My mother is kind of amazing. Growing up she was this crazy mix between Fraulein Maria and Betty Crocker, and she baked all the time. We almost always came home from school to the smell of freshly baked cookies! I’d watch her do it. To me it always looked rather casual. I’d see her toss the ingredients around quickly, partially fill measuring cups, and eyeball things frequently. Looked easy to me!
Consequently, when I began baking myself, I’d copy her style. I’d carelessly pile ingredients into the mixing bowl. And MY cookies never turned out. At all! They were burnt or runny or wouldn’t rise right, and they couldn’t touch the quality of my mom’s baking, even though I used all of her recipes. I asked her about it one time. She explained to me that the “casual” style that I observed wasn’t born of laziness but of years of experience. The under-filled cups of flour were purposeful—she’d learned over the years that gingersnaps did a little bit better with slightly less flour. The piles in the ingredient bowls were actually very carefully calculated. Who knew! I certainly couldn’t tell—even after watching her all those years.
I think I can see something similar happening with James and the way he manages diabetes. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’m all about finding easy ways to tweak things to make them more convenient for life with diabetes. My methods are actually pretty calculated, but I’m sure from the outside they may look haphazard. That’s by design. I want things to be so perfectly suited and honed that they ARE easy—as easy as they can be. But they aren’t lazy or cavalier, and there is a difference!
As James has started to get more and more interested in managing his own diabetes, I think he too sees my laid-back attitude toward things like buffets and birthday parties, Thanksgiving feasts and Sunday treats, and I think he doesn’t realize that my “style” is born of years upon years of measuring and estimating and plotting and tracking. It’s one of those things that cannot be taught merely from observation. I need to teach him two things. First, I need to teach him how to measure carbs, how to take into account physical exercise, how to interpret CGM data, and how to access other resources, such as his diabetes educator and healthcare team. And equally important, I need to teach him that I’m able to do all of these things because I’ve put hundreds of hours into studying, testing, and trialing how food, exercise, and insulin interact. He needs the skills AND he needs the perspective to know that like baking the perfect cookie, maintaining optimal levels of blood sugar is a bit of an art!
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.