Thursday, May 29, 2008

Chew On This

Unfortunately, I have to announce that Tricky and I are officially at war, but only from 6pm to about 6.45 each night and sometimes for about eight minutes at 7.30 in the morning.

Our chosen weapons are porridge (in the morning) and a variety of delicious wholesome cooked meals (at night) featuring several vegetables and some form of protein. The battles are terrible and fearsome to behold and even Naughty Nephew 3 brandishing a spoon and a winning smile cannot halt the carnage, although last night NN2 whipped out a pot of vanilla creme yoghurt and a sudden truce was called.

The problem it seems, is the highchair. This is the almost-new, racing-car orange highchair with comfy leatherette-look seat and Evil Clipping Harness which takes small bites of flesh from the hands of the unwary and slightly distracted adult.

We bought this highchair just over a year ago at the local shopping centre and brought it home in a blaze of glory, elated and victorious, giddy with the thought that soon Tricky would be seated and elevated and harnessed into place. Also that we could easily wipe down the tray.

More than any other item, the highchair is the time capsule of baby furniture. You can spray and wipe as much as you like, but you will never completely remove the spinach stains, or de-egg the harness belt.

There are existing nooks and crannies that you could never hope to find with your Chux cloth or your q-tips dipped in vinegar and bicarb. These fissures are filled with the detrius of Meals Past and only a team of teeny tiny archeologists could find such remnants; the Blended Foods Era, the Baked Bean Period, the first evidence of Spoon Feeding Self, the Long Dull Week of Pasta Bake.

Even then they won't actually clean, they'll only dust delicately with little wee brushes and erect teeny string fences around the sites.

One year.

Just a few short months, from loving to loathing, yet here we are, at dinner time and there is Tricky in classic Screaming Tomato formation with additional arched back and stiff legs. He shrieks Nooooo Noooooo Big Boy Chair and in vain do I say This Is A Big Boy Chair because he knows that it's not, it's the chair he sat in when he was a baby, when his food was pre-mushed and his bowl had a suction cup to glue it to the tray.

And anyway he has written proof, a team of teeny tiny archeologists in his employ have just published a paper acknowledging that twelve months of meals lie lodged within the upholstery.

I feel like taking that damn chair and chucking it on the kerb alongside the dead fridges and cracked garden furniture for hard rubbish day except for something that happened a few days ago. N had picked up the boys from school and Tricky from childcare and was giving them afternoon tea downstairs. It all sounded quiet and calm so I kept writing but then I realised it almost sounded too calm. I crept downstairs and saw that Tricky was sitting up IN HIS HIGHCHAIR with his milk and his biscuit.

I could have made a big deal about this. I could have stormed over and raged about the Geneva Convention and the rules of engagement and WHY CAN'T YOU SIT IN THE HIGHCHAIR FOR ME? But instead, I crept back upstairs and kept writing.
This is a war over Breakfast and Dinner, I realised. Afternoon Tea is obviously no man's land.

So now, at nights, Tricky sits in a booster seat on a dining chair. He has a parent on one side to pander to his culinary needs and NN3 on the other to pander to his entertaining needs. He has NN1 seated opposite to encourage him in "Big Boy Eating" and NN2 at the other side of the table to get him vanilla yoghurt from the fridge when required. In the mornings he sits either in a little wicker chair or on a woooden stool with his name burned into the seat. I realise it's a slippery slope from here and any day expect him to demand a pipe, slippers and a plaid dressing gown with little tassels.

In cases of extreme Screaming Tomato-mania, he sits in Mummy's lap, while two other adults hover and administer vanilla yoghurt and tuna pasta in alternating mouthfuls, as happened the other evening.

As I sat there exhausted, holding his arms, feeling him slowly relax as he enjoyed both his dinner and his just dessert, and watching Daddy and Aunty N dive in one after another with their laden spoons, I realised Tricky may have won the battle, sure, but the war wouldn't be over for a very long time.


Jess said...

Our second, we didn't even BUY a highchair - after discovering there was no way to REALLY clean the damned thing from the first one!!!

