As parents of type 1 diabetic kids we are always out there advocating and attempting to educate people in our lives about diabetes management. We listen to the repeated questions, we hear the misconceptions, we try to set the record straight. We do these things day in and day out sometimes feeling like a broken record honestly. Well, since Emma has been on the pump...I've started to notice how much she is advocating and educating as well. It makes me smile and it makes me sad all at the same time. Emma was diagnosed 2 months before she started junior kindgarten here and she goes to a fairly small school as well...so the kiddos in her class are most likely going to be the same kiddos in her class all through the years (or at least until she gets to high school) because her school goes up to 8th grade. These kids have been around Emma and witnessed her finger pokes, needles, low blood sugars, and all of the extra times her Mommy has to come in to help out with things. They have seen it all. They worried about her when she missed school for 4 days because she was in the hospital with a nasty stomach virus. They celebrate her victories with her (i.e. getting the pump!). They go above and beyond to help her fundraise for JDRF and would like for her to be cured probably about as much as she would like it! They are a good group of kids and I am so greatful that they take it all in stride and do not judge her or single her out or do anything to make her feel "different" or "weird".
With all of that being said, I thought I would share a couple of things Emma has come home from school and told me about regarding other kids and her diabetes. She came home the one afternoon and had a disgruntled look on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she explained to me in a very exasperated tone of voice..."Mommy...(so and so) at school told me that the reason why I have to wear my pump is because I have diabetes and that means that I have problems DIGESTING my food! I told her she was wrong...I told her it's because my pancreas doesn't work anymore and it doesn't make insulin anymore...but I CAN SO digest food!!" lolol I had to hold back my giggles at that one...she was so angry and yet for some reason I found it adorable that she was so adament about it and defending herself and what she knew was right. Another occasion I got to hear an entire conversation between Emma and two boys in her class. One boy said to the other boy that "everyone has a pump in their bodies...but some people like Emma have to have theirs on the outside cause the one on the inside doesn't work anymore." The other boy replied with "everyone doesn't have a PUMP in their bodies ya goof! Everyone has a PANCREAS and Emma's just doesn't work!" Then they started talking about how they wondered what color their pancreas' were and how it wasn't fair that Emma got to choose the color of her pancreas (it's a pink Animas ping!)...they wished they could pick their pancreas color too! It was hilarious! I learned a big lesson that day...for 7 year old kids, it's not really about the fact that Emma has diabetes and has to wear a pump...it's more about the color and how cool it looks...:o)
And one final story, one of those same boys walked up to me one day and told me very proudly that he had to help Emma untangle herself from her pump tubing the other day and he was very careful about it. Apparently my kid was hanging upside from the monkey bars and when she flipped over off of them, her arm got caught up in the tubing and she couldn't get it out...so this boy came to the rescue. I told him that he did a great job and I thanked him for helping Emma out...what a good kid.
So all in all, I love that Emma is helping set the record straight for the next generation. I love that her peers are so accepting of her and so supportive of her. It gives me great hope for the future of our society. Being there for others and helping them out is definitely a lesson that the majority of adults in this world could learn from this group of 7 year old kids.