The other day after I sent the boys off to school, I entered my silent house. I looked at the pile of dishes. I looked at the pile of laundry.
I looked at the thawed meat that needed to magically become dinner. I said out loud to myself, "I'm bored".
This is the first time I have said since the guys were infants. Man! Those infant days were borrrriinnggg! I am one of those people who can constantly keep busy buzzing around life creating projects for myself. I rarely sit except for at 9:00 when I indulge in some trash TV on Bravo.
I thought maybe my mood was dictated by the weather since it is nice but always gray outside in the winter. These days can dampen anyone's spirit. But, I realized that for the first time since the boys were born and also since Rocco's diabetes diagnosis, no one needed me. The silence in the house and in my head was deafening and kind of scary.
Taking care of a child with Type 1 diabetes is life-dictating. Your days are spent watching each carb that they eat, watching how much stress that child feels, watching if they might be coming down with a cold, watching how much insulin you give them, and watching how much food they have eaten vs. exercise they have done. All of these things are simultaneously effecting his blood sugar number. Until today, I guess it became second nature and I wasn't aware until Rocco went to school how much of my brain was taken over by these tasks. I am not bored like I have nothing to do all day but I guess I am mentally bored. The space in my head that was taken over by these tasks has made room for other thoughts. It's probably like finding out who you really are after getting a divorce. I am sure moms who send their last kid off to kindergarten go through the same feelings too. It feels like a different me now.
Rocco has been gaining more independence with his diabetes in three different ways:
1) In the mornings, he now checks his own blood sugar. I always did this for him but when I saw a seven year old do it by himself I thought "what the heck". This is a hard thing to let go of because he is still so young (he's only 6) and he will have his whole life to check himself . I always think I can carry that torch a little while longer for him. But lately, he has been asking me, "Can I do it, mom?"
So when I asked him if he would like to check himself before he comes downstairs in the mornings, he lit up like a Christmas tree! He loves "a job" and he loves responsibility. It makes him feel grown up. We decided he would write the number down on a sticky note and bring it down. So now every morning, with messed up hair and a pant leg hap hazardly tucked into a sock, my little man hands me a note in 6 year old chicken scratch with his blood sugar number. He is always so proud to have gotten the assignment right!
2) His school is doing an amazing job! They text me when they check him and let me know his number. So, far there haven't been any emergencies. If there is a low, he tells the teacher "I feel low". Then she checks him. She then gives him either a glucose tablet or a juice box depending on how low he number actually is. A couple of times the teacher has called me to ask if he can have a special treat they brought in to teach an assignment. Usually, she already has the carbs counted out. Easy breezy... Hmmm...
Also, at school, there is an angel that they have hired to take care of him and the two other diabetic children in the school. She spends her day, floating around the school counting carbs, checking blood sugars and watching exercise levels. I just love her! She is like an extension of me and she is dong what I consider to be my job (watching his blod sugar all day long). I am eternally greatful that I have such a caring person taking care of him while I can't be there. This used to take over my entire brain all day!
If it wouldn't be creepy and it could become socially acceptable, myself (and all of the other diabetes parents) would just follow our children around behind them throughout their lives. No, really, we would! Go ahead and laugh but truly, you ask anyone of us and, we would be happy to sit outside their college dorm rooms and business board rooms peeking in to remind our grown children to check their blood suagrs. But until this is acceptable, we will rely on teachers, aides and school nurses and sit frozen in our houses waiting until the next blood sugar text or phone call comes through pretending we have some other kind of lives! Haha!
3) Finally, I am letting him work the buttons on his insulin pump. This is scary. He is still learning three digit numbers and I have to make sure doesn't transpose any. Entering a blood sugar of 312 instead of 132 could be life threatening. So I watch as he enters the carbs and the blood sugar number and then pushes the button to give himself the correct dose of insulin. This is also a hard job to let go. But again, he is so proud to be doing such an adult job. He makes this all so easy!
So, here I sit, "bored"(?). Wow! This is all new to me... Guess I will tend to the thawing meat now...woo hoo! ;)
What was it like when you sent your child to school?