Podcast Interview

by Erin

Back in the fall of 2017, I saw a familiar name on one of the T1D Facebook pages I follow. Scott Benner, T1D dad, blogger at Arden’s Day and podcaster at Juice Box Podcast, asked what other parents might want to hear on upcoming podcasts. I posted asking for more discussion about parenting a young child with diabetes, and offered to talk with him about it.

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Lucky Fin

by Erin

Fear is a terrible thing. It blocks, prevents, withholds. Strangely, it simultaneously drains my energy. For too long I have let my fear take charge.

When Grasshopper was born I had great plans of getting him into swimming lessons very early. I looked into Infant Swimming Resource classes, and was encouraged about the results. However, at that time the nearest was about 45 minutes away. Grasshopper had awful reflux and would scream constantly through any car trip. He once screamed for three hours straight during a trip to the beach. I just couldn’t do an hour and a half round trip every day with a baby screaming in pain for a 10 minute swimming class. I decided to wait until he was a little older and I could find a class closer to us.

Fast forward to 21 months and we were hit with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes on December 27, 2013. By the next summer, with 6 months under our belts, I was just beginning to get my feet under me and understanding how to help Grasshopper when he exerted himself. Cue hot weather, outside playtime, long summer days and swimming, all of which make blood sugar management more difficult than usual. Summertime activities can easily bring a lot of scary low blood sugar events. Cue me paraphrasing Marlin in Finding Nemo. Now, what’s the one thing we have to remember about life?” “It’s not safe.”

Interestingly, Finding Nemo  and Frozen were both inspired by people living with type 1 diabetes. Pixar co-founder John Lasseter’s son was diagnosed with T1D at the age of nine.

The thing is, I wasn’t always like this. For me summer WAS the pool. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to swim. I am grateful to my parents, and especially my mom, for introducing me to the water early and getting me into lessons. I loved the year to year progression from swim lessons, to helping with swim lessons, to being certified as a lifeguard, to working as a lifeguard through high school and college. I am not afraid of the water. I relish it. I thought I could easily teach my own children how to swim. Yeah, that didn’t work out. For the next two years I tried to teach Grasshopper what to do while also trying not to completely freak out about his blood sugar dropping suddenly from all the exertion of swimming. That didn’t work out either. When Sunshine came along if we went to the pool I had two non-swimmers clinging to me like soggy koalas, plus I had to manage Grasshopper’s blood sugar. I was a basket case. Last summer we only used our neighborhood pool 3 times.

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I resolved to get some help. Friends recommended SwimPrep LLC. Jeffery Nichols teaches aquatic survival skills that enable children to independently get themselves to safety in the water. He teaches infants, toddlers, and children how to float, swim, float until they can reach the side of the pool to pull themselves out or until someone is able to reach them.

Grasshopper and Sunshine started a six week series of one-on-one swimming lessons in February and finished in March. They immediately went into group swimming lessons from April through May to continue working on the skills they learned. It was intense but they did well and I am so relieved! Jeffrey was so patient but firm with them. He is literally saving lives through his swimming classes. Since the lessons we have seen some wonderful changes in both Grasshopper and Sunshine. Washing hair is no longer a traumatic event. Water in their eyes or ears is no longer is a cause for banshee wailing. They are having fun in the pool with friends and cousins instead of clinging to the wall. And I am confident in their abilities so I am able to play with them instead of micromanaging all the circumstances. Of course I still have to be alert for low blood sugar issues but that is just a part of life now. SwimPrep LLC has changed our family for the better and has made summer fun again!

During Grasshopper’s last days of swim lessons he was talking to another swimmer, an older girl. Out of the blue said, “I have type 1 diabetes.” And then with a shrug, “You can ask me anything about it.” I did a fist pump for him and for me. Here’s to learning new skills and gaining confidence!

What fears about T1D have you overcome or want to overcome?

End of the School Year Burn Out: Lunch

by Erin

I’m staring into the pantry with a deer in the headlights look. Wide eyed, slack jawed… it can’t be THIS hard to come up with two snacks and a lunch for my kindergartner. Continue reading →

Camp Seale Harris

by Erin

A few months ago Grasshopper’s school nurse, Amber, told me she had been contacted by some folks from the Pike Road Lions Club. Continue reading →

Surviving Mother’s Day 2018

If I were to choose an icon of motherhood right now while my children are six and two, it would be an emblem of a little hand giving me a Kleenex tissue. And you know what? I accept that tissue. Continue reading →

The Lights Fest

by Alese

Hottie and I officially made it ten years in August!!  Not all of it has been Instagram worthy.  What real relationship is??? He is my guy and life would be so much less fun without him. Continue reading →

Choose Kind

by Erin

I recently watched “Wonder” on Amazon Prime Video. It is the story of a family whose son is born with Treacher-Collins syndrome, a condition which alters the development of the bones and tissue in the face. I know I am late to the conversation as the book was published in 2012 and the movie came out in 2018, but I have had a couple of kids and some crazy years recently. Reference: all of my posts on this blog. Continue reading →