Friday, March 26, 2010

Skip Hop Mate - Stay-put mat & plate

Despite all the amazing and innovative highchairs on the market today, you might be surprised to learn that I have two old ones in my house. One belonged to me and my siblings when we were little, and it's a beautiful, worn-in wooden Roxton one. The other is a metal and vinyl '70s-style model that I got for $5 at a thrift store. I enjoy that the vinyl seat upholstery matches the formica tray pattern. I admit I've been tempted to splurge on new highchairs, with wheels, numerous removable and dishwasher-safe trays, height adjustments, padding, and so on. But I don't think I can justify it, and I do love the vintage quality of both mine.

Neither of these chairs have a lip on the edge of the tray, which can be a bit of a problem for early eaters. Food cannot just be placed directly onto the tray, or it goes everywhere fast. It has to be on some type of plate. With my older child (almost 3), we now pull her right up to the table without the tray (it just swings to the back on little arms). That works fine because she's older. My son uses the vinyl chair, and it has a metal bar around the tray, but a large food-hungry gap to go along with it. He just turned 1, and if I give him his meal on a small round plate, it generally ends up capsized or on the floor.

I wasn't looking for a solution to this problem, but I happened to see the Skip Hop Mate in a store while looking for birthday presents for my son. I had very few ideas for what to get a second-born 1-year-old, so I thought this could be great. I was right! It's a fabulous design. It fits really well on the little tray of his chair, and the 3 little plate sections let me keep things organized (until his chubby little fingers mix it all up anyways). A tiny fork and spoon fit onto the side nubs, and the inner white plate lifts out for easy cleaning. The coloured bottom mat is coated with a rubbery non-slip surface, although I wouldn't say it always stays put. The bottom of the mat does hang a little over the edge of our tray, so now he's able to grab it and move it if he wants to. Still, not as easy to fling or flip as a little round plate would be.

You have to be careful with tomato-based or very red/orange foods, because they can stain the rubber mat easily. Wash immediately to combat this.

I know that I'm really liking this product because I wash it between meals... that generally never happens with any of the plates I own!

Purchased at Cheeky Monkey for $24.99 (I think). Available in orange, blue and pink. BPA-free, Phthalate-free, PVC-free.