Monday, March 16, 2020

How Not To Dad: Episode 17 - Sippy Cups Suck (AKA The Leakening)

  My daughter and I sit at a dining table. Sunlight from a perfect Spring day slants through the windows. A bird chirps from somewhere in the distance. There is laughter and merriment in the neighborhood, and Abby and I sit with smiles on our faces having a light lunch. She picks up her sippy cup and sips, ever so daintily, from it and then places it securely on the dining room table.
"Thank you father," she says, and offers a little bow of the head. "This milk is exquisite. Two percent?"
"One." I counter. "Only the best for my little angel."
"Angel indeed!" She says, smiles, and sips from her cup again. When she sits the cup down it leans and threatens to tip over, but she catches it. We share a glance after the near incident and then both chuckle heartily as if we were the ending shot of a sitcom credit sequence. Probably frozen in place and everything.

So none of that crap happened.

You know why? Because a toddler's cup is not used for drinking as an adult's cup is. It doesn't just sit on the table or the high chair tray and never move. The reality is that holding liquid is only one use for a child's sippy cup. Abby's has been used with equal measure as a hammer, a baseball, a watering can for our floors, a step stool (never goes well), a stress management tool (she throws it), and a comfort device, as sometimes she likes to just carry it around with her for no reason. We've been through at least half a dozen cups over the past six months, and I've come to a very grim conclusion.

There isn't a sippy cup on earth that doesn't leak.

I'd love to see what qualifies as a good test procedure to see if a cup is leak proof or spill proof. I picture a group of engineers standing proudly beside a table in a lab, grins and nods of approval rippling through them as one of them reaches out and gently lays their prototype sippy cup on its side. Another one keeps a timer. They stare at the cup. Ten seconds later an alarm goes off, signaling the end of their experiment. They all shake hands and congratulate each other. Job well done, right? The cup has survived ten seconds of lying on its side. One of them slaps a "Leak Proof" sticker on it and sends that baby over to the marketing department.

In my home there is no gently placing a cup on a table or floor. Half the cups we have end up lying on their side, a puddle of milk or water resting just below the lid as if the thing had seen too much and pissed itself out of fear, anxiety, or exhaustion. I have yet to find one that can survive Hurricane Abby. And Abby's a relatively calm baby! What do parents of hyper kids do?

So anyway, now I walk into Wal-Mart wearing a brown leather jacket and a dusty fedora, a bullwhip tied through my belt loop. An old man stands in the sippy cup aisle of the infant section, chain mail inexplicably covering his head, shoulders and chest. He holds an ancient sword. When I approach he wearily looks up at me.

"You must choose..." The old man says, his arm sweeping across the aisle of sippy cups. "But choose wisely. For the true leak-proof cup will bring you peace, but the false, leaky cups will take peace from you."

I step forward. My eyes roam the display of colorful plastic cups with their whimsical little pictures of ducks or elephants or Mickey Mouses printed on them. I make my choice.

I exit the aisle, proceed with my purchase and head home so Abby can test her new cup. As I leave I imagine I can hear the old knight say something, but can't quite make it out.

Later that night...

How Not To Dad: Episode 2 - Speedbag

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