What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too!

What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too!

This sums up my son’s attitude to the snack boxes in my pantry and it can be a source of friction amongst my three boys. My middle son, who has Type 1 diabetes, has his own shelf in the pantry. It’s well stocked with juice poppers and snacks which he uses as a hypo treatment. It’s also a general snack box which he uses for school lunch boxes, and quick carbs to have in the middle of rugby games.

Everything is in packets worth about 15g carb each. I tend to buy the same snacks for the other two boys so their snackbox looks pretty much the same (minus the juice). If I buy something a bit different, usually as a bit of a treat, they disappear at lightning speed yet no one ever admits to having eaten them.

The box of my son with Type 1 is sacred, never to be plundered by his brothers. Touch it at your peril!

Their box however,  is regularly raided by my son with Type 1. They are constantly confused by how quickly the snacks in their box disappear. Interrogations are held and accusations are bandied around. 

The fridge is full of home made goodies which lack the cool, street appeal of these snacks and, to be fair, I don’t know how they would survive being bounced about in lunch boxes. The line has been drawn. Home made means they are to be eaten at home. I’m okay with that. It’s all about balance.

I used to hide secret stashes of extra snacks on the top shelf but now that my eldest is taller than me, he has found all my hiding places. I’m thinking of storing extra snacks in the bottom of the laundry basket as that’s one place never seen by any of the boys!

A load of crêpes!

  First Sunday morning of the holidays. Two weeks lie ahead of us. There’s time to make a nice breakfast. We’ve always loved crêpes. The pikelet is much heavier than it’s French cousin and leaves you feeling sluggish and heavy. We prefer these. 

I try, in vain,to make my children pronounce “crêpes” properly, rather than the unusual Australian way of saying it. 

I set the breakfast table with little bowls of lemon and sugar, pure butter, pure maple syrup, the berry mix and some creamy vanilla yoghurt.

I set my coffee maker on the stove.

My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he turned thirteen and he became a teenager in hospital. He desperately  wanted his usual birthday breakfast of crêpes, maple syrup and strawberries. I asked the nurses if they would let me bring him his breakfast. I was only mastering the basics of courting carbs so I headed to the supermarket looking for ‘authentic’ crêpes. I found a packet, some strawberries and some ‘diet’ maple syrup. The resulting breakfast was pitiful. I have photographs of my brave boy valiantly pretending that it tasted nice.

A year and a half has passed since then and I’m proud to say the crêpe situation is under control. I make a double batch of this recipe and on the rare occasion that there are leftovers, they can be frozen with a layer of baking paper in between each one. I love it that they can be made in a food processor. A French mum would possibly be horrified by this. There are no lumpy bits so, désolée Madame, the food processor it is!  Like any crêpe mix, it’s better if you can make it and leave it for a while. This never happens chez moi! Once the smell of melted butter hits the pan, it’s game on! It’s quick and easy but don’t turn your back on the pan.

I love the lace like patterns that appear, the tiny bubbles which grow then burst, leaving a web of little holes.

 

We had an extra boy who stayed for a sleepover. He was pretty happy with his breakfast. I have a little shot glass which I find great for measuring out the pure maple syrup for my son with Type 1. It takes ten seconds to do and helps keep his BGL in line (well, as much as we can ever predict that!). He did raise an eyebrow when I handed my son his little shot glass of maple syrup. 

  

More Balls

Baking time again!  Time to stock up the fridge for the days ahead.

Bliss Balls with an ever changing recipe. I make 40 every couple of weeks and have managed to get the carb count to about 8g per ball. These are great for everyone in the family.

I type up most of my recipes and put them in Google Docs. This means I can access them from anywhere. It also means I can share them with my friends.

This recipe is ever changing. My friends laugh as every time they go to access my Google Docs, the recipe has changed.  I’m pushing up the protein content at the moment so I’ve added the chia seeds. I’ve used dried strawberries too and that was delicious. One of my boys thinks he doen’t like walnuts but they’re so healthy! I grind them up until they bear no ressemblance to their former shape. He reminds me often not to put walnuts in.  I nod and say nothing!

  
  

Change

The hardest part of helping my son deal with his Type 1 diabetes is the constant change. I’ve been in touch with the educator in the last week as his BGL at bedtime has been getting steadily higher which means he’ll need more quick acting insulin at dinner. 

We will slowly increase this over the weekend to avoid big crashes in his levels. I dread telling him this. For the first time in a few weeks I feel that familiar sadness for him. I wonder how I will prepare him for this change and how he will react.

He’s a boy who thrives on routine. He likes to know how things are and that they will be the same each day. The nature of this beast is that it is constantly changing. Luckily for me my boy has a good maths brain. He quickly memorises the complex little algorithms we use to calculate the insulin dosage for each time he eats. Now he will have tiny little differences to learn:  a unit more here and there.

He gets the hang of a new set of numbers and BAM! something changes and it’s a new day with new numbers.

It’s the start of the holidays. Two weeks of freedom lie ahead of us and this disease will rob my son of that wonderful anticipation. That sucks! I am his parent. I fix things. I can’t make this better.

Scandal: If Olivia Pope had Type 1 Diabetes……..

 

 I’m currently obsessed with the American TV Series Scandal. Shonda Rhimes is a fantastic screen writer, director and producer. Her other shows like Private Practice and Greys Anantomy always had strong characters. A friend gave me the first three series of Scandal and it is so addictive. When sport is on the TV in the House of Testosterone, I actually don’t mind.

The central character in Scandal is Olivia Pope. She is a crisis manager and a fixer! She makes things happen. She is empowered and in control most of the time but has some weaknesses which make her all the more interesting. Her secondary love interest Jake Ballard is another reason for me to watch the show.

