Separation anxiety in children is totally normal and to be expected. Both of my girls went through it at a young age when they started pre-school. It was hard to leave them there crying but I knew once they were done with the tears they would have a wonderful time.
Nate never really went through a separation anxiety time --- when he started pre-school he was totally fine. I on the other hand was a complete wreck. Diabetes makes everything harder! Nate started school when her was 3 years old at a school that had a full time nurse and an excellent staff willing to step-up, learn and help in any way that they could. All was going so well . . .
Then . . .
In November we moved out of the only home he had ever known and in with my parents. Jim kept the house. By early December Nate became my little shadow and by mid-December he would not leave my side. Not even for school. One day he went to school and the next day I drove up to the building and he refused to get out of my truck. Refused! I'm talking screaming, crying, kicking, hitting, holding on to the seat for dear life kind of refused. I had to pull out of carpool and drag him out of the truck and into the school (of course I was in my yoga pants that I had slept in and no bra --- doesn't it always happen that way?). His nurse and his teacher were there helping me get him inside with encouraging words. That was the beginning of the end. He refused to participate in class. He sat on the floor with his coat on for most of the morning and refused to participate with the class.
After that day he got sick, missed class for a few days and then it was time for winter break. In January I went out of town and he stayed with my mom. He refused to go to school and I told her it would be far to traumatic for her and Nate if she tried to take him. While I was gone his home health care nurse came on her regularly scheduled day to help my mom and he refused to stay with her. She's been with us for over a year so this was shocking! My mom snuck out while the nurse had him distracted but before long he realized she was gone and threw such a fit that our sweet nurse was actually scared for his safety and called my mom to ask her to return.
These fits although completely normal for children that have gone through major life changes as we have are not normal for Nate and most importantly they are not safe. While throwing these fits he refuses to let anyone check his blood sugar and with the crying, kicking, hitting, and screaming we have no idea what his blood sugar is doing ---- is it crashing from all of the activity or is sky rocketing from the adrenaline? His nurse was so concerned one day she had the glucagon out and ready to use. She actually thought he might be having a seizure. Yep, it's that bad.
Sadly, I was forced to withdraw him from school last month.
It is hard for most people to understand the concern that I have. I cannot tell you how many people have offered the standard advice of just leaving him and letting him cry it out. He'll soon enough be over it. Although, I do believe it is sound advice for most children . . . we are dealing with more. I left Sophie and I left Emma . . . they indeed cried for a few minutes and then went on about their day. Two problems with Nate:
1. These fits have lasted up to an hour
He is deliberately controlling the one thing that he knows will make me stay or make me return. If no one can check his bg then we are in a life or death situation and this is not ok.
As a parent I am frustrated. As a D-Mom I am terrified.
Frustrated because ---- well, clearly this is a frustrating situation!! Terrified because he is putting himself in danger and . . . . He's FOUR YEARS OLD and he knows . . . he knows that diabetes is the thing that he can use to have the upper hand. Yikes!
I started this post a month or so ago and since then I have left him with his nurse longer each time and the fits are shorter each time. He still screams and cries and begs me not to leave every single time. I sit down with him and tell him that it is ok to be mad and it is ok to be sad but we do not hit, we do not kick and not letting Ms. Nurse check his blood sugar is not ok and not safe. I always reassure him that I will always come back home to him. We are making slow progress but it is still completely freaking exhausting.
I feel like we have stepped back 3.5 years. From the time Nate was diagnosed at 14-months until he started school at 3 we were together ALL OF THE TIME. There was no one else that would or could keep him. Now that there are people that can and will keep him he is refusing. He will stay with me, my mom, Jim and Ian. (Ian? . . . ya . . . you'll meet him in another post.)
At our endo appointment last week I asked for help (so very rare for me) and the doctor suggested we start with the endocrinology therapist on staff at Children's Dallas. That was the 1st call I made upon my return home and I am still awaiting a call back but am very hopeful they he/she will be able to help.
I signed Nate up for gymnastics and am looking at other fun things like t-ball and soccer but the mere mention of his gymnastics class on Monday has him in tears.
I am at a loss.
It is so stressful that It's giving me anxiety. And . . . sadly, I just give in ---- it's just easier to stay then to deal with the stress of the fits. I am already dreading his gymnastics class tomorrow and want to cancel.
Unable to keep calm or carry on (right now) . . .