Matt Knutson: Be humble enough to search for answers

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, October 5, 2017

Things I Tell My Wife, By Matt Knutson

“I bought these new bottles so that way Gracelyn’s milk won’t spill everywhere,” I told my wife as I arrived home from the store. I was a little smug when I took them out of the bag and showed Sera the label. Spill-proof. All of our problems would finally be solved —or so I thought.

As our daughter has grown older, she’s become far more apt at spilling. She could be strapped into her high chair or sitting on the couch reading a story when it happens, so of course the messes have become a standard part of our life these days. Unlike the cracker crumbs that are taking over the backseat of our car, the spilled milk has always been the real nuisance. It soaks into the couch, carpet, car seat and more. The odor is never pleasant. Worst of all — the bottles are stealthy in their leaks.

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Because Gracelyn is not quite 2 years old, she has few cares for what happens to her bottle when she’s done with it. Occasionally she’ll share that she’s done with it, but more often than not the bottle ends up sideways on the couch. In some unexplainable magic, the milk will slowly travel up the straw and collect on our furniture. I’ve even seen the bottle placed standing up and still seen the mysterious pressure chamber inside the numerous types of bottles we have slowly push the milk out in a covert plot against us. Determined to win this fight, I splurged on the spill-proof bottles. I imagined this would go down in history as the best-ever impulse buy. Today, I stand corrected.

In a most humble way, Sera revealed to me that every single bottle we have ever purchased has claimed it was spill-proof. She feigned hope on my behalf that perhaps I had discovered the holy grail of toddler sippy cups, but she knew in her heart that this was just another drink-holder of deceit. As you would expect, she was right.

It wasn’t long before the spill-proof bottles were subtly leaking to the point where a small puddle surrounded one of them on the kitchen counter. I was incredulous. How can all of these companies’ labels make such a bold claim and repeatedly fail their consumers? I was making an emotional appeal to Sera that we must do something to raise awareness of this issue when I was once again greeted with a polite smile.

“This is what the moms in mommy Facebook groups post about all the time,” Sera said. “They’re constantly reviewing bottles and throwing out leaking ones. Everyone knows this but you.”

I was stunned. It was as if a plot twist from Game of Thrones had happened to my sad life as a parent. Somehow I was left in the dark, and it appeared that there’d be no hope for a bottle of redemption. With what I imagine to be the most influential digital moms accepting defeat, I realized there was nothing I could do to win this crusade. Perhaps one day a bottle manufacturer will revolutionize the industry, and I’ll never have to grab a washcloth to dab the milk out of couch cushion again. Until then, I’ll have to keep one in my back pocket just in case.

More revealing than the false claim on the bottle was how tuned-in my wife was of the issue while I remained blissfully unaware. She says she typically sees posts about leaking bottles and reviews a few times a week in her mommy-world, and here I was thinking I was ahead of the curve. For some unexplainable reason, dads just don’t get that information I guess. Sometimes there are resources and knowledge out that you could never even imagine — you just have to be humble enough to search for it.

Matt Knutson is a communications specialist in Rochester.