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November 3, 2007

A few weeks ago, I decided to list myself at Safe Sittings is an online service connecting families with a child with diabetes with a babysitter who has experience with the disease. I spent most of my high school career doing just this. I was the Child Care Coordinator for a local support group and I ended up babysitting for many of the families who came to the meetings.

When I went to college, I didn’t do it quite as much because I didn’t always have reliable transportation and my schedule was also much more hectic.

Now that I live in New Jersey and my schedule is much more routinized, I thought it would be great to pick back up where I left off. Of course, not knowing many people in New Jersey, I wasn’t sure where to start. I remembered seeing the website awhile back and checked into it.

I selected which state I live in (NJ) and wrote a brief biography of myself.

Then I waited.

After almost two months, I was pretty convinced I wasn’t going to hear from anyone. But then one day I received an email from a mom of three boys, the youngest of whom has diabetes. We exchanged a few emails and I headed out to their house last Saturday to meet her, her husband and the boys, T, age 7, J, almost 6, and S, 3. I of course managed to get lost (I wouldn’t be me if I arrived at a new place on the first try) and spent a couple hours getting acquainted with the boys. Mom showed me the testing supplies, the snacks, how to treat a low blood sugar and even where the glucagon is (knock on wood). I even did a test drive on S’s Animas insulin pump, because it had been nearly two years since I had last touched one (I’m a Minimed girl through and through).

Today was my first day on the job and I must say, I respect any woman with a son – let alone three! We played with “moonsand” – sand that floats – and we traipsed around outside in the clubhouse.

It was, of course, the diabetes that brought me to the family. The youngest child with diabetes that I have ever babysat for was almost two years old and that was difficult because there was barely any communication. Like most children, S couldn’t communicate when he felt high or low, but we didn’t have any issues with that, thankfully.

Now. Testing blood sugar. It’s a necessary evil and I don’t really know how mothers can do it. Well, that’s not true. I know exactly how and why mothers do it, but that unfortunately doesn’t make it any easier.

I remember when I first tested a child’s blood sugar. Her name was Amanda and she was about the same age as S is now. I remember the time she cried when I gave her an insulin injection. I remember thinking how terrible this was that she was so young and was going to do this for such a long time.

I remember thinking that she was the reason why I wanted to find a cure.

Every time I meet a new child – or read about one online – this is what I think.

I want a cure for them.

  1. Sara permalink
    November 3, 2007 9:48 PM

    I was curious so I went to the site. I found a kid that is about 45 minutes from me who has been diagnosed for about two weeks. I am pretty far past the typical babysitting age but I am seriously thinking about it. Mostly just to put the parents’ minds at ease.

  2. Minnesota Nice permalink
    November 3, 2007 10:52 PM

    Allison, what an absolutely wonderful thing to be doing. If I had a child with db, I certainly wouldn’t want to leave them with just anyone. Beautiful.

  3. November 4, 2007 1:45 PM

    What a great program! How difficult it must be on this mom to have to do all of this necessary diabetic stuff to her child. Having someone around with experience like you has got to put her mind at ease. How nice of you to do this! I’m impressed!

  4. November 4, 2007 5:22 PM

    Wonder if they have this in Canada….hmmm…..I am glad you wrote about this, I did not know it existed!! THANKS!!

  5. November 4, 2007 7:52 PM

    Wow, I never heard of this. I have a four year old grandson. I can only imagine what three boys were like. You’re a brave girl and a very thoughtful one at that. You could easily change a family’s life by providing them a safe babysitter.

  6. November 4, 2007 11:19 PM


    Great idea. And I’m glad you survived the three boys. Good for you.

    I heard about that site. If I didn’t have 3 of my own, I might consider it.

    Maybe what I can do is train my oldest and when she starts babysitting (soon), she’d be qualified to do it.

  7. November 4, 2007 11:33 PM

    I’m not an Aussie, but if I was, I’d say “Good on ya, Allison!” You surely have taken a great load of worry off the shoulders of those parents. What a wonderful thing to do!


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