During my daughter's baby and toddler years, we attended a great playgroup in the community center gym. The local 'mothers club' had collected a plethora of toys and secured a closet in which to store them. Every Friday, the toys were dragged out into the gym and children from birth to four were invited in to play. A weekly donation of $2 got you two hours of playtime, a snack and juice, and even a cup of coffee for mom.
My daughter and I, for the most part, enjoyed it. She liked the 3 different play kitchens, the giant bouncy balls and the dress up clothes. I liked meeting other mothers and having somewhere to go, particularly on frigid winter mornings.
This was one of the first places we brought diabetes out in public. One or two other moms knew my daughter had diabetes, but I imagine many wondered about us; especially at snack time.
The kids would all sit on a couple of blankets laid out on the gym floor to eat their snacks. Most mothers would then head for the coffee or sit on the bleachers and chat. We'd head over to the side to check her blood sugar. I'd then vet the snacks for carbs and determine whether she would eat the playgroup snack of the day or an alternative from my bag. She was on NPH at the time, so very restricted at snack time. I would then awkwardly hover over the eating children. I needed to be sure she ate her snack, and didn't eat anybody else's. What if she got her hands on somebody's juice? When snack time was over the children would be instructed to throw away their trash and go back to play. More often than not, I'd have to drag my child over to the bleachers and make her finish her goldfish before she could go back out there.
At home, diabetes was becoming part of our routine and its intervals were becoming second nature. The contrast of being somewhere diabetes wasn't part of the routine was challenging for both of us. It was isolating to be the mom obsessively observing toddler snack time instead of sharing potty training tips over coffee. My daughter desperately wanted to get back and play whether she'd finished her snack or not. She wanted the playgroup snack whether it was goldfish (o.k.) or donuts(not o.k.). She was really little, and any parent can therefore imagine her reaction to not being allowed to have her way.
In retrospect this was the beginning of a long series of moments when we brought diabetes along with us despite its challenges. Yes, there were 2 or 3 days when I had to give up and bring her home because she melted down at snack time. Most weeks, though, the fun far outweighed the challenge. I wasn't going to let the possibility diabetes might throw us a curve ball stop us from enjoying a happy morning out. A few years have passed, but that last bit remains just as true today.