Tag Archives: parenting and diabetes

The Way Kids See It

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For many of us with diabetes, our children will grow up watching us check our blood sugars, inject insulin or be connected to a pump, desperately shove sugar into our mouths, and not find any bit of it strange.

And the only time it becomes something they stop and ponder may be when a friend or someone from the outside asks questions about it.  “What’s your mom doing?”  “What’s wrong with her-is she sick?”

They will explain we have diabetes and that we have to check our blood sugars and take medicine for it.  It won’t even be a big deal.

Their reality of our having diabetes should be ours.

Focusing on wishing we didn’t have diabetes only hinders us and distracts us from all the diabetes related decisions we need to make every day.  We need all our energy for managing this thing.

For our children, it just “is” this way.  And for us to gain full acceptance of our diabetes we can try looking at it the same way, it just “is”.  That’s our reality.  Now what are we going to do with it?

Or better yet, what example are we going to give our kids about facing our reality and living life to the fullest?

We’re OK!

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How interesting is it that children with a type 1 diabetic parent think certain non-normal things are indeed, normal?

When I stop and think about it, as I sometimes do thanks to comments and questions from others, I think, “Wow, this explains so much about so many people”.

What’s normal to us can be totally not normal or acceptable and yet, if we’re used to it, it’s our normal.

For my kids, who are now almost 3.5, having a mother with type 1 diabetes is what’s normal.  And yet, they also know it’s not normal.  They know through experience of their own scraped and bruised knees, that when I prick my finger and bleed, or bruise my stomach with an injection, that it’s not normal because they know it hurts to bleed and bruise.

It’s fascinating to me.  They see me check my blood sugar and they give me a hug and an “aw mama, boo-boo?”  I say, “yes, but I’m ok.”  My daughter says, “Ok, mama” and my son gives me a thumbs up and a smile.

I think it’s a great teaching experience to let them see that sometimes I hurt but that I don’t let it get me down.  I find that even though they can be dramatic about a small injury, they still smile and say “I’m ok”.  And that’s what I do when I prick my finger or give a shot or clean up spilled milk.

My kids understand that my insulin and glucose tablets are “medicine”.  Some don’t want their kids to think of their insulin as medicine because it implies “sickness” but only one of my kids has taken an antibiotic before-and that was two years ago, so they don’t know what “medicine” really is anyway.

Right now my daughter has a cold and she looks on at her brother’s drawing on the easel as I check my blood sugar.  She says, “mama ok?”  I say, “yes, mama’s ok!”  (Even though my blood sugar is a little higher than I’d like).  She sneezes and grabs a tissue for her runny nose.  I say, “Are you ok?”  She sneezes, wipes her nose, grins, and twirls on one foot.  I assume that’s a “yes”.

Uh oh, now my son sneezed.

Have a Fabulous Friday with your kid/partner/friend/niece/nephew/dog/cat.

Diabetes isn’t a Drama Queen

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The other night, I realized my kids had ate my glucose tablets so I reached under my bed for the emergency bag of gummy candies I have stashed there.  I frantically tore the bag open and started stuffing my mouth in frustration.  Alex studied me for a moment and said, “Are you ok?”

Through a mouthful of sticky, fruit shaped, red 40 dyed High Fructose Corn Syrup poison I muttered, “I hate these lows, the ones that shoot down quickly.”  Then as beads of sweat came down my forehead and my heart raced I said, “It literally feels like death is coming to get me.”

Alex looked at me sympathetically and said frankly, “Well, that’s pretty much what’s happening, isn’t it?”

I’m usually a tad dramatic but this time and many other times, diabetes rises to the occasion.

Diabetes isn’t a drama queen.  And we’re not drama queens or kings for living with it.

This stuff is for real.

Locked Out

November 2011 189

My kid’s are almost two and a half now.  They’re more mischievous every day.  For the most part I like that fact because since we stay home all day, most days, well, we need some entertainment.  That’s why we dance around to this and this, move the mattresses from their beds to the living room to do “gymnastics”, and have messy tea parties will real milk and cookies.  Sometimes though, things happen and I’m once again reminded of how people with diabetes really need to be extra prepared than the rest of the population.

Saturday, I was changing Aurora in the kid’s bedroom while Henri was busy in the living room with a Lego tower.  I finish up and head out when I realize the door is locked.  Henri has pushed the lock on the other side of the door and locked his sister and I in their bedroom.  I have just given insulin for breakfast, am in a nightgown, the apartment maintenance crew is out for the day, and Alex is at work.  I don’t have my phone or usual glucose tablets on me, either.

