I am so excited I can’t even contain myself…we finally got a new high chair and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I say finally because we’ve been using a hand-me-down high chair for the last 6 months and it has been the source of frustration at least 4 times a day. That’s 720 incidences of frustration you realize! We reached a point where we said, why…why do we do this to ourselves if we have the resources available to get something that meets our needs? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate hand-me-downs more than I can express and we are extremely lucky to have a steady stream of clothes and toys come from Stephen’s brother and my sister, but this particular hand-me-down I valued in a different way. It gave us the opportunity to try out a high chair and learn what features were most important to us before investing money on one. That itself was invaluable.
There are so many things that I thought I wanted or needed before having a baby that I never actually used or liked after I had the opportunity to give them a test drive and see how they fit with our way of living. Using the high chair for example, I remember putting in a special request with my sister-in-law to save it for us. Seeing it in action with her kids, it appeared to be the Cadillac of high chairs and she gave it rave reviews. The Chicco Polly is full featured. It has a 5 point harness, two vinyl seat cushions for easy clean up and is pretty funky looking. It sits on lockable castors so it can easily move across the kitchen floor. It has a mesh bag on the back for bib storage and a nifty place to hang the child tray when not in use. There’s a removable parent tray that attached to the leg for things you want to keep out of baby’s reach. The child tray is huge and can hold a large volume of spilled liquid with the deep lip around the edge. It includes a removable, dishwasher safe snap-in tray insert that can also be used when you roll up the high chair to the dinner table. The insert sits nicely on the table to protect it, contain the mess and stays in place with the skid free feet. This chair is adjustable in every way possible, from the foot rest and recline feature to the infinite height adjustment. Another selling feature for me is that it can be folded easily and tucked out-of-the-way when not in use and it folds so compact for storage that as I packed ‘er up to go in my shed, the transformer song began ringing through my ears….transformers….high chairs in disguise! Seriously…I might have to post a picture of it…this feature is very impressive!
So…after all that you might be asking yourself, with all these features why the hell is she complaining? This leads to the main point I would like to make, when purchasing something functional, it’s less about the number of features and more about your individual preferences and how it will fit your lifestyle. So in saying that, I recognize there are probably many families out there that love and adore the high chair that I’m about to rip apart. Most of the features on the Chicco Polly, we didn’t end up using. I had the recline feature on my must-have list for a high chair and by the time Chase was eating solids, he had sufficient neck control so we never used it anyway. Since we eat our dinner at the same time we feed Chase, the parent tray was never used. It was no problem for us to put his feeding supplies on the table we sat at. The mesh storage bag wasn’t particularly attractive filled with yucky bibs and we had to bend over to retrieve both them and the tray at every meal. The child tray was heavy, awkward and wouldn’t slide close enough to his body so there was the opportunity for food to drop into the chair while he ate. The crotch bar is also attached to the tray so when you remove it and set it down, the bar tilts it on an angle so all the food falls off and of course your baby is left without the added safety of a bar holding him in the chair. I also thought that Chase appeared uncomfortable in the chair…it kind of swallowed him and the tray sat just under his armpits so he had to raise his arms to pick the food off the tray. Keep in mind that Chase was a big boy, 28 inches and 21 lbs at 6 months old. Even in the most upright position, he seemed to sit back at a slight angle. The tray insert we removed and never used from the get-go because a) it was much too large to fit in our dishwasher and, b) food would get trapped between the tray and the insert so we ended up having 2 surfaces to clean instead of one. I was surprised that we never used the fold up feature because it was a very large chair and took up a lot of room in the dining room but it just didn’t fit in with our routine to stop and fold or unfold a chair after every meal. Most of this stuff is really just minor inconveniences but my biggest complaint merits its own paragraph.
This chair is terrible to keep clean! I *might* have judged my sister in a law a weeeee bit when I first received this chair…. maybe a teeny bit. Just a smidgen really. My mother-in-law was kind enough to deliver it to us and I remember she said she gave it a good wipe down first. This is a woman with high standards of cleanliness and to see the chair AFTER it was apparently wiped down in the condition it was in….I was speechless. Stephen and I spent over an hour cleaning the thing with toothbrushes and bleach, soaking the harness in borax and digging food out of every crack and crevice. I didn’t understand it..how could it get THAT dirty? Didn’t she wipe it down after every meal? Not that I ever really expected a high chair to stay looking good as new but every trace of that eensy teensy tiny bit of judgement that I *might* have placed on my sister-in-law was washed away (no pun intended), after we had the opportunity to experience this chair after a meal time. There are SOOOOOOOOO many cracks and crevices in this thing…. even the foot rest collects food and when you remove the part to get it out, it all falls on the floor. Screw a vinyl seat cover…an easy clean high chair is really all about being seamless. Now 6 months in, whoever ends up getting this high chair after us will definitely be judging me and my cleanliness but honestly, life has been pure bliss with the newest addition to our kitchen…the oxo sprout high chair! If you are interested in hearing why I love this chair, check out my next post!3