Something about bedtime reminds toddlers to be thirsty.
I never had to provide HRH with a drink of water in bed until she realized requesting one might buy her a few more minutes before lights out. Never one to discourage a healthy habit like proper hydration, I am happy to give her a sippy cup to clutch as she falls asleep. Although we alternate between a straw cups, lateral spouts, and ordinary cups without tops, only the spouts were suitable for nighttime. The Playtex Quick Straw cups can't lay on their sides without dripping, and twelve hours of drips makes for a damp night's sleep.
The impulse buy proved superior to our Playtex Quick Straws.
After two and a half years of loyalty to Playtex brand spill-proof cups, I purchased Munchkin Cupsicles because they were sold in a four-pack at Costco. I am not sure what they cost individually, but twelve dollars for four cups and two replacement valves looked like a steal to me. My daughter also asked for them so nicely, I melted into submission. I'm usually a brick wall when it comes to requests from the shopping-cart seat, but HRH put her soft little hand on my cheek and said "Mama, cups with a straw, please" while staring into my eyes and smiling. It's a good thing I didn't show her the $400 inflatable water slide.
The Cupsicles are insulated with colorful Ice Cold Crystals. You can store the cups in the freezer or fridge before filling them with a drink, and the frozen or chilled crystals will keep it icy cold. The removable rubber straw is also a spill-proof valve, and a flip-cap keeps it tucked away for transport. A hard, plastic straw attaches to the end of the rubber valve and extends into the bottom of the cup.
After resorting to violence to open that Costco clamshell packaging, I examined the new cups and immediately noticed some advantages over the Playtex Quick Straws. Munchkin's rubberized base acts like a cushion so that when a cup is dropped (or banged) on the table, it is less noisy and won't leave dings. The silicon straws are fatter than Playtex's, which means they are not as difficult to clean. The Cupsicle also holds ten ounces instead of just nine. I like the look of the Ice Cold Crystals around the cup instead of a cartoon character or other printed design. They make it look like the cup is full of snow and easter egg dye.
HRH was excited about her new cups and wanted to drink from one right away, so I filled one with milk and put another in the freezer. Apparently, this straw requires a lot more suction than her usual valved cups, because her cheeks pulled in like a fish. She doesn't seem to mind, though, and happily strutted around the house with her new cup, making certain to pose-sip in front of not one but two different mirrors. Later, I offered the frozen Cupsicle full of water with her lunch. HRH busted up giggling because it was so cold and wouldn't hold it in her hands. As the cup warmed, the sides became quite wet from condensation. Maybe when it's August and so hot I start tying bandanas soaked in ice water around her head, she will appreciate the Ice Cold Crystals. For now, a brief chill in the fridge makes them as cold as she would like, and I rarely freeze the cups. If your child does like them frozen, I recommend storing them in the freezer without the straw in place. Sometimes the inside of the straw is moist from cleaning or the last beverage served, and then it gets icy and sealed shut.
Her first evening as a Cupsicle user, HRH insisted on taking one to bed. I was concerned the cup would lay on its side and leak all night, but not concerned enough to put up a big fight. In the morning, I was pleasantly surprised by bone dry sheets. The cup didn't seem to leak a drop, despite being almost as full as when I handed it to her at bedtime and laying on it's side for twelve hours. The Playtex Quickstraw would have leaked until the water line was lower below the level of the straw. Even when turned upside down, the straws don't yield a drop.
So this is what pipe cleaners are for.
Although all parts of the Munchkin Cupsicle are safe in the top rack of the dishwasher, there are no jets specially designed to cleanse the insides of straw-cup valves. Those have to be washed by hand before being pronounced clean. This is a pain, but not as big of a pain as my other straw cups because they are a little roomier.
Overall, I think our new cups are a success, but not because of the Ice Cold Crystal gimmick. Yes, the cup can go in the freezer, but once it comes out and starts warming up, it's exactly like every other insulated sippy cup. The Munchkin Cupsicles simply function well as a spill-proof straw cup. I consider them much less of hassle than the other styles I've tried.
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