When I was pregnant, Kyle and I went to eat at the Blue Door for the first time. Before we entered, we saw a highchair on the sidewalk, part of the display of the antique store next door and we got Real Excited.
“We could totally refurbish this!”
“Oh it’s so cute and nice!”
“Look! It converts to a play table!”
We looked at the price tag and decided that $10 was certainly the right price for a project like this! We brought it home gleefully that day!
A few weeks later, my dad came over and we glowed as we showed him the highchair.
“I’m pretty sure I fell out of one of these when I was younger,” he joked seriously. (For more examples of joking seriously, see Minnesotans everywhere.)
Leveling him with an earnest gaze, I replied, “Which way did you fall out?”
He said, “Through the bottom.” I nodded the way plumbers do when they have confirmed their suspicions about the cause of your problem.
“I can fix that.”
Kyle was sitting with TR on the couch, scrolling through our parenting app, and declared, “He can really start eating solid food any time now!”
Leveling my very best side-eye, I said, in the way only a nagging wife can, “Well, you’d better finish up that highchair, then.”
Not missing a beat, he responded, “Well, you’d better get sewing that padded seat, then.”
My stern face melting, I pivoted wildly. “I just haven’t gotten around to buying the waterproof fabric yet! That’s all!!!”
A few days later, I was plugging away on the sewing machine and Kyle was in the basement sealing the wooden highchair. TR was reclining in his swing, watching our frenetic activity with placid satisfaction. Dance, my monkeys. Dance.
“Honey, where did all the old dog harnesses go?” I shouted as I dug deep in the reusable shopping bags filled with dirty dog toys and every tool used to remove fur under the sun. As is usual, I found the harness in question as soon as my husband got up and had almost arrived in the mudroom, prepared to help.
“Never mind, here it is!”
Saying nothing, Kyle returned to his chair. He’d become used to this by now.
Brandishing the dog harness, I began to secure it to the highchair, fixing the loop that had previously adorned the German Shepherd’s neck at the bottom of the chair. Then, I loosened the loop that had gone round the dog’s belly and wrapped it around the chair, securing it in the back. The heavy-duty nylon strap connecting the two loops provided the perfect fail-safe to protect TR from meeting the same fate my father did.
Feeling quite proud of my work and quite clever as well, I picked up TR and strapped him in, absently wondering at how parallel many dog items are to baby items.
Finally, just in time for Thanksgiving (because my husband and I
are procrastinators work well under deadlines), TR had his very own vintage highchair.
Armed with a monstrous plastic bib and homemade applesauce, Kyle and I crowded around TR in his high chair, brandishing a spoon and singing Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song” to get him to open his mouth.
Ever the foodie, TR laughed and ate all of it.