Parents of children with Type 1 diabetes have no choice but to be involved with our children’s school. Not that we wouldn’t be involved anyway, but it does not make us the ‘best mommy’ it is a matter of our child’s life and death.
My son is starting a new school next year. While that means new books, new bus, new hallways, and new classroom, it also means a new nurse to train in care of Type 1 diabetes. It also means teaching a new teacher, Principal, bus driver and everyone else that comes in contact with my son the symptoms of highs and lows, treatment plan for different numbers, and emergency glucagon treatment.
It also means teaching EVERYONE in the school, parents, children, custodians, and anyone else that may come near my child that he is not a diabetic, he is a little 1st grader with Type 1 diabetes. While this might not make any sense to you, it makes perfect sense to me. Think about this. Pretend your child cannot do math (easy to pretend as a lot of kids can’t do math). Imagine every time you went to talk to the teacher she called your child the ‘math deficient kid.’ Or every time you were in the lunch room they would add up his total cost of the food for your child because he’s the ‘MATH DEFICIENT KID’ over here in line.
My son is a boy with Type 1 diabetes, he is not a diabetic, and he should not be told, “You are diabetic, you cannot eat that.” He can eat whatever he wants as long as he covers carbs with insulin. Just like the child who can’t do math, he should not be told, “You can add up your own lunch total, you can’t do math, you’re math deficient.” Sounds silly, I know, but I think you get my point.
That is why I am involved in my son’s school. It is not because I am such a ‘good mommy’ as people like to call me. I am just a mom, who would claw through ice to help my son in anyway I can. I want him to be safe in school from a health perspective. I need everyone to know how to recognize high sugar behavior, low sugar behavior and how to treat both. I need him to be safe all day when he is not with me.
I also need to protect his mental health. I need to ensure that people treat him just like every other kid. No withholding snacks because they don’t understand Type 1 diabetes. Protection of mental health is important for all people, especially a 5 year old boy.
I am not a ‘good mommy.’ I am a mom who has a son for whom I would walk over hot coals, diabetes or not.