Sunday, September 9, 2012

I’ll take the small wins!

Parenthood really is like navigating a moving walkway, such as those they have in Hogwarts (yes, I am talking Harry Potter).

The challenges are there, whether you have a genius child or not. For me, it is balancing life with an amazing three year old daughter with type 1 diabetes and a lateral thinking, science based six year old son.

As most parents will tell you, my kids are fantastic! I love them to bits and could bore you to tears with daily clever/ special/ stupendous anecdotes. But some days your kids just amaze you. Today, as I was putting my three year old to bed, she decided to tell me about why she was so very lucky. Much luckier than her friends.

As I mentioned, my darling daughter (DD) has diabetes. She has had it since she was 11 months old and so does not remember life without it. Last week she met with our (likely) next local MP and when he asked what life was like with diabetes she said, “It is normal, just like you.” I was so pleased that she felt that way. On very, very rare occasions she feels sad about having diabetes (see Mummy, I don’t want to be broken, April 2012); however most the time she takes life in her stride.
So back to tonight – tonight she was a little low (which means her blood glucose levels are slightly lower than they need to be – very low and she can slip into unconsciousness, start to  lose brain function, and in some circumstances her organs start to shut down – but not when just a little low). I treat slight lows cautiously (as I don’t want her to become very high overnight – a high can feel like you have a horrible hangover, and in the long term can cause all sorts of damage to her organs). About 20 minutes later DD was still feeling low, so we tested her blood glucose again and she was even lower than before (still not dangerously low). So we discussed her food options: gummy bear (high GI) and 2 spoons of yoghurt (low GI) or ½ marshmallow and yoghurt.  Decision made (gummy bear – red), she sits there holding the lolly and delighting in how lucky she is to be able to eat such naughty food at bedtime.

Now the ‘healthy eating mummy’ in me thinks, “Hmm we need to have a conversation about this” and the ‘thank your lucky stars mummy’ thinks, “Wahoo, what an awesome outlook DD”.

For those friends with kids reading this, I apologize in advance as DD has planned all the friends she is going to tell about being able to have a red gummy bear before bedtime. She has also explained to me that they will understand, as she is special because she has diabetes. I love that she can be so positive about her disease. I love that she can turn back food because she knows it will make her high, but embraces the times she can enjoy sugar. I have no idea how long this will be the case, but I too will embrace her positivity.

My son wants to become a scientist and cure diabetes. But he also is independent and stubborn. My daughter is also stubborn (a good trait for a diabetic I believe), and has a love for life and people.  Since my daughters’ diagnosis I have learnt that in life we really cannot count on tomorrow being what we expect; only that today is what we make of it and we can try to influence positive changes.

Every day I try to be a positive influence for my kids. Sometimes I am cranky, but feed them a perfect diet for the day and ensure that they are on time for all activities (be it school, kindy, dance, rugby or swimming). Sometimes we are late but happy. At the end of the day we often chat about our day; what worked, what didn’t and what we will try and improve on. I have decided that it is best that my kids don’t think I am perfect. That they understand that it is ok to admit to making mistakes and that life is a constant learning experience.

But on any day, I most certainly will take the small wins. And tonight, DD’s pleasure over having a gummy bear at bedtime was a win!

What are your challenges? What do you discuss with your kids? Do you admit to mistakes?

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