Unitasker Wednesday: Elegant Baby Cup

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes โ€” we donโ€™t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

You know what babies like? To sip milk from an Elegant Baby Cup:

At $160, this Elegant Baby Cup signals to all the other babies that your baby knows how to live it up and fine dine with the mucky muck. Even though your baby can’t hold up its head or find its mouth with regular consistency, pay no mind. Forget bottles or breastfeeding, only chic and impractical food delivery systems for all the babies in your house.

Also, your son or daughter’s tiny fingers are perfect for getting silver polish up under that handle to get rid of tarnish. Bonus! Besides, your baby had nothing else going on except for just laying there, being a baby. Polishing silver is such a great task for infants as it gives them something to do. Teaches them responsibility and what-not.

Congratulations, owners of the Elegant Baby Cup, you’ll probably win parent of the year for all of your awesomness!

53 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Elegant Baby Cup”

  1. posted by hazygirl on

    I don’t think this is meant to be used by a baby.

    It is an heirloom piece. Meant as a way to honor the birth of a baby. Much like you would bronze the baby shoes, or give a silver spoon.

    Each of my brothers, cousins and I received one from my paternal grandmother. They are sterling silver and engraved with our name and birthdate. My mother displayed them in her china cabinet for years. When I moved out I took my cup with me and now display it in my own china cabinet. Same with the brothers and cousins. They are very special to us.

  2. posted by Army Wife on

    My husband has one of these. I polished it once. Cleaned and dried it then sealed it in airtight plastic and put it in a bin. I’m sure it was a gift from a well meaning relative meant to celebrate his birth but I’m sure today’s parents would much rather receive the equivalent amount of money in diaper coupons. It would be more useful – and more appreciated.

  3. posted by Jasi on

    it’s very old fashioned and there’s something charming about having heirloom pieces and proudly displaying them. it really was a coveted prize once to have a silver baby cup or spoon. have you ever visited someone’s home that was filled with family treasures? well taken care of china and old family portraits. i realize this is unclutterer but there’s a value to these things for some people. it’s not just a hot dog cutter.

  4. posted by Miss Lynx on

    There does seem to be some kind of tradition behind silver baby cups, so it’s not really as random as most of the other unitaskers. My mom gave us one when my son was born, engraved with his name. And I can’t say it was the most useful gift ever – I can think of a lot of things that would have been more practical. But I appreciated the thought behind it, at least.

    And to my surprise, once my son hit the toddler point and was talking a bit, and could understand that Grandma had given him this shiny cup and it had his name on it, he actually liked it and wanted to use it! Now, its used was kind of limited, because I was edgy about putting anything acidic like juice into a metal cup, but at least it did see *some* use eventually, which I really hadn’t expected it to…

  5. posted by DandHRoberts on

    I was sent one of these when my daughter was born. My mother had one as well. It sure is pretty, but what am I supposed to do with it, oh thoughtful relative who sent it to me? It holds cash at the moment. Hopefully it survives her childhood and then I can pawn it off on the kiddo.

  6. posted by JessA on

    Yeah, this is a touchy one.

    My family would do these as a way to commemorate the birth of a baby. My dad still has his and my grandmother gave one to my first child.

    Unfortunately, there is the question of what to do with it. I don’t particularly have a good place to display it and there are mementos from when my kids were babies that are far more meaningful to me than a cup that wasn’t really used. I would rather display those.

    On the other hand, I totally get it if someone else finds this a special way to honor their child’s infancy and enjoy displaying it.

  7. posted by Jessiejack on

    When I left home my parents gave me my bronzed baby shoes which were made as bookends. It’s kind of a neat thing to have and I do use them. I also havethe engraved cake knife from my wedding

  8. posted by Carol on

    My mom got me the engraved sterling silver spoon and fork as a baby but fortunately missed the cup. I agree with the unitasker designation. I certainly don’t consider my engraved baby silverware to be a treasured family heirloom. It’s more like a burden I’m stuck with because no one else will take it and I feel somewhat obligated to hang on to it now.

  9. posted by Rosa on

    I have one of these, engraved with my name. Also a whole set of baby china.

    It is a thorn in my side: what to do with them? I don’t display china, no one else wants them, my mom saved them all these years and now they’re in a box in my attic.

