Our oldest son Daniel is finally ready to babysit! I can hardly believe the day has come!
It was a Sunday afternoon, and my husband and I wanted to go visit a friend for a little while. Our youngest was in her crib for a nap, and we had just finished a late lunch, so these were the ideal circumstances to leave Daniel in charge. We double-checked that he knew where the emergency numbers were and quizzed him on our cell numbers. We went over the rules: no answering the phone or the door for anyone he didn’t know, etc. We checked Kaitlyn’s blood sugar one more time and got ready to leave.
We waved good-bye and got in the car. As we were driving away, we looked at each other and smiled. “This is really nice!” my husband said. I cannot even describe the feeling of freedom we felt at that moment. It was like a whole new world suddenly opened up, and we were enjoying every second of it. We could have been flying on a magic carpet, singing like Jasmine and Aladdin…that’s how giddy we felt!
This moment was definitely long in coming — it didn’t happen overnight. It was about 12 years in coming actually. Since our first child was born, we have not been able to leave without kids in tow or without arranging for a babysitter. When Kaitlyn (on the far left in the photo) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, we knew it would be even harder to get away. Not only did we have to arrange for a babysitter, but that babysitter had to know how to handle type 1 diabetes. So unfortunately, we were very limited in how much we could get out on our own for the next couple of years.
Don’t get me wrong — we’ve had a lot of help, and I’m really grateful. Jen and Craig, along with other family members and friends, have been so supportive and have given us a lot of opportunities to go on dates and even a few short trips. We’ve also trained a couple of babysitters who have been awesome! That said — it’s just not the same as being able to leave on the spur of the moment, leaving our own children in charge. I’m so excited!
So how did we make this all happen? About a year ago, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we decided to set some specific goals so we would be ready to leave Daniel in charge when the time was right. Since then, we’ve worked hard to help Kaitlyn become confident in checking her blood sugar and operating her pump with supervision. We also taught Daniel how to check her and what to do in an emergency. They know that if Kaitlyn wants to eat something, they need to call us first. They also call if she goes too low or too high. We started “testing” him out by leaving him with the kids for just five or 10 minutes at a time. Gradually, he became comfortable with that, so we’re finally ready to leave him with the kids for a bit longer.
We’re not completely out of the woods yet. We’ll still keep our babysitter busy pretty regularly when we need to go for much longer periods of time. We’ll also be very tied to our cell phones to check in on how everyone is doing. It will be a gradual process, but I’m so excited we’ve made it to this point!
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.