It's from Denmark, and is newly-distributed in Canada by a work-from-home dad of three based in Vancouver. This booster/highchair fits onto any kitchen chair so it doesn't gobble any precious floorspace -- a boon in urban homes. It has a sleek, modern Scandinavian style and folds flat so it can hang on the wall or fit into the back of a closet (making it a good purchase for Grandma's house as well). Watch for a round-up on modern highchairs and booster seats in the Star's living section soon.
I must say, however, that it has been a bit of a mixed blessing having Alister at the table with us (though that would be the case whether he was in a stylish Danish booster or something from Fischer-Price). He's constantly engaged in a science experiment of one sort or the other, dropping raspberries into his glass of water, pouring the contents of one vessel into another, or -- recently -- putting an entire bowl of yogurt on his freshly shampooed head. ("Ohhh, we can't trust him with bowls," his big brother said.) It is virtually impossible to eat two bites of toast in a row because cleaning up after Alister is such a demanding job. Just when I turn my head to remicrowave my cup of tea he'll use his remarkable overhand to throw an apple to the other side of the room: "Uh oh!"
If you have a toddler of your own, you'll probably recognize this move: I call it "the windshield wiper" -- you know, that thing babies do when they've got a huge spread of food all over the table in front of them and the only logical way to clear the area is, obviously, to use the full range of motion of the arm to get it all flying at once? "Not the windshield wiper!!! Noooooooo!"
When I'm not discussing the issue with my dry cleaner, I'm reminding myself that he won't always be such a boor. We will eat at restaurants again. He will grow bigger and get hobbies that are less destructive. I will, one-day again, consume more calories at the table than I burn. And I'll look upon on this day when I'm old and wish I could turn back the clocks, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...
Meanwhile, in other important news, I'm delighted to report that the York University strike is finally bleeding over, and that education reporter Louise Brown will be freed to follow other important parts of the edu. beat - along with colleague Kristin Rushowy. Check out what Louise has to say about Africentric curriculum in her three-part series, and Kris's report on a potential high school teachers' strike.