Past, Present, and Future Mom

Past: This is the mom I was before I actually had kids.

Taught my kids to be respectful, by nurturing them, and staying home with them, so I could mold them into perfect human beings.

Took them on daily adventures to the park, where we had elaborate picnics. Went apple picking, and strawberry picking, and pumpkin picking. You get it, we picked all the produce.

Immediately lost all the baby weight I gained, because I didn’t gain baby weight. I was able to practice incredible self control during pregnancy, and only ate healthy options.

Maintained a rigorous workout regimen, and simply dropped the kids off at a babysitter’s house for the hour I spent, perfecting my already perfect body at the gym.

Romanced my husband regularly. Allotted plenty of alone time, including frequent date nights and couples vacations.

Present: My current state of motherhood.

Suck down coffee just to be able to formulate full sentences, and tolerate my children. Sip on wine at the end of the night to help me forget about the fact I called my kid a prima-donna to her face.

Consider it a win that I convinced my kids Karma is an invisible person who lives in our house, and causes them to trip on things when they’re mean.

Tuck my post baby belly into the flipped up band on my yoga pants. Just happy my mascara from five days ago is still hanging on for dear life. Eat white bread and gummy bears for an energy boost. Go for walks, not for exercise, but to take a break from the house.

Fall asleep on the couch watching Netflix, in the clothing I wore to bed the night before. Too tired to brush my teeth at night, let alone make sexual passes at my husband.

Can’t remember the last vacation I went on. Strongly considering going back to work for a break. Go to the grocery store for a big day out.

Future: The mom I foresee becoming.

Forgets how hard the early years of parenting were. Talks about how my kids always got along, and never once fought.

Doesn’t need coffee anymore, because I am reintroduced to sleeping at night. Drinks wine at dinner parties, because I go to those again.

My kids want to hang out with me, because they think I’m super funny, and we have an unexplainable bond, that is unable to be broken by the teenage years.

Exercises, not because I need to, but because I enjoy it, and learned to love myself regardless of what I see in the mirror. Gets hair professionally cut, colored, and styled. Buys makeup from a reliable company, not the dollar store.

Wears jeans.

A quiet, empty house allows my husband and me to rekindle our undeniable spark. Goes on elaborate vacations. Find each other again as empty nesters, and often reminisce of our happily ever after.

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T1D: A Mother’s Perspective

“We need to go to the ER,” I quickly told my husband, who was just walking through the door from working night shift. I stood there, cradling our 21 month old son, who used to be a chubby little ball of energy, but now I could feel every bone in his tiny, lethargic body.

I knew he was sick weeks before this. He was throwing up, constantly crying, endlessly thirsty, and losing weight at a terrifying rate. I shared my concerns with friends and family, and they tried to ease my worries with, “He’s just going through a growth spurt.” Of course the people close to us didn’t want to believe something was wrong. I didn’t want to believe it either.

We took him to see our pediatrician. She told us to “keep an eye on it,” and set us up with an endocrinologist appointment for eight days later, because his symptoms pointed to diabetes. I don’t have to tell you what would have happened if we waited those eight days before seeking out medical attention on our own.

We were silent on the way to the hospital that day, except when I whispered, “Do you hope it’s diabetes and not cancer?” “Yes,” was my husbands hushed response. I didn’t understand enough about diabetes to know if it was worse or better than cancer, but now I know it’s just different all together. My whole body was buzzing with nerves, and my stomach kept tightening at the thought of my son being seriously ill.

When we walked through the emergency room doors, they took us into triage immediately. We rattled off his symptoms, and the nurse hastily grabbed a blood glucose meter and tested him. “His blood sugar is very high. They will take you back quickly.” Those words meant very little to us then. Now they mean everything to us.

Once we were taken back, the doctor came in to speak with us. He was calm, and said a lot of words and acronyms that we never heard before. It all felt like a blur, and I think we were both looking for some kind of confirmation. Through tears my husband stated, “Childhood cancer runs in my family.” The doctor gave us a direct answer, “No, he does not have cancer. Your son has type 1 diabetes.”

And then I sobbed. Just for a minute, but I let myself feel the wave of relief that he wasn’t terminally sick, and the suffocating fear of this diagnosis that I knew nothing about. That was the last time I cried over T1D.

The next week, we stayed in the hospital and learned everything we could possibly cram in about T1D and our new lifestyle. It was a lot, but I felt confident to take it on.

