Monday, June 2, 2008

The Highchair

The story goes like this, lil' dude.

The wooden Highchair was purchased second-hand by Mama's grandparents in 1949.

From their perspective, it has been a rite of passage to 5 kids, 14 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren (you are lucky #19!) and should see a 5th generation great-great-grandchild by this Christmas.
You loved sitting in The Highchair this weekend in great-grandma's kitchen. You kept throwing your teething rings and plastic toys on the floor. Grandma rushed over to you bearing "toys" she said you would not abandon in such a way; a set of metal measuring spoons, a gingham-checked canning ring from a jelly jar, and a Tupperware magnet straight off the fridge. And you know what? She was right! You wore the canning ring like a bracelet and noisily and happily banged the spoons and chewed on the plastic magnet. You were in heaven!

You bridged the 4-generational gap by being sweet and patient as we both listened to Grandma's wisdom.

"Don't tickle her feet! It'll make her stutter when she grows up."
"The first table food I fed my kids was soft-boiled eggs with butter. There was no such thing as baby food back then."

Grandma: "Do you give her water to drink?"
Mama: "Does she need water?"
Grandma: "Do trees need water?"

"Let her have a bite of your rhubarb torte, one little bite is not going to hurt her."
"I have never seen such dark, defined eyebrows on a baby. She is going to be a dark-haired beauty!"
"If she wants to sleep on tummy, let her, for goodness sakes. I can hardly blame her myself!"
"She's not afraid of strangers one bit! Must be that daycare making her so friendly."
"Is she still hungry? I can mash up some canned peaches for her?"

It was 78* at Grandma's yesterday, yet she kept a log in the wood stove and the windows in the house open.
"I didn't want it to be too hot or too cold for her," she explained.

We spent the afternoon watching Grandma's favorite MLB team on TV. They won! "They are a young team, learning to play together." We walked the long rows of her garden, squatting down to show you the teeny green sprouts. We dipped your toes in the rain barrel, we smelled all the flowers from Woodland Flox to the rare pink Baby's Breath to the Gerbera Daisies she kept alive over the winter. "They are hardy! like me," she said. We (well, Mama) ate homemade cinnamon rolls, raisin puff cookies, butter brickle cookies, dinner rolls, blueberry muffins, rhubarb torte, rhubarb pizza . . . coffee with "cow" in it (real whipping cream) . . . and then, for good measure, a hand-scooped ice cream cone. "Let her taste that ice cream now, the cold will feel good on her gums," Grandma said. Grandma was right!

As we reluctantly packed up to head home, I prepared to haul The Highchair back to the little garage where it is stored. "No," Grandma said as I lifted it, "you leave that here in the kitchen, where it always used to sit. She will be back again soon."

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