Monday, October 10, 2011

The ugly and inevitable truth.

My husband and I don't trust our kids as far as we can throw them. Sure, we give them a sense of comfort. We reassure them that we have full faith in their choices. We lift them up with words of adoration and respect.

But in reality, we are just waiting. We know they are going to do something crazy stupid sometime. We were kids once. We were teenagers once. We know all the tricks in the book.

Anyway, when it comes to diabetes...same rules apply. We kinda' figure they are lying until they prove it. J, more than any of our boys, gets the jest of the game. I'll ask him what his blood sugar was at school when I pick him up and he'll always rattle off a number. Sometimes I'll look him deep in his eyes...down to his see if I can see any hint of a lie in his answer. He is really good at giving me his stare of complete confidence back. He knows my tricks too. So most of the time I make him show me on his meter, and he hurriedly takes it out of his backpack to show me what a donkey butt I am for questioning his honesty.

I do this because I've caught him before. Not that he is a bad kid. On the contrary...he is as wonderful as they come. But EVERY kid tries to get away with something. For J, at the end of last year it was not checking his sugar at school for almost a month. I found this out at Open House when all his teachers told me that J was eating out of his low boxes for the first time all year...and they needed a restock of supplies. This happened only when I got comfortable. I questioned him and tested his honesty almost every day his entire 7th grade year. I stopped questioning him after his endo appt in March of that year because his A1C was AMAZING, and the endo praised him up and down for what she saw on his pump print out. I questioned my questioning him all the time. Was I too harsh? He is so responsible, and amazing at taking care of I backed off for a couple months.

And that resulted in opening a window for him. Would I have taken advantage of that freedom when I was 13? You bet your Aqua Net hairspray and Jimmy Z T-shirt I would have.

So we are back to the game, and he is back to being uber responsible and testing again.

But my son is super smart. And he'll find more open windows. In fact, just last week I felt a draft, and sure enough I saw it...out of the corner of my eye as I walked by J filling his reservoir for his pump.

He had the sucker filled to capacity. He only needs it 3/4 filled at most. I knew in that split second that he was filling it up so that he could extend his set change another day or even two.

Genius. I honestly had to give him props.

But I didn't say anything. I waited for the right time. Lucky for me, I didn't have to wait long.

It was about 4 days later when I did my nighttime check on J and had to correct his sugar. I turned on the light to his pump and saw that he only had about 14 units left of insulin. "Remind him to change his set in the morning," I whispered to myself.

The next morning was chaos...the kind of morning where your brain is like scrambled eggs and it is all you can do just to get out the door dressed. Well that morning, I forgot to remind him, and realized only when I got home from dropping him off. He wouldn't have enough insulin to cover lunch...I knew that.

So at lunch I made my way to the Jr. High and had them call him out of class to do his set change.

He came into the office, weary of my presence.

"Hey J, isn't it like day five of that need insulin, right?"

He looked at me for a long moment. I could practically see the cogs in his brain turning trying to figure out how I knew...

"Um, yeah...I'll change it now."

I handed him the insulin and reveled in my victory.

He doesn't know how long I knew. But I gave him the impression that I am all knowing. AND THAT is all that is important.

We need to stay on top of our kids. I'm not bat poop crazy enough to be on their case all the time, that would send them into rebel mode and we don't like it there. We just need to be sure that they know we are paying attention. We need to pick the right times to question. We need to be consistent with our questions, and kind in our timing.

They are going to lie. It is OK. They don't do it maliciously. It is part laziness, part boredom with the whole routine. I get why he does it...and like I said, I don't blame him for it.

But it doesn't make it ok. I made a deal with J that he only has to check 1 time at school. I compromised...I would ideally like for him to check 3 times at school. But I understand that for a 13 year old who has such a handle on it all I needed to make these compromises.

I don't ask for much, but what I do ask for needs to be done.

No exceptions.

His life means the world to me, and his future relies on healthy habits. One of those is checking his sugar at school.

The set change problem? I'll let the endo get on his case about that. I don't like being the bad guy. She'll see it on his print out and she'll have words with him, and then I'll follow through.

