How do you cope with physical limitations and grandkids or kids?

Brenda Kruse
By Brenda Kruse Latest Reply 2009-04-11 14:18:10 -0500
Started 2009-03-26 22:22:51 -0500

I'd like to know how y'all handle the physical limitations that come with diabetic complications in terms of playing (or not being able to play) with grandkids or kids. I have a 9 yr. old, 17 mo. old and 5 wk. old granddaughters, and 2 wk. old grandsons. I WANT TO PLAY! :) How do you cope with the emotional sadness that can accompany this problem? Thanks in advance for your input! Blessings! Brenda

27 replies

cyncyn 2009-04-11 14:18:10 -0500 Report

I'm a little late on this article, but better late then never! i am also disabled, with limited activity. i''m a caregiver of my 80 yr old mother-in-law. Her son and I have 6 grandchildren, and one on the way. All the babies came after my accident, so they know Nana can't do certain things. and they are very patient with me. they like to help me with things. It makes them feel so grrown-up.(they are ages 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, & 10) The girls (3 of them) and I will do puzzles, make candles(which they love), do crafts, or they will play, and I video them. They get a kick out of it. The boys(3 of them ) love going on scavenger hunts, I make the list(or just tell them items) and they will hunt for them. Then we make stuff with the items. Great stuff! Or they will play (they love sports, already) and I video them. All 6 of them love to watch Nascar with Pappy and me. And when they do, I have to make a cheese platter for all. It's a special thing, I started when they were little. They love it
Good luck,

Anonymous 2009-04-10 00:57:28 -0500 Report

I can only lift about 10lbs sometimes less. I have many health issues. Good luck because it is very hard not being able to pick up infants. They are too young to understand when they want to be picked up. I would often ask my daughter to sat my grandson in my lap.When he could talk he would say I dont like you.

gma 2009-04-06 20:13:10 -0500 Report

Hi Brenda I dont know if this will help the only problem I have is my thighs go tingle I think it is because I work on concret all day and Iam tierd from work but I have a 10 year old and a 5year old grandson and a 12 year old granddaughter I will sit and play cars on the table or sit and play dolls watch tv with them or make up games to play easy things as for the 17 month if you could roll a ball play that way with them and as far as when or if our weather warms up you could go out side and blow bubbles with the 9 year old you could play a car game like name the cars that go down the street or call a color and see whos comes first sounds kinda dumb but it works for me and my kids are hyper hope this helped and not bored you Deb

Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-04-08 15:31:23 -0500 Report

Deb, I think your ideas will work. I hadn't thought of bubbles. I know our 9 yr. old LOVED them when she was small. I'll definitely give that a try when my broken ankle heals. :( That has really slowed me down—if I could get any slower than I already was! LOL I also like the ball idea. I can roll it from my chair and she doesn't roll well yet, but I know she'd pick it up and bring it back to me. One day I put a floppy toy on her head and said "Maisie's Hat!" Then I pulled it off and dropped it and when I said "Whoops", she laughed herself silly. Then I put it on my head and did the "Gramma's hat" thing and she continued to laugh. We probably played that for 10 minutes. It was simple and silly but great fun! Thank you so much for such great ideas! We'll make it work! Blessings! Brenda

Splender 2009-03-28 23:29:49 -0500 Report

Hi Brenda,
I don't have as many limitations as you do. However I have 4 boys and 3 girls who are all grown. The girls have 13 grandchildren for me to be proud of. I have 4 granddaughters and 9 grandsons. The oldest is 18(granddaughter) the youngest is 5(grandson) when they were little I would just tell them that Mom Mom wasn't feeling to good today and they would start taking care of me. They really tried real hard and you know what—they really did a good job. Small children around 3 on up can usually see that there is something not right. If they have the words they will ask you and I was always honest with them. The only thing I have wrong is a total right hip replacement, a left hip repair and I just had surgery done on my right shoulder. My rotater cuff was torn,the doctor told me he thought it was a normal tear but when he went in he told me it was a massive tear and wasn't sure it would mend. My grandchildren helped me rather than hindered me my first 6 weeks of recovery. Even though they are little they are people too and they do understand things we don't realize. Hope this helps a little. Maybe for the toddlers you can make a game that they can play grandmon (they are grandmon) and you are the one they are going to take care of. Maybe this will help both you and them.


Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-04-05 19:05:57 -0500 Report

Helene, thank you so much! What a great idea! I think maybe when she's about 2 it will get easier. She's not really verbal yet. You've been a great help! Blessings! Brenda

Splender 2009-04-06 01:56:14 -0500 Report

Your very welcome. I know you want to be able to enjoy being a grandmother. If there is anything else you would like to discuss your more than welcome to contact me privately.

