I hate sippy cups!
I remember the beginning of the sippy cup hell... no fun!
This is hands down the worst advice you're going to get but just skip sippies altogether. Elliot drinks from a real cup. This happened because I was too lazy to go find a new top for the Born Free. I *finally* got a new top and now I'm too lazy to wash it LOL. I just put water in a small glass and let him sip sip sip. I realize this is sort of impractical advice for you, but what the hell...
I've never been crazy about the sippy thing anyway. I personally think it conditions kids to overeating. I have strange ideas about bottles/sippies and food in general so take it with a grain of salt.
We use the playtex sippies and as long as the lid is on right, there is little leakage. There is just one valve. We get droplets around here when we are banging on the
Hey Kim! Sara never took to the traditional spout on the sippies - she prefers the straw spout -
There is only a straw that comes in and out - the "valve" is in the lip its self and I don't have much spillage unless I leave Milk in it too long and it gets pressurized - no spillage at all with water and juice. None that I see anyway!
in addition to the playtex, we like the "gerber soft spout two handle cup". i got mine at target, but if you search the above phrase in amazon, I think you'll see it. It has 3 pieces, the cup, the lid and a valve thing.
I might also suggest that you begin to limit drinking times or drinking places. Make them sit and drink and after 5 minutes the cup goes bye bye...this will help, but you may need to wait til they are a little older.
My girls were pros at figuring out how to get the milk out of their cups, all you had to do it look away for a sec and presto...a spill. I took to limiting cup time and location (kitchen). Plus then you don't have to go looking for miscellaneous cups and find them a week later behind the tv...or worse in the mouth of a child when the milk is more like yogurt (expecially after daddy watches them for a little while).
I hear you about all the pieces and parts.