Diabetes and Dinner and Dad - Everybody Eats Cool (ed) Food

February 29, 2012

Diabetes and Dinner and Dad – Everybody Eats Cool (ed) Food

Just to catch up anyone who might be new, I am a divorced dad with 3 children, one of which, Ryan-age 9, has diabetes. Cole is 7 and Owen is 4, all adorable, happy and very hungry at 6:30. And Dad gets dinner ready on Wed, a weekday, after Tae Kwon Do.

My organizational skills could be enhanced to say the least, so dinner time can be a confusing mass of boiling pasta, hungry kids, not enough cartoons, high BG and still homework to get done! Oh, what little time there is on weeknights for it all, especially after sports!

But my routine is similar, my only advantage!! The kids watch a 30 min cartoon to give me time to get dinner on the table. I have to nail it or there is serious pressure for increased cartoonage or someone is actually dying of hunger, which has not happened on my watch, yet. Before diabetes this was accomplished easily, with enough time for a glass of wine to catch the last 5 minutes of Scooby Doo so I could contribute to the fervent conversation during dinner. I like to be included, even if it’s discussing the finer points of how many scoobie snacks it would take to get Shaggy to be dressed as a fish! I say 3, Cole insists on 4.

So in our new life with diabetes, it is 4 years old but as us parents know, everyday with diabetes can be completely new, I rely on my math skills and a much closer link with my oldest to determine how much he is going to eat for dinner. And how much that will translate into an insulin dose. Everything revolves around the shot for me and I want it to be as inconsequential to Ryan as possible, for now. He has the rest of his life to take care of it on his own. I want there to be as little hoopla around additional insulin shots because I forgot about dessert or that Ryan wanted beans with dinner. I like to give one shot and that’s it. So everything is taken into consideration, but I need to get the pasta boiling or I’m going to be late! First, is to go through the menu with everyone and get acceptance. ‘Pasta with sauce, chicken, Bush’s Best Beans, brown rice and cheese?’,  I say. Everyone agrees but doesn’t look at me as the magic light box has them locked in. Ryan breaks free of the tractor beam of light momentarily and asks for sauce on the side and if I have a red pepper. Red peppers are the ultimate food, I mean they have everything, first, they are a vegetable (rare in these parts!), they are tasty and most important, no carbs! So I usually have one of these super foods in my fridge just for such a request. For the other two a carrot is offered and taken, I don’t know why, I don’t cook veggies, so I’ve figured out how to get it in. Mostly by stealing ideas from my ex mind you and making them my own.

Next I ask Ryan how hungry he is, ‘very hungry’, he says, so I’ll be on the higher end of all the portions for him. Pasta is almost done now, the obligatory sample is passed to the children, ‘still needs some time’ from the older two, Owen says it’s finished. But this is the kid who ate a frozen pizza, literally frozen, taking multiple bites crunching it in his teeth, enjoying it before we had to take it away. Crazy kid.

Now I’ve put all the carbs together, weighing it on my scale: 4 oz pasta-24, 1/2 serving of beans-12, 2 oz brown rice-14, chkn-0, cheese-0, red pepper-0. And dessert-30! So 80 carbs total, at 20:1 ratio, that’s 4 units of insulin for food plus a half unit b/c he had a high bg when he tested pre-Scoobie Doo. This all takes me longer then it should and hot chicken is now warm and the pasta looks dehydrated! I’ll draw the insulin into the syringe and hand it to Ryan. He switches now from his arm to his stomach to his bum seemingly randomly but he would rather give the shot himself rather then me doing it. Back into the kitchen, I get the Crystal Light lemonade made, 0 carbs!, and everyone gets a glass. I hear the cartoon is over and call everyone into the kitchen to pick up their plate and drink. A little less cheese for Ryan, move that to Cole’s plate. Sauce on the side for Ryan, ‘sorry came right from the fridge, mix it a little with the pasta to warm it up’. Extra beans for Owen and everyone is moving towards the table. I have a fork for everyone but only Cole uses it and I still have to figure out the best way to clean up smooshed cheese under the table. I get a little of all the leftovers and make my way to the table with wine in hand. Everyone eats heartily and if not dessert is threatened to stay in the freezer. As Ryan’s a diabetic I have to keep an eye on his plate. I do not single him out to finish his meal (as he already has insulin for it) but rather make a broad statement to all boys that their meal needs to be eaten in its entirety, (kids starving in China and all that). If he’s not finished then I’ll give him the smallest of nudges to eat some more but if he’s still full then I’ll make a quick guesstimate of carbs left on the plate and slip him an appropriate extra cookie with dessert for the shortage of carbs. Somehow, there's always room for that, a miracle! No worries today though and we get through homework with just half the Math sheet to finish in the morning.

Some insight on the school day is actually passed on to dad, mostly by the older two making fun of each others ‘girlfriend’, do I really have to start worrying about that! Another successful night in the books. But mostly because I had a little moment with each of my boys. Some one on one karate with Ryan in the kitchen. Then Cole comes up from bed saying his stomach hurts but he likes to sit for a quiet minute with me and get the last hug of the night. With Owen I slipped the golf ball into his shoe and he’ll get me back in the morning by sneakily (laughing very loudly) putting it into my boot and asking me to put my boot on. Never gets old.

I don’t want to sell myself short, once in a while when all the planets are aligned or if I’m having a Martha Stuart moment I’ll get hot food on the table but that day is not today. On the positive side, nobody has to worry about burning their mouth!



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