Death by Sippy Cups.

I have a hate/hate relationship with sippy cups.

Okay – I do love that my kid can take in liquid without creating a cleanup catastrophe worthy of an oil spill relief crew, but I mostly hate them because NO sippy cup manufacturer in the free world seems to know how to make a truly drip-free sippy cup.

I think we can all agree that when it comes to baby products, the only thing worse than The Sippy Cup Stage is The Baby Food Stage.

When Noah came Of Age, I decided to go with Nuby.  They were the only soft-tipped sippy cups I could locate in the vast aisles of brightly colored drinking implements, and Noah was having trouble grasping the concept of traversing the great divide between bottle and sippy.

I’d had trouble with Nuby cups leaking when Ali was a baby (but then again I’d had trouble with EVERY brand leaking when Ali was a baby), but Nuby’s packaging screamed throughout the cup aisle all of these flowy exclamations about “new and improved!” and “leak-proof!!”, so I decided to give them a second chance.

But most importantly, they said “Easy to clean with no valves or removable parts!!” and that really sold me.  There’s nothing more dreadful than taking apart sippy cups, getting each piece situated carefully in the dishwasher so that none of the sippy organs end their lives sizzling on the heat element, and then reassembling while simultaneously trying to keep one’s toddler from climbing into the dishwasher and chewing on the mechanisms or, if the dishwasher is freshly cleaned (which it never is), sizzling on the heat element himself.

So I bought a few.

Noah finally figured out how to use them, and being that he is quite the heavy drinker, they became the annoying photobomber of every shot I attempted.

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They worked okay and didn’t leak, so I showed my consumer confidence by investing more heavily in Nuby product.

(Because I’m a firm believer in the impossibility of having too many sippy cups or jammies – they are the sole controllers of how often you have to wash dishes or do laundry.)

Soon after my second stock up, the first ones began to drip.

Every time Noah turned the cup sideways or upside down (which was always), they’d leave a little trail on the floor.

Drip, drip, drip.

Fortunately, my OCD one year old enjoyed this, feigning horror and screaming, “MESS!!! WET WIPE!!!”, and then, upon being rewarded with the gift of a moist towelette, would laboriously clean his trail.

Unfortunately, the excitement and intrigue of cleaning his own trail only lasted approximately 4.35 days.

And then it was all about ignoring his mess and, when I wasn’t looking, giving the sippy an extra shake or two to enhance his burgeoning trail.

I began to think evil thoughts toward Nuby.

I began to allow myself to dwell in nasty daydreams about Nuby.

And, as my floor took on a permanent sticky sheen, I began to hate Nuby.

But my uncomely hatred created a window for Nuby to hate me back.

As I was unloading a dishwasher full of Nubies, I happened to look at the underside of one of the lids.

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Um.

No.  No that’s not.

Is that…. mold?!?!?!

I looked closer.

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The sippy cup was screaming through a megaphone for the world to hear,

MOTHER OF THE YEAR RIGHT HERE, FOLKS!

Between the rubber lining and the lid (pieces that were not, according to the directions, supposed to be taken apart) – a repulsive, vomit-inducing layer of black mold had taken up residence.

And my precious baby had been spilling drinking from that cup.

I looked in another.  And another.

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They all had it, in some quantity or another.

Horrified, I figured out how to remove the entire rubber lining, then put them all back through the dishwasher, now completely disassembled.

(Because nothing is worthy of hand washing, including but not limited to delicately knit sweaters, children, sequined garments, my great-great-grandmother’s heirloom tablecloth, or sippy cups with fungal parasites.)

They came out clean, so I reassembled each one with no small amount of difficulty.

But THEN.

The leaking reached new heights.

Now they all let loose a steady waterfall when held at the slightest of angles.  The seals were broken (previously held securely in place by fungal friends), and their ever-so-marginal good behavior was a distant memory.

In a fit of uncontainable anger and malice toward Nuby, I rashly bought great quantities of sippy stock in the first alternate sippy cup brand I could find.

And they’re already all leaking.

I hate sippy cups.