The Royal High Chair

The rookie mistake made by most first-time parents is the purchasing of an overly elaborate high chair. Despite having witnessed the smearing of peanut butter sandwiches, watermelon, banana – whatever, layer upon layer caked on domestic dining chairs and then being offered ‘take a seat,’ when it came to having my own children the knowledge that children are messy, grubby little beings went out the window. 

It is their ‘newness’ that gets you. That newborn smell. I’d often catch my husband breathing in our newborn baby as if some primal instinct was kicking in; an involuntary aromatherapy inducing a blissful state of love and wonder. Babies are incredibly tiny and perfect. Even if they aren’t tiny, they are perfect. Our first son was born at ten pounds. My husband announced this with pride. Ten pounds, no drugs. My obstetrician called him a ‘giant’ – the baby, not the husband. Although he did suggest I find another husband as a solution to not having another big baby, which I chose to ignore. Despite a deep admiration for my doctor, I was mildly offended by the term ‘giant.’ My best friend, had a baby boy a month later. I went to visit her, and hold the baby. He was just under six pounds. My baby was not tiny, but he was perfect.

We wanted our baby to live in comfort and luxury, at least in those early days. Bébé, Marquise, Pure baby. The softest onesies and blankets to go against the softest, most perfect blemish-free skin. The baby and his garments, smooth as a baby’s bottom. So when it came to choosing a high chair, we wanted our baby to be surrounded by comfort. Padding around the back, extra padding for the head rest, padding either side. The ability to recline. Other highchairs seemed so harsh, a solid hard chunk of plastic with no cushioning or support.

Sometimes though, no matter how luxurious, the fit just isn’t right. This reminds me of my mother having indulged in a brand new king-size bed, complete with cushioning technology – on sale, but still one of her more extravagant purchases – her comment after sleeping on the bed, ‘you know, a bed can be too soft.’ 

In general, I am not a big spender. When buying white-goods I like to aim for middle of the road brands, or perhaps, slightly above that, but never, the most expensive brands. While I don’t believe the high-chair we purchased as first-time parents was actually the most expensive, it was still ridiculous and unnecessary.

When we put our little prince in his brand-spanking new high chair, he sat awkwardly. Though it reclined it didn’t appear to sit fully upright. This gave greater distance for the heaped aeroplane to meet its landing. Not so helpful. And the mess! Baby mush smooshed into every crevice, caked onto the rim of the tray table, slopped and caked over the chair legs.  Disgusting. It wasn’t long before we made the thirty-minute drive to Ikea to pick up one of those harsh, solid plastic high chairs.