Sometimes I just feel like the readers of this blog need to know all about James. He’s grown over the course of the years, but he’s still the same wonderful kid. A kid who happens to have type 1 diabetes (and I talk about that a lot, obviously, but I want you to KNOW him a little bit better so the stories make sense!).

James is almost as tall as I am now. His feet are already bigger than mine. He can eat way more than me. It is getting expensive to keep that child’s tummy full! He’s tall and handsome and sweet, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s a fabulous example of a child with type 1 diabetes, and he’s just a great human.

Remember how I said he was tall? He has grown at a rate of over one inch per month for the past four months. It has been hard to try to deal with fluctuating basal insulin rates with growth spurts and the huge amount of food that he’s been eating lately. As he gets more confident, he keeps trying new foods. I love that! But it doesn’t make managing his diabetes very easy right now.

Yes, we’re in a new phase. I think that day-to-day management might be a little trickier for the next few years, but honestly, I’m so proud of James!

One of the things that I love best about James is that he is truly confident in a way that is independent of outside approval. Many times his choices are very mainstream, but when he does deviate from what his peers are up to, he finds just as much pleasure forging his own path. This applies to his friends, for example. He’s always been great friends with people with disabilities. It’s actually a little uncanny. He seems to know when somebody needs a friend, and he’s extra understanding of people who respond to friendship differently. I’ve seen him be a blessing in the lives of many other children.

I love his tender heart. He loves all living things. His heart breaks when he needs to kill bugs (and sometimes I need him to kill bugs for me!). I used to think that that old rhyme, “What are little boys made of…snakes and snails and puppy dog tails,” was being derogatory toward boys. Now I know that THEY REALLY DO LIKE ALL THAT STUFF. The song is just being factual! James is the king of loving things that are dirty and muddy and gross. He’s happiest in the great outdoors with his hands in the dirt trying to discover a new kind of ant.

Or he might be happiest in a new book. The kid will read anything he can get his hands on. He has some favorites—Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Diary of a Wimpy Kid—stuff kids his age really like. But he’s also read parenting books when we haven’t made it to the library, and he’s already read everything else in the house. I’ll never forget when he gently admonished me to use a technique he’d read in a parenting book with a very frustrated Benny (his little brother). The tip worked! It cracked me up that he was able to recall the strategy at precisely the right time. I think I’m going to have him read ALL the parenting books and then just have him give me tips as they apply. It will be a great time-saver!

James is strong, kind, and well-liked. He likes to ride his bike and his scooter and loves hiking with his scout troop. He adores the beach and is becoming a stronger swimmer every summer. I’m grateful he can really get in the water and play with his peers now.

That’s really the point of all of this. Nothing stops him. He has personal hobbies he likes, sports he practices, and with his friends he engages in many extracurricular activities. All kids with diabetes are fundamentally KIDS first. I’m happy that he doesn’t personally feel like diabetes has defined his life. Though it is a big part, sure.

I wouldn’t change a thing!

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.

Related topics:
In the Spotlight: How Teen Hormones Affect Blood Sugar
People in the Know: Growth Spurts
People in the Know: “See the Child First”

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