The Gleeful Gourmand: My Epic Highchair Journey

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Epic Highchair Journey

Last weekend we finally rid ourselves of two things so vexing to us that we considered it a major personal triumph to remove them from our house.

If you and I are friends outside this blog, I'm sure you'll know exactly what I speak of with such contempt: The girls' highchairs.

Our relationship with their highchairs can be summed up in one word: contentious. I remember clearly picking out the highchairs, thinking how great it was that they were foldable, and that they converted into booster seats. With space becoming quickly limited in our home thanks to our two baby girls' arrival, they seemed like a great bargain. I'm sure my husband and I both said in our best Yiddish impressions: "Such a deal!"

Their first time in the chairs of doom. Notice the trays. They look evil, don't they?

They weren't. I'm not sure when it started, but the highchairs started to fight back. At first it was small things: They were incredibly hard to clean. Although the covers came off and were washable, the straps that buckled them in were not. Of course, those were the things that got the dirtiest. Food that dripped onto the plastic sides seemed to become inexplicably soldered on, and no amount of scrubbing helped.

Then, to add injury to insult, the highchairs literally began to injure us. The chairs had trays that were 2-in-1s: A larger tray snapped onto a smaller tray meant to be used eventually for the booster seat setup. The whole tray then slid together onto the arms of the chair and its distance on the arms to the child in the seat was adjustable. The only problem with this is that if you pulled out the tray just a hairs' breadth, a mere whisper, past a certain point, the tray would rocket off the end and crash spectacularly onto your waiting feet below.

Miraculously, the trays would always clear the girls' feet, but we were not so lucky. Our feet bear the scars and memories of searing pain. The girls were introduced to curse words their unsullied ears had never heard. Sometimes there were tears. It didn't help that the girls' kicking legs could also hit it at a perfect angle to have it shoot off the end of the chairs, too.

So when we finally decided that the girls were ready to sit in real booster seats at the table with us, the decision was unanimous. The highchairs had to go, no matter that they already had booster seats built into them. They were no longer welcome in our home. I washed, scrubbed, and cleaned them to the best of my ability, and they were loaded into the car.

That Saturday was beastly hot for October in Virginia, with temperatures in the mid 90s. I set off on an expedition to rid myself of the chairs, already having been rejected once by Goodwill (apparently there's a new law that prohibits them receiving anything children can sit in). I went to my nearest children's consignment store. They said it would take them about 30 minutes. I drove off and made it to the light when they called to tell me to come back. They couldn't accept them - the straps were too stained. Damn you non-removable straps! The lady at the counter told me kindly that I could put the high chairs in the drop-off charity box at the back of the parking lot.

"Oh, you mean the box that has the worlds smallest opening and a sign that says not to put anything on the ground beside it? Put these two clunky, huge, highchairs in there? Good idea!"

30 minutes later and I was back across town, and had been recently rejected by a thrift store the guy at Goodwill had suggested. He said they took anything. He lied. That was it. It was time to chuck those suckers in the nearest landfill.

My glee at finally being able to rid myself of them, coupled with the remorse of not being able to help out a family in need made for an interesting mix of emotions as I rolled back across town to the landfill. Suddenly, I was filled with sadness as a deeper understanding of what getting rid of the highchairs really meant.

I would never have to deal with clunky highchairs again. I would never have a baby again. And while this was a decision my husband and I made with enthusiasm shortly after I gave birth to the girls, and I have never regretted it (3 kids is just enough for me), I felt strangely sad. This was it, I thought. Next the cribs will go and babyhood will be truly over. I should have been thrilled, and for the most part I was, but still. There was an undercurrent of something like loss. All this growing up stuff really was happening so fast. I only had to look at my son, almost 6, to realize how much he had changed since the days of his toddlerhood. How much I had changed.

Happier together.

And then I got to the dump, and had an equally frustrating experience with the lady at the booth taking money. I dropped coins in the road while she chatted on her cell phone and cars lined up behind me. I finally got to the trash receptacles, seething.

I chucked the first piece of one of the chairs: the legs. I heaved it with force, letting go of all my frustrations. If there hadn't been people everywhere, I probably would have screamed while doing it. I felt a supreme satisfaction watching them land with a loud clang. With each piece chucked over the side, I felt better. My arms, legs, and back all felt the weight being lifted.

I saved the trays for last.

And smiled all the way home.


Kirsten Oliphant said...

This was hysterical! And sad. I totally know what you mean about the signs of our kids growing up! Too bad you don't live in Texas. You could put those bad boys in front of your house on the curb and they would be snapped up within 10 minutes. For serious.

Jenna said...

I so wish I could have done something like that! We need to start a movement in Virginia. I'm sure my HOA would be super pleased with me. ;)

Unknown said...

You had me at "vexing". I would have thought at first you were talking about your previous oven. :)

As Kiki said, this is really funny and sweet. -Also, leaving on the street, posting on Facebook, and I think there is some Richmond based free baby things swap on line that I heard about from Amanda Y. However, none of those would have provided you with the satisfaction of chucking them into the smelly dump. This reminds of the scene in Garden State when the 3 characters are in the quarry in the pouring down rain, climb to the highest point, and scream at the top of their lungs (an inner release was needed for the characters). - Glad you found satisfaction, saved those pain injecting trays for last, and that the girls have taken the next step. Bittersweet!

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