I know what you’re thinking, “They are going to take care of this little boy with everything they have, and he is going to be the center of their world, and everything is going to be just fine!” That’s true, but PLOT TWIST! At home we had two little girls. One was 2 years old, and the other 2 months.

There is already so much anxiety associated with having a newborn, and I had to leave her for an entire week, to care for our other baby who we almost lost.

And if I’m being totally honest, I was also struggling with postpartum depression. I had three kids under three, and I felt like I was drowning in the weight of keeping them all safe. I was throwing myself pity parties pretty much every day after the baby was born.

But when my son was diagnosed, something changed inside of me. I no longer had room to feel sorry for myself. My son needed me to literally keep him alive, with my full attention, 24 hours each day, with no breaks or vacation.

You’d think this would have tipped me over the edge of full blown depression. And, believe me, my mind has danced around the topic, but I didn’t let myself go there. It actually pulled me out of the baby blues fog, and gave my day-to-day life a clear purpose.

Sometimes I think back to those first few months, and honestly don’t know how I did it. He was just a baby, not even two yet, and we didn’t have any of the amazing technology we do now.

Nighttime terrified me. If I let myself, I could have allowed my anxiety to totally consume me. The thought of losing him in his sleep just wasn’t an option. So, for six straight months, every night was the same routine.

7pm – Put the two older kids to bed

7:30pm – The baby was still sleeping in our room, so I’d lay her down

8pm – Test my son’s blood sugar. Treat high/low if needed

10pm – Test again. Also, I’d set my phone alarm in two hour increments to test throughout the night.

10:30pm – I would go to bed, only to have the baby wake up to eat

12am – First alarm would go off, which would wake the baby. My husband would test our son, and I would console the baby

2am – Repeat 12am

4am – Repeat 12am

6am- Everyone would get up for the day

I was exhausted, which created a haze around those early months. I’m not so sure this was a terrible thing. It makes the scary nap time lows, our first stomach bug, and all the other negative memories fuzzy around the edges.

But one thing that stays crystal clear is how tough my little guy was through everything. Because of my anxiety over needing to know his blood sugar constantly, I was pricking his finger 15-25 times every single day. We were on a continuous rollercoaster, either low or high, and he’d just suck down another juice box, or accept another shot of insulin. Never complaining. Never crying.

Our diabetes management looks a lot different now. He wears a Dexcom G6 and an Omnipod, which means very few to almost no finger sticks and no more shots. My anxiety levels have dipped drastically, and I’ve even slept through the night a few times!

But there is a constant nagging in the back of my mind that never goes away, of all the “what ifs?” I’m on constant guard in case I need to diffuse an emergency, that could happen at any time or place. I am addicted to knowing his number, but being able to just glance at my phone and see it has created a peace in me.

Of course, it is easy to slip into a downward spiral of wishing life could go back to what it was before, but there is no point in dwelling. I made a decision immediately after diagnosis that I would take this on from a positive standpoint, and harness all the angry, worried, scared feelings, and use that momentum to bring awareness to type 1. And that’s when I decided to write about it.

I began blogging, and sharing our stories. Some are about T1D, others aren’t, but something incredible happened. I started forcing myself to take time to do something I loved, and it healed open emotional wounds I was carrying with me. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. I lure readers in by mostly writing humor pieces that appeal to the general public, but every Tuesday BAM! Type 1 Tuesday, and everybody’s getting an education on the disease that turned our world upside down.

Thinking of how far we’ve come makes me unbelievably proud. Each day, my son is able to enjoy his childhood, because I put the weight of the entire disease on me, and that’s fine, because I can handle it. I truly believe being a type 1 parent is not just doing what you have to do, it is realizing you’re capable of doing anything.

What Moms Really Want for Valentine’s Day

1. Moms want to go on a date. Give us some extra time to get ready. We’d like to soak in a bubble bath, with a wine glass in one hand, and our favorite slow jams playing in the background. Unless you’re like me, and neglect deep cleaning the tub. Then, it’s probably safer just to take a shower, and drink from a to-go cup.

2. We don’t want to be in charge of cooking anything. So, ordering food and watching a Rom Com from the comfort of our own home is another excellent option. And if we fall asleep on the couch during the first 20 minutes of the movie, we don’t want any judgement.

3. Let us sleep through the night. The whole way. No interruptions. Start to finish. Sun down to sun up. (Do I need to describe it any other way, or are we good here?)

