Tom and I have been ordering or carrying in far more often than we should since Mia's birth, and on at least two occasions we've gone all out in our unhealthiness by adding a milkshake to the meal.
Thus, Abby has learned the word, "dessert," and has come to understand that it is a) yummy, b) special, c) restricted, and d) conditional.
I have no plans to totally shield my children from sugar or sweets, but I've been slow and cautious in introducing them because they don't really know what they're missing yet, anyway, and because (at least in Abby's case) it doesn't take much consumption to really have a negative effect on their behavior. So, I did let Abby taste my shake, but I made sure to let her know that it was dessert, and that she could only have a few sips.
As it happened, on each occasion Tom and I had to prepare lunch for the little 'uns while either trying to scarf down our own or delaying digging in. However, the milkshake cups sat plainly on the table the whole while, so I would offer a few tastes, then give Abby her lunch and make it clear that there were to be no more until she ate a good bit of what she was given.
Having sworn off dairy these past couple of days, I had no milkshake at lunch today, but I did have fries, and Tom ended up giving a good portion of his to Abby while I prepared hers and Michael's sandwiches. Once they'd been taken care of, I finally dove into my own lunch and was surprised that I heard no whiny pleas for fries start up as I began. I thought at first that Abby didn't have a good sight line on my munching beyond the peanut butter and jam containers that sat in front of me, but as it happened, she was simply biding her time.
She'd figured out how things work- you see- and as she swallowed the last bit of her lunch, she flashed me a big smile (much like this one)...
... and said, "I finished my sandwich. Wanna have some fries!"
Impressed that she had applied what she learned about desserts to other bad-for-you treats, like fries, and pleased that she had shown such restraint, I cheerfully obliged.
She'll never cease to amaze, I imagine. I'm more than good with that.