OK. I’ll admit it. I’m jealous.
I’ve been reading all the blog posts about FFL — the interesting/informative sessions, the superstar speakers (you know who you are!!), the support groups taking place in the pool, the green bracelets… Especially all those green bracelets.
I would love to be in the middle of a crowd where my daughter and I were the “rule” (thanks for that great post Karen Graffeo) instead of the exception. Of course, since the bear is only 5 (“and a HALF“), it would be more for me than for her right now. Right now, she is still pretty sure that she is the rule in all things anyway.
The other night at the playground I observed the first time I’ve seen her get frustrated with another kid asking about her insulin pump. The other child was probably 2 years younger and definitely wasn’t picking up on the fact that the bear felt that the subject was closed. Since her diagnosis, she has been at school/daycare with the same group of kids and our social circle is pretty small so she doesn’t have to explain very much. Watching this particular encounter was a glimpse into some of what we might run into when she starts Kindergarten this fall. None of the kids in her preschool are going to the same school so she will be starting fresh.
I was diagnosed much older than she is, so I never had to deal with my diabetes in a school situation (until grad school when no one really cares). I feel very lucky that there is a social skills professional who works closely with all the Kindergarten classes — I know I’ll be able to call on her help if we need it. The social worker associated with the bear’s endo practice suggests following the bear’s lead. See if she’s feeling uncomfortable or bothered by her classmates’ questions and if so, then work out a plan to handle it with her teacher. We’re also meeting a potential babysitter this weekend — a young woman with T1 who went to diabetes camp and worked as a counselor at one. She has the same pump as the bear (though a different color — the bear changed colors with the last replacement we got), and should be able to manage diabetes in a much more natural way than even the best non-T1s can.
I’ve always known in a theoretical way that having T1 could make our daughter feel different from her friends and peers. All of a sudden, it’s seeming much more real. And, this is just Kindergarten – let’s not think about middle school yet.
So, I daydream about being at FFL, seeing her being just like most of the other kids there — wearing a pump, chomping glucose tablets, reporting carb counts – and about when she’ll be old enough to go to diabetes camp and have a week (or two) of being the same as everyone else. And, to be more selfish, I daydream about both talking with other T1 adults AND parents of T1 kids — feeling like there are so many people out there who get it.
Someday FFL, someday!
*who incidentally went to diabetes camp with someone I work with — small DOC