October 10, 2008

Just Childhood

Being the parents of a type 1 child is a mind game. Diabetes gets into my head and tries to make me even more overbearing than the already strong natural instinct of every parent to over protect their kids. I have something, BG, I can manage, measure and control. It gives me something that in very short time frames gives me a false measure of parenting skill.

Of course blood doesn’t do anything of the sort. “Good” BG numbers don’t mean good parenting. In fact in my rational mind I understand that point to point there are good or bad numbers, Not that I don’t act emotionally all the time as if there are "good" numbers.

Parenting isn’t a short term deal. We need to be consistent, we need to be positive, we need to be encouraging and we need to get over our need for short term feed back. There is an amazing This American Life about how positive messages can be a big change in a child's future. So for us it is not about blood test to blood test numbers, it not about day to day numbers, it isn’t about quarter to quarter A1C. Look at Wall Street it lived quarter to quarter on good numbers with little concern for long term quality. There is a parenting analogy to be found in there.

Wall Street has some very fancy number crunchers. The have the best math wizards money can buy. They got great numbers quarter to quarter and are blowing up in one huge mess. We can become math wizards and micro manage BG and have great A1Cs.

That isn’t the goal. The goal is for the kids to grow up to be competent self managers so that we can worry about them less. Our goal is to raise them in such a way that we can have confidence in their ability to have productive happy lives while they self manage diabetes as part of that happy productive life.

Here is how we will know if we have done a good job. If when they are newly wed and anticipating their own families they look back and describe their childhood not as "childhood with diabetes" but instead just "childhood."

LY/MI Kerri. I hope I am working towards Delaney growing up with the same view of her childhood.