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2-year-old cheese artisans must be stopped

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I asked my 2-year-old son what I should write about for Mile High Mamas.

He answered, “Where’s my cup?”

Sippy cups are evil. Even the ones with valves to prevent spillage are suspect. Don’t let the colorful, fanciful, engaging designs fool you. Embedded in the molded plastic lurks the spirit of spoilage. I don’t care if the cup is an old school chemical festival or BPA-free. Those babies roll and hide and fester until they nearly explode with curdy malevolence.

I’ve found sippy cups under car seats. In July. Why are they forgotten/lost so easily?

It starts innocently.

Toddler is thirsty for milk but you are rushing around because you are meeting 5 other moms and their 35 kids at the zoo in a half hour but you can’t find the preschooler’s shoes and the baby just leaked onto the little outfit with the lion on the front you bought at the Carter’s outlet at the mall last week when you met your sister-in-law for lunch and it would have been perfect because it matches the little bucket hat with the strap, the one with the velcro that still holds tight plus it’s always cute to wear animal-splattered clothes at the zoo kind of like wearing a U2 shirt to a U2 concert oh good here’s her shoes put them on no that’s the wrong foot YES, toddler, pouring your milk right now here it is let’s go, into the van, strap, strap, buckle buckle buckle click click vroom vroom forgot the lunch bags at home turn around don’t throw your cup you are sooooo late but it’s not worth paying $6 for a dumb hot dog the geese will try to steal back home you go got the lunch jump in, zoom to zoo park practically by the museum because it must be a free day who planned this? baby in the carrier, toddler in the stroller, preschooler whining, oh sippy cup is empty why bring it with, you’ll just LEAVE IT AND REMEMBER TO TAKE IT OUT WHEN YOU GET HOME.

But you don’t remember, because it’s just as crazy when you get home—with the bonus of being hot and sleepy and cranky. And the kids are, too.

A week later, after wondering what that smell could be and checking all diapered folk every time you go anywhere, the sippy cup is discovered. It’s resting between the back leg of the bench seat and the interior wall. You may or may not leave it on a median in a mall parking lot.

I’ve learned when the toddler asks, “Where’s my cup?” I should launch a search and rescue team. I involve all the kids. We look in the trash, in drawers, the toy box, under furniture, in laundry baskets, the drawer under the oven, under pillows, in the dog’s bed, behind curtains, inside boots. Often, our hunting expeditions lead to other happy discoveries. We don’t rest until it is found and celebrated, hoisted high and given a parade and a contract extension.

Toddlers outgrow losing milk-filled sippy cups, but they turn into people who lose the ruler with centimeters, barrettes, homework, the remote, the cordless phone. The car keys.

At least car keys don’t turn into something you can crumble and sprinkle on a salad.

This post was originally published in March, 2011.

Author: gretchen

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  • comment avatar Brian March 1, 2011

    I have actually just flat out thrown the things away rather than mess with the nasty clean-up task. That is one of the worst things to encounter while doing the dishes, I have a very low gag reflex.

    I can relate to the hunting aspect here too – for a few days our basement smelled horrible. I did the search, and found the suspect cup of old “milk”. “Shame on you boys! No drinks in the basement!” Ok…two days go by and it STILL smells. Ooops–the other twin had his milk from the same day down there too, covered in a pile of stuffed animals.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson March 1, 2011

    I think every single mother has been through this (well, except for the ones who are really on top of things. 🙂 In fact, in just reading your post, I can remember that exact scent.

    (Insert lyrics to Memories Light the Corner of My Mind).

  • comment avatar Catherine March 1, 2011

    This is one of the reasons I am glad to be out of of the sippy cup phase. Milk is only served in cups in the kitchen or at the dinning room table. I do not miss those cottage cheese milk surprises.

  • comment avatar nicole March 1, 2011

    I usually throw them away if they are located more than a few hours after being lost. Not worth the grossness to open and find out what is inside.

  • comment avatar JoAnn March 1, 2011

    This is where I admit out loud that Claire never used a sippy cup. It’s true! …and from the sound of things, I’m GLAD. 😉

  • comment avatar Sarah@Life in the parsonage March 1, 2011

    This past week I noticed that my van smelled like pickles and onions. I searched high and low for the burger that they must have stashed somewhere. Couldn’t find it.

    Maybe they just smeared it on the seat? I guess that’s one good thing about winter…masks all the smells. 😉

    Our current “search till you find it” is the pacifiers. We have 10 and still manage to not be able to locate one. I obviously have it all together.

  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz March 1, 2011

    I’m wondering about your other happy discoveries. A 5-month old orange under the bed? Half-wrapped Halloween candy just in time for Easter, just behind the dresser? A half-full bottle of nail cap-less polish on its side under the car seat?

    No reason I’m asking.


  • comment avatar Jeni March 1, 2011

    Just the other day, I found a sippy cup that had been missing for at least two weeks. It was NASTY. I should have just thrown it out, but I didn’t. I dumped it (gag) and rinsed it and soaked it and then ran it through the dishwasher (extra heat! antibacterial wash!) and now it’s in circulation again, waiting to roll under the next piece of furniture or car seat.

  • comment avatar Amy March 1, 2011

    When my boy was little, he was lactose intolerant and was put on soy milk. I thought that nothing could be worse than a sippy cup, lost in the car, with the last few sips of milk souring inside. Boy was I wrong. Soy milk seemed to turn into a rotting, gelatinous blob within just a few hours. I threw away more sippy cups that I care to remember.

    I can still remember the smell.

  • comment avatar Jjill March 1, 2011

    I do not miss the days of sippy cups… and that smell… ugh – A W F U L!!!!!

  • comment avatar edj March 1, 2011

    This was why I rarely gave milk in sippy cups. We stuck to juice (pleasant wine-like smell) or, mostly, water.

  • comment avatar Mahthellin March 1, 2011

    Back in the day when sippee didn’t mean no-spillee, I often found moldy apple juice cups in the file cabinet. Or the shirt drawer. Sometimes in the trash can.

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