A couple of months ago, we decided to have a spur-of-the-moment ice cream sundae night with the kids. I couldn’t help but think about the cute little rhyme, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” And that’s literally how it was. We had some happy kids on our hands! We got the ice cream out and started dishing it into the bowls. All the toppings were out, ready to go. I asked Kaitlyn to test her blood sugar, so she ran out of the room to grab her meter. My husband and I were busy helping the other kids squirt chocolate fudge and caramel sauce all over their ice cream and cover the tops with whipped cream and sprinkles.
Kaitlyn came back into the kitchen, and she had the most dejected look on her face. “I hate diabetes!” she screamed. I looked at her meter, and her number was quite high. Oh no! She and I both knew that it was most certainly not a good time for ice cream.
I’d much rather have her eat with the other kids and feel “normal” as much as possible. This time though, her numbers were too high to justify that approach. So, I hugged her, and we put her bowl of ice cream in the freezer.
While I was getting a new site ready, I was trying to figure out what I could do for her to make her feel better. No amount of craft time or other distractions was going to help this time — I was ready to give her the moon if it would help!
By the way, this is where the “guilty mom” syndrome starts to play out. If only I had checked her well before the time we were dishing up ice cream. If only I hadn’t let her continuous glucose monitor battery die. If only I had made the other kids put their ice cream away too, despite the mutiny it would have caused.
It was in this moment that I thought of something that would ease her suffering just a bit. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was something. I took her over to the computer, and we sat together while I printed out several cards that said “Kaitlyn’s Treat Pass.” I gave her one and explained that she could use this special pass whenever she wanted to get whatever treat she wanted, as long as her blood sugar was in range. Her ears kind of perked up at this. “Does that mean I can have ice cream for breakfast?” she asked. Yep! “Or cookies right before dinner?” Yep! “Deal,” she said, and I got a big smile!
It has worked amazingly well over the last couple of months. If there is ever a time she doesn’t get to eat something when I’m allowing it for the other kids, she gets her pass. She then turns it in whenever she wants, and the other kids get really jealous. I have to say, it has certainly motivated me to try hard to keep her numbers in range!
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.