Baby & Toddler

My Daughter Wants to Eat Just Like Me

I've been dreaming about this cake for days.

If you are what you eat, then I am slowly becoming a birthday cake this week. But more than that, I’ve realized that I’m a full-fledged, certifiable food hypocrite.

I realized this the other day as I waited excitedly until my husband had whisked our daughter off for a nap. See, that meant I could dive into a slice of chocolatey goodness without Ellie seeing me do it. She would want some, but she is allowed one dessert a day, after dinner–and only if she actually eats said dinner. So as I pushed carrots, grapes, and blueberries at her, visions of icing roses danced in my head.

I caught myself doing it again tonight. I was enjoying a chicken cheesesteak with no second thoughts–until Ellie asked for a piece of the bread. (And yes, you caught me. I don’t keep kosher.) “But it’s white and not nutritional at all,” I whined to myself. Then this hit me: “But you’re eating an entire roll and all the kid wants is a bite. How can you thoughtlessly eat the whole damn thing right in front of her and simultaneously calculate the sugar granules for Ellie?” I tore off a small piece and handed it to her. “Can I have another piece, please?” she asked. Compromise time. “Eat another bean or carrot first,” I told her. She complied, so I did, too.

“Eat as I say, not as I do,” has sneaked up as my unofficial mantra when it comes to my 2-year-old. The funny thing is that my nutritional plan for her is way better than mine is for myself, and I consider myself to be someone who makes decent food choices–cheesesteak and b-day cake notwithstanding. (My birthday was last week and my husband’s is this week, so there is no shortage of delicious baked goods here this time of year.) But I allow myself a lot more leeway than I give her, and most of the time I shrug it off as controlling her sugar and junk intake while I can.

The irony of it all is that Ellie has a much better off-switch than I have. When she is full, she is done. Even if that means there’s still ice cream in her bowl.

I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year, so I will make one for my 35th year instead: To have my cake and let Ellie eat it, too.

Stephanie KanowitzStephanie Kanowitz is a mother of two who moonlights as a freelance journalist. A Florida native now living in Virginia, she has worked as a copy editor, web editor, and freelance writer and editor since earning a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida in 2000. In 2006, Stephanie earned a master's in News Media Studies from American University in Washington, D.C. She writes about arts and culture, business, fitness, real estate, and technology, and she's also done several celebrity Q&As. Stephanie also teaches Spinning classes at local gyms. It's the one time a week when she can tell people what to do without them answering back. To see her work, please visit

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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