June 13, 2017 02:10 PM


Even without real-life magic, Caroline Rhea has this whole parenting thing down.

Her daughter may be 8½ now, but the Sabrina the Teenage Witch alum tells PEOPLE there was a time when Ava was still in diapers that she will never forget.

“If I could redo one parenting moment, it would be to have carried way more diapers on the flight back from Italy in which I ended up using the airplane cushion like MacGyver,” recalls the actress, 53.

“And seeing my little baby walk off with her diaper loaded down with an airplane cushion as she waddled off, like she had it goin’ on,” Rhea continues with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Why didn’t I pack more diapers?!’ “

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Spencer Heyfron

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On the flip side, Rhea’s proudest moment as a parent took place during a more recent episode, when her daughter gave her quite the sweet surprise for her birthday in 2016.

“Ava sang me ‘I Am Woman’ by Helen Reddy,” the former Biggest Loser host shares. “She’d been taking singing lessons, and she learned the whole song.”

“[My] heart [was] swelling,” Rhea adds. “My little baby feminist.”

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The Phineas and Ferb voice actress says the best advice she got from her own mother was to not compare herself to others (“There’s just one you for a reason”), admitting that her biggest fear for Ava is the “insanity of the internet.”

“There’s so much that I cannot control, as the hovering mother that I am,” Rhea says. “But I did tell her I’m excited about wherever she goes to college because I have a couple of credits to make up and I’ll be going with her.”

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