Kaitlyn is turning 11 next month, and it seems like she’s growing up so fast! Gone are the days of calling other moms and setting up “playdates.” It’s not super cool as an 11-year-old to call it a playdate, but she still loves to spend time with friends at their houses or on outings with their parents. We’re heading into those preteen years where kids definitely still need parental supervision, but they usually want to do more than play with dolls and dress-up clothes. Kaitlyn has a great group of friends from school and church, and it’s common for us to set up times for them to just “hang out.”
With the help of her continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and cell phone, we usually handle the birthday parties, movie nights, and outings with friends just fine. I generally don’t even need to fully train the other parents about her type 1 diabetes if it’s not a long trip or if they’re not very far away. I feel pretty connected to Kaitlyn through our devices, and she’s much more confident now with checking, dosing, and carb counting. She just texts me a picture of her plate or calls when she has a question.
Going to the beach with friends is a different story though. She usually leaves on her pump, because it’s waterproof and a pain to get on and off if there’s any sand near her site (which there ALWAYS is). But she always takes her phone and CGM off, since they’re not waterproof. This leaves us pretty blind to her blood sugar levels as she’s in and out of the water and running up and down the beach. Cell phones are also not that reliable at the beach, because it’s windy and loud and hard to hear them ring. The reception is sometimes spotty too, depending on where we go.
So, it was with great cautiousness that I told Kaitlyn she could go to the beach with her friend and their family recently. Luckily, we’ve become very close to this family, and I trust the mom to be on top of things. I’ve taught her the basics of diabetes management, and I know that she’ll remind Kaitlyn to check her blood sugar periodically and ask her how she’s doing. She’s also become pretty good at carb counting so she can help Kaitlyn with that as well.
It’s a little bit hard seeing her move from cute little playdates at home to hanging out with all kinds of friends at all kinds of places. I know that it’s all part of her growing up though, and this is just the next step in her progress toward independent adulthood.
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.