The 6th birthday party is the one parents around here have somehow agreed we'll start dropping the kiddos off. Unless the invite says Please Stay With Your Child, we just don't. The kids are getting used to their independence, and if something goes wrong, we're a phone call away.
Not so simple for children with diabetes, though. Do I stay or do I go?
I think Benny is about as independent and in control of his diabetes as a six-year-old can be. As long as an adult supervises and counts his carbs, Benny can use his pump and check BG. But birthday parties are different - the excitement brings some crazy BG highs and all the running around can crash him low.
I've tried leaving Benny this year when I'm really comfortable with the setting, especially if the party's at a neighbor's house. I always want to eyeball the cake myself, though, and I worry about other parents recognizing a low. I do want to help Benny become independent – better a BG blip than a hovering, helicopter mom. Then again, what if it's not a blip, but a blow-up?
(These cupcakes from Benny's last birthday. I highly recommend Spidey for low blood sugar!)
Not too long ago, during one of those crazy weekends when I just couldn't seem to get it all done, I dropped Benny and his big sister off at a party. I told the mom (who knows our situation very well) that I'd be back in less than a half hour. We gave Benny a pre-party BG check and an extra snack. After exactly 30 minutes of errand-running, I pulled back into the parking lot and my cell phone rang. It was Lea. "Mom, you need to get back here," she said. "Benny doesn't look good."
I told her I was already walking in, and sure enough, Benny looked terrible, blood sugar 52. I gave him a juice box and a snack. I gave Lea a huge hug. But the best-big-sister-ever isn't going to be at every birthday.
I've been struggling with this because we've got parties these next two Sundays – one at Chuck E. Cheese's – a place I truly would love to avoid. The decision was made for me yesterday when Benny asked me to stay, "just in case I start to feel bad." A worried little guy is not an option so case closed, for now.
I may be the only mom who stays, and the other parents may think I'm hovering, but that's the way it goes. Bring on the bad pizza and pass the advil. I'm going to party with Chuck E!