The other night, we had the kids over at my mom and dad’s house. They were babysitting for us so that Evan and I could get out by ourselves for a little while. We checked Kaitlyn right before we left, and her blood sugar reading was in the low-normal range. Dinner was still an hour away, so just to be safe, we gave her a small snack without insulin to keep her elevated until dinner.

About 45 minutes later, we got a call from my mom. Kaitlyn had told my mom that she felt a little funny and thought she should check herself. Sure enough — she was low! Kaitlyn’s blood sugar must have been dropping fast, since even with the extra snack, she dropped significantly in less than an hour. She drank some juice and was just fine a few minutes later. Normally, my reaction would have been to worry. This time though, I actually had the opposite reaction: I was so excited that Kaitlyn had actually felt her low and decided to check on her own!

This is something we have been struggling with since day one. Rarely has she been able to understand how she feels in relation to her blood-sugar levels. Most of the time, it’s a lot more obvious to me than to her. One moment, she’ll be lying on the floor or crying, and even though it’s very obvious to me that her blood sugar is low, she seems oblivious to what’s going on. It’s always been the same story — she knows she doesn’t feel good, but she doesn’t know why.

Lately, I’ve been trying to coach her on this. Sometimes she’ll come to me and say, “Mommy, I don’t feel well.” Then I say, “What should you do every time you don’t feel well?” She’ll reluctantly say, “Check myself?” “Yes! Go check yourself!” I say.

Other times, she’ll have a low reading and I’ll say, “See how you’re feeling right now? This is how you feel when you’re low.”

Well, it’s finally paying off! She is finally remembering that she needs to check every time she wants to eat something, but equally important, she is recognizing how her body feels and checking when she feels a little off. It’s one more step to being a little bit more independent!

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:
In the Spotlight: Teaching Kids to Recognize Their Body Signals
A Year-by-Year Guide to Type 1 Self-Care
Our Big Independence Plan

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