Every so often, I love to ask my kids questions and record their answers. Their responses are usually so cute… sometimes completely wrong, but always thoughtful and honest. I thought I would share with you what each of them had to say when I asked them a few questions about Kaitlyn’s type 1 diabetes.
Q: What is diabetes?
Daniel (13 years old): “Diabetes is a disease that is incurable, and the pancreas ‘dies,’ which can be very dangerous. It also affects blood sugar levels by making them go high or low.”
Anna (11 years old): “Diabetes is like what happens when your body stops making insulin and you need to check your blood sugar, and sometimes you need sugar and you need to be careful about how high or low you are.”
Kaitlyn (9 years old): “Diabetes is when my pancreas stops working or is almost not working. I have type 1 diabetes, which is when my pancreas is never going to make insulin again. I have pricks to test my blood and little shots with tubes that carry insulin in me.”
Jonathan (6 years old): “Diabetes are stuff you do before you eat something.”
Lily (3 years old): “Kaitlyn checks her finger.”
Why do we test Kaitlyn’s blood sugar?
Daniel (13 years old): “We test blood sugar so that we know what her blood sugar is or how high or low she is. If she goes low, we make her eat sugar or any other food that will bring her blood sugar up. If she goes high, we give her insulin to make her number go down.”
Anna (11 years old): “We test her blood sugar so that we know if she is high or low. That’s very important, because if we didn’t know how high or low she was, she could get very sick.”
Kaitlyn (9 years old): “We test my blood sugar so that I’ll figure out if I’m high or low or in between. I like it best when I’m in the middle so that my numbers just stay balanced.”
Jonathan (6 years old): “We test her blood sugar so she could eat.”
Lily (3 years old): “So she can go to the party.”
Why does Kaitlyn need insulin?
Daniel (13 years old): “Kaitlyn needs insulin because the pancreas does not produce any insulin so it has to be injected through the skin. If she doesn’t have it, the blood sugar will go very high and get really dangerous.”
Anna (11 years old): “Kaitlyn needs insulin because insulin is what her body needs to live. I don’t know what insulin does.”
Kaitlyn (9 years old): “I need insulin because without it I wouldn’t survive. Insulin is like a little key, and it lets energy get to the right places in my body.”
Jonathan (6 years old): “Kaitlyn needs insulin because it helps her diabetes.”
Lily (3 years old): “It’s for medicine, and I have a pony unicorn in my house.”
I always get a laugh out of hearing some of their answers! They get asked these questions by friends and strangers all the time, and it helps to know where I need to reeducate them so that they’re prepared to give correct answers. Try it with your own kids! I’ll bet you’ll get answers that will surprise you!
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.