Four days with one set isn't going to end the world. It actually doesn't bother me as long as he is still getting good numbers on day 4. We'll see what happens. Can't bust out the diatribes unless they are needed.

Because if I have learned anything the past 13 years...

Success is 50% consistency and 50% empathy and 10% timing.

Yes, that does equal 110%. We have to put in more than is our calling as pancreases to do so.


  1. Ah...loved your the handling of the set change. Cogs turning, the continuing wonderment at a mother's "all-knowing-ness". PERFECTION.

  2. I can't imagine how you keep up with 3.. i have a hard enough time with 2....i usually do all of the site change preps for both kids.. lately i seem to be overfilling the cartridges... Olivia's site was due to be changed Sat nite...but she still had lots of insulin.. lately hers just stops working if exceed 3 days... she was high all nite long... ugh...sounds like you have a good balance... i need to be careful not to make every 1st question when I see my kids after school etc about D....

  3. Even before D, that moment where your kid realizes that you know something they didn't think you did-and didn't say anything-was an amazing thing. Think it's great for us as parents to have that image with our kids. But, in a way, I think it's great for them know that Mom just knows, and will have their back, no matter what.
    You're the bomb Meri! Great post--thank you!

  4. This is a lovely post, Meri. I so admire and hope I can emulate your approach. I used to love being all-knowing s a teacher of teenagers a few years ago and look forward to psyching Frank out with my knowledge soon enough! xxx

  5. Your boys are lucky to have such caring parents that take the time to make sure they're safe, not just parents trying to catch their children in a lie. You're absolutely right about how all kids will lie, it is then the decision of the parent how they handle it with the child and allowing them to maintain their dignity while making a better choice is key. Thanks for this awesome post on more than just a major component to d management, but also parenting.

  6. Meri, I cannot tell you how this post touched me today, in it's honesty and totally true words. I love the way you parent with truth and not beating around the bush. I also love that you expect them to take care of themselves, and I totally agree. You are an awesome Mama to your boys. They are so very lucky to have you. You are raising some awesome men, my friend!

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  9. I'm 34 years old, have only had D for 6 years and I get lazy and stretch the truth too. It's terrible, but it's an exhausting disease! I fill my pump and stretch out set changes to 7 days sometimes....and you are right, it isn't the end of the world....and we always get back to good care habits eventually. Sometimes we just gotta get a break, somehow.

  10. Kelly, your comment posted three times, so I deleted the two others as they were identical.

    Hope you are doing ok, and the move went well! Hugs to you!

  11. oh man, what a GREAT post, meri. so true about those kids going for the open window. i have a feeling that L (soon to be 12 y.o.) will read this (since she reads your blog regularly and mentions posts to me occasionally) and ask me why she still has to test 3 or more times at school if J doesn't. *waves to L, in case she happens to read the comments* ;)

    ps lol @ aqua net.

  12. I hope I am able to parent with the same amount of grace, empathy and awesomeness as you. Thank you for allowing me to follow your path on this journey. You are a wonderful leader.

  13. I agree with everything Laura said! Awesome job, Mama P! You are so right on...!

  14. Much love to you, my sweet friend. You did great, and I hope I can be half as graceful when our turn creeps in.


  15. Meri=My Hero.

    Love the way you handle "D" with your 13 yo. I'll be looking to you for guidance when Joe hits these stages Meri. What a wonderful approach you have.

  16. Oh my goodness I WISH I'd had someone like you to call me on my behavior when I was a teen...might have kept me from making some huge mistakes with my "D". I was dx'd at 18 so out of my parents sight, and that didn't go so well.

    Glad your son is so responsible, even if he tries to get away w/a little something here or there...totally normal. It must be hard having "D" at that age. Loved your "You bet your Aqua Net" line...LOL! :)

  17. Brilliant! Yes, you are brilliant! You handled that with pure genious! Love it!

  18. smart kids! handled like a pro, tho:)

  19. You are so smart Ms. Meri!! I bet he's still trying to figure out exactly how you "knew". I'm so glad that you are sharing your family's journey with us, I learn so much from your awesomeness :)

  20. ok, just read this one. I'm catching up. And oh my goodness I love the Aqua Net and Jimmy Z reference. Absolutely our 7th grade experience. awesome!


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