It’s funny, and you probably won’t remember this – but before you had children, a cup was something you got out of the cupboard, filled with water (or another beverage of your choice) and sipped from at your leisure. Now, when I even hear the word every single muscle in my body tenses and I’m instantly filled with adrenaline in preparation for a hardcore fight or flight (into the toilet, to cry). If you don’t know why, you don’t have kids.
I can understand why children have such a thing about cups, I do. The sheer choice is paralysing – opening the Cup Cupboard (it’s a double) must excite the same fear I feel when I step into a supermarket and see all the different loaves of bread. I’m indecisive at the best of times, but choosing between wholemeal and wholegrain can take a good 40 minutes, so I can’t even imagine how crippling it must be to choose between a cup with a half-rubbed-off picture of a monkey and one with a stegosaurus in sunglasses (how is this hard? Can the child not see, it is a stegosaurus.. in SUNGLASSES). And really, just because you have wanted every drink in the pink cup with the wonky lid since you have been able to talk, why does this mean you will want it today? To be honest, you’re perfectly entitled to throw it in physical disgust on the floor if anyone would dare assume such a thing.
Unfortunately, our cupboards are full to bursting with a huge variety of plastic vessels (and glass, there was a brief flirtation with trendy glass) as we did what everyone does on the transition from bottles, and panic buy every cup made to man. Nuby? Free flow? Tommee Tippee? They were googled to within an inch of their life. A lot of them are so complex I can’t work them out. Some of them have become warm, cherished members of the family. The cow cup with the lid that inexplicably doesn’t fit hasn’t been thrown, but remains in the cupboard to teasingly disappoint Dory as it makes me smile thinking of the time I did want her to drink from it, and she refused, at 14 months old. When her favourite dinosaur cup from the Natural History Museum broke and finally ended up in the bin (we’re strangely bad at throwing things away in our house) there were tears from all of us.
When I stopped feeding Pearl a couple of months ago, I went solemnly to Sainsbury’s to see what cups I could tempt her with for her bedtime milk from now on. I forgot Pearl is a monster and will grab and devour anything, regardless of whether or not it is edible, so she didn’t even blink at a drink that is actually vaguely tasty and not just the dog’s water. Of course, these shiny new acquisitions have been added to the arsenal Dory tortures us with. I’m sure she used to actually drink from a cup, not a sippy thing with handles for 12 month olds, but in the Great Cup War, it’s a battle I’m willing to concede.