For years, James has been under the care of the world’s greatest school nurse, and it has been an incomparable blessing for our whole family. Of course, we’re thrilled that she does a great job taking care of James’ type 1 diabetes, but really she means so much more to us. She provides a safe place for James during the school day. Her office is inviting and comforting, and James has traditionally loved spending time in there, maybe even loved it a little bit too much.

See, he’d spend ALL of lunchtime in the nurse’s office. I think it started because he loves to read. He’d start reading while he waited to talk to the nurse, and he’d get so wrapped up in it that he didn’t want to leave. It made me laugh to think about it, because James is such a reader. Time spent reading in a quiet and cozy place is pretty much the dictionary definition of heaven for him. Still, I’d see him in the office and want him to take the opportunity to play with his friends at lunch! Despite enlisting the help of the teacher, the nurse, and the administrator, we were ultimately unsuccessful in getting him to want to leave the confines of the office.

That made it all the sweeter when sometime last year James started actually WANTING to be at recess with his friends. And just like that, the comfortable little cocoon that was the nurse’s office was no longer his favorite place to be. Now he was hurrying in to test and bolus and out the door again in a second. It was both a happy and sad moment for me. The sad comes from just a tiny piece of nostalgia for all those safe, warm, comforted hours I knew he spent in the nurse’s office in years past. But the happy feeling had a much greater pull — now James was enjoying school and everything it had to offer and he seemed no longer quite so limited.

He started this school year much the same way. He would zip into the office once daily to check his blood sugar and figure out his insulin dosage for lunch, and then out he’d go to the playground. And then it all changed again. I’d love to recount to you how James came in to my room and sat me down and asked for greater responsibility over his diabetes at school. That would have been awesome, but that’s not how it happened! Instead it went a little like this…

One day I got a call from our awesome school nurse around lunchtime letting me know that James just never came in at lunch. After some checking, James was found, eating lunch at the table with his friends. He didn’t come into the office that day because he simply didn’t want to. In a lot of ways, I couldn’t blame him. From there, the nurse stepped in and made sure James had checked his blood sugar, etc., just like she’s always done.

That night I suppose I could have read James the riot act for not following his care plan and worrying the nurse. Instead, we talked about how much he now enjoyed being with his friends and how he didn’t want to miss out any longer. And I totally got it. It made so much sense.

The next morning, we came up with a bold new plan: no more nurse visits. James needs to check his blood sugar before PE and lunch and text the number to me. If I say he can proceed, he does so, all without the help of the nurse.

At first I was skeptical that he’d remember to do it, but so far it has been a few weeks and he has had PERFECT compliance. It’s like he really appreciates the new responsibility and how it affords him more time to be social with his friends. This milestone was a LONG time coming, but now that it’s here, I’m just so proud of my boy, forever working on building healthy habits!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

Related topics:
A Year-by-Year Guide to Type 1 Self-Care
School Nurses Reveal: What Our Favorite D-Parents Do
In the Spotlight: Discipline and Type 1 Diabetes

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