Sophie’s “Secret”

One evening my dad was over helping with the kids while Andy was out of town. Pop Pop and Sophie made a double-layer chocolate cake with pink icing. (There was a slight meltdown when my dad reached for the cocoa powder to make chocolate icing. “PINK, POP POP! PINK!” Sophie screamed. Because, of course, icing should always be pink. Of course.) Overall, though, she was thrilled with this baking adventure with Pop Pop—and the result.

A couple days later Sophie and I were in the living room. Out of nowhere she said, “Mama! You stay here. I have a secret.”

And she left. For about two minutes.

When she came back, I asked her what her secret was. “Nothing,” she said slowly, smiling shyly. Once she busied herself with a toy, I walked into the kitchen. And saw this:


I walked back to the living room.

“Sophie, can you come here, please?” I asked. She slowly walked with me to the kitchen. “If you’re going to snitch cake, you should at least be more secretive about it.” He eyes grew wide. She, honestly, had no idea how I knew what she had done. I pointed to the scene of the crime. “First of all, you should have recovered the cake,” I said. “Second of all, you should have moved the chair back to the kitchen table.” I looked at her. Her eyes were still wide. She had no idea if she was being scolded or taught. Or both. “And one last thing. Don’t snitch cake. If you want cake, ask me. And I’ll decide if you can have it or not. But don’t take sweets without asking. OK?”

“OK,” she said.

There have been no signs of before-dinner dessert snitching since. Or maybe I just taught her too well.

“Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold.” —Judith Olney