Shower Wine, Dino Potty Training: Your Tiny Victories from 2019

NYT Parenting readers share their wins.

Credit...Greg Kletsel

This story was originally published on Dec. 30, 2019 in NYT Parenting.

Each week in the NYT Parenting newsletter and on our Instagram, we share Tiny Victories, your little wins in the long days of parenting. If you’re looking for hacks to get babies to try new flavors, kids to go to bed or just want to laugh at the absurdity of it all, here are some of our favorite submissions of 2019. Have a Tiny Victory of your own? Share your wins here.

“The only way to get my 3-year-old daughter’s shoes on was to play ‘shoe store.’ If I pretended to sell her the shoes, she allowed me to put them on her feet.” — Camilla Okamoto, Philadelphia

“For my 1-year-old to stop squirming about at bed time, I employ snoring. Fake, semi-loud, dramatic, cartoonish snoring. He’s so mesmerized by this performance that he settles down and eventually drifts off to sleep himself. Occasionally, I have to fend off a chubby finger or two trying to explore my flaring nostrils.” — Saadia Hussain, Ontario

“I remembered ‘Share Day’ — a weekly event — the day before rather than the morning of, so my daughter got to bring a favorite book rather than a Lego or whatever from between the car seats.” Alyssa Walker, Waterville Valley, N.H.

“I bought mini trash bags to keep on each floor and stuck a couple free bags between the mattress and box springs. This has quickened the cleanup and reset process for my wife’s nausea, which has been necessary almost every night into her second trimester.” — Bryan Mierke, Phoenix, Ariz.

“When my first son was about 4 months old, my husband and I decided to always answer ‘yes,’ should a stranger ask us whether our wonderful baby boy was sleeping through the night yet. It made us feel so much better, despite the fact that none of us ever slept more than two or three hours at a time.” — Ricarda Sarkar, Columbus, Ohio

“Our toddler hates wearing sunscreen during the day, but loves putting on lotion at night before bed. We started calling sunscreen ‘outside lotion’ and it changed everything — now she’s eager for sun protection.” — Jessica Smedley, Melbourne, Australia

Credit...Greg Kletsel

“My balcony has a huge toddler-size gap between the floor and the mesh grate, meaning that repotting my plants is impossible when my toddler is awake. So I put her in a cardboard box with various paraphernalia and managed to repot all the plants.” — Ruby Abbiss, London

“The baby was finally down, and my husband and I had some time to talk about topics other than sleeping and pooping, but I also needed to shower. Instead of cutting the conversation short, we took the rest of our bottle of wine into the bathroom, where we talked and drank while I showered.” — Madeline Scheffler, Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Teaching my kids to call for my dog when they drop food on the floor. They shout, ‘Clean up on aisle Dooz!’ and I don’t have to vacuum a crumb.” — Jeri Green, New York, N.Y.

“If we have a day planned that involves a playground, museum or similarly crowded venue, I dress my toddler and my 4-year-old in matching shirts — that way, my chronically sleep-deprived brain only has to track one color.” — Phoebe Kosman, Cambridge, Mass.

“I figured out a way to get my kids excited about cleaning: writing down tasks on little pieces of paper and then having them draw their task out of a bowl. It blows my mind that this actually works, but it does!” — Mary Ann Blair, Spokane, Wash.

“After wishfully pinning a catalog photo of a toddler play kitchen to my corkboard, I stumbled upon a beautiful, almost pristine wooden one that had been put out on the curb for trash day in our neighborhood. I wrestled it on top of our grocery filled stroller, bundled my son up in my arms, and carefully carted it home to the cheers of encouragement from parents passing by.” — Anna Martinez, Brooklyn, N.Y.

“My 7-month-old daughter frequently battles eye contact — an enduring trait that’s prompted us to enroll her in early intervention therapy. Any time I manage to hold her gaze and unearth a smile, it feels as though I’ve quietly reached the summit of a mountain.” — Bridget de Maine, Sydney, Australia

“After asking my kids to wash their hands after using the restroom hundreds of times, I was ready to give up. Instead, I showed them photos of the monstrous bacteria that can live in fecal matter and transfer to your skin. Now they wash without me having to remind them.” — Joanne Nixon, Toronto, Ontario

Credit...Greg Kletsel

“To get through evening dental care with our almost 3-year-old, we have a new member in the family: the Little Red Toothbrush. She wants to know what he ate all day and hear his stories (between scrubbing sessions). She’s become so important to him that he now insists she come to bed and that we read her bedtime stories as well. They even snuggle.” — Sarah Jorgensen, Charlottesville, Va.

“My children thought bran flakes were chips until they learned to read.” — Jen Goode Stevens, Clarksville, Tenn.