4. Can a mom get like 90 minutes of solo Target browse time? We want to take our time in the Dollar Spot without any kids attached to us. Instead of talking down a tantruming toddler, because, “I NEED THIS LOL DOLL NOW,” we’d like to stroll through the Hearth & Hand collection at our leisure.

5. Finally, moms want to sit in our favorite spot, with a decent bottle of wine, and a heart shaped box, stuffed with assorted chocolates. And, just so we’re on the same page, we will drink that entire bottle, and eat every single piece of chocolate, in one sitting. Again, no judgement.

That’s it! It’s that easy! And we don’t need all 5 of these things, but maybe like 2 or 3. You’re welcome, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

10 Misconceptions About Type 1 Diabetes

People assume:

1. A T1D diagnosis was due to eating too much sugar. WRONG! T1D is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

2. T1D can be cured with a change of diet. NOPE! That’s type 2 diabetes, and is completely different than type 1.

3. T1D can be cured at all. THERE IS NO CURE FOR TYPE 1! No oil, spice, diet, pill can cure type 1, so stop trying to sell us stuff!

4. Only overweight people are diagnosed with T1D. NO! “But he’s too skinny to have diabetes!” That’s because type 1 has nothing to do with lifestyle or eating habits. Only a super human immune system.

5. Only older people are diagnosed with T1D. NOT TRUE! “He’s too young to have diabetes!” Well, type 1 used to be called Juvenile diabetes, because it’s usually diagnosed in children. BUT they changed that because adults can be diagnosed, and “juvenile” leads people to believe they won’t have it when they transition into adulthood.

6. Eating sugar is a “no no” for T1D. HAHA! As long as the proper amount of insulin is given, there is no limit to the amount of sugar people with T1D can consume. Because, again, T1D has nothing to do with diet. Plus, we treat low blood sugar with sugar, so it literally saves T1Ds’ lives every day.

7. T1D is not life threatening. FALSE! Low blood sugars are extremely dangerous. We treat low blood sugars every single day. High blood sugars for an extended period of time are extremely dangerous. Illnesses are extremely dangerous. All of these things can be life threatening.

8. Blood sugar stabilizes at night. YEAH, RIGHT! We treat low and high blood sugars over night, pretty much every night. That equates to a lot of missed sleep, with no end in sight.

9. Carbs are the only thing that affect blood sugar. I WISH! Let me just run down a quick list of things that affect blood sugar: growth spurts, excitement, anger, exercise, hunger, weather, bad dreams, sickness, and the list continues on…

10. T1D can be controlled. THIS MAKES ME LAUGH OUT LOUD! There is no way to completely manage or control T1D. People always ask, “So you have everything under control now?” HAHAHAHA Sure, we do everything we can to “control” type 1, but there are so many variables, that it is impossible to achieve perfection.

There are too many misconceptions about type 1 diabetes, and that leads to hurtful jokes and feelings about diabetes. But don’t worry! That’s why you all have me to help educate about it!

They Put The Punch In Punchline

My kids have been telling *jokes*(and I use that term super loosely).

When they started, I was really excited! Like, “Alright, Kids. Following in your mama’s footsteps. I like it.”

But then I heard the jokes. Here. I’ll list some.

• How did a chair cross the road?(No pause for an answer) Because shoes!

• What do you call a jacket? A sofa!

• Knock knock. Who’s there? BANANA!(This one had an abrupt ending I was prepared for.)

So, yeah. We’ve got some comedic work to do, but at least they’re interested, ya know?

Then, they asked ME to tell THEM a joke! I thought, “This is it. This is my chance. Telling jokes is what I do!”

So, I cleared my throat, grabbed my imaginary microphone, did a quick mic check, and laid a crowd pleaser on them.

“I feel like this should go without saying, but don’t buy my child a harmonica.”

*crickets*

“You guys can laugh! Mommy is so funny!”

*blank stares*

“Ok, fine. Well, Twitter and Instagram LOVED this one! What do you guys know…”

As I sulked away, I heard my daughter say, “How does a floor get hair? POOP!” And they erupted with laughter.

*shakes my head*

It’s fine. I’m ok. But if you’re wondering why my confidence is a little shaky, it’s because my kids really know how to put the “punch” in punchline.

“Why Not Me?” By Mindy Kaling Review

As I sit here, reading “Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling, while watching The Office in the background, I can’t help but think, “I’m so meta.” And if you don’t know what that means, I don’t really either, but it sounds cool, right? Anyway…

Mindy Kaling is a TV writer and actress, who you’ve definitely seen on The Office as Kelly Kapoor, or as the star/writer on The Mindy Project. If you can’t put a face to the name, then get out. Just kidding! But you might want to flip on The Office and revel in the amazingness.

