Do your kids talk to you about their day at school? Despite asking specific questions and being an excellent listener, I have a hard time prying this information out of James. I’m heartened that the usual answer to “How was your day?” is “Great!” But I could use some more detail!
I’m also always trying to get more information about how he is doing on the inside -- how he feels about type 1 diabetes. Asking the right question sometimes yields some good information, but lots of times I’m left to guess and hope that his vagueness isn’t masking some emotional need that is left unaddressed.
James’ latest school project, though, gave me a bit of a window. He’s gone through a few periods of time when he has been a little shy about testing in front of his friends, but thankfully that has passed, and he’s unembarrassed and unabashed about testing where he needs to. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder how he feels about diabetes in relation to his classmates.
I guess he feels okay about it! Recently James was assigned to do a book report on any book of his choosing that qualified as realistic fiction. Out of all the selections available, James chose to report on "Power Forward" by Tracey West, published by the same Lilly Diabetes-Disney collaboration that produces this website. We’ve previously reviewed it here on the blog; it’s a novel about the new diagnosis of a school basketball star. James liked the book -- clearly enough to choose it for his project.
Since an oral presentation was an important component of the assignment, James obviously feels comfortable talking about diabetes to his friends. I suppose the fact that he is not embarrassed or ashamed gives me more pleasure and a better window into his emotional state than the typical one-word answers I get when I ask him about his day!
On top of that, I’m proud that he’s now comfortable fielding questions about what diabetes means. There are lots of aspects to type 1 diabetes that are widely misunderstood, and James is showing every indication of being an excellent spokesperson to counter the misinformation. I couldn’t be more proud of my little guy. Bravo to him for accepting something that will always be a part of him and sharing it with the world. Might we all be such great advocate.
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
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Content was developed by Disney and reviewed in consultation with Lilly USA, LLC. Learn more about the collaboration here.