One of the best things about living near a big city in Southern California is proximity to cool day trips to take in the summertime. There are few subjects on which I am an expert, but I think I might be an expert at finding kid-friendly, fun (and budget conscious) adventures around Los Angeles.
On one such day trip, James and I are in line to see a show at a local planetarium. We’re pretty excited. James has been really into astronomy lately. He’s back on his “I want to be an astronaut” kick (which alternates regularly with his “I want to be a zoologist” kick), so this is perfect for him. In the line, I see him looking a little off. I test him right there (we’re not shy) and see that he’s actually gone quite low. Without thinking too much, I whip out a few hard candies and hand them over to him.
This gets the attention of the show instructor who then mentions loudly that all food and drink are prohibited in the planetarium. I see him looking directly at us. To be honest, I’m not too upset. I realize he doesn’t understand what we’re doing, but I know perfectly well that I’m doing what I need to do to keep James’ blood sugar at a healthy level. I do feel there is a distinction between casually gulping down a big soda and discreetly sucking on some candy because you have a medical condition that needs sugar!
Finally the instructor addresses us directly. I never know what to say when I’m put on the spot like that. I mention briefly, “Um, he has type 1 diabetes, and his blood sugar is low,” at which point he makes no response, but he does leave us alone. I think in years past I might have been embarrassed or worried or otherwise perturbed by this encounter, but this time around I’m just not. Really, what alternative do we have? I’ve been monitoring him carefully all day at the museum, and he went low JUST THEN. We aren’t even in the planetarium yet, and I’m 100 percent sure we aren’t going to leave food or trash or make any messes. So I really just don’t stress too much.
To my great surprise, we receive immediate support from the other moms with kids in the line. One mentions, “Of course, that’s totally understandable,” and gives a nod of approval. Other moms also seem to be supportive. And really, it feels good.
It’s a funny moment. I seem to finally have come to a place where I don’t really care about or need public support, and I’m fairly immune to disapproving glances or even public reprimands. In that same moment, the public approval that I’ve sought before (in vain) comes in spades! Maybe these two things are connected? Maybe the fact that we’re truly confident in what we’re doing is the very thing that seems to attract support and understanding? We’ll have to see about that. In the meantime, James and I enjoyed our planetarium experience tremendously!
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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