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Posts tagged ‘parenting’

YCDT: Encouraging Independence.

There’s an excellent, and inspiring, new You Can Do This video centered on parents helping their children with diabetes gain independence.

From the YCDT site:  “Independence in any aspect of a teen’s life can be a double-edged sword for parents – while parents want their children to be capable, that same capability is the gateway to their separation and evolution into adulthood. Independence can be a scary concept as it means children are ready to try their wings. Flying on their own means that sometimes they will fall and make mistakes, but most importantly it means that they are growing up.”

Check it out, and if you are ready to submit your own You Can Do This video, submission details are here.

 

Close, but(t) not close enough.

“My mom?  She has brown hair and a red shirt,” said my daughter’s playgroup friend, climbing up the jungle gym.

“My mom is over there.  She has a pump in her butt,” my daughter pointed towards me and waved, causing me to quickly answer the look of surprise on the other parents’ faces with a brief, panicked explanation of the insulin pump connected to the top of my left hip.

 

Going Solo.

Seven weeks is a long time.

It’s a lot of garbage days (I hate, hate taking out the garbage, especially since we have a crew of vindictive raccoons who have made it their agenda to bust into the garbage cans of everyone on our street, spreading trash all over the place and laughing maniacally whilst wearing hats).  Seven weeks is a lot of grocery store visits and pharmacy trips.  It’s a ton of bills.  Seven weeks is so long that your brain turns to inoperable mush.

Chris came home yesterday, after being away for seven weeks on a film shoot.  I don’t discuss much about his job here because it’s his news to share, but for the last two months, it has been hard not to discuss his absence, since it was affecting everything about my life.  Normally, our respective business trips are short.  For me, being away for a full week is a tremendously long time, and that is an anomaly.  For Chris, his travel jaunts are less frequent but usually longer, sometimes dipping into the eight – ten day away range.  This is something we’ve learned to handle, as a family.

But seven weeks?  Eff that.

Seven weeks is a long time to spend thinking about single parents and to build up even more respect for them, as the experience redefined “challenging” for me.  And I only experienced simulated single-parenting, my husband away but with a timeline for return.  It was while he was gone that I revisited the post-pregnancy feeling of not knowing whose needs to tend to first:  mine, or my daughter’s?

Unless I was away for work, I went to sleep every night with Birdy sharing a bed with me.  (Which was fine, except for the nights when she had a nightmare and would wake us both up, hollering about “the lemons are watching me!!” or the mornings when I’d wake up with the help of her tiny hands prying open my eyelids.  “Good morning, Mawm!”)  Every morning kicked off with a Birdy focus, unlike regular mornings, where the first thing I do is test my blood sugar and then go retrieve the kid, knowing I have Chris as back-up.  Good diabetes habits that I have forced (and then enjoyed) for the last year or so went a bit pfffft as Birdy became the focus and I was flying solo.

“But your health needs to come first, so that you can best care for your daughter.”

Shut up;  I tried.  Everything was a circus.  For five of the weeks of Chris’s trip, I was finishing up final edits on a book I’m writing (submitted to the publisher two weeks ago – more on that later!), which meant that once Birdzone was in the sleepzone, I was up until all hours, combing through pages to tweak content.  And the last two weeks of Chris’s trip included two trips for work, leaving my daughter under the capable (and so appreciated) watch of my mother.  “A good night’s sleep” was a laughable goal.  “Exercise” became either chasing my daughter while she rode her bike at a breakneck speed or brief stints on the ellipmachine in the basement (because going to the gym/for a run while she was awake wasn’t an option, and most times I was so spent that I couldn’t eek out much in terms of exercise).  Emails went unanswered.  Deadlines were pushed.  Pigtails were installed at uneven angles.  Bananas ripened and rotted due to neglect.

(But we always had gluten-free banana bread baking, because that has become a favorite past-time of the Bird’s.  So there was that.)

Diabetes became like a second kid, only one I don’t want to snuggle with.  It needs to be walked.  Fed.  Checked on and monitored.  It’s a needy little sucker.  When it whined and needed tending to, I had to explain to my daughter why we needed to wait a few minutes.

“Do you have whoa bwoodsugar?  Your Dexcom is howering [hollering].” Birdy asked me when I was popping glucose tabs into my mouth, car keys in my hand.

The term “whoa bwoodsugar” took on a whole new meaning when I was solely responsible for my daughter.  Being a parenting soloist for seven weeks made diabetes management pretty freaking tricky.  I’m thankful Chris is home now, because for the duration of his absence, my target blood sugar went from 150 mg/dL instead of 100 mg/dL, in efforts to avoid hypoglycemia while I was the only adult in the house.  My meter average followed suit, which was a frustrating increase after so many months in a comfortable zone, but I knew it was a temporary fix.  My job was/remains to take good care of my kid, and that’s hard for me to accomplish when I’m low as all hell.  It was an enlightening (read:  WTF) experience, and one that, for all of its challenges, I’m glad I proved to myself that I could handle, thanks in large part to friends and family, and the blessings of a flexible job.

