The best parenting stories of 2019

From the funniest dad jokes to the greatest way to shut down mom-shamers, here are the stories that made us laugh, cry and smile this year.

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By Terri Peters

The last year brought us viral parenting moments, relatable stories about the challenging parts of parenthood, and lots of laughs. There were moms and dads who, like all of us, are just trying to do what's best for their kids while sometimes counting down the hours left until bedtime.

As 2019 comes to a close, we've created a list of parenting superlatives. From funniest fashion fail to sweetest photo trend, we hope you'll enjoy this recap of some of the year's best parenting stories.

Cutest father-son video

Comedian DJ Pryor went viral after sharing a video of himself and son, Kingston, chatting about a TV show.Shanieke Pryor

In a viral video, comedian DJ Pryor and his infant son, Kingston, made us smile as they chatted about a TV show finale together on their couch. Although Kingston was just a baby, he responded to his dad's comments and questions like he knew exactly what was going on.

Pryor said when he is home in Tennessee, Kingston follows him around the house and does everything his father does. When working on a stand up bit, Pryor holds a microphone. If he puts the mic down, Kingston picks it up and does his own routine.

"He is very animated," said Pryor. "He takes after me."

Most genius school assignment hack

Florida mom Rachel Ellsworth sent her daughter to school with a 100-calorie pack of Oreos on the 100th day of school.Rachel Ellsworth

Schools love to assign kids special projects for the 100th day of school, and Florida mom Rachel Ellsworth cracked us up this year with her brilliant hack for her daughter's assignment to bring 100 items to school on the big day.

Ellsworth found a 100-calorie pack of Oreo cookies in her pantry and sent her daughter to school with it.

"Here I am on the 99th day of school looking around my house — turns out I have 86 buttons, 72 stickers and only 54 paper clips," Ellsworth said. "I was rummaging through the pantry when I saw my 100 calorie packs of Oreo crisps...my daughter thought it was hilarious and her teacher thought I was a genius. It also doubled as her snack that day."

Problem solved.

Funniest fashion fail

Brooklyn Friedlander and her dad, Brad, made everyone laugh this year after she went to school wearing training underwear as pants.Aliza Friedlander

When 3-year-old Brooklyn Friedlander's mom, Aliza Friedlander, had to head to work early one morning, she asked Brooklyn's dad, Brad, to dress their daughters for school. Later in the day, Friedlander received a text from a friend with a photo of Brooklyn at school wearing training underwear as pants.

In a hilarious text conversation, which Friedlander shared on Instagram, Brad defended himself, saying Brooklyn told him they were shorts and pointing out, "at least she was wearing something."

Friedlander said, in her husband's defense, Brooklyn does own several pair of bike shorts and even told her dad that was what she was wearing. Still, we're happy for this epic fashion fail and the laughs it provided.

Most body-positive dad

Comedian Kevin Fredericks went viral this year after a video of him telling the beach, "You're gonna get whatever body I give you," made its rounds.KevOnStage/Facebook

Comedian Fredericks made us laugh this year after a video of him yelling at the beach in Hawaii went viral.

"You're gonna get whatever body I give you," Fredericks shouts at the ocean in the clip. "My beach body's on back order — it's on delay 7-10 business years."

Fredericks told TODAY Parents that on a trip to Hawaii last year, he made a vow to himself that the next time he vacationed in Hawaii, he'd be in the best shape of his life. When spring break came around in April, Fredericks realized he hadn't made much progress.

It was then that the father of two decided to change his mindset entirely.

"I figured I wasn't gonna let not having a great body stop me from enjoying my vacation and decided to tell the beach it was gonna get whatever body I gave it," Fredericks said. "That's exactly what I did, and it felt great."

Most interesting home remedy

A mom's post about using a vibrator to clear her baby's chest congestion went viral in 2019.Getty Images stock

One mom's unorthodox attempt to help clear her baby's chest congestion went viral this year: She used her vibrator.

