Marshmallows: Great for hot chocolate, s’mores, and, if you are one of the baby birds living in the Colucci nest, dinner. Wish I could insert a cute little ‘lol’ here, but sadly I speaketh the truth. Before you call CPS on my malnutritional mothering skills, lemme explain.

While I was pregnant with Bells, I read every How to be the most perfect mother book that Amazon sells. I was SURE that I would be making my own baby food (from organic fruits and vegetables, of course). My precious little kumquat was going to get three well-balanced meals a day, and I was DEFINITELY not going to give her juice, chocolate milk, or anything that contained that sneaky little four-letter enemy, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup).

A little background information

Growing up, dinnertime was a war zone in our house, and looking back, I’m 100% certain that my mother should be awarded a Purple Heart. She cooked dinner every night for the six of us, only to hear, “EWWWWW!!!! I’m not eating that!!” or “Mommmmm, why don’t you ever make anything I like???” This poor woman, a SAHM (stay-at-home-Mom), made a nutritious meal each night, only to be pelted with whines and demands. Then someone would spill their drink. Then my dad would yell…and about 5 minutes later, someone else would spill their drink. Don’t get me wrong, I had the most AH-MAAAZ-ING childhood, and I probably have a slightly skewed memory of dinner, since I was the one doing most of the whining and demanding. I pretty much hated everything my mom could’ve possibly cooked, with the exception of pizza and pancakes.

Knowing what a royal pain-in-da-tush I was as a child, I was determined to raise ‘good eaters.’ Forget peanut butter and jelly, my little culinary geniuses were going to be eating roasted butternut squash ravioli with a sage brown butter sauce, made with free range, organic, hormone-free squash.

Child nutrition

I will say, I started off strong. I nursed both of my kiddies for one year (Luca, a total boobaholic, a tad bit longer). That’s pretty much where my career as a child nutrition expert hit a brick wall. When my fussy 9-month-old wouldn’t eat his peas, I sprinkled just a teeny-weeny bit of sugar on them. When my 2-year old-curly girl wouldn’t eat anything….ANYTHING…we would clap and cheer when she would finally eat a handful of M&M’s and half a slice of cheese. And so, the bad habits were born.

The whole “feed your child what you’re eating” idea went straight into the garbage, along with my sanity and my super sexy nursing bras. My personal chef/husband would grill up a delicious steak, cut it up in those tiny, safe little pieces- only to have it smushed all over the high chair tray and then thrown to the landsharks, aka our Boston Terrors. (No, there’s no typo there, our terriers are terrors!) Panicked, we started what is now known as the Mac and Cheese Era. I’m no financial genius, but I’m pretty sure that we should have invested our life’s savings in several shares of Kraft stock. What’s better than powdered cheese? According to my little monsters, apparently nothing.

Things are improving

These days, we’ve made some small strides. We’ve graduated from the orange Kraft crack to actual, real live pasta. We’ve had glimmers of hope. Over the summer, Bella ate a hot dog. You would’ve thought someone granted my husband a starting position on the Jets. She has Cocoa Pebbles most mornings for breakfast (Don’t judge; they’re made with whole grain.) Luca is our champion eater who will actually eat what we are eating most nights for which we are very, very grateful. But on those nights when the dinner table is starting to resemble the Peloponnesian War, a few deep breaths and a handful of marshmallows can work a small miracle.