Avera 2009-03-28 22:55:36 -0500 Report

Since I had my children late in life, I do not have grandchildren and my sons are grown. Just wanted to say that this is an excellent discussion and I have noted the ideas suggested by all the people. Some of my medical conditions will limit my physical activities in the future when I do have some grandchildren. Now I have some answers to help me when that time comes.

Again, this is an awesome discussion.

Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-04-05 18:21:41 -0500 Report

I'm glad it was informative for you. Everyone in this "community" has awesome insight into what we go through. Someday you'll be a great gramma. Blessings! Brenda

alwaystryin 2009-03-28 19:24:18 -0500 Report

We have three kids, and two grandboys three and six years old. And they have seen some of the complex issues my Wife has experienced. Of course, other than neuropathy, which of course limits things sometimes, foot ulcers, amputations,testing, hospital stays etc. have also occured often. She tries to engage them when appropriate, with testing, food, what she can when she can. The are here at our house a lot, but we also have other adults that can help if needed.

We try to find as many educational outlets to help them exercise their minds, sitting down kind of stuff, so my Wife can be included whenever possible.

Good luck

Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-04-05 18:19:46 -0500 Report

Thanks so much! My 9 yr. old and I do the educational type things, but the 17 mo. old has me baffled. I try colors and counting with different blocks, but that last all of about 5 seconds, max! LOL Prayerfully when she's closer to 2 it will get easier. Have a great time with those kids. They are our future!!

alwaystryin 2009-04-08 17:28:22 -0500 Report

Once again, there sooo many factors in all of this discussion with such honesty shown here. And at personal levels that only those afflicted know off.
how it all fits together with one wonderfull hot fudge sunday, the path will never end.

mary stevens
mary stevens 2009-03-28 13:47:44 -0500 Report

I have six grandchildren, 2 are teenagers and the other four are 5,3,2,years olds and 8-months old. We play catch or go for walks round the neighborhood and go to parks where they have swings or an outside gym. The only one who can't play is the 8-month old because of turned in feet at the ankles which will need corrective surgery before he can walk. The others ride bikes and we just find time together.

Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-04-05 18:12:24 -0500 Report

I love your answers and solutions, but we live out in the country and I can't walk on gravel due to neuropathy pain. We do have a swingset, but it's down a hill behind our house, and I can get down, but getting back up is the problem. Anyone willing to tow me? LOL Books, puzzles, and DVD's are my best solutions, I think! Thanks!

sparkysmom 2009-03-27 20:35:13 -0500 Report

I have several medical problems besides the diabetes. I also have a 2 year old Granddaughter and grandsons ages 1,3,7 and 9. When we visit we do things that Grandma is able to do that day. The older ones understand and enjoy thinking of things we can do together. The younger ones just enjoy being with me. My Grand daughter enjoys sitting with me and reading or playing Webkinz on the computer. The older ones like to play with my parrot(with supervision of course). We always find ways to enjoy our time together even if it is only sitting quietly and reading to the young ones or being read to by the older ones. My children understand that I don't babysit for more than a few hours at a time and only if I offer to. They don't ask.

Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-03-27 20:40:56 -0500 Report

Hey, there! Thanks for letting me know how you handle things. I just can't imagine my 17 mo. old granddaughter sitting still for more than a minute. :) I try reading to her, but her attention span is so short. She is a "goer" from morning until night! You are so blessed that your little ones are content to sit still. I'll keep trying with blocks, reading, or something. Thanks, again!

Two painful feet
Two painful feet 2009-03-27 12:21:00 -0500 Report

Hi! I use a powerchair due to polio and many other medical problems. I also have grand children that want my attention. If I'm not sick we go out and run around. One or another take turns riding on my lap or on nthe back of my chair. If I'm sick they take turns on my lap and turns on the computer. It is important to them that I listen to their storys. Sometimes I'm to sick and have to ask that they not come over. It breaks my heart because I love to see my babys. You will learn to ajust to your situation. Enjoys those little ankle biters.

Your Friend

Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-03-27 20:28:55 -0500 Report

Thanks so much for replying, JoAnne. Those are great ideas. It's so difficult for me to tell my daughter no when she wants me to watch the little ones. But, wishing I was healthy isn't going to make it so. I like the computer idea, and maybe when the middle one is about 2 I'll be able to try that. Blessings to you! Brenda

markjohn1 2009-03-27 11:53:42 -0500 Report

LEt me try to take this from my point of view for a minute. I have 3 kids, a 23 year old Daughter who married last year and had our first Grand Daughter in December. I also have a Daughter, age 15 going on 16 and a Son age 11. So I have my hand busy.
Now the Grand Daughter is just at the age of laughing and that is hard enough.

