My oldest daughter (a.k.a. “The Kid”) is three. She’s at the age where likes to ask questions, watch, help, and do by herself. My diabetes is no exception. She likes to help me change the reservoir in my pump – pressing the buttons for me when I tell her to. She likes to get things for me when I need them. She wants to know about my infusion sets. She even wants to watch me insert those awful CGM sensors.
Sometimes when I do the sensors she asks me if it hurts. I try to be honest with her, but not make a big deal out of it either. So I usually tell her that sometimes it does hurt, and sometimes I don’t like it, but that if I close my eyes when press the button (on my Serter, that is), it makes me a little less scared. She seems to accept that and usually watches without much comment.
Yesterday I was changing my infusion set. I use the Sure-Ts with a needle much tinier than the sensors, and I don’t use a Serter for them, but she still made the connection. She watched intently while I pulled the new one out of its protective packaging. I prepped the site and held it in my hand ready to insert.
Suddenly The Kid’s hands fluttered up to her face and she held them in front of her pinched-shut eyes, but only briefly. Then, seeming to change her mind, she opened her eyes and covered her ears instead.
“Honey?” I said. “What are you doing?”
She pulled her hands away to answer me.
“I don’t want to hear you say ‘Ow’.”
And with that, I think my heart cracked.
I was so proud of her empathetic little soul, but at the same time sad that my diabetes would cause her any sort of discomfort.
After assuring her that this needle didn’t hurt at all, she seemed much more content and quickly moved on to other more interesting things, but it left me questioning how much of this disease, and the hurt and frustration surrounding it, I really want to share with my girls. Maybe in this case being honest with them isn’t in their best interests after all.