Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chasing a Baby Chair

Equipment for babies has changed a lot just since we first became parents on 16 July 1972.  We used what they called an "umbrella stroller"; ours was plain yellow, no fancy designs.  It folded up in a half-second and fit in the glove compartment (okay, I exaggerate).

No one had those monstrous strollers that I see everywhere today, the kind that look as if they were designed for use in combat--perhaps constructed on the same production line as Hummers.  Some of them, pushed by granite-faced mothers with attitude, actually frighten me.  I literally leap off the sidewalk when they approach knowing that a collision would find me on my back, tire tracks on my face, a summons to appear in court on charges of child abuse pinned to my shirt.  (This I would notice when I regained consciousness in the ICU.)

Car seats are also much different.  We didn't use any at all for a while (no one did), and I still have this horrible image of baby Steve, alone in the backseat (no seat belts, either), on his first little car trip to the store in our 1972 Plymouth Duster, banging into the door after the first turn I made.  I hadn't realized you have to learn not to sway and fall when a car turns.  We stopped, held him.  He liked that better.

But on long car trips (we were living in Kent, Ohio; my parents, in Des Moines, Iowa, almost exactly seven hundred miles west, a trip we always did in a single eleven-hour day), we would turn over the back seat to Steve.  We would put down a sort of a play-mat back there, and he would roam around the entire area, sans restraint, with his toys.  When he got tired, he would flop over and take a nap.

And now, of course, backseat kids are chained into the space capsules no longer needed by NASA to perch atop rockets.

And high chairs?  Don't get me started.  Steve's was a simple wooden device that required no degree in engineering from MIT to put up and take down.  But when our first grandson, Logan, was born more than seven years ago, we went out to look for high chairs and to purchase a complicated product that indeed sent me up to Case-Western for some post-grad work.  Just getting the damn tray on and off required a master's.  But we eventually, sort of, figured stuff out (many all-nighters).  After a while, of course, Logan eschewed the chair, so it went into mothballs.

And then grandson #2, Carson, came along three years ago.  And out of mothballs came the chair--and a return to grad school for a refresher.

But now Carson also eschews chairs, and since there will probably be no more grandchildren and since the high chair was consuming our "pantry" (i.e., the little room off the kitchen stuffed with stuff we don't know what to do with), yesterday, with nary a tear, we put the high-tech highchair out on the tree lawn to see if someone would take it.  No one did.  Not all day.  (Has the technology moved on that much in the last seven years?)

I figured, though, that we could leave it out there a couple of more days.  Just to see.

And then--last night--high winds arrived, the sort that reminded me of the dust storms that used to swirl across north central Oklahoma when I was a lad.  I was up at two o'clock to close the windows (the sky sounded as if Hera were running her vacuum cleaner); I barely slept thereafter.

And at 3:30 I heard another sound: of high impact plastic hitting the ground.  I got up, looked out the window, saw our grandsons' high chair cartwheeling down Church Street.

I was up in a flash and outside in a jiffy and regretful in a New York minute.  I was wearing my sexy shorty pajamas--diaphanous and daffy--and I was cold and storm-tossed and certain a carload of unsmiling Neighborhood Watchers would turn the corner, would see an old guy wearing virtually nothing sprinting down the street after a pinwheeling baby chair, would hit 911 simultaneously on all their smart phones, and I, in an opaque orange jumpsuit, would be in mayor's court trying to explain the unexplainable ...

PS--I caught the chair.  Put it in the living room.  No Neighborhood Watchers watched me.

1 comment:

  1. This post made me laugh out loud. You never know, you may end up in the Hudson Hub on the "Crime Watch" page. I agree, baby items are out of control these days. And just so you don't feel too old, they're still called, "umbrella strollers". I also love the description of the mom with the monstrous stroller--so true!