We bought this:

and never had a bit of trouble. It has a tray, or she could sit without it (still belted in! Whee!)

If you can't get one, I'll send you ours if you'd like...

Jess said...

Oh! And it also FOLDS UP, so you can take it places. Like an umbrella stroller, another one of those pieces of baby equipment you don't realize are going to become your very best friend....

LL said...

we bought the ikea high chair - recommended by Choice Magazine.... very, very easy to clean... and even easier now that Lil'mooey doesn't use it AT ALL anymore (oh, except for playdough)..

I am a lazy mother, Lil'mooey gets a smoothie for breakfast every day, 1 weetbix, frozen raspberries - add a little hot water to melt/moisten, a couple of spoons of yoghurt and milk to loosen... whiz with the bamix. I serve it in those reusable "take & toss" cups with a lid and fat straw... she runs around with it... no mess, no fuss... no supervision... yey!

Anonymous said...

It must be the age. Will REFUSES to sit in his highchair anymore. He won't even use the booster. He wants to "sit inna DADDY chaaay-er"

I gave in & now he sits (on his knees) in a regular chair and eats peacefully at meals. The only time he fusses is when he runs out of lima beans (eeewww)

Unknown said...

Hi Ovagirl

Back on line and catching up on previous posts. Would have loved to have contributed to the quirky posts bit but I'm a man and it is well known that men don't have quirks - only highly annoying habits. Not the same thing at all.

Still on for a meet up in Perth?

Anonymous said...

What a determined little face... do not succumb Ova Girl. I'm losing miserably in the cry-it-out bedtime battle.

DD said...

I remember the time when projectile vomit covered our entire high chair...

My husband took it outside (after I took off the cover to throw in the washing machine) and used the power washer on it. Would you believe high chair mfr don't use stainless steel screws?? Those bastards!

Once XBoy hit 1, the only time he enjoyed the high chair was when he could use it to climb on, but never to sit in or eat from.

Grit said...

when the hi chairs got too much, we indulged in picnics. these are wonderful. push the rubbish away from the floor, lay out the plastic sheeting, bring down food you can walk over and keep a pile of wet towels handy... this is for toddlers teas, btw, not supper for the grown ups.

Lin said...

Deep six the high chair and revel in how much space you have! Tricky just wants to join the big boys. I love the image of the entire family poised...doing their Jolly Tricky Along thing. Wonderful!

OvaGirl said...

Thankyou for these offers and tips and encouragements. WE have tried a variety of differnt chairs over the months, since we often frequent a variety of cafes but I really think he's recognised that we sit in a different chair and that is the chair he wants to sit in. I am thinking of trying the picnic scheme this weekend but I am afraid that he might always demand picnics.
Also, I realise this is a function of being a FIRST CHILD. It's like his current stroller refusal. Other kids I know, his age but second or third children don't even realise that there is a world outside of the stroller. They sit nicely and never shriek WALKING WALKING ... that is because their parents are cunning and decided to spare themselves pain.

Mima said...

I'm a first, and I'm fairly certain that firsts are for experimenting on, and anyone after that is for when you know the answers! Sadly I think that the answers also change with the nature of the child!!

I didn't realise that you all sat down to eat together with the Naughty Nephews, it must be a wonderful way to have family time with everyone, if only we all had families near enough to do this with, what heaven!

Betty F said...

Ah but he's so CUTE. I love the photo you have of him here in the high chair. He looks very determined.
I have no offers of advice or hints for you, I'm sorry to say. I don't really remember that problem. I should my kids had table time issues, I just can't remember them now. So maybe I can offer you the hope that one day, you won't have to fight at dinner? :) I miss a lot of things about my kids being young... Supper time problems are not among them. Good Luck!

Maggie May said...

He does look a determined little rascal! But he obviously knows what he wants. It is the first of many little victories!
As long as he enjoys his meals that is all that matters!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, determined. Of course that shot is him in the Pre Back arching days, when he actually did sit nicely for me.

By the way, have just had morning tea and witnessed ONCE AGAIN him sitting in the chair for Aunty N. C and I exchanged dark looks and muttered into our coffees.