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Little Hands.

"What is that?"

Her little face breaks my heart on a regular basis.  She is funny and warm, always dancing and singing, and she is free with her hugs.  Her pretty face breaks out in a smile when she sees her Uncle Chris.  She's just recently started calling me "Auntie Kerri" and every time she does, my whole soul smiles.

"That's my medicine."

She's just five years old, Chris's niece MP.  Her eyebrows furrow and she pokes at the white gauzy infusion set with her finger tip as it peeks out from under the hem of my shorts. 


"Yes.  You know when I use that little machine for my fingers?"


"That's my medicine.  This is part of my medicine, too."  I pull the insulin pump from out of my pocket and show it to her.   "You've seen this before, right?  My medicine is in here and it goes into my body through that looo-ooong tube."

I'm never quite sure what to say when they're that small.  I don't want to overwhelm her with a bunch of medical jargon, and I don't want her to think of me as "sick."  She's only five.  I think about Emma.  And Charlie.  I think of my own self, as a little kid, living with diabetes.  I wonder if I ever looked that small.   

"Uncle B has that little machine, too.  But he doesn't have that."  She gestures towards the infusion set again.  "He takes shots."

"Right.  I use this instead of shots.  It's a different way to take the same medicine."Little hands.

She's so little but she's so wise.  Pats my hand as she's thinking, looking at the tubing snaking up from my thigh and hidden in the folds of my clothes.  The rest of the room is strangely quiet. 

"Okay.  Hey, let's go play in the parlor?"

Now it's part of her normal, too. 


Emma calls it her "pumpie" and she calls her medicine "in-soo-win." Diabetes can be cute, too.

How sweet. I know what you mean about explaining it to the little ones. They don't always understand, but they accept it for just another part of you. That's what makes children so great. They don't feel sorry for you. They don't expect you to pass out at any moment. They don't see "diabetes". They just see you.

Jessica is 5 and she's always asking me questions about Brendon. What he can eat, what he can't....what he can do when he grows up, questions about glucose numbers, his pump....a myriad of questions.

As I explain the answers to her, I can see her little mind trying to wrap itself around what I'm saying.

She understands quite a bit.

When I lived in CA, I was about 2 miles away from my niece so I was over there a lot!
We called it 'my medicine' for 'my belly'. I also wear glasses so we explained that my glasses help my eyes work better and my 'medicine' helps my belly work better - I don't think we used the word 'sick' either. :)

We tend to do a lot of explaining to kids - natural since my son is one. I find that they just want to know what it is. Just an answer. A simple one. To them, it's just medicine and that's it. Or just a finger poke and that's it. Sometimes we just have to remember that they're just curious kids who's follow-up question to "why does Ian poke his finger" is "why do birds always poop on cars?"

I tell little kids exactly what you do. When I babysat two 3 year olds they were obsessed with it and always asked to see my set.

K - Sometimes you seem to get in my head. I have recently taught my two and a bit year old nephew, Milton, to say "insulin pump." He now regularly points at my crouch or pocket and says "in pumps..." Ah, yeah. It is sort of funny. In a way...

But I know EXACTLY what you mean when you say that your soul smiles at the sound of the voice saying "Auntie Kerri..." Like the troubles of the world melt right away and your heart just jibbers like a fool...

Hope things are slowing down in your world. - N

I think being as matter-of-fact and open as you are helps to demystify this disease, helps make it acceptable and shows that, in spite of your medicine, you're still normal, still able to play in the parlor, still Auntie Kerri.

And can I just say I'm so freakin' jealous? I am NEVER going to be an aunt. Never. Sucks.

Kerri - You struck a bit of a nerve with this post. Is insulin "medicine" or... not? I struggle - on a daily basis - with the question of whether I'm sick and need "medicine", or whether insulin is simply something that other people have that I don't (and therefore need to obtain by other means)? Am I sick/unwell/disabled... or just different? And, when it comes down to it, to what extent does the terminology/language really matter? If we say its medicine, I think we suggest we're ill? But we're not... or are we? I'm perplexed. What do you think?

Kerri- I am so glad that the two families are blending so well. I am sure you are an awesome Auntie Kerri. =)

I would like to say to Allison that posted a comment: I look at it like this, you can be healthy but you still have an illness (autoimmune). It is like domestic violence really. Instead of being attacked by a stranger on the street (a foreign bacteria or infection) you are being attacked by a loved one (your own immune system). Both are assault crimes (diseases) just administered in a different emotional view.

Sometimes the little ones understand more than adults.

Hi Kerri,
I never posted before, but wanted to comment on how true and amazing curious kids are. I am the mom of a 4 year old type 1. We often get questions from other kids about finger pricks and shots. I answer them all honestly and with the basics. I look forward to when Amalia answers the questions rather than me (which I guess I should let her do!!). The kids that ask are always so nice and often just curious. I try to be open and honest and hopefully Amalia will never feel like she needs to hide anything from anyone. I love your blog, it gives me hope that Amalia will come through all this sane, and maybe I will too.
Carry on!

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