  10. posted by mginwa on

    Like some of the other commenters, I completely disagree about this being a useless unitasker! In my family we had silver baby cups and utensils, and they were both used and appreciated. They can be lovely heirlooms, and they can actually be very practical–my mother used them to teach us table manners at a very young age. They are child size, and having something beautiful (and almost indestructible) that we could be proud of made us feel so grown up having dinner with our parents at the big table. The plastic plates and sippy cups people get instead are really just junk and do almost nothing to teach kids how they are expected to behave at a table. Also, if you wash silver regularly, it rarely needs polishing.

  11. posted by Darcy on

    This is dicey. Some people love them. I have mine from my birth, and use it to hold Splenda packets. I have given these cups to my cousin’s children when their babies were born, but it was a recommendation from my cousin. We’re old school, little old ladies that remember when this was a cherished gift. For my step-grandson I started a little trust fund instead of buying him things…my step daughter-in-law has very exacting taste. So I give a small token and deposit a larger amount of cash in a designated account that only I have access to. When my grandson is 18, he’ll have money for college, a school trip or a car. The burden is off me to find something my daughter-in-law likes and I’m confident my little guy will be glad. Call me one smart grandma…

  12. posted by Molly on

    My parents received one of these with my initials to celebrate my birth, and I cherish it! Now that I’m 30, I use heirlooms like these on my makeup table for make-up brushes, or my bedside table for hair-ties and bobby pins. Or could be a cool pen cup on your desk or by your bill-pay area. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean you have to put it in a china cabinet or not use it at all.

  13. posted by infmom on

    I got one of those as a baby present. I have no idea what happened to it in the nearly 62 years since then, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. posted by KelKel on

    I think this one missed the mark. Cups, even fancy cups, can be useful. The expense of this item is what’s noteworthy, not its unitasker-ness.

  15. posted by klutzgrrl on

    I appreciate that some people like this type of keepsake, but it’s very much personal taste – personally, I can’t stand them. I have a box of useless baby objects – silver things, and ceramics that are actually not that nice. (Too heavy with overdone storybook pictures). They’ll stay in a box until I die, and then one of the kids will lug them around the countryside until they can hand them off to their kids….
    I think good quality baby gifts used to be intended to be actually USED. Maybe at one time people did use cups like that. The thin handle doesn’t look at all toddler-friendly though. Metal makes some sense as you immediately feel the temperature through the cup, reducing risk of too-hot drinks.

  16. posted by D on

    a) babies certainly can drink from cups (obviously held for them) and it’s preferable to do so with a tiny infant, vs chance causing problems with unestablished breastfeeding.

    b) as mentioned several times, silver baby cups are a traditional baby gift in several cultures. It’s symbolic, vs practical, and a sign that someone loves the new baby very much. Be kind in your dismissal of the tradition.

  17. posted by D on

    and good grief, if you HAVE a silver whatever that you don’t want and can’t sell…..it’s made of silver…have it recrafted into something you DO want or can sell.

    As for baby china..and teaching manners and table skills, and the comment about the junky plastic children are given to use these days…..a wholehearted agreement from me there. I was so much the minority in teaching my child to eat iwth a knife and fork from the start, I was shocked. MORE shocked that his peers (10-12 yrs old) STILL cannot pleasantly, if not correctly, use dining utensils or eat a meal without being disgusting (open mouth, noisy, slurping, euw)

  18. posted by E Carter on

    My mother always gives a silver cup to babies in the family; I suspect I will do the same when my grandchildren arrive. I don’t think it’s nice to mock other peoples’ traditions!

  19. posted by D on

    klutzgrrl, just get rid of the stuff. It’s sitting in a box breeding resentment and obvious bitterness. Why burden it onto your children to “lug around” after your death? Just quietly, tastefully, take them out of your life. (the items, not the children….)

  20. posted by klutzgrrl on

    You’re probably right, D – it’s awkward though, you’re supposed to feel grateful. And especially when they were no doubt expensive. I think some of our gift-giving traditions need a good hard look. A lot of the time, it’s to do with visual, tangible displays of affection and wealth – yes it’s about showing love, but also about showing generosity! And sometimes the values come from outside: such as this notion of an engagement ring being a month’s salary. Perhaps in the past, when jewelry had real tradable value for a woman, there was something in that. But now the pricing is so artificial (seriously, who can ever sell an item for what it’s actually ‘worth’?) that it’s meaningless.

    As for insulting a person’s traditions – I think the column is quite lighthearted, and haven’t we all mocked and been mocked at some point? What Scot hasn’t heard the jokes about the bagpipes? And collectors being touchy about things on Unclutterer is a bit like a geek at a luddite convention, really.