Just for the record, not only do I have type 1 diabetes, but I have a heart condition where I had a double by-pass 2 years ago and a stent a year ago. I also have a torn Labron of the right hip which keeps me off my feet most of the day and in a wheel chair till surgery. So you want to know about keeping physicla with the kids.

What I do is do what I can and what feels good to a point. I don't ask them to forgive me either. I ask them to play what I can play. I ask them to have fun my way. My way depends on how I feel. Some days I am physically active others it is social. You don't have to run to have fun all the time, even if you did in the past. I was physically fit till a year ago. I used to work 20 hour days and keep going on the weekends. Now though it is harder but, I walk the dog and they come, it's physical. I go to the store and walk around shopping. It becomes a games and it's physical. I go to Starbucks and bring my son, it's physical and we enjoy the time together. We do homework together. He does his fitness while I watch and correct him. I home school him so he has to do so much physical activity for class. He shoots baskets I coach. He plays football with the kids I coach. I find something to do with them just not as physical. My 15 year old wants to play or do something with me, I take her window shopping and I drive the cart around the store. We have a ball.

You can make anything physical. If you want ideas me know okay?

Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-03-27 20:24:29 -0500 Report

Hey, Mark! Thanks so much for your reply. It sounds like you have a lot going on physically, as well. I have been T1 for 48 years, so complications are catching up with me. I have such severe neuropathy that I'm unable to exercise, except for swimming in the summer. My 9 year old granddaughter has accepted my health and we read, watch movies, work jigsaw puzzles, play Nintendo DS together, etc. That has been great. My problem, right now, is my 17 mo. old granddaughter, who my daughter wants me to babysit 1 day a week for 12 hours while she works. It was fairly easy when she was a baby, but now she's into everything and I just physically can't do it. Maybe there is no easy answer at her age. I also have 3 more grandbabies born in the last 5 weeks that I'll need to be able to play with after 6 mos. or so. I guess I was just overly stressed (and feeling guilty) about it last nght when I started the discussion. I truly appreciate your input. Blessings! Brenda

markjohn1 2009-03-28 18:54:58 -0500 Report

It looks like yo are getting some great responses and they all fit don't they. The one theme in common is that everyone learns to accept and work around our roles. I know for us it seems hard but they figure it out easier than us. The kids love that I keep candy around or coke around for that occasional pick me up that I need. Like me they say they need a pick me up also. Cute. So everyone gets involved one way or another.
Keep up the good work and it will all work out fine.

Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-04-05 18:05:20 -0500 Report

Hey, Mark. I love the "pick me up" idea. We can really use that one to our benefit, huh? LOL We do learn to do what's necessary and most of the time it works. I continue to pray that God will calm the now 17 mo. old down so I can read, etc. to her. I broke my ankle last Sunday (6 weeks in a cast—BOO! HISS!)so now I'm really slow!! God does have a sense of humor-I complain about lack of mobility, so HE completely sidelines me! LOL You gotta love it! Brenda

MeiMei 2009-04-08 16:00:26 -0500 Report

Power chairs are great but impractical when it comes to a 17 month old. Been there, done that!! Try a play pen for awhile, then try sit down work, painting and clay art, coloring computer games ( has a lot of them playing off of their tv shows) and they are even educational. I'm sure you can think of other sitdown games or stories you could do with the little ones. I used to babysit my granddaughter for the first 3 years of her life. We even went to the library once a week for the toddler reading program they had. Look into the local recreation dept in your area where you could take the toddler for tumbling classes. For those all you have to do is sit and watch.

lipsie 2009-03-26 23:54:50 -0500 Report

I don't have the answer for you yet, though someday I will myself go through this. Maybe I am missing something here though, and don't think I am being rude cuz I am not really, I am just trying to understand to help…what do you mean really cuz what is stopping you just cause you are Diabetic? Unless babysittinig you mean, cuz I could see ocncern there of course. Love, Sheila

Brenda Kruse
Brenda Kruse 2009-03-27 20:36:33 -0500 Report

Hi, Sheila! There is way more to my health problems than just being T1 for 48 years. I have very severe neuropathy, fibromyalgia, degenerating discs in my neck and lower back, bursitis in both shoulders and one hip, etc. So, as you can tell, any type of physical activity is realy difficult for me. I've been on disability since 1992, and things have gone down hill greatly since then. Thankfully, God keeps me going! Blessings! Brenda

lipsie 2009-03-28 09:16:49 -0500 Report

ahhh okies now I totally understand, my apologies…I also have neuropathy and a couple other things wrong, but I know fibro can be SO difficult, I have a friend w/ it and Lupus…its rough. Good luck! *Hugs* Sheila