One of the traditions that my kids absolutely love is something we call Grandma Camp. Every year, my mother-in-law gathers all the cousins by age group and does an overnight “camp” where they get to have a sleepover at her house, complete with swimming, dinner, roasting s’mores over the fire, and sleeping in the backyard or in blanket tents in the living room. There’s always a theme, campfire songs, games, art projects, and several other activities to go along with the theme. My kids love it and look forward to it all year. Our out-of-town cousins even make the long drive to visit Grandma and join in the fun.
As you can imagine, we consider my mother-in-law one of the best grandmas in the world. However, she’s always been a bit nervous about handling the type 1 diabetes thing overnight. She has two grandkids with type 1—James and Kaitlyn—and even though it’s been years now, she’s still nervous about taking charge and needs gentle reminders about what to do for diabetes management.
Consequently, diabetes has posed a bit of a challenge when it comes to Grandma Camp. Of course, we want Kaitlyn to participate and enjoy this awesome cousin/grandma bonding time, but we don’t want to overburden Grandma by asking her to handle diabetes if she’s not comfortable doing it. In the past, we’ve always just had one of us stay over too—my husband or myself—to handle mealtimes and the nighttime checking, but we’ve felt like it took away a little bit of the magic for Kaitlyn to know that Mom or Dad was there. We’ve always looked forward to the year when Kaitlyn can handle everything on her own, so that she can have a true away-from-mom-and-dad, grandma-sleepover experience.
This year, I think it’s finally going to happen! Grandma Camp is right around the corner, and we decided to let Kaitlyn go without us. Since she can handle all the blood sugar checks and dosing for meals on her own now, the only thing we need to work out is counting carbs for meals and making sure she stays in range at night. The first challenge can easily be solved by sending her cell phone with her and having Grandma help her take a quick picture of all her food, so we can send a carb count back to her. No problem!
The second challenge can be solved with her CGM (continuous glucose monitor). With the CGM-in-the-cloud feature, we at home can see her numbers night and day as long as Kaitlyn has her CGM and cell phone near her. We’ll pack a bunch of juice boxes in her bag, and if she goes low, we’ll just call Grandma and have her give Kaitlyn a juice box. No problem. (We’ll also, of course, pack treatment for severe low blood sugar and train Grandma on how to use it.)
I’ll let you know how everything goes, but I’m hopeful that this will be the first Grandma Camp of many more to come that Kaitlyn will be able to enjoy without a hovering parent nearby. Wish us luck!
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.