James has had such an awesome experience with extracurricular activities! I have seen him in his basketball and karate classes and I can tell you…the amount of energy and enthusiasm this kid has is amazing! It's no wonder that he burns through a couple of juice boxes during every practice! I wish I could bottle his enthusiasm and give some to Kaitlyn!
So far, Kaitlyn's experience with extracurricular activities has been limited to a very tame ballet class. We got ready for the first class and she was super excited to do some "ballet-ing." She had a brand new dance outfit and shoes, and her hair was tied up in a bun with a pink ribbon. She looked absolutely adorable and seemed thrilled to start! But when we got there, she just completely froze as soon as we walked in. It wasn't until halfway through the class that she finally decided to participate. The next class was the same, but as much as I tried, she wouldn't go up to dance with the other girls. I did everything (short of doing the dance moves myself) to get her to participate. But after two more classes of sitting in the back and watching, we decided that we were done and didn't go back.
You can imagine my frustration of having paid for the classes and spending the time to get her to go, only to have it be a negative experience for her, me and my three other impatient kids, whom I dragged along each time.
Everyone keeps telling me how important sports and extracurricular activities are for kids with diabetes. I want Kaitlyn to have fun and to develop the good habit of staying physically active, but these kinds of activities have not been successful avenues so far. She would rather sit for hours and set up a magnificent "party" for all her little toys and animals than participate in a class or sports program. She's just so painfully shy! I'm not sure how she'll overcome her shyness, but until she does, there are still lots of things we can do that keep her active. Some of our favorite activities for her to do are:
See? No excuses for not staying active!
About the author: My name is Kim. My daughter Kaitlyn (the third of our five children) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few years after my nephew James was diagnosed with the same disease. I'm excited to pair up with my sister-in-law, Jen, to share our story with you!
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.