Diabetes messes with your head.
It screws up your life and messes with your priorities.
It is clever.
It is subtle.
Parents that are new to Type 1 inevitably are overwhelming processes and ask will it ever be normal again. The experienced parents (who are probably still a little overwhelmed) respond with comforting words about a new normal. We talk about a settled down life, which encompasses diabetes care. We say, “Yes you will get into a rhythm of the new normal.”
In that settled down life we take comfort in regular many times a day measurements that for the most part reassure us we are doing OK. Or not if we are not doing OK, we act and OK comes back in minutes, maybe hours.
We get lulled into an odd sense of parental security. Odd in that we are constantly worried about what our diabetes varying will bring next, but secure in that we test and measure as parents.
Thos e test are regular feed back and trigger regular parental medical actions, corrections are swift and for the most part effective. We have back up systems to help and reassure us when our parental actions aren’t swift and effective.
And there it is one of diabetes’ most brilliant little mind games. We have taken the bait. The numbers game becomes a measure of our parenting.
We see all the testing and action as parental skills. We are good parents because we do all this diabetes stuff and teach all these medical practices to our kids. We get the luxury of daily hourly feed back on our success. We like that because we get feed back form a simple finger stick and reading a screen.
We are not just parents, we are super parents! We do all this diabetes crap on top of everything else.
With the testing there is minimal, if any conversation.
No actual parenting skills needed only D care giving. Not that the D care is easy but the subtle temptation of diabetes is to substitute medical practices for parenting. We don’t really have to care for the kid to give diabetes care. It can become mechanical.
It is even worse for the non D siblings. They see changes in the household. They hear you say the D kid didn’t do anything wrong to get Type 1. They see the effort lavished upon their brother or sister, who you said, didn’t do anything to deserve all the parental attention. Attention they are not getting.
The morning after our second diagnosed of T1 we forgot to give the first T1 kid his insulin. At the time I said, “Gotta deal with both diabetics, not just worry about the new one.” I didn’t say we have 4 kids we gotta pay attention too. I don’t want to know how many mornings before and after we haven’t checked in with the other two kids.
Diabetes care isn’t parenting even if we do it because we are parents. There isn’t a finger stick for measuring how your doing as a parent.
So how are the kids, all the kids?