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Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This past weekend, we decided to go to church on Sunday morning instead of Saturday night (like we usually do).

Sweetpea was not looking forward to it at first. She really likes church and they have a great time in her classroom.... but there's this boy. Doesn't all trouble usually begin with a boy?!? There is a boy in her class who bothers her. He tries to kiss the girls and takes away the toys that they are playing with. He's already trying to get their attention! And he is succeeding - but my little girl wants nothing to do with him. So much so that she does not want to go anymore.

We thought Sunday would be a nice experiment to see if he was there. The good news about church on Sunday is that he was not there! YES!

By this is where this story goes from being about the typical problems that all parents face to an entirely different, much more serious problem.

The A/C was not working in some of the children's rooms. The 4 yr old/5 yr old class, the K/1st class, and the 2nd /3rd class were all relocated to our small theatre.

(Yes. Our church is HUGE. We have 3 services and our main theatre seats about 1,200-1,400 people.)

This is NOT Sweetpea's idea of a good time. A big room filled with big kids that she does not know is very intimidating to her. But she left us willingly and went off to find something to do before their church service (singing and story time) began.

J and I took on bets on how long it would be before we saw our number flashing on the big screen telling us to come to pick up our child - something was wrong.

When we checked her in and dropped her off, I told the teacher in charge (like I always do) that Sweetpea has diabetes. I mentioned her CGM and told the teacher that if it beeps or she says she's low, to call us.

Well.... we sang. No number. We listened to announcements. A number - but not ours. We listened to the sermon. More numbers... not ours. Time to go... We were shocked! We were surprised and happy that she lasted the entire time!

We stood in line to pick her up. She was waiting for us at the door! She was definitely ready to go but she said that she had a good time! She said that she had played with some nice girls and listened to the story and sang some songs ("You know, about God.").

And then....

She said that she had told one of the teachers that she felt low. She said that the teacher said "Low what?". I'm unsure if Sweetpea explained about diabetes. She usually does... but you never know. Sweetpea said that she told the teacher two more times that she felt low and the teacher ignored her.


Now, to be fair, it was a different situation than what they are used to. There were many more kids and many more, different teachers than there usually are.

AND... she was not low. Not even close. She just wanted to leave early!

But the problem remains... My four year child told an adult in charge that she felt low and the adult did nothing. That is not good. What if she really had been low? What if she thinks, "why bother telling a teacher I'm low - they just ignore me?".

It's a tough situation. Should we have told every single teacher in the room about Sweetpea's diabetes? Should we have asked her teacher to make sure the other teachers were aware? Should we make a fact sheet to take with her each week? (for the record, her name tag that she wears each week DOES say that she has diabetes is not to given food) Should we just not leave her in a situation like that?

What's the right thing to do?

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. And hindsight is always 20/20.

This is what we have decided...

* We are going to make a fact sheet (similar to the one I've listed above under the "school stuff" tab - just without all the information church would not need) that we take with us and hand to the teacher every. single. week.

* I am going to contact the director of the children's ministry to let him know what happened. I want to make it clear that we are not upset at a person and realize that last week was a different situation but that we are very concerned that this happened and want to do what we can to make sure it never happens again.

* We will use our discretion at times when the normal routine is thrown off. Maybe we wouldn't send Sweetpea into that situation again - especially knowing that it makes her uncomfortable. Or maybe, like next week when they are having ANOTHER field day full of running, snacks, and teachers that do not know her - we just won't attend.

It's hard to make decisions like these. I never want to do something that is going to make Sweetpea feel "different" or stand out from others... but it's my job to keep her safe.

And it's my job to make sure that nobody ever puts my baby in the corner!

(At least not because of diabetes!)

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  1. She's a smart little cookie-- telling the teacher she's low so she could leave early. :) But that's scary that the teacher didn't do anything about it. How many teachers were there? I hate having to give the D talk to teachers. It pains me. But anyway...

  2. Oh geez. It's hard not to get mad...but you are right, she just didn't understand what low means! What about the lanyard tag that Heidi @ D-Tales shared? I just made them with Low/High BG symptoms, etc for ALL the teachers at Ally's school - even if they don't have her!

  3. We totally went through this with Sugar and church too. We also attend a HUGE church -- 5 services, 18,000 members -- no teachers are ever the same, they rotate based on volunteer availability.

    I had a half page thing that read

    "My name is (Sugar) and I have Type 1 Diabetes. Please do not let this scare you, but it is important for you to listen to me if I tell you something is wrong. If I seem confused, shaky, off balance, or tell you that I "feel low", please give me my juice box and call my parents right away. -- Contact information"

    I pasted it to a sturdy piece of neon pink poster board and stapled it to a ziplock bag. Then I put a juice box inside the bag and left it with the teacher after we introduced them to (Sugar).

    We did that for YEARS. Just about 4 months ago, she began taking her supplies with her and managing herself for the hour. I never thought this moment would has...and she does great if I do say so myself ;)

  4. Oh, that would have upset me! Thank goodness she really wasn't low. I think you're right on in your decisions. It's such a balancing act for us, trying to keep our kids healthy AND happy, protecting them both physically AND emotionally, trying to ensure their safety while not singling them out.

    BTW, if you want another copy of the lanyard tags, let me know. I'll be happy to share them. I'm going to blog about them one day this week or next too.

  5. We just had a talk about that with our children's ministry staff. We also go to large church and it us run by volunteers. Fortunately when they know of a child with a "condition" they make sure there is one steady person in the room each week that is aware and trained to deal with them. She also had a "medical alert" name tag that has a little snipit on it about diabetes.

    My number does pop up during service quite often but they tend to be on the cautious side. Dexie has help a lot. Made them feel a little more comfortable.

    This year since she is moving up to a class room with more teachers and a large and small group time I am using Heidi's lanyard tags and handing out cheat sheets at training for our "kids kingdom" in a few weeks. I was also blessed to know one of the small group leaders for that class. He has type 2 but he is aware and comfortable with checking bg, if needed and is aware what lows and highs are like. (helps that his wife is a nurse!)

  6. You know how I like "Cheat Sheets" girl!!! Great idea.

    Bummer that you had to experience this, but I am grateful that she wasn't low and you guys can head-off a potentially FAR different outcome. You are one proactive lady Hallie!

  7. She is a smart girl... I would just tell her what teacher(s) she is suppose to tell. Maybe you could give her 2 to go to. That way you don't have to talk to each one. Not sure if that would work?

  8. I can see the "what ifs" dancing through your mind. I'm SO glad her numbers were just fine. I think now that you have a plan in place you'll be prepared for anything!! We learn as we instruction books for us!

  9. How scary!! I struggle with how to handle this during church too (she only goes for half the mass though); I think I will steal some of the cheat sheet ideas from here :). And unfortunately, Ellie cannot yet tell when she is low so can't count on her telling an adult.


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