The other day, I checked Kaitlyn and got a high reading. I burst out saying, “Aww, man!” Kaitlyn hadn’t even seen the number yet, but she knew by my reaction that it wasn’t good. I looked over at Kaitlyn and saw the crestfallen look on her face. Not only was she sad that I would probably ask her to wait to eat her snack, but she had the look of a little child who had just gotten in trouble. Right then, I knew that I needed to start watching my reactions.
I guess I hadn’t realized that she was really picking up on the emotions I show in association with her blood sugar readings. Before, she didn’t seem to notice either way, whether I was frustrated or relieved when the number came up. It was kind of like the day that my husband and I realized that our first child understood the conversations we thought were over his head.
Needless to say, it was quite a wake-up call. I thought to myself, Kaitlyn might start associating how I feel about her blood sugar readings with how I feel about her as a person. I never want her to feel like she did anything wrong if her number isn’t in range. If I’m not careful, she might feel like having a bad number makes her a bad girl. What a sad thought!
I suppose I thought I was doing her a favor by teaching her how to recognize a number that was either in range or out of range, thinking that it was an easy way for her to learn her numbers as well as recognizing what she would need to do to get her blood sugar back into range. While that is all important stuff that she needs to learn, the vocabulary we were using needs a slight tune-up. “Good” or “bad” should be replaced with “high,” “low” or “in range.” Taking an approach of not judging the reading, but simply seeing what the number is and going from there, is probably the right way to go about it. We’re learning, and we’re getting better at this!
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.