I love to watch James near the water. He simply cannot resist its appeal, and every single trip to the beach results in his complete immersion in the waves.
Even in June, when I’m so cold I’m tucked inside my warmest hoodie and wrapped in my towel, that kid just gets to the beach and runs for the water. (For those of you not native to California, June would seem like the best time to go to the beach — school is out, it’s summertime — but we locals are well aware of the phenomenon that is “June Gloom.” While temperatures can be as high as 90 degrees at any time throughout the winter, here in southern California it is NEVER that hot in June. It’s overcast, it’s cloudy, it’s often COLD, and it never looks like the beach does in movies.)
But my little boy cannot be deterred. And it’s kind of always been that way.
I’ll never forget that first week when he started kindergarten. We were at the park in the evening with some friends. I was waiting for a return phone call from our certified diabetes educator (CDE). We needed to chat about James’ numbers and about tweaking some settings in his pump for the upcoming school year. I turned my back to answer my phone for JUST a moment. I didn’t get great reception at the park, and I was straining to hear the CDE and pay attention to what I felt was a really important phone call.
My little boy seized that moment to do something he’d always wanted to do and I’d never permitted. When I turned back around, I found my five-year-old waist-deep in the duck pond. He said he wanted to “cuddle a duck.”
Now, anyone who has spent time at the duck pond knows how revolting the water is. Not only is it filthy, it’s opaque. I was grateful that it wasn’t any deeper since he wasn’t yet a strong swimmer, water-loving as he was!
Aside from concerns about cleanliness and basic safety, James was also wearing his insulin pump. Thankfully, though, it was just fine. The duck pond incident was perhaps the first that precipitated our need to have a plan in place for nearing a large body of water.
Now, when we head to the beach, no matter the weather or the temperature, the first thing we do is disconnect James from the insulin pump. (We reconnect him periodically to give him insulin.) We KNOW that James will gleefully find the water, and we prepare for it. And I find myself full of gratitude that this is just one more way that my healthy little boy who happens to have type 1 diabetes can live such a full, free and happy life.
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.