Today, I decided to spotlight my oldest son, Daniel (second from the left in the photo). He is such a great kid and has learned to take on so many responsibilities as an oldest brother to four younger siblings, including one with type 1 diabetes (Kaitlyn, on the far right). He puts up with a lot from his pesky brother and sisters, but he manages to love them and take care of them like a champ.
We have gradually increased his babysitting time from a few minutes to a few hours. We’ve gotten to the point now where we completely trust him to take care of the kids for the length of time that we need to go to dinner and a movie, and it’s great! I asked him a few questions about what it has been like learning to take on this role:
1. What is the hardest thing about babysitting?
The hardest thing is calming everybody down when they are definitely not listening. I am in middle school, and I have a lot of homework, so it’s really hard to get anything done while I’m babysitting.
2. What’s the hardest thing about taking care of a sister with diabetes?
The hardest part of taking care of Kaitlyn is when she forgets to check herself or when she loses her CGM (continuous glucose monitor) or testing kit.
3. Have you ever had an experience babysitting when you were worried or didn’t know what to do?
No, not really. There are a couple of problems each time I babysit, but it turns out O.K., because I know your phone number, and I just call you.
4. What would you do if you were not able to get a hold of me or dad on the phone when you had a question about taking care of Kaitlyn?
I would call you again. If I still couldn’t reach you, I would ask Kaitlyn what she would usually do. If I still didn’t know, I would call Grandma and Grandpa or Aunt Jen.
5. Do you think we call you too much to check to see how things are going at home?
Maybe, a little. I have things pretty much in control when you’re gone. I just get really exhausted sometimes.
6. Do the other kids like it when you’re in charge?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no, because I make them follow the rules. But other times, they like it because I turn on a fun movie for them.
There you have it — proof of what an awesome boy I have! We are blessed to have him in our family, and Kaitlyn is so lucky to have him as a big brother!
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.