“Why Not Me?” is a perfect combination of hilarious retellings of anecdotes from Mindy’s past, a front row seat to her inner monologue, and an inside look at her daily, whirlwind lifestyle.

Mindy’s voice is so vivid, it was like we were hanging out at my house, on a random Thursday night, sipping on Moscow mules, Grey’s on in the background, and she’s just rattling off these hilariously wild stories to me. Because we are best friends.

The most memorable chapter for me is when Mindy described a friendship she had with a charismatic, well-connected LA native. I was incredibly drawn in by Mindy’s truthfulness about the relationship, and her ability to evaluate her own actions honestly. Mindy tiptoed around outright naming people, but I was so hooked, I went deep into the Instagram archives to find everyone mentioned. I didn’t actually find them.

Mindy spills her secrets to success, and it starts with hard work and ends with believing in yourself. I would be proud if my daughters chose her as their role model. Heck! She’s MY role model! And her book is the perfect read for anyone who needs a laugh, or some motivation, or wants to relax. Honestly, any adult, at any stage in their life would enjoy “Why Not Me?”

So, we’re kicking off The Year of the ASM Book Review with a bang! “Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling, is getting a big ☕️☕️☕️☕️ on the ASM book review scale!

ASM Book Review Grading Scale:

☕️☕️☕️☕️- Top notch! Must read now!

☕️☕️☕️- Really doing it for me. Highly recommend.

☕️☕️- There was good. There was bad. Read it, or don’t. Whatevs.

☕️- Not my cup of coffee. Read at your own risk.

Double Up Double Up

About once every month, the T1D stars align, and we are forced with the awful task of a double site change.

“What’s a site change?” I hear you ask, because I can read your mind. Well, I’ll tell ya!

Piet wears two devices on his body 100% of the time. And by “wear on his body” I mean, there are whisker-like cannulas inserted into his skin, that either read his blood sugar or deliver insulin into his body.

One device is an insulin pump, or Omnipod. Type 1 diabetics are completely dependent on insulin, so this is literally Piet’s lifeline. His pod needs to be changed every three days, but occasionally it fails, and I will need to change it sooner.

The second is a continuous glucose monitor, or Dexcom. Dex tracks Piet’s blood sugar, and sends the information to his iPod and my phone. We change out the Dexcom sensor every 10 days.

One site change is rough, but two? That’s a recipe for a diabetes disaster.

Here’s how it goes.

1. We start by deactivating and taking off the old pod and Dex sensor. Some parents are nice and use Uni-solve to gently peel the medical patches off. We are not some parents, so we just rip the patch off. Quick like a bandaid.

2. Next, we prepare the new device. We fill the Omnipod with insulin, and input the new Dex sensor info into his iPod.

3. Now it’s time to sanitize the new site locations using alcohol swabs, let the spot dry, and stick the devices to him.

4. The next part is the worst. Insertion. With Dex, I physically push a large, orange button that releases the sensor, and shoots a long, thin whisker into his body. Dex isn’t to bad, because he wears it on the top of his butt, where it’s pretty fatty.

5. Inserting the Omnipod is the most heartbreaking. The first couple times, we both cried. He wears his pod on his legs and arms, and screams/cries pretty much every time the cannula inserts into him. The arms are especially sensitive.

6. After some kissing, loving, and consoling, we place a medical patch over both sites to ensure they don’t get ripped out. We use StayPut Medical, and it is by far the best patch we’ve tried.

And then, he’s off and running, without a chronic illness care in the world, wearing his devices like badges of honor.

2019 New Year’s Resolutions

I have two New Year’s resolutions. The first is all about self care. Every Wednesday for the entire year, I’m going to do a face mask after the kids go to bed. Face mask Wednesday, or FMW, because who doesn’t love a good abbrev.

People are always saying to me, “It’s important to take care of yourself,” or “Pamper yourself, girl!” I’m just kidding. No one actually says that to me, but if I ever interacted with people in real life, that’s what I imagine they’d say. So, I thought this would be a fun resolution that I could look forward to!

