Since Abbi’s diagnosis we have always maintained an open and honest household. She has known that even though I try to keep our food low carb, even on the verge of keto, if there is anything she really wants all she has to do is ask for it. Everything has gone fairly smooth for the past 2 and half years… like eerily smooth. I kept reading on Facebook and other groups about how other teenage and preteen T1D kids were hoarding food, putting in false numbers for their calibrations, and even just guessing when it came to putting in carb counts for their PDM. I was like nope, not my kid, she knows she can tell me anything, ask for anything, and we have it covered.
Summer went great, I mean she snuck food every once and a while but always owned up to it. We didn’t have any problems over the summer for the most part….
Insert MIDDLE SCHOOL HERE….
Let me just start by saying Middle School has been the devil since the start. My child has changed in every aspect. She hides her food, her feelings, her calibrations, everything. We have tried to handle it without threatening her but at this point what else do you do? She thinks she knows more than we know and she tries to dose herself which results in really high numbers then crashing down extremely low. When I say extremely low, I mean in the 30’s. So, once I caught on to that I started digging around the PDM app (for those of you not lucky enough to have an Omnipod Dash, it has a parent app that allows you to see the history). Just wow! She was giving herself all kinds of temp basals and different doses. So, then I went into her phone and discovered she was using the phone during school.
No, not for texting us when she was having a problem with her blood sugar or with carb counts. She was texting her friends all day long. Playing a game that she had on the phone and then I saw that she was taking bathroom selfies…. yep you read that right… bathroom freaking selfies!!! I was furious. I fought so hard for her to even have this phone in school. For her to have the independence in school that she was so frivolously taking advantage of. I fired her doctor and was driving her an extra 30 minutes the opposite direction remember just to get her someone that was more progressive for God’s sake! I was so angry.
So, I brought her home after school and decided I was going to give her a chance to explain herself. Lies…that is what she gave me complete and utter lies. Excuses after excuses. I was actually quite calm even though I knew she was feeding me a load of crap. I calmly took her phone and deleted every contact in it except her Dad, myself, her grandmother, and her grandmother’s cell phone. I activated the screen time from iPhone. This allowed the phone to be basically nothing further than a Dexcom receiver during school hours with the exception of texting those people in the “safe” list. “Julie, how did you do that?” Well, let me explain. I have always said my kids would not have a cell phone period until they were 16. It was the age I was able to get a cell phone and I don’t think kids needs a cell phone before they have a job. If your views are different that’s great… mine however are not.
So, trust me when I had to get Abbi a cell phone for her Dexcom usage a small part of me died. I knew I was going to have to cave on something I felt very strongly about. So, when she decided to tell me lies about it, locking it down was the best thing ever for me.. secretly. Well, I guess since she decided she had nothing to lose, she let loose on everything. Apparently, she had been sneaking food at school and basically overdosing insulin for it. She had been hoarding food in her room and showed me the hiding spots and Dad found some of the other ones. When I tell you inside my head exploded and I screamed… outside though… beautifully calm.
I have learned that yelling and getting upset with her doesn’t do anything but cause her to hide things even more. So, WE sat down and I asked her where all of this was coming from? She cried and said she just wanted to be normal. NORMAL. I felt my heart burst. My poor girl. We try so hard to make sure everything in her life was as normal as possible but the simplest thing as food was causing her to feel like she was an outcast. Now did this heartbreak and honesty wipe out everything that she had done? Absolutely not, it just changed the way I handled it.
Even though we are trying to teach Abbi independence, she is a long way from being able to dose all by herself. She still needs guidance and this was the main problem. She was giving herself way too much for what she was “sneaking” at school. It was causing her to go dangerously low. So, I told her she had to run every decision by us first period from now on until she could be trusted. And the kicker for her, was that I told her if I caught her doing this again, she would go back to the nurse for all dosing decisions from then out. You have to understand, at home, we do eat extremely low carb, but if she asks for it, she usually gets it. Same goes for school… all she had to do was send me a quick text message. “Hey Mom, can I have a bag of Cheetos?”. I might have done a big sigh, but I would have looked up the carb count, adjusted what I would give her and sent her back a “Yep, this is what you need to do!”. I completely understand that Abbi is just a kid and I want her to feel as normal as humanly possible without jeopardizing her health. My hope and my goal are that I am teaching her well enough habits that she will choose the good stuff over the bad stuff as she gets older. (Although trust me, I know that kids will be kids and they are going to test their boundaries).
So far, this has worked, but we will update this as time goes….