If you’re not a parent and don’t know what a sippy cup is, I assure you it’sÂ an awesome invention. It’s a spill-proof drinking device that helps teach toddlers how to drink and handle liquids in cups. It helps parents ween toddlers off bottles, while boosting confidence. According to Wikipedia,Â sippy cups work “by way ofÂ surface tension that prevents liquid from being spilled even when the cup is upended.”
But for all the benefits of sippy cups, they introduce a new kind of havoc. The success of the original concept has prompted many copycats and variations. Despite incremental improvements, the crowded space has resulted in sippy-cups that include up to six separate parts that must be disassembled for washing, and reassembled for use. The result for families with toddlers, who accumulate many brands of sippy cups in a short period, is a giant collection of mostly incompatible sippy-cup parts. They must be sorted and pieced together on a daily basis, as constant and challenging as the daily crossword puzzle. This is not a slight inconvenience, but a major task and source of frustration, especially for an invention that simply needs to work. As you can see in the photo above, the daily emptying of the dishwasher in our home means somebody has to piece together dozens of sippy-cup parts every day. That’s usually me.
Solution: It would be great if the sippy-cup manufacturing industry could agree on design standards, so there are not so many incompatible parts to manage. Alternatively, my advice for new parents is simply to pick one model of sippy cup and stick with it for the course of their toddler-rearing years. If you have one or two toddlers, it would be wise to invest in 10 of them at once. While you’re bound to lose parts here and there, at least they’ll all work together, and you’ll have less to piece together.
(The sippy-cup dilemna closely resemebles that of the electronics industry, with its abundance of incompatible but necessary remotes.)