08/06/2011 11:20 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Terrible Twos: Say Cheese

Terrible Twos: Say cheese PA

I've always considered it most important to give my girls a good attitude to food. By that I mean I want them to learn to make good choices themselves, and obviously to eat a bit of everything. The point of this is, to an extent, lost on Ava – because almost every enquiry I make about what she would like to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner/a snack is met with: "Ummmmm... cheese?!"

Now, as much as I want her to choose her own food, I am not going to routinely give her a plate of cheese every meal time (just as I will not exclusively nourish Ruby with cake, which is her particular obsession). For one thing I believe it would turn her into the moon or a Frenchman.*

So in between cubed cheese snacks, and baked potatoes with the "mmmm... yummy!" topping, she eats carrots, fishcakes, lamb casserole and the like. And although she happily goes with all those culinary variations on her ideal 'meal', she obviously sees my insistence on her having a balanced diet as a challenge that can be overcome with a little creative thinking.

Recently I asked her: "What would you like for breakfast, darling?"

Her eyes tilted upwards, she put her index finger thoughtfully to her chin and followed with a dramatic and drawn out: "Ummmmmmmmm" (I thought I knew what was coming) "cheese ham toast please!"

We're moving on a bit, I thought! Just the addition of toasted wholemeal bread was good enough reason not to attempt to convince her to have a boiled egg or some cereal.

"Okay! A cheese and ham toastie then!"

"Yes!" But then: "Pleeeeease don't melt it."

"Erm, right. So you'd like some toast with ham and unmelted cheese then?"

"Yes!" Then, as I took the bread towards the toaster: "Pleeeeease don't toast it."

"Right. So what you really want is a ham and cheese sandwich?"

"Yes!" And then (sad face): "Don't like that ham, mummy."

"Okay. So, a cheese sandwich?

"Yes!" And then, finally: "Pleeeease no bread."

"So what you want to eat for breakfast is actually... cheese?"

"Oh! Yes!"

Bless her. Until the point I presented her with some grilled mushrooms and tomatoes on wholemeal toast, I think she really hoped she might have cracked it.

* not scientifically proven.