Monday, March 26, 2012

Snacking

Most small children these days never leave home without snacks and sippy cups.  Not only are these at the ready in diaper bags and stroller baskets, but they are regularly in the hands of many children wherever they go.  For my child, this was often confusing.

My daughter spent her first two years with diabetes taking multiple daily injections which included Humalog and NPH insulins.   The action of NPH (more thoroughly described here) required a precise schedule of meals and snacks in order to maintain any semblance of reasonable blood sugar.  She had snacks at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Other kids careening around the playground with their bags of crackers seemed downright crazy to her. This snack situation was an early introduction to the reality of being different from other kids.

For my child, snack time was an event.  She sat and ate her 26 goldfish crackers or third of a cup of cheerios, and drank her four ounces of milk.  Whether she liked it or not (which she often didn't), she had to finish before she could do anything else. 

On the playground, we learned that other kids don't have this kind of routine.  They dragged their bags of goldfish crackers up the rope ladder, down the slide and into the sandbox.  They navigated the climbing ladders one handed with sippy cups in the other.  Or they ran back to their mom or dad's bench every 2 minutes for another grape.  They appeared to be breaking all the rules.

Often a child or a well-meaning parent would offer my daughter a snack.  They'd usually be greeted by a puzzled look.  "You can say no thank you," I'd prompt.  She would, or I'd decline for her.  Sometimes this worked.  Other times, the offer would persist.  "Oh, Tommy," the other parent would say, "make sure she doesn't want any...it's not polite to eat in front of people without offering them any."  Or, "are you sure, sweetie...they're very yummy!"

Of course they were yummy.  The other astonishing thing about these snacks was that children were eating chocolate covered pretzels and cookies and fruit chewies at 10:30 in the morning!   Some of them even had lollipops.  Cookies were staples in our house, but rarely offered outside bedtime snack-time.  The rest of these delicacies were severely restricted or forbidden.  Why wouldn't she want one?  "No, thank you," I'd repeat for her, followed by, "How about I push you on the swing, sweetie?" I spent a lot of her toddler hood pushing her on the swings in order to extract her from temptation.

It was an important early lesson.  She couldn't eat like other kids, and she still can't.  She has more flexibility now with her insulin pump.  She still does much better, though, when she eats her handful of pretzels or 6 crackers all at once at a party rather than one at a time over the course of an hour.  She does better, too, sticking with foods she's familiar with rather than guessing carbs for a treat provided by someone else.  Lollipops, while no longer forbidden, are still a rare treat and are never, ever, consumed while flying down the slide at the playground.

1 comment:

  1. This is absolutely difficult for parents.

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