But, for a dozen different reasons, I’m so glad Chris is back.  Because, at the end of the day, he’s the one who gave those hats to the raccoons in the first place, so he should be the one doing battle with them.

 

Batman Princess.

“So when do we go to the confwence, Mawm?”

“In two weeks.  And did you know there is going to be a big fancy dress-up ball?  Like a big party for princes and princesses?”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.  And you get to dress up as a princess, if you’d like.  Would you like to dress up as a princess that night?”

“I would.  I want to be …”

And here’s where I expected a response of “Cinderella,” or some other generic Disney princess.

“I want to be a Batman Princess.  Can I be a Batman Princess?”

Oh hell yes you can.

My DIY craftiness is not a skill I’ve finely tuned.  It’s rarely indulged, and frightfully makeshift.  I’m not known for my Pinterest prowess, and the closest I’ve come to crafty is my insatiable urge to crochet while low.  But I can work the Google, so I set out to figure out how to make a Batman Princess costume for my curious little anti-princess.  It was a short, but laborious process going from “hey, that’s a dungeon ballerina” to “nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah BATMAN … PRINCESS!”

The glittery mask and the Batman dress.

  • First, we needed a mask.  Thank you, Amazon, for providing a cheapo plastic Batman mask that was perfectly sized for the Bird’s head.
  • And, of course, a black leotard (courtesy of Amazon once again) to put the Batman insignia on.
  • Then I had to pick up some black glitter, because it was time to bedazzle that mask.  I though it would be hard to cover the mask with glitter, but I used my finger to spread a thin layer of Elmer’s glue over the mask, and then I dumped black glitter onto it.  I did this in stages, and it worked out perfectly.  (I also used a pie dish to catch all the spilled glitter, which immediately made me want to make a glitter-goth pie.  Next time, Baker Kerri.)
  • Making the insignia for the leotard was a little trickier, because I’m out of practice with my freehand Bat Signal.  (As evidenced by the front of my chemistry notebook from high school.  Lots of really decent Batman symbols, but no solid and properly solved scientific equations.)  What I did was very simple:  I held a piece of printer paper to my computer screen, with the Batman logo on the screen, and traced it with a marker.  Then, I took the paper and traced over the outline, pressing down hard, against the paper side of a piece of bright yellow adhesive sheet of felt (found at a local fabric store), leaving an imprint.  Using the teeniest, sharpest pair of scissors in my sewing kit, I cut out the Batman logo from the sheet of felt and stuck it to the leotard.
  • Birdy tried on the leotard, and after wearing it for the briefest of minutes, the felt started to peel away from the fabric.  So, using offensively bright yellow thread, I reinforced the Batman logo.
  • And then I made the tutu.  A no-sew tutu which required like six yards of tulle and lots of cutting and tying and the blasted black satin ribbon that I used to tie a bow ended up getting lost in the massive folds of the bright yellow chaos.  (I followed this post as a guide.)  It was nice and full and looked fun, but my only regret is that it wasn’t soft enough, as about an hour into the Friends for Life banquet, Birdy was telling me that she itched and eventually ended up ditching the tutu skirt.
  • Just as a note:  The tutu ended up being so big and so insane looking that it took up most of the room in Birdy’s suitcase, and when I unzipped said suitcase in the hotel room, the tutu leapt out like the snake from a Snake-in-a-Can-of-Nuts.
  • Paired with some gold ballet slipper from the bowels of Target and we were off and running.

We didn’t get any photos from the FFL Banquet, but she didn’t mind putting her costume back on at home for a quick shutter snap.

And there you have it:  proof that not every princess needs to be plucked from a Disney movie.

My Little Orange Bracelet.

At the Friends for Life conference, people who are living with type 1 diabetes wear bright green bracelets.  Green bracelet’ers are the people who know what my diabetes life is like, from the injections to the blood checks, from the guilt to the successes.  They get it.

But the orange bracelets go on the wrists of the loved ones of people with diabetes.  The moms and dads.  The siblings.  The friends.  The people who take such excellent and compassionate care of PWDs.

And this year, there’s an orange bracelet on the wrist of my three year old daughter, who is experiencing her first Friends for Life conference.  She’s played with beach balls in the exhibit hall and covered her name badge with stickers, danced in restaurants while waiting for ice cream, had her face painted, and made art projects out of colored pom poms and pipe cleaners. She’s meeting other mommies who have type 1 diabetes, who wear their insulin pumps on their hip and test their blood sugar.  And she’s meeting other little kids who have parents who are wearing green bracelets, who know that glucose tabs are for “whoa bwoodsugars” and that our bags are always packed with snacks … for everyone.

This is the magic of Friends for Life – it’s not just magical for me anymore.  It’s for her, too.

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