Bug,  domesticity

Goodbye Antilop!*

what's up doc?

See that face? That’s the face of a big girl. A big girl who doesn’t need her high chair anymore. With much trepidation, we finally took the high chair apart and stuffed it in the coat closet. We don’t need it anymore! But it’s still there just in case we do need it, along with all those wool coats we never use.

I say all this confidently but inside my chin is quivering and I’m grasping at the last straws of my former life. Baby Bug may not need the highchair anymore but her mommy does. Especially now that I am protecting my new couch cover like it were some rare piece of China. “Don’t you get near my white couch with those yogurt covered fingers!!! Sit down at your little table!” I say over and over and over.

I miss my old life.

I know I made the couch cover so it is washable for this very reason but I just don’t want to wash it yet. I want to save that chore for some undetermined date in the distant future. Maybe after I take a course in sailing because that’s how big that cover is and I’m going to need some special training to be able to stuff it into a washing machine. What day is laundry day? The first of Pain-in-the-Neck. So let’s just stay away from the couch with that leaky sippy cup of hot cocoa. Okay?

trying to sit at the table

Getting Baby Bug used to the idea of eating at her own little table was easy. She doesn’t miss her high chair a bit. The problem is keeping her at her little table while she eats. It is a work in progress. A labor of love. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve done so far. But as Toby constantly reminds me, if I don’t do it now it’s only going to get harder.

Why does life have to be like that? I’m so much better at going with the flow. If only the flow would go the way I want it to go.

I had an epiphany the other night while I was out to eat with my mom, my sister-in-law and my two nieces. We were eating at a family restaurant that was moderately noisy so it was okay that the kids were acting up. But there was an elderly couple sitting next to us and every time Baby Bug shrieked (she’s been doing that lately when she doesn’t get her way) I could see them wince.

I know they just wanted to enjoy their Early Bird dinner of a shared steak, baked potato and mushy broccoli. They probably looked forward to it all week and had a coupon even. I could just see it in their faces that sitting next to the Zoo at feeding time was not their idea of a senior night out.

Sure, I know this is life and if they were nice people they would remember the olden days when they had toddlers and smile and tell me that they grow up so fast or something. But also part of me remembers being that snotty person who always vowed to have perfect children who never misbehaved in a restaurant. Yes, that was me. Feel free to kick me in the shins.

I said something about Baby Bug wanting to get down out of her restaurant high chair (that barely holds her in since she is skinny enough to wriggle out of the germ-encrusted buckle) and my sister-in-law commented that of course she wants to get out when she’s done. She doesn’t have to sit and wait for others to be done when she is at home, does she?

She was right. Baby Bug does not usually have to sit and wait. Usually, I plop her in the highchair, turn on her favorite channel on the television and nuke something nutritious for her to eat while I go about preparing dinner for Toby and myself. Then, when she’s done I swoop her off to the bathtub, Toby eats in peace and we have quality splash time.

In theory, it would be great if we all ate together as a family at the table at six-o’clock but that’s just silly talk. For one, Toby works weird wacky hours and for two; I just don’t have my act together early enough. To pull that off, I’d have to be starting dinner at three or something. I just don’t love cooking that much. It already feels like all I do all day long is plan, prepare, eat and clean up after meals over and over and over again.

Sometimes I think we should just invent a pill we can take for nutrition and be done with the whole mess. Too bad I like to eat.

So my plan is to teach Baby Bug to sit and eat her dinner at her little table. What a grand plan it is. Thankfully, Toby is on board with this plan and has spent a couple of dinners sitting in the tiny chair next to her eating his dinner too. (They make quite the cozy pair.) When she wants to get up, he is very firm. He’s so much better at that than I am.

the new eating arrangement

Slowly, I think she is getting the hang of it. Hopefully, she won’t develop an eating disorder over the whole ordeal. Just kidding. We’re not making it into that much of a drama. But at the same time it will be nice when she can go to a restaurant with me and sit like a big girl for longer than two minutes.

*Antilop is the name of the high chair.


