"Sydney is paying me back for all the hard times that I gave my mother, trust me," Ali tells PEOPLE.
Laila Ali DesignCare

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She went her entire boxing career undefeated, winning 21 of her matches by knockout, but it looks like Laila Ali has finally met her match.

In this corner, at two years old, undisputed diaper belt champ of the world, Sydney J.

“Sydney is paying me back for all the hard times that I gave my mother, trust me,” Ali, 35, tells PEOPLE, while attending this weekend’s 15th Annual DesignCare benefiting The HollyRod Foundation.

“She is paying me back, and everyone says, ‘Hey, that was you!’ because I treated my mom bad in my teens, but Sydney just has a lot of energy. She has her own mind and she is going to do whatever she wants to do.”

And as far as Sydney is concerned, doing what she wants to do rarely blends with what her mother wants her to do.

“She’s like, ‘No!!’ Everything is, ‘No!!'” Ali says. “She just pushes me to the limit, where I am always trying to find new ways to discipline [her] so that she can understand that she can’t do certain things.”

Every parent knows the difficulty attached to navigating through those terrible twos, but as far as Ali is concerned, her daughter has taken being a toddler tyrant to a new level, one that amuses even while it exasperates, but invariably leaves the busy mama searching for answers.

“Am I going to count her down?! Am I going to give her a time out?! Am I going to take her bunny?!” Ali says to PEOPLE while letting out a bewildered laugh before asking, “What am I going to do? Because with her, everything stops working.”

Well, almost everything.

“I give her M&Ms,” admits the stunning Ali. “That’s a pay-off. I will say, ‘Sydney, I will give you a piece of chocolate.’ And that is bad! I love the girl to death, don’t get me wrong, but she tries me!”

— Reagan Alexander