Just this afternoon, I had my sons Eric & Nate at a birthday party. Typical sort of thing – presents, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey (only with stickers, as apparently using pins is now deemed “too risky”), cake and ice cream, and little candy-filled gift bags. All was fine, until… you guessed it… cake time. The mother hosting the party seated all of the kids at the table for cake and ice cream, except Eric. I didn’t realize, at first, that this omission was deliberate, because I wasn’t paying much attention when the kids were collected up for the introduction of the cake. Nor, for that matter, was Eric, who was having a fine time playing with the monster trucks in the living room, but when he heard all the people singing the song, he got up and wandered into the kitchen, looking for his spot at the table. I followed, intending to help him seat himself and make sure that whomever was responsible for doling out the goodies went heavy on the ice cream and light on the cake… if only because I’d forgotten Eric’s JDRF backpack in the frenzy of trying to get two excited boys into the car with gift bags and snow pants etc., and therefore didn’t have a blood glucose meter (no worries, though, he’d had lunch a mere 90 minutes previously, so I felt pretty secure that his BG was in normal range). Once in the kitchen, though, two things became obvious: first, there were no extra chairs set up so that the extra little boy had a place to sit, and second, the birthday boy’s mother was regarding Eric with a suppressed terror usually reserved for intrusive wildlife – think skunk, or snake. As I surveyed this problematic tableau, she looked at me with desperation in her eyes and said, “What do we do? That cake is just sugar, sugar, sugar.” Apparently, she expected me to hold him back, sit on him if necessary, to keep him away from the dangerous sugar.
“Oh, it’s OK,” I answered, smiling and maintaining a relaxed attitude, despite feeling the beginnings of a slow burn… she really thought it would be OK to simply exclude Eric from this ritual? “He can have it. Just give him a very thin slice of cake, and a scoop of ice cream. That way his blood sugar won’t go through the roof.” My manner must have been reassuring, because moments later, I was presented with a plate containing approximately a half cup of ice cream (I gave it a mental measurement – didn’t want to ask them to stick it in a measuring cup for fear of frightening them) and a slice of cake that probably could’ve been measured in microns, it was so thin. Not that I minded — I didn’t really need him going into a sugar frenzy any more than I needed his BG shooting through the ceiling. So I took him to the living room and let him eat his cake and ice cream, wishing with all my heart that I could grab that well-meaning mother and say, “Look, honey – NORMAL BOY HERE. Can eat cake, will get insulin, will not go into any form of shock on your living room floor as a result.” If you were worried about him having sweets, heavens, ASK ME before you go to elaborate lengths to keep them away from him!
As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed the bags of party favors on the floor. Apparently they’d been given out before we arrived. “Can I get a couple of those?” I asked. “Nate and Eric didn’t get any.”
“They’ve got candy in them,” I was told. I smiled. “No worries, I’m used to confiscating candy… from BOTH of my boys,” I added, to make it clear that this was not a diabetes thing, but an I-don’t-want-my-kids-eating-too-much-candy thing.
Eric goes to daycare with this kid, and I do see his parents frequently; I guess I need to simply engage them in conversation so they know that sugar is not the enemy. But you know… I suppose I thought that having seen him there, eating with all the other kids, eating all the same THINGS as the other kids, they’d realize that this was just the way it was.