When Mommy Has Diabetes

Teaching your child about your diabetes, one glucose tab at a time.

DeannaBy Deanna Glick

Kids have a special way of making the mundane or miserable in life fascinating and fun. Dust bunnies become toys, cardboard boxes become forts, and a stormy sky becomes full of magical images. The skill comes in particularly handy when diseases and medical paraphernalia come into play.

I remember nursing my infant daughter in bed when she suddenly began threading the tubing of my insulin pump through her fingers. She was gentle and curious, almost as though she understood its purpose. Soon after that, she showed an interest in my blood glucose meter in the same way she pined for my cell phone or the television remote control. Her interest made me a little nervous at first, but I'm since found reassurance in her comfort with my extra appendage and the gadgets that go along with keeping diabetes in control. She pushes my insulin pump site against my skin playfully just like I poke at her belly. I fully expect her to one day ask: "Mommy, why don't I have an insulin pump like you do?"

But we've got a long way to go before those words come out of my toddler's mouth. In the coming months and years, she will become even more intimately familiar with all that diabetes brings to our lives before she really understands what it is. I realize she is having her own honeymoon period of sorts, before the disease hits her brain full force the way it did in my body almost 15 years ago.

I'm thankful for this.

Diabetes is no big deal in my daughter's 22-month-old eyes. It is part of her world just the same as diapers, booster seats, and bibs. Her ignorance is truly bliss. It pains me to think of what it could mean for her to have a mother with diabetes. But I choose to focus on today. For now, I like to think she's got an early start at developing a respect for disability and differences. And my daughter's interactions with my disease provide a different perspective for me in the same way her outlook on dust bunnies or boxes might. My meter and pump have become fabulous distractions during desperate attempts to keep her happy while cruising the aisles of Target. My chalky glucose tabs recently served as a satisfying snack that quelled the scene that ensued after my husband discovered we had forgotten to toss her usual cracker cup into the diaper bag before heading off to the pizza parlor.

Fellow viewpoints columnist Amy Tenderich recently expressed concern in her column over getting a pump with tubing due to her fears of what might happen amid a household of kids and the subsequent chaos. And I must say I'm envious of her new tube-free pump each time I feel a tug from my daughter, dog or worse — cupboard and door knobs. But I also am oddly comforted by my daughter's affinity for my tubing that has continued ever since her discovery more than a year ago. For me, it serves as a sign of her comfort with my biggest flaw. And it provides hope that when her honeymoon is over, and she understands what it means for Mommy to have diabetes, that she'll still have that special ability to make the mundane and miserable at least a little more tolerable.

dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: May 28, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
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