I feel like when my kids are supposed to switch from various bottles and cups to the next level is one of those lessons I missed in mom school. Bottles to soft sippies, soft sippies to straws, straws to ?? I don’t even know. I eventually got the vague idea that I needed to get them off of the bottles and onto sippy cups because otherwise their teeth would be jacked up, and so we did that somewhere around age one. Except that after that, Etta would ONLY drink from a very particular Nuk soft sippy cup, and Claire would drink anything out of anything except milk NEEDED to be drunk from a baby bottle. And since milk was such a key part of our bedtime routine, since it worked SO WELL to get them sleepy and since I am so utterly lazy, I decided not to fight it. They won’t go to college drinking out of baby bottles, right?
So, fast forward and they’re two. And we were still having the same issues. They were willing to drink water and juice out of straws and hard sippies, but Etta had to have her milk from a Nuk sippy and Claire from a bottle– the same bottles, by the way, that she’s been using since the NICU. I had even been washing and reusing the same “disposable” nipples all this time (let’s talk about how wasteful it is to consider “disposable” things that are so clearly easily reusable). Matters were further complicated by the fact that Etta constantly chewed on her soft sippy cups, rendering them leaky and forcing me to buy pricey replacement parts–a big pain in the neck. I tried to be sympathetic to their wishes, as I would probably also react with confusion if someone served me coffee in a champagne flute. To them, milk belongs in a certain kind of container, and anything else is just plain weird.
Of course, the biggest factor was their stubbornness. As I worked on trying to convince these kiddos to drink out of “big kid cups,” I got the feeling other folks in our lives, like Claire’s teachers, thought I was just being a pushover, after all, she drank milk out of Take and Toss sippies at school all the time. So I tried going cold turkey: only real sippies all the time, period. Y’all. Claire just up and stopped drinking liquids at home all together. And would only drink a little bit at school. And she held out for NINE DAYS. It was only when we noticed her urine output really starting to decrease that we caved. I promise we tried.
And then a miracle happened. The girls fell in love with Tinkerbell via Netflix. We’ve watched all five of those movies a zillion times. I was hesitant to introduce princesses and whatnot too early, but I liked Tinkerbell– she’s a tiny engineer! She builds stuff! She learns how to be less selfish and to be a good friend! She’s flawed and makes mistakes and learns and grows! (Why yes, I do overthink kids movies.) So, I bought some Tinkerbell sippy cups. And we talked about “Bingerbell,” as Claire says, and we drank our juice and water out of those cups and we loved those cups. And then, one night, as we were settling in for story time and handed Claire her usual bottle of milk, she said, “Want Bingerbell cup.” And by golly, we got those cups, and we put the milk in them, and once Etta saw Claire drinking hers, she went for it too, and THEY DRANK THEIR MILK OUT OF NORMAL SIPPIES. BIG KID SIPPIES.
It’s a flippin fairy miracle. I don’t know if those cups were sprinkled with pixie dust or just the magic of a licensed character, but they worked. And now? Gone are all my vows not to have a house full of stuff emblazoned with characters. You wanna drink your milk out of a cup that has a cartoon character on it? Well, by God, I’ll order 6 more! And you know what? I love these things too. They come in exactly two pieces, lid and cup. With God as my witness, I will never disassemble a 10 piece cup and scrub black mold out of it with a straw brush again!
*Note to anyone still worried about my kids’ teeth: they drink their milk while we read stories. They don’t get put down for the night with a cup of milk.