Thursday, February 21, 2013

Slumber Party - At Our House

6th Graders and Wii - Slumber Parties are so techy these day!

I have written before of how we manage slumber parties. 

Using a four point plan that includes constant texting, planned meal times, wake-up times, and scheduled blood glucose checks, I feel as though we have been fairly successful with any and all sleepover events.

I don’t think I have ever written of how hosting a slumber party can be managed.

After having our daughters away overnight at several of the last few sleepover opportunities, I felt it was my time to be the hosting parent and offer all of the kids (you’re welcome parents!!) our home to hang-out.  Besides that, as my oldest daughter is growing up, her needs for independence are gaining speed and I wanted to have an inside look at some of the new friendships she had been making in sixth grade. 

What better way than to have a party at our house?

We took a quick peek at the calendar and landed on Valentine’s Day weekend (you’re welcome parents – again!).  My oldest daughter thought of several friends that she wanted to have over and since one had a younger sibling, my youngest daughter was thrilled to have a “friend” for herself as well.

Before the party could start, there was cleaning and activity planning to be done.  The kids also wanted some treats, so we carefully counted carbs for homemade cupcakes and mini pretzel rods dipped into chocolate.  About ten minutes before the first guest arrived, I asked the girls to take a moment and to check their blood glucose levels – mostly to be sure that no one would be low and to also have the task completed before dinner started.  My thought is always to fit type 1 diabetes into their lives and not the other way around.

This game is called Mucho Nacho and is a variation on eye-spy! 

It worked for one daughter who had beautiful blood sugar numbers from the start and for the other, a sudden drop in blood glucose happened right after the first few guests entered.  After a quick chocolate milk and a few glucose tabs, she was back in the swing of the party quickly.

After the rest of the guests arrived, my husband completed his one assigned task (Dads have it so easy!) of taking orders for take-out pizza and delivering it directly to the girls in their party den.  Relieved to know that was all that was needed of him in a house full of girls, he quickly headed off to another (quieter) part of the house to watch his college basketball game.

The girls finished dinner and started a party Wii game and were soon filling the entire house with giggles, screams and laughter. 

Even my husband watching basketball was chuckling with them.  Nothing sounds better than laughter filling the house!

However, at this exact moment of joy, I am reminded of the needs that my daughters’ have in order to keep enjoying themselves.  It seems to always hit like that, just when you relax, you remember….

They needed to bolus.

But asking the girls if they did that can send them into a tailspin while they are trying having fun.  Asking is akin to nagging them to stop what they are doing and to perform what they see as a “chore” in the middle of their game.

So to thwart that negative feeling ahead of time, the girls and I developed a little hand signal.  I don’t even say anything, just gesture using my hands to create a square (like an insulin pump).  With that one small move, the girls know exactly what I am asking for and either bob their heads up and down to confirm they did it or give me a surprised “I forgot!” look and enter their carbs.

For the party, neither one remembered so both gave me surprised looks but instantly whipped out their insulin pumps and bolused.  I breathed a sigh of relief in knowing that all was well – at least for the moment.

The party continued on and girls checked bgs as the need arose (another nice caveat of hosting is the availability of all of their testing supplies right out in the open) and bolused for things like  cupcakes, pretzels and then later, even popcorn before bed.

Right as the party was starting to wind down, the girls decided the basement was too scary to sleep in and made a mad dash for our oldest daughter’s bedroom.  With 8 sleeping bags crammed around the room, I decided to give the girls notice that in the middle of the night, I would be back (hopefully not stepping on anyone) to test youngest and oldest daughter’s blood sugar.

One of my oldest daughter’s girlfriends spoke up and said, “What?  Wait.  You mean you have to do that at night too?” 

My oldest daughter just nodded her head.

Her friend looked a little sad and said, “But how do you get a good night’s sleep?  Your mom is always waking you up.  You must be exhausted.  I feel so bad for you.” 

The room was unusually quiet and a few of the girls sitting closer reached over for hugs.

Oldest daughter hugged them back, but shook her head no.  She explained that she was used to it and it really didn’t wake her up.  “It is ok.  I am used to having diabetes.  I don’t mind.”

The conversation jarred me a little.  I was all but forgotten in the room and the girls didn’t seem to remember that I was there.  I debated a little of wondering if I should say something about type 1diabetes or if I should provide a basic refresher course of what we do and why we do it.

The longer I thought it, the more I allowed the moment to pass.

A second later and the girls started talking about the Justin Beiber poster taped to the back of oldest daughter’s door, noting a red heart marked that “someone” made around his face.  Both daughters emphatically denied writing the mark and the laughter picked back up and the giggles erupted in full force.

I finished what I was doing and asked the girls to think about getting some sleep before 1:00 a.m. but knowing full well that my attempt was futile.   They solemnly nodded and then as I left, the room filled with giggles, whispers and secrets being shared.

Maybe I should have explained a little more or maybe it was fine to leave the conversation where it was.

Regardless, having type 1 diabetes doesn’t change how this group of girls perceives their friendship with oldest (and youngest) daughter. 

If anything, it just makes them admire her a little bit more.

Oh, and for the middle of the night check… The friend who was most worried about oldest daughter, sat straight up in bed as I came into the room to test the girls.  Ironically, when I mentioned it the next day, she didn’t remember a single thing from that moment.

Kids really are amazing!


Laura K said...

And you are amazing as well, Amy. Thank you so much for sharing your daughters’ slumber party experience. They are very lucky to have parents who work hard to fit diabetes management into their lives and not the other way around!
My best, Laura K.

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

Thanks Laura! That is such a kind thing to say... all I hope is that they can grow up with a sense of self that will forever keep type 1 diabetes in check and allow them the freedom to be and do anything they choose.