Since having kids I’ve scrolled through Pinterest more than a few times looking for crafts, Christmas ornaments, science experiments or activities for rainy/snowy days. Over the last seven years of scrolling there have been some ideas that were a huge hit worthy of repeating over and over. Then there were the numerous times that the end result was nothing like the perfectly filtered pictures taken in the spotless color coordinated kitchen online.
They never seem to show the pictures of the sad toddler faces when the salt crystals didn’t grow or when the hairdryer didn’t melt the crayons for the Christmas ornaments. They also fail to show the mom scraping gunk from dishes and the kitchen table.
The worst fail was when I made “mud balls” from dirt, sand, and flour mixed with water. You form the balls around plastic dinos which, when dry can be excavated like archeologists. A few things happened, forming the balls took us to a new level of mess. My husband came outside, took one look at our hands and patio caked in mud and immediately returned to the safety of the house. Once the balls were formed they needed to dry in the sun. The term balls is perhaps not accurate, instead they looked like plops. It was as if a T-Rex had munched on a bag of tiny dinos and left us to scoop the poop. Once the plops were “dry” we placed them in a container until it was time to excavate. A day or two later we opened the container and were greeted by a smell that seemed fitting with their dino poop appearance. It was vile and it was only added to by the odd fuzz that had begun to cover each plop. Apparently the inner core of each plop was not totally dry. This fun little craft was tossed in the woods and the container bleached. I will leave archeology to the experts.
Yes, there is a diabetes connection hidden in the dino plops. I have found that while I love to talk with other diabetics, read articles and participate in online support groups there is a danger of falling into the Pinterest trap where it all looks perfect while observing from afar.
There will be ideas that work great for you and people who are tremendously supportive and help you build confidence. Then there will be the dinosaur plops and non-growing salt crystals. Those ideas that seem so simple and easy that they have to be foolproof but turn out to be a disaster. Or those people who make their diabetes look like those spotless, color coordinated, designer kitchens where no one leaves dishes in the sink, or crumbs all over the counter.
The most irritating and disheartening is the latter. I find myself at times, (or very often) getting lost in my head as I compare myself to the people who claim fantastic, consistent blood sugar control, who have industrial willpower when it comes to a “perfect” diabetic diet, or who have low basal and bolus rates throughout the whole day. I am not a Pinterest Diabetic. I’m not saying that I don’t give myself credit for the hard work and conscience effort I put in every day, but I am not perfect. Diabetes does Not allow me to be perfect.
Diabetes operates on its own variation of the principal of insanity, repeat the same action over and over expecting the same results and get completely different results.
I am a creature of habit to the extent that being a mom allows you to be, but despite following a very similar schedule each day and eating relatively the same foods each day, my diabetes enjoys random acts of unexplained highs and lows.
There will be stretches where I will be on cruise control and for a brief moment I feel on top of the world, like I should take pictures of my glucose meter in all of its fine tuned glory. And then out of nowhere the dinosaur plops take over and all the patterns that seemed to work so seamlessly last week are now wreaking havoc and making me question just how long I can handle this.
It is also during these times that I drive my family crazy. It is a miracle that they have not sent me away until these diabetic storms pass. They are forced to listen to my random outbursts or rage as my pump alarm signals yet another high and they nod and smile as I reveal my newest theory on why my sugars are out of control. Patience is something diabetic families have by the bucket load.
Despite the fact that I know better than to compare my diabetes to anyone else, and to take any new advice with a grain of salt (or sugar) I still find myself letting these comparisons linger in the back of my mind.
In many cases it takes verbalizing these thoughts and hearing them out loud to dismiss the unfair expectations I am putting on myself. Tim and my mom are typically on the unfortunate receiving end of these brain clearings. The most important thing they do is listen. There rarely offer advice and this is beyond helpful. I am not looking for advice, I just need to find the end of the mental maze I’ve put myself in. I need to be reminded that I am doing my best and that I have come through these days before and this will be no different.
As I type this I know that I will forget my own words in a week, month or even a few days, but I will once again build up my defenses and remember that life does not allow for every day to be exactly the same and to be thankful that it isn’t.
Diabetes doesn’t understand that some days you have a sick kiddo at home so you can’t go for a walk after lunch or that there is a foot of snow and three inches of ice on the ground so you can’t be as active as in summer, or that you are in an airport and your food choices are more than limited. Diabetes doesn’t remember that every month your hormones take a spin or that some days you run for an hour and other days you are in the weight room.
Life is a beautiful collection of random occurrences and living with diabetes requires finding the balance in routine inconsistencies and patterns in the unplanned.
My diabetes is not something anyone will be doing a photoshoot of anytime soon but when I look at my life as a whole I think the picture looks like something I would proudly hang on my fridge.