  • Jennifer

    The best way to solve the getting up: “If you get up, I’ll think you are done.” Then when she gets up, take her plate and put it up. She’ll test it the first couple of times. But if you stick to it, she’ll learn she needs to sit at the table and stay in order for her food to stay there for her. As long as you are feeding her at frequent intervals during the day (and since you feel all you do is “plan, prepare, eat and clean up” I can tell that you do), she won’t go hungry.
    It’s tough, but stick through it and you’ll be proud of yourself and her when in about three days!

  • beck

    I would be first in line to buy hundreds of the magical nutrition meal pill!!!
    I hate food preparation. Boo.
    I can’t believe that Baby Bug’ such a big girl already. We’ll have to call her Big Girl Bug. Seems like she was born just yesterday, or maybe that was *my* baby.

  • cc

    I hope I didn’t come across bossy, I just meant that I understood why she was complaining. I don’t even know why I am writing this, you know what I meant when I said it.

    Good for Toby for pitching in. I know how much fun it is to sit at those little tables, but it could be worse.

    SAJ says: OH! You were not bossy. Besides, if you were it would make up for all the years I bossed your kids around.

  • Kuky

    I keep waiting for them to invent the “push a button and dinner comes out magically” appliance, even though I do enjoy cooking. I think it’s partly because that’s my alone time. I have it all to myself.

    And we eat at the kiddie table, all three of us! :)

  • red lotus mama

    Little ‘Ny quit sitting in her high chair around the same age as BB. She likes to sit at the table with us, but she eats around 5pm and takes foooooreveeeeeeeeeeeeeer. So, as soon as we get home I start dinner. So, Hubs and I have learned to eat at 5:30. As Little ‘Ny starts her dinner I am getting ours on the table. That way by the time we are done eating she is about done too. If we are not done eating and she is she is not allowed to leave the table until all of us are finished eating. This has been a challenge, but it is the same rules at her school so it gets enforced. It is nice eating as a family. There are days when this gets thrown out the window … usually pizza night or if Hubs is not home. It might not work for everyone, but we try hard to make it work for us.

  • Annabanana

    Her food looks yummy, I’d sit with her too! Toby rocks!
    Seems our struggles are very similar right now. Dave is the one to set his foot down and make the kids sit and eat and not put feet on the table or run away to the tv or anything more exciting for that matter. I too wish that everything would just go with the flow my way. Not so. Blegh, so much work!

  • Gingermog

    What a lovely picture in my mind of Toby and BB sitting at that wee table together.

    Gosh, I don’t know how you get a toddler to sit down at meal times and not walk around with sticky fingers. I am trying to rack my brains to remember how we did it with my nephews (now aged 21, 18 and 14). All I can remember is that the eldest two used to kick each other under the table a lot “sigh”. But, they grew out of that :)

  • Chelsie

    It’s after midnight and the whole house is sleeping while I’m reading blogs… with only the light from my screen. :-) I just had to say that that is one fantastic looking dinner! I usually give my daughter three different foods (she’ll be one this week)… but the variety and color! I want to come eat at your house!! :-)

    Wow. Getting rid of th highchair… another monumental milestone that’ss huge for a mom and “eH” for the rest of the world. Congrats on the graduation to the big table mom!

  • Gramma

    When our firstborn was small, we ate at a feeding table. It was a square contraption that configured into many different things. There was a “U” into which a “swing seat ” attached. The apparatus came complete with a small folding chair. One of her parents sat on the folding chair, the other sat on an upended suitcase. We ate together because we did not have a big person table yet. When she grew, there was a firmly fitting top for the table covering the “U”, one side for eating, one side was used as a chalk board. The table was maneuverable, had wheels on two legs, so there was not much of a challenge to grab the edge and pull.

  • whoorl

    Look at that healthy dinner! With all the food groups! Wito only eats cheese, fruit and gardenburgers!

