Sunday, April 22, 2012

Birthdays and Diabetes

Birthdays and Diabetes.

It can be scary, yes.

But let's also not forget, they need to be fun, too!

I often hear families fret over birthdays, birthday parties, etc. I've been there and done that too. I know how scary it can be, especially when its one your invited to and don't have a handy list of carb information available.

Why am I talking about this today?

Because, Wednesday was Little Man's birthday! Happy Birthday Little Man!

Little Man with his Birthday Cupcake on his 7th birthday.
Yes. That is a Real cupcake. No "reduced sugar". No "Sugar free". Real cupcake... and he loved it! :-)

D-parents, myself included, tend to get stuck in the habit of sticking to the sugar free/reduced sugar stuff all year round. While, I'll never advise not to do that (in fact, most people, diabetic or not, should watch their sugar intake for health reasons!)... I will say this much.... It is OK to allow our little munchkins some sugar sometimes! A piece of candy here and there around Easter time... a piece of real cake (or cupcake, since they are easier to count carbs for as they are already portion properly!) for a birthday a few times a year, etc... that is A-OK, and, if nothing else, kind of important to do as well!

Why is it important? Because, we want our kids to feel just like every other kid, right? That's why we strive to make sure they are not treated differently in school, other places, etc, right? So why not for their special day as well?!

Its pretty rare that I allow a lot of sugar filled stuff. I've always kind of been like that, even before his diagnosis. I've always been a stickler for fresh fruits and veggies as snacks, junk food on occation.

I'll admit, when he was first diagnosed, I was overprotective about this sort of thing. In fact, his first two birthdays with diabetes, we did reduced sugar ice cream, angel food cake type cakes with sugar free cool whip for icing. That sort of thing.

Last year, we decided to bite the bullet, and try out regular cupcakes and ice cream. A fear we had to face, we felt. We knew that, theoretically, as long as we covered the carbs, he should be fine... but, as you all can probably relate... it didn't make it any less scary!

We knew that, at his diagnosis, the dietitian had actually told us "if your going to give him candy/cakes/cookies, etc... its better to give him the real sugar than sugar free stuff, because of the sugar alcohols"... but for a long time, I just couldn't wrap my brain around that! So, we took the leap, and prayed.

This year, I can say, we felt confident giving it to him, because we knew it was OK! Moderation is key, as with anything.

Will I make a regular sheet cake for him? Probably not yet. But, it's not so much because I'm afraid of how it will affect his blood sugar. Its just because, cupcakes are easier to portion control and figure carbs for. I, for one, choose simplicity when it comes to this sort of thing. Diabetes is confusing enough, and there's enough guess-timating involved in it... if there's an easy, no guessing solution I can take... I'll take it!

How do you handle birthdays?

Do you give your d-child regular cupcakes/cakes/ice cream, or do you make something special for them?

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