We have a daggy Christmas tree covered in decorations made in primary school. This year the eldest two were taller than the Christmas tree. That gave me the biggest lump in my throat. My role was purely supervisory. The requested musical accompaniment was Michael Buble’s Christmas album. The vibe in the house was good although interspersed with bouts of wrestling. Again, my role here was supervisory!
We are two teachers who have finished reports in a house with three boys who have been assessed to the eyeballs. We are tired!
This is also the hardest part of the year to help my son navigate his way through living with Type 1 diabetes. So many of our ways of celebrating Christmas revolve around food. There are chocolates everywhere. Class parties in multiple high school subjects ostensibly to celebrate Christmas but really to high five each other for surviving a year of school together.
During the past week, I’ve dipped my hand in several chocolate boxes, eaten numerous slices of cakes and had a few handfuls of crisps. Every time I do this, I wonder how my middle son is going at his school. Recently, I had a French exchange student in my class and we would discuss the differences between French and Australian schools. She had finished high school in France and said that during her time there was never fed once by her teachers. She marvelled at the amount of food placed before her in my school. Prizes for class quizzes, parties for birthdays, end of term celebrations, always with food. Isn’t that amazing? It made me realise the continual choices our kids with Type 1 may have to make.
This is going to be my boy’s third Christmas with Type 1 diabetes. He will have his fair share of chocolates and cake but it’s generally as part of a meal or snack when he has his insulin injection. He has chosen not to have a pump and I respect his right to make the choice that he feels is right for him. It does mean though that, for him, random chocolates and unbolused snacks are a no go.
I’ve always asked my three boys to be honest with me. As a parent, I totally accept and even welcome stuff ups. As a teacher, I sometimes worry about the perfect kids. Isn’t this the time to break out and mess things up occasionally?
Dishonesty is a big family no no! I tell my three boys all the time to tell me the truth and if something has gone wrong we can try to fix it together. They are not perfect but they generally fess up to stuff ups and we try and fix things as a team.
Secret Santa gifts! Now there is a potential diabetes disaster! Incredibly, my son managed to carry a box of chocolates around for a whole day and resisted the temptations to try a few even though they were his favourites! I’m not sure I could have been so strong! It was his Secret Santa gift which he then shared around with everyone after dinner.
When he then did his Blood Glucose Levels for his afternoon snack though, he was sitting at 24.5. He came and told me this. That afternoon, in a class party there was a whole heap of goodies, he took three Maltesers and a few small jelly sweets – nothing in comparison to what all his classmates would have had. At least we knew he wasn’t getting sick or had some dodgy insulin. He has inherited my sweet tooth and it’s a curse! My heart bleeds for him in these moments.
We will have a fantastic Christmas, our first without a believer in Santa! We will still leave out a beer, a biscuit and a carrot for Santa and Rudolph and we will help our son navigate his way through the sweet temptations.