Remembering to bolus for all those baby bites.
By Deanna Glick
My grandmother would be proud of my penchant for food frugality. Oh, I don't squirrel away two bites of leftover casserole in Tupperware that sits in the fridge only to become a science experiment. But I am not wasteful. And so I save the never-ending supply of leftovers that come with having a toddler. Or, I eat them before they end up in plastic captivity. And, sometimes, I forget to bolus for them.
Wasn't this the whole point of mastering carbohydrate counting and going on the pump? You could graze to your heart's content and not suffer the consequences of high blood sugar. In theory, that's true. But the brochures and salespeople and diabetes educators don't consider the toddler timing factor – the "I have to get out of this high chair right now and watch my Baby Signing Time DVD and, oh, yeah, I want my stuffed puppy from my crib and a sippy cup of chocolate soy milk and some Goldfish" factor. Nor do they discuss how to accommodate for the value of tasting everything you put in front of your toddler in order to teach her to eat it. (Believe me, they know when you are pretending.)
A half hour later you haven't bolused for lunch, let alone those tastes of sweet potato or leftover bites of peanut butter and jelly, and your blood sugar is over 200. So, why not take advantage of the cool alerts that can be set on the newer pumps? Well, for the same reason I go four days before changing my site or the same reason I've forgotten to bolus. Simply put, the myriad tasks required to manage diabetes become jumbled in the puzzle of priorities that come with parenthood. And when your toddler needs you, they win.
As I write this, my daughter is screaming "Mama" from her basement play room as Daddy struggles to console her. I am not letting her win. Because as a diabetic mommy, my losses won't always equate to a winning streak for my daughter. I am trying to remember that and the effort provides an alert of sorts to bolus for those bites of banana that she won't eat.
Or, God forbid, throw them away.
Not everything is difficult for this diabetic when it's time for her kid to eat. I'm a whiz at portion size and nutrition. It's natural for me to come up with a balanced meal in a few minutes. While living through the evolution of diabetes management in the last fourteen years, I've developed top-notch label-reading skills that allow me to avoid giving my daughter foods with substandard ingredients. I know that strawberry Jell-O is not a fruit. I know that a pile of mashed potatoes isn't exactly a vegetable. I know why olive oil is good and bacon is bad. I know hot oatmeal is better than cold Cheerios. This is not to say my daughter doesn't eat Cheerios or bacon. But she's hopefully developing a palate for healthy alternatives that will lessen her craving for eating evils that have become so ingrained in American culture.
I guess my having diabetes could very well mean my little girl will be healthier as a result. Such sweet irony.
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.
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