Monday, October 1, 2012

Ra- Ra, Shish, Boom, Ba - It's Spirit Week! Got ice cream?

Crazy Day

Spirit week is in full force over here. 

That means that for five days, with a culmination on Friday of a Homecoming parade and high school football game, our kids have total freedom over their wardrobes and quite possibly, a slightly easier study load for the first time since school started.

Spirit week is fun, for both parents and children alike. 

For our school, the week has assigned days like this:

Monday:  Crazy Day - dress as crazy as you want.
Tuesday:  Pajama Day - wear those comfy pjs to school.
Wednesday:  Pocket Day - wear all the pockets you can.
Thursday:  Sunday Best - wear your nicest duds to school.
Friday:  Spirit Day - wear all things spirit in school colors.

As a parent of a child(ren) with type 1 diabetes, I secretly love events that do not involve extra planning for counting carbs or adjusting insulin needs.  It isn't that we wouldn't participate if there was a buffet of sweets everyday (and we have because it is always kids first, diabetes second), it just means that it is a whole lot easier and better when food is taken out of the equation.

Usually, spirit week is a non-food event week.


This year, on pocket day, the child wearing the most pockets will be rewarded with an ice cream purchased by the principal.

Which leads me to once again scratch my head and wonder at what we as a society are sending messages about - is this one saying every time you have"fun", you celebrate with "food"?  Or to be blunt, winning = food?  It is no wonder we have issues with obesity and the dreaded (and completely avoidable) type 2 diabetes in children.  We are teaching our kids to eat.

What happened to earning a gold star or a paper reward ribbon?  Or better yet, just pure satisfaction that you won?  Clearly, we have forgotten that simple praise.  In our current decade, everything has to be bigger and better than before.  Supersize is still around; only now with new names that have friendlier health terms such as "large value size", "grande" or "biggie".  Really, who are we kidding people?

This extra consumption adds into the total of all those unnecessary calories while sitting at school.  Between reward prizes, birthday treats, holiday parties and candy tossed for correct answers or following procedures, our kids, to whom PE is provided maybe once a week, are sitting and consuming without a thought as to what they are eating. 

We give it to them and they simply eat it.

This is NOT the type 1 diabetes talking either because I am sure that people think my children can't eat this or that (which is absolutely untrue) so I don't want anyone to eat it (also untrue).  It is just an observation from a mom who actually reviews what goes into her children's mouths. 

I am in-tune from living with type 1 diabetes but not because of type 1 diabetes.  You know our saying, "whether my kids eat carrots or candy, we need to count carbs and dose insulin".

Maybe I should be calm.  After all, I know that this is just an ice cream.  One ice cream.  Nothing more and nothing less.  I also know that we could choose to not try to win and that would be perfectly acceptable too.
In fact, that is probably what people would expect us to do because of the rampant misinformation plaguing type 1 diabetes.  Quick medical lesson, this is an auto-immune disease that no one chose, caused, asked for or wanted and could not be avoided or prevented - insulin is NOT a cure and only our lifesaving medical treatment until a cure can be found.

But back to that thought of kids first, diabetes second.  My child carefully read the rules of spirit week over and instantly her eyes gleamed as she read about pocket day. 

"Mommmmmmmm!  Did you know that you can win on pocket day?", she said excitedly pointing to the flyer.  "I want to win!  I am going to sew and sew and sew.  Wait, can you help me?  We can win!"

I look over at big, hopeful, green kitty cat eyes staring back at me and nod my head in reply.


Because at the end of the day, I am not going to let the extra hassle with counting ice cream carbs, spiking blood sugars and excessive calorie intake stop her from reaching for her dreams.  She deserves to try and win just like everyone else out there.

I will however, monitor that food intake later, adjust insulin for those extra carbs and make sure we all have a nice walk at the end of the day whether she wins or not.  

Change may not come at our school but it will come from our family in advocating and modeling responsible lifestyle choices and not rewarding with food but with a big hug and a high five. 

This is the "spirit" from spirit week that I hope catches on.

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