Wins and Woes is our community newsletter — a place for your stories and questions, where you can connect directly with other ParentData readers. A new issue is sent out every Saturday through the ParentData newsletter. To join the conversation, please sign up for a free subscription to ParentData.

We’re back with three of your stories and a question about kids that pick (and eat) their boogers. Parenting is a real treat, huh?

The second story from “Worn-Out,” about the exhaustion with kids having one-parent-preference phases, is very resonant with me. It’s also a reminder of one of the things I admire most about my husband, which is that he never, ever takes these experiences personally. The kids could tell him over and over again that they prefer me, and his reaction would universally be some combination of “Okay” and “Well, she’s nicer.” I am, of course, wildly oversensitive. But I do try to learn. Because he is right: kids are just experimenting with expression, and, in the end, they do love you.

As always, this is your space, so please leave a comment for any of our readers and contribute your own story or question for a future newsletter here.

You’ve Got Mail

My almost-3-year-old loves to paint with watercolors. She doesn’t love blank computer paper (too boring, obviously), and it’s hard to find coloring books that don’t fall apart when they get wet. I’ve started adding a pack of blank greeting cards to my grocery pickup every week. She picks people (cousins, grandparents, neighbors’ dogs) she wants them to go to, I write their names and a brief message (crafted by her), and then she gets to paint them however she wants. At the end of the week, we walk them to the mailbox. Keeps her entertained for a few hours throughout the week and brings a smile to whoever is on the receiving end!


My 20-month-old is really asserting her preferences, which largely entails asking about Daddy all the times he is not present and then refusing to be near him when he is present. She only seems content with him when I have actually left the house, which isn’t always in the plan for the day! It’s really beating down my husband and creating a doom loop where he isn’t motivated to pitch in with her and I’m getting worn-out being the overtime caregiver. Really hoping this is a short-lived phase and we aren’t enabling more clinginess.

Mom to a Horse

My 2.5-year-old son often puts up a fight when it’s time to brush his teeth before bed, which has led to all sorts of creative cajoling on my part. On this particular night, when I asked him to come to the bathroom, he stubbornly sat on the couch defiantly saying “no” over and over again as only a toddler can. In an attempt to get him to come, I asked him if he wanted to “jump like a frog” to the bathroom, which to my surprise was met with a full-on meltdown. At this point, all I wanted to do was drag him kicking and screaming into the bathroom (or alternatively give up on toothbrushing altogether). However, instead I took a deep breath, did my best impression of the magical parents in the toddler parenting books who don’t lose their cool, and went to ask him why he was upset. He replied, “Because I want to gallop like a horse to the bathroom.” I couldn’t have dreamed up a more ideal response. We both galloped to the bathroom and teeth brushing commenced.

This week’s reader question

Illustration of a child picking their nose.

Rachel Deutsch

Why is my second grader picking his nose and eating it, and how the heck do I get him to stop? He does it without thinking, and I’ve warned him kids at school will think it’s gross. And he said they already have started to say that to him! I’m so embarrassed for him and don’t know how to help him!

—Sad Booger Mom

What do you think?

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