Off the Dial

Our Cupcake Challenge

My eight-year-old daughter loves watching all the cake shows on the Food Network.  Any of the Challenge shows and especially Ace of Cakes. Much excitement in my house in December when Duff talked about celebrating Chanukah. (Mom, Ace of Cakes is Jewish!!) and absolute madness when he made a guest appearance this past week on the Disney Channel's Imagination Movers.  That's my five year old's favorite show, so everyone got into the act.

It got to the point where my daughter was making cakes out of play-do, enlisting her little brother as her assistant and making us time and judge their work.  When she asked me if I knew how to make real fondant, I knew we were in trouble.

You know my husband is the cook in our family – and he loves to encourage the kids in the kitchen.  They made their first cakes together a couple of weeks back, but neither one of us is a baker.  So we got a very cute book called, Hello Cupcake. Step by step directions (with pictures) of how to make some very cool stuff.

Our first project was my pick - the popcorn cupcakes.  We had a dinner party Saturday night, so we spent Friday whipping it up.  I never in my life thought I would spend a Friday night cutting up 200 white and yellow mini-marshmallows. The kids stuck with it longer than I thought (the hardest part was keeping them from eating everything, of course!). Here's the finished product (it's about 50 mini-cupcakes):


I know, I know – cupcakes probably aren't the best hobby when you've got a kid with diabetes. Too bad.  Benny gives up enough already. 

We're not going to do this every day of course, and you'd be surprised how much easier it is to control blood sugar for treats like this, as opposed to more complex foods like pizza (cheese, sauce, bread - it's a mess). 

I guess, with all due respect to the Food Network, we've got our own Challenge going on. I say, bring it (and pass the cupcakes)!

Aren’t Vacations with Diabetes Fun?

We're starting 2010 with some reminders that, several years into my son's diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, there will always be something changing.

We drove to my parents' house in Florida for the winter break. It's about a ten hour drive from our house near Charlotte so we broke it up into two days.  My kids go bananas at the thought of staying in a hotel. (mom, this room has it's own couch!! there's a bathroom in here!!), so it's a fun way to get a vacation started.

Driving for several hours at a clip, though, means lots of snacks and meals in the car.  We have to give Benny insulin every time he eats.  His pump makes that pretty easy, but until recently, it's also meant reaching into the back seat to dose him every time. Over the summer, I was driving alone with the kids and Lea stepped up and used Benny's pump for me.  Total team effort.  He had to agree to let his big sister reach over and take his pump out, she had to enter the numbers and then show me the screen so I could take a quick look and make sure he wasn't going to OD. We were all really excited about how it worked out.

Since Benny just turned 5, this trip we thought he could do some of that himself.  By the time we drove home, he was bolusing himself every time.  I'm not comfortable with him doing that when it's not a necessity, and he doesn't show any interest in really taking over.  I am excited about his learning more about this essential piece of medical equipment he wears 24-7.  (Bonus: carbs are entered by 1's and insulin is entered by 5's, so my pre-K kid is getting some math learnin' too.)

Here's the bad from that trip.  Benny's grown so much (more than 3 inches in 2009!) that we've been playing catch up with his insulin dosing.  There's a basal rate that the pump uses to give him insulin all day long (that's what your pancreas does).   Good explanation of basal rate here. As Benny grows, he needs more insulin, so his basal rate goes up.

My mom has a pool, though, and exercise can bring blood sugar levels down. Benny would swim for hours if we let him and we often have to make him come out of the water for blood sugar checks. The lower effects can last for hours – and can be dangerous overnight. We've really ramped up the basal rate overnight, too.

Just before bedtime one evening, Benny's blood sugar was 54. That's dangerously low (should be around 100).  I gave him a juice box and a cookie – about 40 carbs – much more than he'd normally need to come back up from a low, but with all the swimming, we figured it was the right call. 

An hour later, Benny was 53. I couldn't get him to eat or drink anything else.  He seemed exhausted, wouldn't even open his eyes or sit up. That's when we started to get worried. It was clear something was very wrong.

A half hour later we checked again, still low. Then a few minutes later, Benny got sick. Luckily, after that, he felt a lot better and was able to drink a little juice and eat some crackers.  Blood sugar slowly came back up and he was much better by morning. 

We carry a glucagon shot with us everywhere and would have had to give it to Benny if his BG hadn't started coming back up.  I also should have suspended or turned off his insulin pump during that time. We've never done that and I didn't think of it. Always learning.

Of course, now that we're back home and back in our routine, we're having trouble with overnight high blood sugar.  Is the kid growing again? Fighting a cold that hasn't shown up yet? We'll figure it out. And then it'll change. Actually, that sounds a lot like raising kids in general!  Happy 2010 and good luck to us all!