  21. posted by Sjr on

    It’s kind of shocking and a little bit sad that you weren’t familiar with this tradition. Have you never been to a Tiffany’s, a Christofle or even the silver department at a nice department store?

  22. posted by Charlotte on

    @Darcy: You ARE one smart grandma…! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’ll keep your solution in mind; might come in handy one day.

  23. posted by ChrisD on

    I think this is the perfect thing to mention on unclutterer and exactly the right discussion to have.
    As well as letting you know the temperature a metal cup is also unbreakable and WHO recommend cups NOT bottles if there is a problem with breastfeeding in the 3rd world, also I believe silver has antibacterial properties (though I’m not sure if those will manifest in a cup). But though some families may use/appreciate items like this too many people buy ‘heirlooms’ because the advertisements TELL them they should, rather than it is actually affordable, useful or beautiful.
    People selling STUFF often say that it is an investment, but if you watch a ‘cash in the attic’ TV show, this stuff goes SO CHEAPLY at auctions (if I ever need stuff I will certainly go to auctions to get it).
    I think traditions need to be thought out carefully. I have lots of jewelry I got for first communion that I can’t wear and which I feel I can’t sell.
    I thought for months about what type of ‘heirloom’ item to get my godson on his christening. In my mothers generation you might give items of silver cutlery (I have those tucked away in a cupboard too). In the end I went with a hungry caterpillar plate and cup and a matching (colourful) set of cutlery. The crockery was put away till he was 4 (and might eventually break, that’s life) and the cutlery has been used till it is falling to pieces.
    I think something nice that will be used is the most important criteria and you need to know the family to see what that is.

  24. posted by Holly on

    I have one of these engraved with my name and christening date. It was not meant to be used. I keep very few things that aren’t functional, don’t contribute to productivity, or can’t be used to make music or art, but as an only child who did not have children, I’m fond of my baby cup. It’s the only thing I have besides photos from childhood. It can be pressed into service on a pretty table – I think I have used it for splenda packets.

    It has a few tiny teethmarks on it, so I apparently got hold of it anyway and gave it a try ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. posted by Anna on

    Such interesting comments, ranging from “totally useless” to “essential traditional.” I am firmly in the traditional camp, having been given two silver baby cups when I was an infant. Both became dented, showing that I used them when I was old enough to drink from an open-mouthed container but still young enough to bang things around. I took the one engraved with my initials and baptismal date to a jeweler for polishing and removal of most of the dents (leaving just a few signs of wear), and had it engraved with the initials and baptismal date of my grandson. This is such an excellent way to honor tradition and the continuance of a family.

    To those perplexed about how to use a silver cup — it makes an excellent container for cut flowers! And that takes the silver cup out of the unitasker category!

  26. posted by Laura on

    I fall into the traditional camp, absolutely! I have a silver baby cup that was given to my son, I have my own silver cup, and a tiny, lovely one that was my mother’s. I use them all, (q-tips in the bathroom, toothpicks in the kitchen and sometime for small wildflowers).

    Being conscious of clutter is a wonderful way to approach one’s home, but there is a big difference between a traditional gift of sterling silver and plastic nail protection clamps. They shouldn’t be considered in the same category.

    Can’t remember if any of the Unclutterer team members are parents?

  27. posted by Katie Mae on

    When I saw this headline I thought it said “elephant baby cup.” My first thought was that it might be a unitasker, but I kind of want it. The truth wasn’t as exciting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. posted by Dinah Gray` on

    I can see why someone finds value in these, although more as a sentimental item than something useful. I am at a loss as to why a baby needs a silver cup. Perhaps this items was once useful. Maybe it was for the baby to use later as their first drinking cup, but over time has become a useless item.

    However, I am so glad I did not end up with one. I had a few baby items that were purchased at my birth that I ended up with. I took photos of them and let go of them. I did keep the baby shoes. We have a set of my husbands and a set of mine. They were so well made my daughter wore them. I kept my favorite baby doll that went everywhere with me and a few select items of my choosing. Despite the sad state of the doll, my daughter loves it and plays with it.

    I like sentimental keepsakes to be either useful or tiny. I kept the tiny stuff with real meaning and keep it in a little jewelry box and do not feel burdened by it.

  29. posted by Dinah Gray` on

    I think this is a good discussion about the usefulness of of items we may take for granted. I think it goes to show that what is valuable to one person is not to another and minimalism looks different on everyone.