“One day, after my 4-year-old son fibbed, I told him I could always tell if he was lying by looking in his eyes. After that, he was careful to cover his eyes with his chubby hands; this continued for several years until he wised up.” — Jean Mitchell, Edina, Minn

“It was time to teach our 5-year-old my phone number in case he ever got lost. He had zero interest in memorizing it … until I made it the passcode for our iPad. Guess who can call his mom anytime he needs to now?” — Marilyn Ong, New York, N.Y.

“I massaged a scented lotion, which I called ‘dream cream,’ onto my toddler’s forehead and temples to ward off bad dreams. It calmed him immediately and helped him sleep — he even requested it when he was wide awake and feeling anxious.” — Jamila Carrington Smith, Beverly Hills, Mich.

“To get my toddlers to agree to (and stand still for) sunscreen application, I have them pretend that the sunscreen gives them wild animal powers. I slather it on, they ‘become’ whatever animal they’ve chosen and I pretend to be scared. They love it.” — Katie Ostrove, Wynnewood, Pa.

“We play ‘Imperial March’ from ‘Star Wars’ on Alexa and tell our daughter that she has to go upstairs/bed because Darth Vader is coming to clean the house.” — Faye Silag, Vacaville, Calif.

“My daughter ‘washed’ (read: lathered) her hair in Aquaphor, which is nearly impossible to get out. My kid is not a fan of shampooing her hair on a regular basis, so a deep clean with dish soap was a tough sell. I showed her commercials of oil-slicked penguins being cleaned and told her the dish soap was ‘penguin shampoo.’ Definitely made hair washing more tolerable for both of us.” — Jennifer Horn, Arlington, Va.

“We were getting tired of the mess and hysteria after our 2- and 4-year-olds kept knocking their cups off the dinner table. So we put foil stickers on the table to remind them where the cups should be placed after taking a drink, and we’ve had far fewer spills!” — Lauren Himmel, Nashville, Tenn.

“We had to embark on a sudden, white-knuckle potty training journey when my son started a new day care. After failing at every method of persuasion I could think of, I picked up his stuffed dinosaur and had the dino tell him how much fun it would be to go to the potty together. He smiled brightly at his toy, happily got up and went to the potty. I frequently used toys to convince him to go after that day, and it always worked!” — Alison Bates, Avon, Ind.

“We were stuck behind the world’s longest train. I started using the F-word more liberally than I should have, and my 2-year-old immediately started repeating me. By the time the train passed, I had convinced him that I had seen a fox.” — Adra Coberly Webster, Longmont, Colo.

Credit...Greg Kletsel

“I’ve convinced my 2-year-old son that most of his socks are actually my socks. He doesn’t want to wear his socks, but gets really excited to wear Dad’s socks.” — Matt Murphy, Knoxville, Tenn.

“There is a snack bar in my building, the entryway of which is stacked with gummies. I’ve been telling my daughter they are batteries since she first noticed them. Now that she’s almost 3 she still exclaims, ‘They’re batteries!’ every time we walk in.” — Whitney Kassel, New York, N.Y.

“Our 3-year-old dreaded and fought the nightly application of medications for her terrible eczema. My husband convinced her it wasn’t medicine but rather magical body paint — now she excitedly participates in the creation of artistic masterpieces every night.” — Asiya Shakir, Atlanta

“Getting my 2-year-old to leave the day care playground is the hardest part of the post-work routine. So I told him that I got an emergency message that Roomba was stuck under the couch and we had to rescue him. It worked! Made me feel so smart.” — Rebecca English, Washington, D.C.

“We’ve turned preschool defiance to our advantage. Telling our son not to do something results in him doing exactly what we want him to do. ’Do NOT eat your dinner!’ = All the dinner eaten up!” — Megan Kobzej, Arvada, Colo.

“Our 10-month-old HATES eating and trying new foods but loves to suck on his thumb. I finally decided to just strategically dip his thumb in new purées for him to suck.” — Serena Wu, San Francisco

“My generally affable 4-year-old cries foul if anyone else wins in a game. I raced him once, won the race and intentionally fell at the end point. Instead of bawling, he comforted and congratulated me.” — Ritula Anand, Boston

“My 2-year-old had started to throw tantrums when it was time to get dressed. She screamed bloody murder if I tried to force her. Finally, I said Elmo would like to help her pick out an outfit. She lit up with excitement, and two months later, Elmo is still her stylist.” — Laura Elizabeth Mayes, San Antonio

What were your Tiny Victories of 2019? Submit them using this form, and you might be featured in an upcoming newsletter, which you can sign up to receive right here.