An anonymous woman shared a photo with baby education organization Melons and Cuties of her using the sex toy on the infant's back to help clear congestion.

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While multiple children's hospitals declined to comment to TODAY about the possible medical effectiveness of this method, Dr. Matt McDonald, the chief medical officer at Children's Specialized Hospital in New Jersey did offer some basic tips to help a child with congestion.

"If the baby has a cold or mucus in the nose, I would recommend a basic humidifier and cold suctioning,'' he said. "And if you have concerns that your baby or toddler has congestion in the chest, or if the baby is having trouble breathing, I would recommend that you take them to the doctor before you make an intervention."

Best prank pulled on a working mom

This mom sent an email to her boss as "Poop Your Pants" thanks to her daughter's prank.Lauren Brown

Lauren Brown was reading a work email when a recipient named "Poop Your Pants" jumped out at her.

“I was like, ‘How unprofessional,’” Brown told TODAY Parents. But when Brown clicked on the name, she let out a gasp.

“It was me!" she exclaimed. “My picture was there and everything."

The mom of Gracie, 7, and Annie, 5, didn’t have to look far for the culprit.

“I knew if someone sabotaged me, it had to be one of the people I created,” Brown explained. Her daughter, Gracie, was behind the prank. And, after Brown explained the situation to her employer, she wrote a viral post on LinkedIn telling the hilarious story.

Strongest dad joke game

A Colorado dad went viral this year for his funny community center signs.Vince Rozmiarek

“I call my horse Mayo and sometimes Mayo neighs."

"I have a nephew who is half-Indian. Ian."

"Drink wine. It isn’t good to keep things bottled up."

Those are just some of the messages that have appeared on a community center sign in Colorado. Credit goes to Vince Rozmiarek, who calls himself "the king of dad jokes."

Rozmiarek has been changing the sign every three days for the last six years, and has built up a large Facebook following for his puns, in addition to bringing travelers from around the world to his small town to take photos of the sign.

Best pop culture parenting parody

In a funny parody of the Netflix movie "Bird Box," Leeann Dearing and Michelle Fortin show what happens when moms wear blindfolds to avoid the mess their kids are making.Leeann & Michelle/Facebook

The Netflix film "Bird Box" became a sensation when it appeared on the streaming service in late 2018. 2019 brought the "Bird Box" challenge, videos posted online where people tried navigating their own daily tasks blindfolded like Sandra Bullock's character in the popular film. Enter comedians Leeann Dearing and Michelle Fortin, who created their own parody version of the challenge titled "Mom Box."

In the funny moms' version of the pop culture phenomenon, the duo puts on blindfolds to avoid seeing the mess their kids have made in their previously clean house.

"I thought to myself, 'Moms can do their whole routine blindfolded — except it's winter break and no one is getting anything done. The idea was born there," said Fortin.

"Anytime we're out of a routine, chaos ensues which leads to extreme disaster when you're a neat freak like me," Dearing added. "So it's best to just put a blindfold on at times."

Most creative gender reveal

Tristan England and his girlfriend, Kierra Hare, used England's monster truck to reveal the gender of their baby boy. Feld Entertainment

Monster Jam driver Tristan England and his girlfriend, Kierra Hare, took gender reveals to the next level when they used England's monster truck, Earth Shaker, to announce the gender of the baby they were expecting together.

At a Monster Jam event in Alabama, England drove his monster truck around the arena, spilling out a cloud of blue powder and balloons to announce the arrival of their baby boy. The adventurous couple later welcomed a son, Karson Crash England, in June 2019.

Sweetest photo trend

New Jersey mom Tammie Stark captured this cute back-to-school image of her son, Nicholas, with his "Toy Story" toys.Tammie Stark

This year's release of "Toy Story 4" inspired parents around the world to take back-to-school photos of their kids with toy versions of the iconic movie characters.

