Not too long ago, I was brave and decided to take my four kids down to visit their grandpa. He lives a few hours away—far enough away that we don’t see him all the time, but close enough that driving is the only sensible option.
Because I’m fairly experienced at kid vacations, I was smart enough to plan this trip to last only a day and a half. Craig couldn’t come with me this time, but my sister was kind enough to come and even offered to be my “second” with the kids. She’s brave too!
We decided to leave after the rush-hour traffic died down, which meant we left LATE and got in even later. Grandpa is a night owl, and he was up to greet us.
After a little excitement, I got the three boys down, and they were sleeping in a shared room. This isn’t a big deal. The three of them share at home so they’re old pros at tolerating possible nighttime distraction. I felt relieved that I only had to get Lucy, my “baby,” to sleep. She is BY FAR the best sleeper of my four kids. Phew! I was pretty tired and ready to get in bed.
But NO. Just no. She didn’t want to sleep. The baby who has seriously never NOT slept through the night was wide awake. Talking, crawling on me, singing. It was…fun. And the best part is that I was sharing a room with her and with my sister. So I told her it was bedtime and attempted to put her into the portable crib. She started screaming. And unlike at my home where my boys (ALL of them—that means Craig, too) can sleep through a bomb going off, the inhabitants at Grandpa’s house are very, very light sleepers. So she pretty much wasn’t going to be able to just “fuss herself to sleep.”
So I tried to nurse her to sleep. She hasn’t needed that for a while, but I thought it was worth a shot. Nope. Wouldn’t sleep. So I tried co-sleeping. She was better then but still pretty much attached to me while doing baby downward dog and kicking my sister in the head. After a while, finally…finally…she was still. But I didn’t dare move.
So what does this have to do with type 1 diabetes? I’m sure you might be asking yourself that right now. Here’s where it gets good. Right when Lucy finally settled down, I heard a distinctive beeping that I knew from long experience to mean that James’ continuous glucose monitor (CGM) was telling me his blood sugar was low.
NO! I can’t ignore that. I just can’t. Nor can I risk leaving Lucy in the bed when she’s squirming all over and still little, so she had to come with me.
I ran into the hallway where I kept James’ testing kit and juice boxes at the ready, donned my always-attractive headlamp, and proceeded with Lucy into James’ room to test his blood sugar. All the boys were sound asleep. James and Benny were wrapped up together on the lower bunk. So I had to proceed cautiously. I inserted the test strip and cocked the lancing device and bent closer to James.
That’s when Lucy started giggling because she saw Benny. She basically jumped out of my arms and onto him. Miraculously, he stayed asleep!! And I discovered that James was indeed low and needed the juice box I had poised to give him. For 30 LONG seconds, I found myself watching in trepidation by the light of the headlamp as James inhaled his juice and Lucy tried her darnedest to wake up her partner in crime.
Ultimately, she was unsuccessful. And I WAS successful. James’ blood sugar went back up after I waited anxiously for nearly half an hour in the bathroom with a fully alert toddler, trying to be quiet. All three boys stayed asleep (I told you they could sleep through a bomb!). Crisis averted. Except I still had a wide-awake 17-month-old. Sigh.
We went back to doing nursing yoga, and at some point both of us fell asleep. We had a great time visiting Grandpa, but not surprisingly, I felt a little tired by the end of the trip. Gotta love life with kids and diabetes!
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.