Washing It Away: A 3-Year-Old’s Take on Diabetes


Last week while I was giving my 3-year-old son, Adam, a bath, he took his green plastic cup and began to pour water onto my hands. Several times he refilled the cup and poured. Then he said, “I’m washing the diabetes.”

I had one of those moments when I had to fight hard to hold back my tears and yet I was laughing, too. A classic bittersweet moment.

Diabetes conversations are a regular thing in our home, and so I know Adam is aware of diabetes. But I didn’t know what it meant to him or how he interpreted it. For the most part, I do my diabetes care in private. It’s not that I’m trying to hide diabetes from my children. It’s more of a feeling that I want to protect them from it. I don’t want them to think about it all of the time. I don’t want them to worry. Of course, there are times when I have to check my blood sugar in front of my children, and when I do, I don’t make a big deal about it.

Adam and I are having a lot of quality one-on-one time now, since his nursery school is on vacation and the big boys are in day camp. Getting any work done is impossible, so rather than having Adam write a guest blog for me, I decided to interview him about diabetes. I think you’ll agree with me, his answers are pretty spot on. (And, yes, Adam does call his father Mikey.)

Who has diabetes? Mikey and Mama

What is diabetes? Not good.

What do you do when you have diabetes? You have to check them. Then you get something and eat it.

Do you know what that is (pointing at Mike’s pump)? That’s diabetes.

What does it do? It makes dots on Mikey.

What does Mikey eat? Dinner, but not granola.

What does Mama eat? Broccoli and cauliflower

What does Mikey eat for dessert? Dinner

What does Mikey do on his fingers? Dots

What does Mama do on her fingers? Dots

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michelle s
michelle s
10 years ago

So touching Jess!  what a cutie.  his interviews sums up what my kids understand about diabetes.  it is somehow related to the machines i use (pump and glucometer) and they want to help when i replace my infusion set….  and sometimes i have to drink juice ASAP.  I hope they never have to understand much more than that.  Meaning i hope they (and your kids) never have to go through what we do. 

Chris Scully-Brown
10 years ago

this conversation kind of makes me sad. All I think is “dots”. 

and I do find it cute and weird that he calls his father “Mikey”.  :) 

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