One and a half years ago, my mom called and asked if she had permission from my husband and I to get the boys iPad minis for Christmas. She wanted to give all of her grandkids an awesome Christmas and knew this would do the trick! My initial thought was, "Heck yeah! Now, I don't have to buy them!" My very practical hubby was initially against it. He claimed they were too young for such an expensive device. "What would happen if they were on them all the time?," he asked. I reassured him that we were responsible parents and such devices would come with rules (yeah, right!). After my mom and I worked our magic and wore him down, we all agreed to spoil them and let the games begin! Literally!
That Christmas was everything my mom hoped it would be! It quite possibly might go down as the greatest Christmas in the history of Christmases according to all five grandchildren! The kids loved them. However, this was the problem. They LOOOOVEEd them. Every. Single. Day. I became one of the many generations of mothers who's children receive "the coolest game system ever" and then turns into a lunatic every time they play it - for more than the one hour that "the experts" say they should play. By the way, is that still a rule? I really need to know the rule but I am too afraid to look it up, and see the result, in case it really still is an hour a day. Oh God! It must be up to three hours per day for screen time by now, right? Doesn't it increase once more kids get the devices? Apple had a record year last year! Kindle? Same. Surely, this means the screen time limit went up, right?
Anyway, multiply my screen time anxiety by 10 when you throw diabetes in the mix. Not sure about your children but Rocco's blood sugar rises when he is sedentary. It also rises when he is stressed out. So now, take a nine year old Type 1 kid, give him an amazingly, cool piece of machinery and load up the Hunger Games for Minecraft and watch the blood sugar soar! Mix in a little lunch before and wait about an hour. Yep! Within about an hour, he is usually climbing into the 300s. So, I curse myself almost every day for not, once again, listening to my very practical husband.
In the non-D world, most moms let their kids turn on their devices and enjoy the silence for the duration of the game time. Let's be honest, the devices are like little off switches for kids. I'd be lying if I didn't enjoy the automatic ability to hear my own thoughts when those flat, little machines power up. Sometimes I even sing the line from that Depeche Mode song- Enjoy the Silence while I do a little jig in my kitchen. But then, after the first half hour and groan from his direction (because he lost or got killed or got kicked out) my D-Mom spider senses start to tingle. I know the trifecta of the sitting around, the anxiety of the game and the lunch, are running a number on my guy. The silence is different for a D Parent. We are on the clock. So, at first I pretend not to hear his frustration from the other room. The silence is too alluring. Wily temptress. Luring me back. Enveloping me back into her warm blanket which are my thoughts and laundry folding. "Argh!" I hear it again. The hair on the back of my neck stands up. Then I mentally add 100 blood sugar points to his perfect 125 pre-lunch blood sugar. "Argh!", I say to myself mirroring his comment but for a much different reason. Thoughts of telling him to dose himself another .5 units of insulin to offset the spike go through my mind. Sometimes, I do tell him to dose himself. However, when the next groan is heard, I don't know if he is spiking or dropping. Usually the extra squirt of insulin just confuses my DMom internal voice.
So sure enough, once "my time" (Oops! I mean their iPad time) is up. I go to check his blood sugar and yep, the monitor reads in the 300s. That's usually when I silently curse myself for trying to be a cool mom and let them have the devices. Also, for letting them play on them for more than the expert recommended time. I do believe kids should have downtime. Whenever I go to their classrooms, I just want to take them home put them in a quite room, bundle them in blankets and hand them their iPads. Their days are exhausting! Then, after I doubt myself about six ways from Sunday, I turn my anger to the little fuzzy monster, I sometimes conjure up in my imagination, called diabetes. Even a little bit of downtime has to be considered a potential threat to these kids. Grrrr! I can feel my blood pressure rise with my anger and silently appreciate that it's not my blood sugar, like my poor little guy. However, like every single D parent on the planet we would happily take over this disease for our kids. Any amount rising blood sugar would be fine with us, if our kids didn't ever have to live with it again. My mind floats to better days of a diabetes free world until I snap out of it and realize the kids got another five minutes out of me! So, I yell at the kids to "Turn those stupid things off and go outside and play!" I silently giggle as I hear my mother's words erupt out of my mouth! "Go outside and play!" are words that never out of style. Diabetes or not! So, I decide, while I watch them play in the snow (enjoying the dropping blood sugar with every running step he takes) tomorrow is another day. I will do better tomorrow.
P.S. I found a website that agrees with me that screen time can be two hours now. So, feel free parents, iPad away! Yay us! Oops! I mean yay them! Permission granted, at least from me...