kids, junk drawers and syringes

The other night Miles, my 7 year old, was rummaging through our junk drawer looking for spare change. He has a piggy bank and is saving money for Gormitis, his latest obsession, and knows his dad frequently drops change into this drawer. The drawer is a mess, full of pencils, coupons, keys, change, small toys, batteries and diabetes supplies. the drawer opens out of the island in the center of the kitchen where the boys sit to eat. On top of the island is where I keep my “shot bag,” a small zippered bag that contains my blood testing machine, strips and lipstick (for fun). So I keep my syringes and test strips in the junk drawer because it is easily accessible. It’s never been a problem until now.

Miles is a curious boy, I should establish that first. He is a day dreamer and a talker and has a vivid imagination and while he was rummaging through the drawer, he picked up the bag of syringes and began to mess with them. It didn’t take long before he figured out how to take the top off the syringe. Meanwhile, the rest of us were in the livingroom watching tv and reading the paper. Suddenly I heard a yelp from the kitchen. Miles had stabbed himself in the finger with my syringe.

This has never happened in my ten years of motherhood. I’ve never really considered any of my ‘stuff’ as dangerous to my kids. Miles was fine, we wrapped a washcloth around his finger and it stopped bleeding right away, but the interesting part was that he was worried that by pricking his finger, he would get diabetes.

That night in bed we cuddled for an extra long time and I talked with Will and Miles about diabetes. I did my best to reassure them that just because I had it, didn’t mean they would too. I realized too, that even though they see me do my shots and test my bs on a daily basis, they don’t really understand what it all means. I realized too, that I need to get them more involved in my care.

So last weekend, with a new iCarly and a new Victorious on tv, the boys and I spread blankets on the playroom floor to watch the shows. When I felt my bs begin to drop, I asked them for help. Miles ran to get my shot bag and I talked Will through the steps so he could prick my finger and check my blood. I was low (45) and the boys jumped to action, bringing me my bottle of glucose tabs. They were proud and I felt taken care of, it was a nice switch.

These events have made me realize first, that I have to be more careful about where I keep my supplies, but also that I need to be more open about diabetes with my kids. Just because they see me giving a shot or testing my blood every day doesn’t mean they understand. And knowledge is power.

(It’s also taught me that it’s time to clean out the junk drawer)

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