15/10/2011 14:32 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Terrible Twos: Ava And The Giant Pea

Children eating a nursery meal Rex Features

Ava is among an increasing number of children who have food allergies. I have known ever since she was little that she might have some issues with a few things and we got her properly tested a couple of months ago.

That was an exciting morning actually: about three minutes after holding court with several white-coated medical specialists (as she eloquently described her bad skin and how some foods make her face tingle), my Tremendous Two had reverted back to Terrible Two with her attempts to physically assault the nurse who was trying to extract a vial of blood from her arm. I don't blame her really.

Anyway, those first test results revealed much of what I had suspected. Ava doesn't have the most common allergies found in children (milk and eggs); but she does have, among others, a somewhat more unusual and quite significant allergy to peas.

This has never really been an issue before now. Because she had a nasty skin reaction way back in the days of pea and parsnip purees, the little green vegetable has been largely off the menu in our house ever since.

But now that Ava has started nursery, where peas make frequent appearances on the lunch menu, I think she feels like she might be missing out a bit. So when she expressed her sadness that everyone else got peas and she didn't, I explained again what it had said in the doctor's letter.

"The thing is darling, you and peas just don't get on. It's not your fault, and it's not really the peas' fault, but they make you poorly and that's why you can't eat them."

She still looked a bit glum, so I said: "You know, the doctor also told me that quite often children grow out of their allergies. So perhaps, when you are a bit older, you might be able to have peas. Not definitely, but maybe."

Ava looked happier and asked me for an ice lolly (I said she could have an apple), but it was a couple of weeks later – just the other day, when she had climbed into our bed at stupid o'clock in the morning – that Ava revealed how much she'd thought about what I had told her.

She whispered (probably because it was still dark and I was pretending to be asleep): "Mummy...? Mummy?"


"I got something to say you."

"What's that, darling?"

"I know what I want my birthday."

"What do you want?"

"I want a giant PEA!"


"I won't bite it. I just play with it."

I was silent but I guess she sensed the question mark hanging above my head in the dark.

"On my birthday, I be older. And I WON'T bite it. It will be too big to keep in the kitchen, so we keep it in garden..."


"And I ROLL it!"

I have given it some thought, but I'm pretty sure I am largely incapable of growing (or finding anywhere on this good planet) a giant pea – so I am hoping a green space hopper might just do it.