    *hanging my head in shame*

    SAJ says: That doesn’t mean she ate all the food groups! Mostly it’s colorful because of the butternut squash, which she doesn’t like it turns out. How can she be my child?! I LOVE butternut squash!!! Also… all of that is leftovers from meals I’ve cooked for Toby and I. It’s not like I slaved over it. I’m just trying to get her used to a lot of different foods. (heh) Her meal of choice would be cheese, fruit and POCKY! We haven’t tried gardenburgers yet.

  • Katie

    Oh my goodness, she is so precious. I used to be one of those snotty people regarding children in restaurants too. My husband and I don’t even have kids yet, but even all of the thinking of having kids soon has given me sympathy for those parents with children in restaurants. It makes me think, “That could be me soon and I would surely hope that people wouldn’t judge me!”

  • Monica

    I feel the need to say this: Toby may be better at being firm, as you say, but my theory about that is that moms (usually) spend so much more time with their kids that we need to adjust our interaction with the kids in a way that dads don’t have to. A mom has to think about the entire day. Has to pace herself for what might happen an hour or three or five from now. Has to be firm, but also has to be every other positive influence in the child’s life, 24/7 (if you are staying at home).

    My husband is “better” at the firmness thing too. I think it’s a luxury for him.

  • Jesster

    As the working mom of a very squirmy 18 month old, a 15 year old step-son/human food vacuum (with friends who often appear for meals), and a 19 year old college student (also with friends who show up and mealtime) and Rachael Ray I am not (neither perky or making things that cause me to exclaim yummo every 10 seconds) here is my dinner tip. Crockpot. Buy one, and buy the disposable liners so you don’t spend 2 hours scrubbing it after dinner. Use it abuot twice a week, for us, even if the 15 and 19 yo and posse(s)are here, there is always enough for leftovers another 1-2 or so times a week. Throw in a grilled cheese night and/or chinese takeout and your week of meals is planned. Cut up a bunch of fruit at one time, enough for 2-3 days of eating. Steamed in the micro bags of vegetables – either the frozen or the new zip and steam bags for fresh veggies. Buy them in bulk. Dinner practically cooks itself and we all eat the same thing at the same time :) I refused to be a short order cook…And FWIW, I am horrible at enforcing things too.

  • madhouse wife

    Well, first, what a nutritious looking dinner she has! Good for you! My kids eat corndogs and cheese. Secondly, I can SO relate to all of this. We are somewhere between the high chair and the booster seat with my 18 month old. I’d like her to eat at the table with us, but she eats at 5:00 (though I’m trying to push that back a little) and my husband gets home somewhere around…whenever he feels like it, or 6:30, whichever comes last. So I can’t leave her at the table for two hours. She chows through what she wants, throws the rest on the floor, and then has to be moved out. What you said about making them sit and not walk around though is so true. My 4 yo likes to get up, lots, during supper. He eats with us, but he always has to take a bathroom break half-way through, or stand on his chair or kneel on his chair or go look out the window, taking that corndog-on-a-stick with him wherever he goes (except the bathroom. I have to draw the line somewhere!). So you are right to try to make her sit down and eat through dinner.

    Lovely post. Nice to know that other moms have the same battles.

  • bluejaye

    That’s a lot of food!!! I don’t think my teen-agers eat that much at one sitting.
    Food prep is the bain of my existance. It seems that when ever I actually spend time to make a nice meal…that’s the day no one eats. Not to mention that the old man doesn’t eat until 10pm if at all. And I shouldn’t eat at all. As a result I have become a lousy cook.

  • Donna

    I have to agree with everyone above…her food plate looks great…so much wonderful color! What a Mom!! Keep up the good work on the “staying at the table” thing…it’s so worth it.

  • Chris

    I think I understand how you feel in the restaurant, but it’s a law of nature that makes childless people have to listen to children at restaurants that allow children. It’s not the responsibility of the specific children that happen to be there when they are. I have considered this, and even if my ears hurt, I can only hope that I have the courage to take my kid(s) out places and not be withered by the intolerance of others.

    For the staying-at-the-table thing: Courage! I have no expertise. It sounds hard. All I can say is “you can do it!”