There are some amazing lines in Scandal. Olivia Pope is forthright and puts people in their place.  I couldn’t help but wonder how she would handle Type 1 Diabetes.

I found some quotes from the show. I imagine that these are the things that Olivia would say to her Type 1 diabetes. 

Olivia Pope talking to her Type 1 diabetes

Olivia Pope: It’s handled!

Olivia Pope:  I know this is a terrible time for you, and I understand how you feel about me. But if we’re going to work together, if I’m going to help you here, you follow my rules. It’s up to you—you know what’s at stake, you’ve seen what I can do.

Olivia Pope: I don’t know what you expect. I don’t want to be in this. This is—I am not this person. 

Olivia Pope: I wait for you. I watch for you. My whole life is you, I can’t breathe because I’m waiting for you, you OWN me, you control me, I belong to you.

Olivia Pope: You know what I’ve learned? I’ve learned that accusing you of things means nothing. It leads to power games and moves and……..   so instead of speaking my mind, instead of being the brave, outspoken girl my mother taught me to be, I’m chewing my food, fulfilling my contract. And when we’re done, I’ll go home and immediately try to forget this ever happened. Until next Sunday. When we do it all again.

Olivia Pope: Dive in. Own it. Mock your image. You start off strong. ……. Laugh at yourself. It’ll make it impossible for them to laugh at you. 

Olivia Pope: Everything is unrecognizable. You are unrecognizable to yourself. You find yourself doing things you never thought you would do in ways you never thought you would do them to save things you never thought you would want to save. That’s how you know you’re done. You are not done.

I’ve saved my favourite until last. When Olivia Pope has a bad hypo:  Be careful. I’m in shock. Put anything that close to my mouth I might bite it off.

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls – challenge accepted!

My eleven year old loves rice paper rolls. I’ve avoided making them recently as I wasn’t sure how to calculate the carbs for his brother. He has been asking me to make them for weeks and doing the big, sad, puppy dog eyes that no mother can resist so today, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

I cut up cucumber, red capsicum, carrots into tiny batons. I set out the chopped mint and coriander in a bowl and open the packet of bean sprouts. I bought half a cooked chicken on the way home and I ask a passing 15 year old to shred it without eating any himself (queue grumpy teenage boy noises). 

I work out that two layers of the vermicelli noodes are 80g of carbs (there are 5 of us so that’s 16g of carbs each) and three of the rice paper roll sheets are 22g of carbs. If I make 15 rolls (are you getting why I’ve avoided this for so long?) that’s 38g of carb for each person.

Ok, all good. I soak the vermicelli noodles in boiling hot water and once cooked, they weigh 800g which (when divided by the 15 sheets I have) means I can put about 50g of noodle into each roll. I set up the scales and work out what 50g of noodles looks like. I use the recipe at the bottom as a rough guide.

Assembly begins. I am losing the will to live. I know I should involve the whole family in this process and we should sit around the table, chatting about our day whilst we amicably pass the bowls of vegetables and noodles between us. 

This may happen in a parallel universe. In my house, it’s a total shit fight any time we try this kind of thing. We are not the Waltons!

An hour and a half from start to finish. I know this as I’ve watched an episode and a half of Scandal (Olivia Pope would never make these!) on my laptop during this time. I’ve done 15 rolls. That’s three each. My eleven year old is so happy and gobbles down his three rice paper rolls in about ten seconds before asking : ‘Is there more?’

 

  

Freedom!

A girls’ weekend away! Leaving straight from work on Friday and returning Sunday afternoon. How lucky is that? 

Only possible for me because my husband was generous and wonderful enough to take the slack for a full weekend. I cannot thank him enough. He encouraged me to go. These chances are to be grasped and enjoyed to the full. No guilt, just pure gratitude!

A whole weekend with a lovely bunch of women. From country to city, a crazy convoy of fourteen women. A hotel in the centre, no children, no partners and a new world outside our windows. We ate, drank an elegant sufficiency (we have reached an age where we know our limits) and shopped. 

Friday night, we ate new Australian cuisine in a restaurant with an industrial look. We have watched enough cooking and home improvement shows to know these things. Oohs and aahs were heard as we sampled the likes of pickled garlic, and edamame beans with miso sauce to name but two. We drank fancy wine and gave only a passing thought to the meat pies and rugby games we were missing. We feigned nonchalance as we paid what would normally cover the meal for our entire families but convinced ourselves that we were worth it.

Saturday morning, we breakfasted in a modern French inspired eatery with barely a mention of the football and netball games taking place without us. From there, we divided into groups:  some shopped whilst others headed for manicures, facials and pedicures. My chosen escape was in retail therapy. What bargains were discovered! 

Saving more than we spent was the aim as we supported the Australian economy to the best of our ability. The shopping gods bestowed their blessings on us. Sore feet and aching calves were ignored as we accumulated bags and marvelled at the wonders before us.

Saturday afternoon saw cocktails and tapas before we headed for a show. We giggled and laughed, living in the moment and taking pleasure in each other’s fun! 

Hotel room kettles were boiled for cups of tea and giggles were heard from all the rooms as we relived the highlights of the day, before falling into a delicious sleep.

Sunday dawned and we took pictures of carefully crafted delicacies as we had breakfast in a patisserie. Our ‘roadies’ were little cakes, individual art works,  to be eaten in the cars in the way home: a last moment of decadence before we rejoined our real lives, flicking the crumbs off, as we opened front doors.

I got home to the House of Testosterone and guess what? They survived without me! The house was tidy, washings had been done, noone had starved! My middle son has Type 1 diabetes and I often think of his diabetes as my fourth child. This fourth son had behaved, no tantrums or weird behaviour. His levels were good and noone had to get up during the night to check on him! My fourth child was an angel this weekend!