Social media accounts were filled with the sweet images that showed characters like Buzz Lightyear and Woody watching kids walk away. Sigh. They really do grow up so fast.

Funniest reason for a school bus evacuation

Too much Axe Body Spray caused the evacuation of a school bus.Getty Images/ Parrish Fire District

A middle school student put on enough Axe Body Spray to stop a bus this year.

A local Florida fire department and emergency medical services unit responded to a report of "hazardous materials" aboard a bus of middle school students, after the bus driver pulled over due to students complaining about a noxious smell.

Parrish Fire District Division Chief Mike Williamson interviewed all 30 of the students from Buffalo Creek Middle School who were aboard the bus in an effort to get to the bottom of the mysterious smell. But when he eventually came to a student smelling like a cast member from a "Jersey Shore" middle school spin-off, Williamson says he was able to identify the offending student.

Most relatable parenting moment

Phots of Ashley Clarke's 2-year-old son, Jackson, meeting his new baby sister went viral after parents everywhere identified with her emotional expression in the images.Jordan Burch Photography

When Ashley Clarke learned she was pregnant with her second child, the Florida mom was worried about introducing her 2-year-old son, Jackson, to the new baby. Photographer Jordan Burch captured the moments when Clarke finally introduced Jackson to his baby sister, Emma, and the images went viral.

In the photos, 21-month-old Jackson sobs at the sight of his newborn baby sister. Clarke cries, too, seeing her son's reaction. The photos went viral in 2017, and gained attention again this year, proving that Clarke's predicament resonates with second-time moms everywhere.

"I felt so torn because I was beyond excited to meet my sweet girl, but my heart broke knowing he was so upset," said Clarke. "I felt like I was letting him down."

Funniest high school senior

This high school senior demanded to wear a bathrobe for his senior photos.Tiffany Clark/Chaos & Clark Photography

Rising high school senior Evan Dennison won senior photos this year when he demanded to wear a bathrobe in his photo shoot, rather than put on the outfits his mother wanted him to wear.

Photographer Tiffany Clark told TODAY Parents when Evan pulled the robe from his backpack she said, "Why are you doing this to me? PLEASE just wear the clothes your mom sent."

"I'm going to be a LEGEND," Evan replied.

He was not wrong.

Best shut down of mom-shaming

Meghan Koziel had a creative banner made before she gave birth to her daughter, Kendra. The banner explained that Koziel was a breast cancer survivor and was unable to breastfeed her newborn.Meghan Koziel

After chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, breast cancer survivor Meghan Koziel learned she was pregnant with a baby girl. She and her husband, John, were ecstactic. When baby Kendra Jane was born, Koziel had a special sign made for her hospital bed, letting people know there was a good reason she was formula feeding her daughter and asking them not to comment.

"No Breastfeeding Zone," the banner read. "Though breastfeeding is a very special task, please be aware before you ask. Our miracle baby will be formula fed, and it will not affect her future ahead. This mommy is a survivor."

Funniest father-turned-pretend-grocery-store-employee

Travis Cunningham's funny impersonation of an Aldi cashier went viral this year.Taylor Cunningham

All Aldi-shopping parents related to Travis Cunningham's hilarious viral video this year, in which he pretended to be a cashier at the discount grocery chain.

In the video, Cunningham kneels at his kids' Melissa and Doug play grocery store and tosses groceries into a shopping cart. "Welcome to Aldi," is all the El Paso, Illinois father of two says, while his kids and wife giggle in the background.

Cunningham said the inspiration for his funny video came from his first shopping trip to Aldi with his wife, Taylor.

"I was taken aback by how quickly they scanned and the means in which they placed the items in the cart," said Cunningham. "I thought the worker was just having a bad day and Taylor could tell I was about to say something and basically held her hand over my mouth. I wasn't angry, I was basically laughing wondering if this person just hated canned goods or was going for a high score shooting them into the cart."

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