  30. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Sjr and others — I am well aware of silver baby cups as traditional baby gifts … but I think they’re super funny. I mean, how weird of an heirloom for a baby?! It just cracks me up. Aren’t there other ways to shower love to a baby beyond a $160 cup that might one day hold Splenda packets? I think even a silver picture frame with a baby portrait and a name and birth information engraved on it is more practical — though I probably wouldn’t give that as a baby gift, either. I’m more likely to give stocks or bonds or a quilt I made by hand or a practical item like a car seat off a gift registry. But irrespective of all of this … even if you have one of these cups … it doesn’t matter at all. This is just a joke column. I think I have one of these cups somewhere at my mom’s house in a china cabinet. We can all collectively laugh at weird traditions once in a while even if we still participate in them. (Like at Christmastime, how weird is it to put a giant tree in your home? I do it some years, but it’s still funny to me. I spend most of the year trying to keep nature out, but then December rolls around and I voluntarily bring it in. Ha!)

  31. posted by Anna on

    @Erin, I have to say that this is not a weird tradition. It is an honorable one. You may not agree, and others may not agree, but it is still worthy of respect.

    As for those who believe that every item one owns should be useful, that is (I guess) a valid point of view, through rather dreary. Here is William Morris’s view on the subject:

    โ€œHave nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.โ€

  32. posted by Anna on

    Typo, should be “though” rather than “through.” Sorry.

  33. posted by Tracey on

    I think you missed the mark, also. These are traditional baby gifts, to be cherished and displayed. I have mine, which is engraved with my monogram and birthdate, given by my grandmother to each of her grandchildren with a $100 bill rolled up in them, on my dressing table, holding buttons, safety pins and my husband’s collar stays. There is something to be said for having a few sentimental pieces around, isn’t there? And I gave these as gifts to my nieces and nephews and close friends’ babies. Hopefully they’re all not making fun of me in such a snide way. Oh, and for the record, they can also be purchased in pewter for about $35 – does that make it better for you?

  34. posted by Laura on

    A quick note:

    I am a certified food handler, and I can attest to the fact that bacteria cannot “grow” on metal. That’s why restaurants have stainless steel prep tables, and why my cat and dog both eat and drink out of stainless steel bowls. In fact, they share the same water bowl!

  35. posted by Tracey on

    Oh, and they are actually used on special occasions and we cherish every little ding and dent.

  36. posted by Vanessa on

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a few well-chosen keepsakes as long as they don’t take over your house. My grandmother has a ceramic impression of my dad’s handprint when he was 4 – I used to love seeing it when I visited her as a child, and 30+ years later I still do. I got my own daughter’s handprint made when she was a baby specifically because of it, and I like the idea of my grandchildren eventually coming to visit and seeing how tiny their mother’s hand was. It’s even less useful than a silver baby cup, but as long as it has meaning, who cares?

  37. posted by Mardra on

    I’ll admit it – this is cute. I laughed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. posted by Henave on

    I got several tiny silver baby spoons and cups of unknown origin handed down to me- I am the family recipient of odd photos and whatnot- that I had no idea of who they came from! I kept them for a few years, forgot about them, found them and then sold them for the silver value to put in the kids’ college funds.

    A much more useful gift for a baby made out of precious metal- both of my boys were given a krugerrand (gold coin) at birth which is still appreciating as college age nears!

    I always have heard muckety-muck instead of mucky-muck,but they mean the same thing:)

  39. posted by klutzgrrl on

    Gosh, peeps who are taking offence really need to lighten up a bit. And remember, this is UNCLUTTERER. It is not COLLECTOR. Admittedly as someone said above, minimalism is difference for everyone, but it’s not like I’m over on collectors-are-us.
    And anyway if you collect stuff and enjoy it, that’s fine – just please don’t place your expectations on others. That is probably contributing to the tone of some of our remarks – the frustration that other people impose their aesthetics and traditions upon you.

  40. posted by klutzgrrl on

    hmm, didn’t mean that to sound so grumpy either. Clearly this is a ‘hot button’ topic for me. Yes, I’m dealing with uncluttering a lot of sentimental stuff that I don’t even like.

    Perhaps it would indeed be useful to remember the intent of the column and have a laugh. It’s pretty ironic after all!

