The T1D Balancing Act

In a world where our lives are constantly revolving around type 1 diabetes, as a parent, it’s difficult to evenly spread my attention between all three kids and daily tasks.

Type 1 diabetes comes first, which certainly isn’t fair to anyone, but is an absolute necessity. If the baby is hungry and I’m treating a low, the low takes precedents. If Ceci needs juice and I’m administering insulin, I dose Piet first. If Piet wants me to read him a story and I’m testing his blood sugar, a finger prick is the priority. I know I have laundry to do, but I also know carb counting needs to happen.

I try to combat the constant focus on diabetes by talking about it like it’s just another everyday thing, no different from anyone else. “What do you want for breakfast?” “Are you high?” “Let’s play catch!” “Check the Dexcom!” I hope by making it seem like it’s totally normal takes away some of the special treatment the other kids might feel Piet is getting.

Both Ceci and Piet enjoy when she helps care for him. She loves wiping his finger after a finger stick, checking what his “number” is on the Dexcom, and OF COURSE she loves treating lows with him because it means a special treat for both of them! By giving her diabetes responsibilities like these, I hope she feels included and like she plays a special and important role in taking care of her little brother.

I know sometimes Ceci has trouble sharing attention, and will act out. Of course she’s three… so she’s got zero ability to reason and sometimes can’t wrap her head around why I can’t drop whatever I’m doing and get her a blue fork instead of orange. It’s a constant seesaw of trying to include her in helping and needing her to entertain herself.

Kammie was just two months old when Piet was diagnosed. She always has all of her needs met, but she is already so accustomed to waiting in line. She’s incredibly independent and has breezed through milestones well in advance, and I honestly think it’s because she lives in a world where being a baby wasn’t the most attention consuming thing in our family.

It’s amazing how this disease is shaping everyone in our family. Finding time to give each of them special (not type 1 related) attention is a challenge, and I admittedly need to do better. I am hellbent on not allowing diabetes to steal childhood joy from any of our kids. And instead of resenting it, they will embrace our lifestyle and only be braver, tougher, and more compassionate because of it.

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