I start knocking on the door, praying Henri hasn’t gotten into trouble when I hear him giggling on the other side.  “Henriii…unlock this door please!  Push the button, baby, please!”  More giggling.  He knocks on the door playfully and runs away.  Then he comes back and knocks again, giggles, and runs away.  I hear him jumping on the couch, having all kinds of fun.  Aurora figures out what’s going on and the drama queen falls on the floor crying, her hand over her forehead like a damsel in distress.  Oh no, she’s like her mom.  “Aurora, it’s ok, your brother is going to open the door-Henriiii open the door! Push the button, Henri, push the button!”

This goes on for thirty minutes and finally, Henri unlocks the door.  I rush out and chug 16 ounces of apple juice.  Aurora and Henri embrace.  They don’t like to be separated.  I don’t like that I was so vulnerable.  The lock has been switched out and Alex has shown me how to pick it.  Next time, I’ll be prepared.  Because I’m sure there will be a next time.

 

November 2011 272

Reflecting on Two

My site was down for a few days last week due to switching hosting providers.  I don’t recommend Just Host by the way (they don’t hesitate to shut down your site before communicating a simple issue with you).  I recommend a company like Skeweredrook, who now hosts this blog, and actually cares about providing excellent customer service to clients and who takes the responsibility very seriously.  Luckily, this company is also owned by a friend- one who believes in ethical business practices.  Anyway, I wrote this last Thursday when my twins turned two, here is the belated post :)

 

My twins, Henri and Aurora turn two today.  Three years ago I was stressed out of my mind planning a wedding and struggling to drop just one more pound for the dress.  My diabetes stressed me, as usual, and in the middle of my wedding ceremony I worried my blood sugar would drop and I’d ruin a photo op with a juicy juice box in hand.  I felt overwhelmed three years ago and if only I could go back and pat my poor self on top of the head and say, “Oh…if you only knew what the future had in store for you-this is nothin’!”

Basically, more suffering and joy than I could have ever imagined.  I’m not one of those mothers that walks around on a cloud saying that motherhood is when life began and when my life became complete.  For example, I would never tell a woman who couldn’t conceive that she’d never really live.  There are many great things in life and parenting is just one of them.  I have a huge emotional side to my personality and an equally large logical one.  (Although one does often trump the other)  When my twins were born I felt my body had just told me what I had long since needed to hear: that my diabetes hadn’t ruined my body and that it was still very much capable of great things.  I genuinely did not know this before becoming pregnant.  If ever I felt a twinge of pain somewhere I immediately threw my hands up in despair and assumed diabetes was behind it. 

The other thing I felt when my twins were born was a surge of focus and motivation I had never experienced before.  Before my twins I had to sleep 8 hours a night or I was hardly able to get up for work at 5:30am the next day.  Suddenly, I was a different person, one who sometimes skipped her precious 2-3 hours of sleep during the night just to write this blog.  I don’t know how I did it.   

The last two years have been like no other and has taught me so many life lessons.  I have learned who I am and come to embrace it and I have learned all too well that “it’s not all about me”.  I’m a first born, what can I say?  Life is about giving and participating.  It’s not necessarily easy or fun.  The past two years have mostly not been easy or fun.  And yet, I will cherish the memories from this time because of the purpose and meaning it has brought.  Life is nothing without it. 

The most exciting thing for me is the opportunity to raise two human beings to be kind, courageous, full of empathy, open-minded, and their own brand of intelligent.  My job is to protect them as needed and to ensure they grow up as healthy and safe as possible.  I will observe where their passions and energy lie and point them gently in that direction and provide never ending encouragement.  My job isn’t to make them happy, though.  And I’ll never suggest their job is to make me happy.  It’s my job to be happy and show them that we all are responsible for our own feelings, thoughts, and actions.  I want my kids to know the power is within them to decide how they are going to feel and act.  I love to imagine how empowered they’ll be if I can get this message across.  Easier said than done of course, since the way to teach them this is for me to live it and show that it works.  They sure fuel my motivation, though :)

Henri, Aurora, I love you both more than you’ll ever know.  I’m already so proud of who you are.  Henri, don’t ever forget how gentle, thoughtful, and sweet you are (even though you are also quite bright, playful, and adventurous).  Aurora, don’t be afraid to be yourself.  I can already see so much depth and uniqueness in you and hope you never underestimate your quiet strength, your beauty, your creative talents.  When you find yourselves lost, think, “How can I help?”  Put your attention on serving others and let your gifts lead the way.  Then you’ll be happy AND successful.  It works for all who do it, I promise.

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