Our "first" Christmas

My daughter Grace was diagnosed last January, so this is our first holiday season with a diabetic child. She started pumping in Sept, and is doing great, but I’m not fairing so well. It started with the endless supply of food at my mother’s house during Thanksgiving, and hasn’t slowed down since. Now the parties are starting - class party next week, Brownie party last week, CCD party yesterday. I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of hot chocolate, cookies, marshmellows and gingerbread houses! I’m so sick of hearing people say, “Can’t you just give her more insulin and let her eat the (fill in the blank with high carb/high fat treat of choice)?” So I feel guilted into letting Grace have something that I know will wreak havoc with her blood sugars, but still have to deal with an upset child that she gets the smallest portion. I really do have a great support system of friends and family, but unless you have a child with diabetes, you can’t know the stress we face. I know if bolused correctly, she should be okay with just about anything in moderation, but I’m just learning how to do that, and often don’t get the dosage correct. It’s exhausting and sad to have to tell my daughter no so often. Does anyone have any tips or ideas of how to navigate the next couple of weeks? I’m open to any advice. Thanks!

I won’t be much help to you. My daughter was diagnosed 09/09/09. We have been doing this less than you. I do want to share my husband’s philosophy. You do the best you can. You are the parent. My problem has been the same as yours, then I spoke with her Dr. He said that you cannot tell an 8 year old not to be an 8 year old. Every child wants to be “normal” the problem is that our children are not normal. If you feel that you can handle whatever treat she wants let it go. Do the best you can. I am scared of lows so with treats I sometimes under dose. But on the other hand, when my daughter is excited, it doesn’t matter what she eats or how much insulin. She is high.
You know what she can handle. Love her bunches and try to relax. (Also don’t do like me and go ballistic on a relative about their “advice”. It felt good, but didn’t do much for family relations.)
Have a wonderful holiday.

Pam, my son Sam is 9, and was diagnosed in September of 2008, so only slightly before your daughter. In general he has pretty good “control” (although I hate it when people ask me that) and it looks like your daughter does too - I looked at your profile to see how old your daughter was, and noticed her last A1c is actually under 7. So with that being said, and the fact that she’s on a pump, I would let her have the treats that everyone else is having. I don’t know how she feels about testing her bg, but my son is usually willing to test more often (2 hours after eating crazy food - and then we just correct if he’s high) if it means he isn’t left out of a celebration/treat etc. I don’t want him to become a teen who rebels and eats in the closet, or totally rejects my intervention - so I want to teach him to live with this disease, not feel like he’s constantly struggling against it (and me). As he gets older, I think he will learn to count carbs more and more accurately (and I will too), and also learn not to eat terribly because it will make him feel bad. As he is learning that - I just bolus everything the best that I can. In general we eat pretty well as a family, and so I figure a couple of weeks of holiday eating won’t be that bad. We just continue to eat well at home and make sure he gets about 60 minutes of exercise a day, and hope for the best!

Also - do you use carb factors at all for bolusing? That has really helped me get those treats bolused more accurately.

My daughter Abbie was diagnosed 11/08 – so we went straight into the holidays! We have two strategies that help:

First, my deal with Abbie is that she can have the treats if (before the event/party etc) she has a high protein/no carb snack. So basically, meat or cheese. This both slows down the absorption of the sweets and fills her up so she doesn’t eat as much. Usually it works.

Second – whipped cream! Redi whip and other brands of whip cream (not the artificial stuff) is amazingly low in carbs. Abbie loves it and usually is happy with a smaller treat (cookie, cake, hot chocolate etc) if it’s topped with a mondo serving of whip cream. A great festive treat with a fraction of the carbs. We even take a can or two to parties with us.

Good luck!

Hey Pam.
I totally agree with everyone who posted prior to me, this time of year is challeging. But we let our son eat whatever the kids are having at school. Kid first - diabetes second (in his mind) but I know what you mean about the worry! Just check and correct after 2 hours. That way the BG isn’t hanging around in the 300’s for too long after all that sugar. My son is 11 and was dx in Aug. '08 and has had an A1c of 7 or below. We also bring cheese , vegetable platters to family and friends houses.
And of course the dual or square wave bolus is helpful depending on the foods.
Don’t be too hard on yourself during the Holiday season. You’re doing a great job!!!

I’m so glad you asked this question. My daughter was diagnosed last January, too, so this is our first holiday season as well. Thank you all for all your great experience and suggestions. I now have a better idea of how to handle things. I hope that this has helped you too, Pam!

Hi Leah! I really empathize with what you must go through with twins. I struggle because Grace (8) has a 6 year old sister and a 4 year old brother. I try to walk the line between letting her eat what everyone’s having, and trying to reign her in and teach her (and her siblings) about smart choices. Grace is still honeymooning, so her blood sugars aren’t always predictable (not that they ever will be!) and I feel like a bad mom allowing her to eat foods that I know will send her high. But you’re right, I’ve forgotten to let her be a little girl. I fear that this will all create food issues for her in the future.

Great topic. We are still new to this sphere (dx 9/30/09). Our perspective so far has been to let our daughter be a 12 year old and make sure that she is testing and covering. So far, we have avoided any major spikes during this holiday season. Her doctor is constantly pointing out that she is focusing on the BG over a long period of time and not the occasional spike.

One thing we are learning (emphasis on learning) to not transfer stress on to her. Of course, that is easy to say but difficult to do.

