Today I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that just so happened to be hot out of the oven when Ada got home from daycare. Being the smart little girl I taught her to be, she instantly smelled them, walked into the kitchen, looked up to me with her most powerful puppy-dog-eyes and said, "Cookie?". She even pulled out the sign language sign for cookie to make sure that I understood her clearly. How can you say no to that? And how much can one little cookie hurt?
Of course I gave her a cookie. So what if it was before dinner? It would have been hypocritical not to give her one since I had just eaten three spoonfuls of cookie dough before she got home. And I don't believe in denying her the joys of life, of which I firmly believe oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are near the top of the list.
The problem came when her cookie was gone. "Cookie?", again accompanied by the sign for a cookie, was supposed to be Ada's key to happiness. You can only imagine her shock, sadness, and the depth of her pouty lip as it protruded from her face when I said "No more cookies until after we eat dinner." It was clearly written all over her face that she didn't understand why she couldn't have another cookie. Surely there were plenty since I had baked over three dozen and they were right there on the counter. Trying to explain to a toddler that cookies aren't necessarily classified as a "health food" is a whole different matter. Needless to say, she was not happy.
Moral of the story: Guiding your children to make healthy choices in life is tough. Limiting their cookie intake might prove to be outright impossible.