The Milano lesson
Last night before dinner, my wife ran out to the local A&P on an emergency cream-cheese run. We were planning a traditional post-Yom Kippur meal to break the fast (even though none of us fasted: she because she’s nursing the baby, me because I don’t trust my basal patterns that much, and the kids because they’re too young to subject them to such hunger). Also, we forgot to get it earlier, and you just can’t have bagels without cream cheese. I think that’s the Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt always put a schmear on thy bagel”.
But none of that matters.
The point of the story is this: along with said cream cheese, my wife also came home with a bag of Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano cookies.
After dinner, I gave my 5 1/2 year old boy two cookies. Then I took one for myself.
He gave me a quizzical look, tried to gather his thoughts, and then asked me, in his over-expressive, squeaky kid-voice “Daddy, you’re eating a cookie?!”
“Yes, I am.” I confirmed.
Another awkward pause. Then, “but it’s okay because you’re sugar’s low, right?”
“J, come over here for a minute,” I requested, as I pulled the bag back out of the pantry. “I can eat anything I want, I just need to make sure I take the right amount of insulin for it. Do you see this?” I pointed to the Nutrition Facts panel on the side of the bag.
“See, it says two cookies have sixteen carbohydrates. So how many carbohydrates are in one cookie?”.J’s pretty bright, but this question was beyond his ability. He also doesn’t know a carbohydrate from carburetor. But after a few wrong answers, together we arrived at the right one.
“Right, so watch this.” I pull out my pump, and press a few buttons until “ENTER FOOD” appears along with a flashing zero. He watches as I repeatedly press the up-arrow as the number changes. 1, 2, 3…. 8. “And then it tells me how much insulin I need,” I say, pressing a few more buttons.
Surprisingly, as he returned to the table to eat his cookie, I hadn’t completely lost his interest. “So how much insulin do you need?”
So I told him, “point-six units. But if I don’t take the right amount of insulin, that’s when my sugar gets too high or too low.” But he didn’t care anymore, he was busy eating his cookie. Which was fine for me, because I didn’t really want to teach him what a unit was, or that point-six is a little more than a half but not quite three-quarters. He’d already had a spontaneous lesson in division as well as some basic diabetes education, and that was more than enough for his little head to remember.Or forget.
But maybe he sees that there’s a correlation between food and labels and the pump I wear on my belt. Given time and repetition, he’ll see it more and more and eventually it’ll make sense to him.
When it does, I hope he can teach me, because sometimes I can’t figure it out myself.