Merry Christmas,


This is a great topic and one I feel stressed about at times. I mostly let her eat in moderation what everyone else is eating (aside from juice boxes which she is fine with as she knows they’re mostly for lows) and check more frequently. I also try to have her eat some protein before hand to help balance out what she is going to eat carb-wise. I love the idea of using Redi whip or other cool whip…I’m going to try that one!
I haven’t decided what is the best way…to let them eat what everyone else does and cover, or to try to minimize the junk and keep the focus on the healthy food. Of course, I want the food to be as healthy as possible especially since we eat so much junk food in general as Americans. But, I also don’t want her to sneak food or have issues with food as other people have mentioned to me about their diabetic children. I have an older daughter that makes this issue challenging as well. When Elisabeth was first diagnosed, I was super stressed and told Elsie-Leah not to eat in front of her sister, so then she was hiding her Oreos and eating them in secret. It struck me that that just doesn’t look good for her future…so I changed that and now have her eat what we are having but in the open and try to teach them how to balance. Ok, you want a cookie after dinner…let’s make sure we eat our fruits, milk, etc. (still working on veggies) first so we can be healthy and grow. Surprisingly, my older daughter loves to learn about food and how it affects our body, so we’ve been talking about that and both girls know what has protein, carbs, vitamins, etc.
I’ve read that some chlidren with diabetes struggle with feeling they need to be perfect (the perfect BG, etc.) so i want to avoid that for Elisabeth…no BG is good/bad, it’s just a number and if it’s too High, then we need to get it down, etc.
I also make Elsie-Leah wait for her sister when eating or taking medicine, etc…and she doesn’t mind this.
I do feel at times that I’m like a fish swimming upstream in the midst of everyone eating fast food, letting their little ones have soda, lots of juice boxes, candy, etc. I know how much I love dessert, and want to instill in my girls a desire to eat healthy which will service them for the future, but it’s not easy!

You’re doing a great job and will feel more comfortable as time goes by…the first everything is hard, but you’re doing great. :slight_smile:

Merry Christmas!

So, I made it through the holidays with mixed results…Christmas - horible! New Years - great! Tonight - horible! Xmas eve started with high numbers due to a bad site. Then Xmas day went all hay-wire while visiting neighbors in the afternoon, and ended with a BG of 440 in the middle of the night due to 2 (yes 2!) pieces of pie for dessert. It took a couple of days for her numbers to get back to normal. We went to a friend’s house for New Years Eve, and managed to keep her in range all night. No small feat since she had pizza bagels, pigs-in-a-blanket, chips and a cupcake. I don’t play golf, but my husband says that one good golf shot in the middle of a bad round makes him feel great. That’s what I felt like after NYE - like I might actually be able to handle this. Then tonight, at my mother-in-laws house for dinner. How am I supposed to figure out how many carbs are in a “dessert pizza”? Apparently, it’s somewhere in the 70-80 carb range, because my bolus for 45 carbs plus upping her basal by 20% for 4 hours wasn’t even close. Back to a BG of 400. I’m really looking forward to getting back to normal routines of eating. These holidays were definatly more stressful than last year!

Congratulations! I am with you! Evan was diagnosed Feb 24,2009, so this was our first holiday season as well. It sounds like you faired about as well as we did (we also had a bad site the day after Christmas w high numbers). It is not only the stress of the everyday,but I also can’t help but be sad to think that this time last year none of this was going on and my little boy didn’t have this disease. I try very hard not to let that show in front of him. He does pretty wonderful, he is my little “warrior”. From everything in your posts you sound like you are really a wonderful mom and very “in-tune” to your daughter.
Strategies for dessert overload: We also use the Redi-whip real whip cream and the Jello sugar free, fat free puddings are lower carb than most holiday desserts. Evan’s birthday is in December, but we have a small house so we do his big party in the summer (big back yard!) and have a smaller celebration on his birthday. We had pudding with huge mounds of whipped cream and a teaspoon of rainbow sprinkles for each sibling/cousin/friend. Each dessert was only about 15 carbs and they had terrible fun putting on their toppings! There is also a sugar free hot chocolate that only has about 5 carbs per serving which really helps to offset whatever else is being served. I carry a packet in my purse. We even took it with us on the “Polar Express” so that he could have hot chocolate with the 70!!!carb cookie that they provided on the train. We can’t let them not be kids or not have fun, although I am definitely alot grey-er than I was this time last year :wink: Huge round of applause for us though! We made it - our little ones made it - and it is a brand new year! Keep fighting the good fight.

Thanks for the encouragement, Christi! Today is the first day in a while Grace has been in range. Whew! Glad to hear that Evan (and you) made it through the carb onlsaught! Just today I found Minute Maid “Just 10” juice pouches. Only 2 carbs per pouch! Never seen them before in my store. Now for all those parties and times when everyone is having a juicebox, I can bring one for Grace as well.

I’m going to have to look for the Minute Maid Just 10 and try them for Elisabeth! Thanks for the tip. It’s funny, her big sister likes all the low-carb stuff, but she doesn’t!

The Capri Sun Roaring Waters usually run about 9 carbs per “juice box”. We do well with the little Aquapod waters. Evan really likes water. If he is feeling the need to have something sweet and flavored, I will either mix it with some sugar free Kool Aid (if I am being uber-prepared!) or I carry the single serving mix-ins in his kit with his meter and supplies and I mix it on the spot. Just some suggestions. Propel also makes mix-ins that are about 3 carbs per serving, but read the label, I think there are 2 servings per bottle after mixed. Happy drinking! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the drink ideas…I’ll look for them! I love gathering other tips from Moms of Type 1 kids…take care!