I’m wondering what folks on here with littles reasonably expect from other family members who spend time with your kids.
My parents were here for my older son’s 5th birthday party. We had to run some errands and so we asked my parents to watch the kids for 1 hour while we picked up groceries. I gave my mom very simple instructions:
If he wants a snack and he’s not low, give him no-carb or low-carb snacks such as cheese, egg or almonds.
If he’s dropping low, follow the instructions on a printed card, give him one glucose tab, wait 15 to 20 minutes and if he is not rising or plateaud, give another one.
Do not treat highs; we will take care of it.
My mom has taken care of Samson more than a dozen times in the past on five or six separate occasions, though we always have frustrations with her level of care. One time we told her explicitly not to worry about highs because his openAPS will deal with them – she called me in from a spa as an emergency to tell me he was high, even though we are able to see his numbers. On several other occasions she over-treats lows and does not follow the instructions about waiting 15 to 20 minutes for glucose tabs to work, giving him 3!! glucose tabs in quick succession. Every time we have a talk with her about how frustrating it is, and then she either makes excuses about the instructions being hard to understand or says “it’s better if she’s not in charge of Samson’s care.”
Well, this time my mom panicked for whatever reason, and when he was 137 diagonal arrow down, she gave him two glucose tabs, a bowl full of cashews, crackers and blueberries – and only texted us with this information well after the fact. When we asked her why she did this, she didn’t explain and just said she thinks it’s better she not care for Samson – which hurt our feelings because she can’t selectively exclude one child from affection/care because he’s more medically fragile Our kids need to feel like their grandparents treat them equally as much as possible, and marginalizing Samson for his diabetes makes me really upset.
We were pretty upset. We had to cut our grocery shopping short and go home to bolus Samson immediately. She tracked none of the carbs and so we had to guess exactly how much he ate. He spiked to 250 before a big birthday party (luckily we carpet bombed the high with a bunch of insulin and he spent the whole party between 125 and 150, so it wound up okay). I am still upset with my mom.
I am wondering whether it’s fair for me to be upset though. I mean, theoretically, she has no legal or moral obligation to take care of our kids for any length of time. Many grandmas are the type who just want to see their grandkids well-behaved at holidays and then hand them off once they start acting up.
My mom is not a stupid person. Until about 8 months ago she was a programmer and business analyst with a defense contractor. She is smart and not physically or cognitively impaired. That is why it is so frustrating – it really seems like she is almost deliberately sabotaging the process or just not listening to our instructions. WE have childcare workers at daycare who literally are wiping butts, staunching nosebleeds and tying shoes for 12 other kids per teacher and they can still follow the three-step instructions we use for treating lows. Yet my mom seems to not learn from each time she sees our kids (she saw them last less than a month ago, and was responsible for his lows twice on the last trip – on a one-block walk around the neighborhood). What makes it even more galling is that my dad is a Type 2, so she is already caring for a person with diabetes and this should not be so incredibly foreign and frightening. What makes it even more sad is that my MIL – who is not necessarily good with numbers – has figured out through sheer love and devotion how to treat Samson. She gives him boluses, counts carbs, treats lows, and does everything needed to keep him healthy so that she can spend time with him. We feel safe when he is in her care. We don’t expect her to know everything or to never make mistakes, but just to try and follow our instructions, to check in with us, and to do her best.
Anyways, I’m just wondering whether other folks expect any proficiency in care from their extended family?
On one hand, I get it: My parents paid their dues with me. On the other hand, I don’t really rely on my mother for anything – we are financially independent, I certainly don’t talk to her for my emotional needs and I haven’t even talked to her about the stresses of daily diabetes management. She is not someone that I turn to for anything really.
AT this point, there are just a few things that would be so helpful to us – watching Samson for an hour or two here or there so that my husband and I can leave the house together sometimes, or being able to watch Samson when I go into labor so I don’t have to give birth all by myself without my husband. We do not have any evening babysitters and finding one is going to be very tough. It could be years before my husband and I are able to leave the house together except with family. It just feels like this is the one thing that we would really benefit from and that she could offer as a mom, and she just doesn’t seem interested or able to step up. I know it’s selfish to expect anything, but it really does make me sad.