Friday was an all-around crazy day. I knew it was going to be pushing it to get dinner made, get the kids fed and pick up our awesome babysitter by the time we needed to get out the door to meet our friends for a night out. I was super stressed and I started to wonder, is this even worth it? Why do I torture myself getting ready for a babysitter to come when the whole point is to have a relaxing evening out together?
I ran through the house, cleaning up, getting myself ready, feeding and changing the baby, and bellowing at the kids to pick up their art projects. I had barely started to get dinner ready for the kids when my husband walked in the door and it was time to go pick up the babysitter. I immediately attacked Evan with requests to help get dinner ready, and then I realized… Wait a minute! Maybe the babysitter can feed the kids!
It has been a couple of years since we started using our current babysitter on a regular basis. She’s wonderful! I’ve never worried about the kids while they’re in her care, but as she is still a fairly young woman, we’ve been careful to make it a gradual process in passing the diabetes torch over completely. This is how the last couple of years have gone:
- The first few months, she got to know the kids, and they became comfortable with her. We gave her a pretty brief explanation of what diabetes is and explained what to do in an emergency. We left our phone numbers and other emergency contact info. The only food we allowed were carb-free snacks, and no testing was done while we were away. We could leave for about one to two hours at a time.
- Next, she learned the basics. We taught her about Kaitlyn’s normal blood sugar range, how food brings her blood sugar up and how insulin brings it down. We taught her how to test Kaitlyn’s blood sugar and gave her instructions on giving juice or sugar for lows. Still, no food was allowed except for carb-free snacks. The babysitter would check blood sugar about one time while we were away, and we could stay out for a max of about three hours… unless Kaitlyn’s blood sugar was too high. Then we would cut our evening a little bit short.
- After about a year, the babysitter started to learn to operate the pump. She would check while we were away and call us with Kaitlyn’s number. If she was high and needed a correction dose, we would walk the babysitter through the buttons to push to give a correction. Gradually, we started walking her through the buttons to press to dose for snacks as well. Kaitlyn was also getting pretty good at checking her own blood sugar, which was a big help. We would still feed the kids dinner before we left so we could take care of the dosing. Typically, we could stay out for about four hours.
- Last night, we left and let the babysitter feed the kids dinner! We walked her through finding carb counts on packages and gave her a typical range of how much insulin Kaitlyn should get. Kaitlyn is checking and dosing on her own with supervision, so the babysitter just told Kaitlyn how many carbs to dose for and watched carefully as she typed it in. We were gone for five hours!
I cannot explain the feeling of freedom we got just walking out the door and knowing that our babysitter would be able to handle it! The wait and the work have definitely been worth it!
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.