A father and son dressed as superheroes

Explaining Type 2 Diabetes to My Little Superhero

Braxton, my 4-year-old son, is a ball of boundless and what seems to be endless energy. He tackles his breakfast like a tiny champion, devours pancakes in seconds, and runs away from bugs with speed and enthusiasm that rivals The Flash himself.

Explaining type 2 diabetes to my son

So, when I figured it was time to explain type 2 diabetes, it felt like trying to crack the code to the universe with infinity stones. Explaining why Daddy has to prick his finger every morning to check his blood sugar to stay healthy wasn't an easy conversation.

Where could I even begin? Terms like "insulin resistance" would fly over his head faster than a runaway kite. He needed a story he could understand, an epic tale featuring his favorite thing: Superheroes.

Introducing the "Super Sugar Spy Squad"

Thus began our journey into the fantastical realm of "Super Sugar Spy Squad" and how we, as a team, would work together to keep Braxton and me healthy and strong.

Food and energy

I started with the good stuff – food!

"Remember all those delicious meals you devour, buddy? They become a special kind of sugar that fuels your body, like the magical gasoline that keeps your favorite race car zooming around the track. This sugar gives you the energy to run, jump, and play like the superhero you are!"

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Therefore, explaining to my son that sugar is the source that gives you energy, but it can also be harmful if he overeats. Ultimately, I had to tell him that his Daddy is a "Super Sugar Spy Squad Helper."

The "Sugar Spies" and the key situation

I sat down with Braxton and told him that sometimes, your body can have trouble using all that sugar at once.

"It's like a car that might struggle to use all its gas if you fill it up all the way. That's where the 'Super Sugar Spy Squad' comes in: they are the tiny superhero helpers called insulin. Above all, their mission is to unlock the doors to your special body cells and let the sugar in, giving you the energy to conquer playtime!

Sometimes, the keys the squad uses don't work perfectly. The doors might be a little sticky, or the adventure keys might be slightly bent. This means some sugar might have a hard time getting inside those cells behind the adventure doors."

However, getting Braxton to understand that helpers sometimes need support was entertaining. Additionally, I told him that when the "Super Sugar Spy Squad" can't unlock a door, we have to help them by eating healthier, going outside, and playing.

Teaching my son to be more active and not cemented in his favorite Paw Patrol chair locked in on his iPad has been fun and a teachable moment for both of us. Making him take learning and eating healthy to be fun has been a fundamental goal of mine as a new parent.

Healthy choices and exercise

Telling Braxton, my amazing helper, that he gets to help his Dad manage diabetes and be an ally to some cool superheroes is fun! The excitement in his eyes, knowing that he gets to help his Daddy keep those sugar levels in check, was motivating.

Similarly, I explained to Braxton that for us to be "Super Sugar Spy Squad Helpers," we had to accomplish certain missions. One such mission is eating healthy food!

I said, "Imagine a plate piled high with colorful fruits and veggies – that's like super power-ups for your body, giving it all the good stuff it needs to be strong, fast, and smart!"

Another mission is playtime! Running, jumping, and playing outside are like super-powered exercises that help your body burn off that extra sugar.

Additionally, I explained to Braxton how this helps the "Super Sugar Spy Squad" do its job. Watching him get overjoyed in telling others that I needed to have playtime to be part of the "Super Sugar Spy Squad" made his eyes widen with excitement. Ultimately, when I asked if he wanted to be part of the squad, he quickly said yes!

Tears, teams, and superhero vitamins

With a 4-year-old, there is always the magical and endless question of, "Why?" 

I assured my son that even the strongest superheroes need a fantastic team behind them! Braxton, my biggest cheerleader, reminds me to take my medicine ("superhero vitamins") and motivates me to ensure I am active in his life.

Some days, he doesn't understand the fatigue, neuropathy, and frustrating food selections that I deal with. So, I have to have a way to explain to him the "kryptonite" of diabetes because I don't want him to have ever to experience type 2 diabetes later in life.

Learning powerful lessons about type 2 diabetes

Explaining type 2 diabetes to my son has become an adventure filled with emotions, questions, and sometimes even tears. But through it all, we've learned a powerful lesson: superheroes come in all shapes and sizes.

Sometimes, the greatest strength lies in facing challenges together, even those involving finger pricking and checking your sugar levels – a small price to pay for a healthy and happy future together.

So, on that day, my little Braxton accepted the role of "Super Sugar Spy Helper" (with an official badge) to help me fight the good fight against type 2 diabetes. This superhero story is still being written.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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