(First FMW and it was terrifying, if I’m being honest)

Ok, here’s my second one. I’m going to read one book every month. Maybe you’re thinking, “Erin, that’s pathetic. That’s like 10 pages per day! You can certainly read more than that!” Or maybe you could be like my husband who said, “TWELVE BOOKS IN ONE YEAR? I haven’t read that many books in my entire life!” *Stay back, ladies. He’s all mine.*

But here’s the really fun thing! I’m going to review each book I read! Maybe that’s not your idea of fun, but it’s a raging good time for me!

Guys, this is like, my dream job, so I hope you’re all on board. And if I only say good things about every book, don’t get mad. It’s just who I am as a person. I like all the things.

I will follow this up with, I probably wouldn’t pick a book to read that I won’t like, because, unlike you, I am really great at judging a book by it’s cover. That was mean. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it! Please, please forgive me! (See, I can’t do mean)

All this leads me to tell you… I’m changing the blog up. I know, I know! The Type 1 Tuesday and the Funny Mommy Friday. We had good times, but it’s been a year and we need to mix it up.

Every Tuesday is still going to be about bringing awareness to type 1 diabetes, so no real change there. (Go ahead. Breathe a sigh of relief. I know you don’t like change.)

But Funny Mommy Friday? Isn’t every day Funny Mommy Friday??? I’m still going to write mom blog posts throughout the year, but it’ll be a surprise when! Maybe when you least expect it. Maybe when you most expect it. Isn’t this fun already?!

And lastly, you can expect a book review the last week of every month, and that’s exciting, right?

I’m really looking forward to the year ahead. I have a ton of other goals that I can’t tell you about, because I’m too scared. But, honestly, I’m so thankful for all of you. You made my wildest 2018 dreams come true, and I can’t wait for 2019 to be just as amazing!

Merry T1D Christmas

When Christmas and Type 1 Tuesday collide, of course I would have to call Dexcom support!

Background: My 3yo son, Piet(pronounced Pate), has type 1 diabetes. We are constantly monitoring his blood sugar, making sure it isn’t too high or too low, dosing insulin when he eats carbs, and pumping sugar when he goes low.

To help us out, we have a continuous glucose monitor(Dexcom) which allows us to read his blood sugar from our phones, instead of constantly finger pricking him. We change out Dex every 10 days.

WELL, this morning was a Dex change, and that means a 2 hour warmup period, where we don’t see his numbers, which doesn’t sound like a long time, but it’s painfully long when you’re so reliant on it.

Thirty minutes in, it gave us an error message and said we needed to replace the sensor. No big deal, right? WRONG! We literally insert a small, whisker-like device into Piet’s body, and it stays there for the full 10 days. Every sight change means us holding him down, there is crying, and anxiety about it from him and me.

So, now we have to REDO it. More holding down, more screaming, more stress. Not to mention, a sensor was wasted, which is basically gold to T1Ds.

As always, Dexcom support was awesome. They helped me with the issue and sent a replacement sensor. We were on the phone for maybe 10 minutes, and they were amazing.

Today is a good reminder to be thankful for the amazing technology that helps us manage T1D on the daily. But also to remember, that although the world stops on Christmas, it doesn’t for type 1. There’s no holiday, break, or vacation for type 1 diabetics or T1D parents.

Merry Christmas and I hope T1D takes it easy on everyone today!

Leighben the Elf

We have an Elf on the Shelf. Our kids are in prime-time, elf-lovin’ years. His name is Leighben, and he’s been pretty chill.

I’ve heard some elf horror stories of flour snow angels, elf meets oven mishaps, and elves forgetting to move.

Leighben doesn’t do anything fancy. He’s your run of the mill, bounces from surface to surface(sometimes repeats a spot) Santa’s little helper. He perches on shelves, hangs on curtain rods, spies from door frames. He’s been a pretty cute addition to our Christmas decor.

The real magic is every morning the littles run from room to room searching for him. Their faces are so excited, so full of holiday cheer! Until one of the them finds him and the other two have full blown meltdowns, because “I WANTED TO FIND HIM!” But that’s the beauty of Leighben. A quick, “He’s watching!” and the tantrum fixes itself right up.

Sure, I forgot about him once. I needed to think fast, “It’s the middle of the night! He hasn’t had a chance to move yet. You need to go back to sleep.” And since the kids were up at 5:45am, it bought me some time, and an extra hour of sleep.

I can’t say that I’ll be sad to see him go on the 26th of December. For right now, we’re coexisting, but who knows? Maybe there will be a cold, dark night in January, when the kids are acting like feral animals, and I’ll wish I had that creepy, little guy backing me up.