Children will be children and a birthday party to them is like the Sales on Black Friday to us (or maybe that’s just me). Everyone has their own approach to managing carbs and sugar. Since Eva was diagnosed so young, Andrew and I made the decision to let her enjoy herself with little treats, here and there within limitation-we would just dose accordingly for it. We wanted her to enjoy life as much as she can, within the boundaries of her condition, instead of being too restricted by it. I mean her pancreas is broken, not her tastebuds.
Surprisingly, when Eva is at a friend’s birthday party or another special occasion, where the trestle tables are laden with cupcakes, fizzers and mini kit kats – she always comes to ask us if she can have one of them. I think this has a lot to do with her learning so much about food from early on.
Give them options
There is a little bit of negotiation that takes place. I do draw the line with sweet soda drinks, which don’t appeal to her, thank goodness. But if she asks to have a cupcake and a cake pop and a chocolate ball, we will say, ‘how about you can have 1 cupcake and then we’ll take a few sweets to take home to have another time?’ Empowering them with a choice is important.
Im not going to lie. It does make things a bit tricky for us Gatekeepers. We’ll say yes to the cupcake, but between the jumping castle and playing tag, she gets distracted and only ends up eating the icing off the top. And we’ve counted for the full cupcake and given her the respective dose for it. Added to this, she’s running around and expelling a ton of energy, which is burning the sugar at the same time. This is when our party starts! The challenge with getting her levels right is a small price to pay to see her leading as normal of a life as she can.
What I learnt from birthday parties:
Strike a balance: Weigh up the sensible management of their levels with their social needs. I don’t believe in negotiating with terrorists, but there’s room for a little negotiation here. For example they can have 1 cupcake, not 3. Or a fizzer instead of a meringue tartlet. Yes, their levels will more than likely give you a run for your money for that day, but the smile on their face will be worth it and more.
Forgive the non-Gatekeepers: Yes there are those at the party that will possibly say to you, “Shame, Jack probably can’t eat anything here, hey?” or even “Wait, can she eat that?” My experience has prompted me to remember that these people don’t know much about TD1, they don’t have the hands-on experience we do, and its human nature to interfere, as much as it annoys us sometimes. My tip here is to try and not be defensive or take it personally-instead you could close the matter, while still being polite by saying “Thanks for caring but we’re all good, thank you”.
A note for the non-Gatekeepers: Please don’t make a fuss over the Warriors. Unless a Warrior is visibly sick, please refrain from commenting on what they’re eating. Warriors just want to be like the other kids, without the concern and bustle – remember, us Gatekeepers are doing all of that anyway! 🙂