When Sydney was initially evaluated by ECI for speech delays, the speech pathologist asked how she was doing with open cups at meals. SAY WHAT???? Seriously, I didn’t realize that at 15 months they should be drinking from an open cup (or at least trying). I’m not sure what parents of singletons do, but as a mom of quadruplets, I was not about to let four toddlers loose with open cups at the table. At that age they were practically catapulting spill proof straw cups across the room. In fact, at that age I believe we were using sippy cup straps. Even though the quads were apparently deprived of an opportunity, the speech pathologist understood my plight. She suggested letting them practice in the bathtub with cups so I wouldn’t have to contend with spills.
I thought about that, I really did. However, germaphobe me just could not get past the notion of encouraging the babies to drink bath water. Even though I try extremely hard to avoid urine in the water, I know they still pee in the tub. Plus, they are taking a bath because they are smelly, sticky, and downright gross! I could not do it. Several months passed and I still had not allowed the babies to experiment with open cups at the table, or the bathtub for that matter.
When Sydney’s re-evaluation for speech came up at 19 months, the speech pathologist inquired about how she managed open cups again. UGH! I had to admit she (and the others) still weren’t given an opportunity. I volunteered that with the warmer weather approaching we could start using the water table outside and could try cups then. They’d still have their icky hands in the water, but at least I’d be sure there was no pee pee in their beverages. That wouldn’t do, she wanted Sydney and her posse trying open cups.
Together we decided a bathtub tea party would work perfectly. Instead of encouraging them to drink the bath water, I filled a tea-pot with fresh, cold water. I told the babies it was “time for tea”, passed out cups and filled each cup with a little fresh water. All four babies drank happily, spilling very little. When someone attempted to refill their own cup with bath water, I redirected them saying, “No, no, Mommy has tea here”, and refilled the cup myself. In time, they poured “tea” into the water and made multiple attempts to drink the bath water, but I stuck to the plan.
We will continue having the occasional bathtub tea party until I’m brave enough to serve open cups at the dinner table, or perhaps the outdoor picnic table. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m considering filling the tea-pot with something other than water (e.g. decaf tea or juice) to encourage them to drink it and not refill on their own). Out of necessity, I’ve been hostessing these tea parties on my own with all four babies at once. However, I think we’d make more progress on bath nights when I have help and can bathe just one or two babies at a time.
Where’s your favorite spot to enjoy a cup of tea?