Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Teaching Moments for Tweens

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A Teaching Moment.

That time where you hope that all of the good advice that you have been filling your kids up with actually sticks.

I find myself in the position (not always by choice either) of allowing my daughters a chance to spread their wings and practice their new life skills.

Before the holidays, it was oldest daughters 6th grade Christmas party.  Since parents are particularly 'uncool', none of us were invited to attend with the kids. 

Now I know that I could have balked and put up a fuss to make sure that I attended.  After all, each and every parent of a child living with type 1 diabetes has an 'Advance Directly to Go' card (and rightfully so) in their wallet.  As one principal told me early on, "I am always welcome to do anything that needs to be done to keep my child safe". 

As much as I like that idea, I also respect my daughter.

Her wishes are to be able to enjoy the time at school like the other children do.  Not to be singled out or to be shadowed by an overbearing (albeit loving) mother.

So after careful discussion, we (and we as in my husband, my daughter and me) made the decision to let her attend the party (actually multiple celebrations in different classrooms) by herself. 

That meant that she would need to check her blood sugar before eating ANYTHING, measure her own food in order to be able to count the amount of carbohydrates and bolus appropriately - hopefully doing it before she ate.

Sounds simple, right?

Well parties can be distracting.  Imagine 60+ kids hyped up on the last day of school, each jockeying for the few treats spread out on the buffet table and no where is a measuring cup or label to be found.

Not to mention, the feeling of thinking something that looked so delicious, that you actually took several piece of and bolused.  Then, that horrible realization after eating just a bite - was plain awful tasting.

Those situations are hard on an adult, but a kid?  Unimaginable.

That morning, after dropping my oldest off, I checked my Facebook account only to discover that one of my fellow mom friends had made about 75 Oreo Cake balls.  Just knowing how wonderful this mom is, I knew fully well that my daughter would immediately gravitate towards the beautiful AND yummy snack. 

I also knew that she would have absolutely no idea of the amount of carbs included in each sweet treat.

So I did what any parent would do and I took a quick survey on Naturally Sweet Sisters Facebook and asked.  Which by the way, if you have a question like I did, feel free to add it to the page.  The group is wonderfully caring and generous with their support and help; reason 1,001 of why I love the DOC. 

After reading the helpful comments, I waited it out and let my daughter work through the situation.  By 2:00 p.m., the big homeroom party was in full swing.  Just as I was starting to become worried over the thought that maybe she wouldn't call me, the phone rang.

Listening to her cheery voice, I discovered that indeed, my daughter had followed an appropriate path of guesstimating her carbs, changing her mind on some of it and following through by eating a little bit more of something else that she truly loved, (weirdly enough) cantaloupe!   Many thanks to that parent too!!!

As we talked, I still felt that she was about ten carbs short (which at this stage can really make a difference in her blood sugar levels), so she added those while we were on the phone. Before our conversation ended, she thanked me.

And I thanked her right back.

Because this job of raising an independent young lady is made so much easier since it is HER. 

End Note:  Just so that this doesn't totally over the top rosy, I have to say that the biggest hurdle in her independence is still (and maybe always) ME.  Turning over the work of being her pancreas for so long will never be fully easy.  Mostly because I know what a full time job it is...  If you have older kids, how did your transition go and did you find it hard to let go as well?  Please share your stories either in the comments or on our Naturally Sweet Sisters Facebook page. 

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