    You do a beautiful job with your daughter.

  • The Chatty Housewife

    Oh ok, so teaching your child to sit at the table the entire time adults are eating will keep them from being noisy in restaraunts? Cool!

    Yeah right. :) Fun post, I really enjoyed it. Bug looks cute at her little table. If you have struggles what about using an old belt around her and the back of the chair for a while? Sounds horrendous, but it’s not really any different than a booster seat with straps at the table or a high chair- she couldn’t get out of those.

    On second thought, that would probably just freak her out!

  • BeachMama

    I remember the first time I packed all of J’s baby stuff away. Life changed quickly around here and it was so emotional because I never knew if I would use it all again. I have been so happy to bring it all out again and do it all over. Apple is moving quickly so I think I won’t get to use all the highchairs and stuff for long.

    And I love the colourful dinner!

  • miss virginia

    Oh, I’m so worried this is going to sound high and mighty and I so don’t mean it to…if I could be 1/10 the mom you are I would be able to say I was a success, and you do everything better than me but I wanted to make a suggestion that may help. My kids did so much better sitting at the “big table” even if I didn’t eat with them, they still felt BIG. I had a towel on the seat cover and a booster type chair strapped to the seat. It was easy for them, and easy for me. We did have the little table, too…and used it when friends came for lunch or snack or whatever, but the big table seemed to work best when they were on their own.

    SAJ says: It doesn’t sound high and mighty at all and I’ve been thinking I need to get a booster seat anyway for those times that we do actually all eat together. So thank you! :)

  • Amy

    I think you should make it a goal to all eat together.. at whatever time it works out in the day. Favorite part of my day is sitting down with my 3 kids and hubby (WHEN he is home..) Forced family time if you will :)

  • Jennifer

    I remember this transition when we just had Emily. It seemed so hard to get us all at the dinner table together. She had a small table that I would have her eat at. I even have a video of how exhausting it was to sit by and tell her to get back in her chair and finish her dinner. I’ll show it to you if you’d like :P

    Nowadays we all eat together around 5 p.m. Jeremy and I decided it was important for us to have family dinner and Molly is ready for bed by 6 p.m. so 5 is the latest we can eat. Sometimes I’m just not at all hungry so I sit and visit and pretend to eat. When the girls are finished I put my plate in the fridge to be eaten later and I give them their baths.

  • fishwoman

    FYI-booster seat may not be worth it. We had a booster seat strapped to a chair which worked wonders until about 2 months ago when our 21 month old simply refused to sit in it or restaurant high chairs. She would wet noodle and scream which made it impossible to get her in the chair. So, at a rest on a whim I let her sit in a booth next to me. Turns out she just wanted to be a big girl and sit like the rest of the family. We do enforce the if you get up rule we put the food up as an early poster suggested.

  • Faith

    Hey, I want to know where you got those plates, and do they come in a color other than pink. We have a food touching issue here…so that would be OH SO HANDY.

    The crackpot is a miracle, and no need for the disposable liners, if you buy a RIVAL with a removable crock those puppies are dishwasher safe!! So when dinner is served fill it with water, then after dinner rinse it out and plop it in the dishwasher with the rest of the load. (But you know, you can do whatever you want.) And that sucker always makes a TON so you can cook once, freeze half and then just reheat on the stovetop later!!

  • Lacy

    My son is only a couple years older and I am totally going to sound like that sweet older couple reminiscing on the past now. This too shall pass. Once she gets older she won’t want to leave the table at a restaurant because she will be chatting with family and playing with her cousins. My son was always on to the next thing but as the got older he slowed down to be a part of the conversation.

    Your post made me miss those days of trying to scarf down dinner to get a bath ready and wondering whether the high chair should be a thing of the past.

  • mrs k

    Ok- she’s just adorable- and that’s just the healthiest dinner serving I’ve seen in a long time- only one advice- go to landofnod.com they sell these placemats for the floor which are faboo. I used something similar and it too helped me retain my sanity during the training time.