  41. posted by D on

    klutzgrrl….you’re the one with the collection of baby gifts that you hate…..

    cups for babies with breastfeeding issues is NOT just recommended for 3rd world…it’s absolutely recommended anywhere there are babies and boobies gettin’ together and having a little trouble getting started.

    picture frames were about the most useless baby gift I received, as they are too cutesy to keep anywhere but the nursery, imo, and mostly too heavy to hang. I have very little horizontal display.

  42. posted by D on

    Henave….the phrase “a baby made out of precious metal” gave me a chuckle..

  43. posted by PMcD on

    I still have both silver cup and porridge bowl given to my parents when I was born, along with the small silver spoon (the fork is long gone). They are dinged and have more than a few teeth marks along the rims, and were well used. I use them still, for holidays, when I pull out my good china and silver flatware and good crystal wine glasses. The porridge bowl is great for serving sauce or grated cheese. The cup often holds a tiny bouquet of flowers from the garden on the sideboard (violets look great in it on Mother’s Day).

    When those items were purchased many years ago, silver was much more affordable, and the permanence and durability made them a special reminder of family love and devotion.

  44. posted by Gilly on

    Some of these silver cups now come with plastic lids that turn them into sippy cups.

    We all had cups like these. Back in the day before sippy cups, my mom liked these because we could not break them.

    I still have the silver porringer that Mom used to feed all eight of us our baby cereal. It is dented in many places from all the times babies sent it flying to the floor from the highchair tray, so it is a bit difficult to polish these days. I use it as my key bowl.

    I’ve given a few silver rattles, shaped like dumbbells, as baby presents. Hard to break, and you can chill them in the fridge for a teething baby.

  45. posted by Leslie on

    I have fond memories of my silver cup engraved with my initials. I’m sure it was just a display item when I was a baby, but I loved drinking out of it as a child – it made me feel fancy. I hadn’t thought about it in years – I suppose it’s probably in the box of my baby keepsakes my mom gave me when I moved out. Thanks for the memories!

  46. posted by Rose on

    Yes, some things that one laughs at, another holds dear. We have these baby cups and use them across the years for various things…on birthdays and special occasions they are often displayed — holding a little bouquet of flowers, once a special cupcake, another time full of the bday boy’s favorite (only) green m&m’s. One made it’s way to the engaged cousin’s shower…another one was the base for a graduation photo display…we’ve actually gotten quite a bit of (creative) use out of most of our family’s heirloom baby cups.It’s been fun across the years to see how this (the only) heirloom baby item has been used among all of the cousins across the years…each engraved with unique initials. We’ve successfully made it into a multi-tasker!

  47. posted by ri industries australia on

    Is this for babies? I thought that they are for grannies? But I like the style and feature.

  48. posted by Dede on

    I had to make one last comment on this. Last night my daughter and I were cleaning out my cedar chest – you know, where you store all the baby clothes that were just too cute to toss, linen that was made by your grandmother, etc. What do I find but a small silver cup with my name and birth date engraved on it and sealed in one of those vacuum-seal bags. It holds maybe 1/2 cup. And I know exactly what I’m going to do with it – use it. We like to go to Renaissance Faires in period garb and I’m hanging my baby cup on my belt to use as my drinking vessel at Faire!

  49. posted by Ann on

    My brother and I both had silver baby cups that actually got a lot of use. My brother’s was placed by the sink and we used it whenever we wanted a drink of water. I got mine at dinner time and thought I was quite the lady drinking my milk out of such a fancy cup. It gave me an appreciation for beautiful, useful things.

  50. posted by meg on

    At a recent family week at the beach, my mother brought out the silver cups to give me and my sisters. We each had one engraved with our first and middle names – I think that it is the only item I have with my full formal name.

    My mom had polished each one to a high shine, and I immediately recognized all the familiar dents in my cup. I wouldn’t remove any of them, We used the cups all the time as small kids, and I knew it was my special cup. I was thrilled to have it again – 60 years later.

  51. posted by Jasi on

    totally right D. my kids went from breast to glass. they’re wild, spirited kids but since they weren’t given a choice, they’ve been careful. never broke one. i bet a silver cup would be an easier transition though.

  52. posted by Susan on

    I think that most of the comments are saying that your idea of a “joke” is off base this time. Silver cups were great before plastic as a glass or pottery cup would get broken in time. I have several silver cups, some fancy with names and others with dents from use. Perhaps they are part of a different era but in my family they will be passed on.

  53. posted by TootsNYC on

    At $160–that’s an AWFULLY DELICATE JOINT between the handle and the body!

    That handle looks like it’ll pop right off there!

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