We’ve had the same booster seat for Bella since she was 5 months old.
Nothing fancy. No frills or toys. It was a simple, sturdy design that buckled to our tall chairs. It came with a tray that snapped on. We first used it when she, barely able to sit up straight, was being fed rice cereal while Sam and I took turns filming her for the world (Facebook) to see.
Over the years it’s been a part of so many things besides eating. She tried her first finger paints on it. Skyped in it with Daddy, two thousand miles away. Showed off her drawings to family in another state. Placed her stickers all over it. Played while I got dinner ready. She learned how to rock it back in a way that hit the chair and caused it to tip. That ended quickly after Sam and I both panicked and explained the chair could fall over. We’ve both accidentally pinched her little legs in the buckle when she was little, and tears came from us all.
The day we removed the tray and put her at the table with us we realized how big she’d already gotten. The rubber ended spoons I used to wipe up pureed peaches became metal ones she held herself. Tiny plates and cups appeared before her instead of a jar just out of her reach.
Bella’s gone from needing me to lift her into it, to climbing the bottom rail of the chair and hopping in herself. While most of her friends were done with boosters at the table, I kept hers on. Partially because our chairs were so high I was afraid she’d fall. Partially because I didn’t want her to be that big yet.
The past two years, it’s been made ready for three other siblings that never came home. Each time we’d look at all the new, fancy highchairs. Different styles and models. None of them seemed as practical and useful as that little booster seat. So it stayed with us, in the end only being used by Bella again.
The other day her friend came over for a playdate. As we sat down to dinner, he climbed into a regular chair. I saw Bella glance at him, and then her booster seat.
“I don’t need my booster,” she announced. I unbuckled the booster, telling myself I could just put it back on again after dinner. As I watched her, I realized she really didn’t need it. She was a little low, but sat on her knees. Her eyes flashed in excitement as she realized she could reach the table without it.
I left it on the side of the room. Just in case.
The next night as we sat down, I told Sam, “So Bella doesn’t have her booster seat tonight.” He glanced at her and at me, and we both gave each other that little look of, “Oh wow, that part of this is over now.” We try to be careful not to put our wishes for little ones on her though, to make her feel like it’s wrong that she’s growing up. He squeezed her hand and said, “Such a big girl. We are so happy you are growing up strong and healthy.”
It’s funny how something that was insignificant four years ago is such a vivid reminder today of how quickly this all passes.
Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, Still Standing Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, with smaller glimpses into her day on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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