Q&yourA: Coping with juvenile diabetes

First, a reminder from one of your fellow readers: Don't clean an immersion blender without unplugging it, unless you like the emergency room.

And now a question from Jen:

"My 4-year-old was peeing and drinking excessively for about 2 weeks and I knew that was a red flag for diabetes, although of course I was hoping it was something easy like a UTI. But either way I knew I had to get it checked out, and turns out it was Type 1 diabetes. Luckily we caught it before he got too sick, so that was good, but we had a stressful and hurried trip to the ER and he spent a few nights in the hospital. We've been back home for about a month, but now comes the dealing-with-this-for-the-rest-of-our-lives part. He has adjusted well to the routine of finger pricks and insulin shots (he won't get an insulin pump until he is older). But we're really having a hard time with the need to get him to eat enough carbs. We're colliding straight into the preschooler picky eating and control phase, and I wondered if any of your fabulous readers/commenters would like to share advice.

In general we try to follow the Ellyn Satter division of labor idea. (Although--as an aside--am I the only one who's starting to get really pissed at what a first world/middle-class-and-up philosophy this is? As I scrape a perfectly good serving of chicken fingers that won't reheat well into the trash, I think about all the people working hard to feed their families and barely making it, or all the people NOT making it, and I get upset. But that's a rant for another day.) But then I start freaking out when all he eats of his dinner is the protein and none of the carbs. We've had a number of scares where we check his sugar level at 10 PM and it's something like 54, 42, or 29. (100 is normal; anything under 70 we have to wake him up and make him drink juice, which he dislikes as much as you'd expect. So 29 freaked me right the hell out. That's about when some people start going into a coma.)

So, like, what do we do? Obviously he has clued in to the fact that if he doesn't eat dinner he might get a yummy bar of fruit leather (aka concentrated form of carbs). Do people have any tricks to share?"

This is tricky. I never thought about managing a preschooler with diabetes because the kid we know with juvenile diabetes is my older son's age and he knows how to manage it by now. Which I guess is light at the end of the tunnel, that this IS about the age and at a certain point it will become more routine.

But I have never had to manage anything as nuanced and high-stakes as this. Readers, please, step in. I know a lot of you have had to manage chronic conditions and issues with food that are far more involved than "he won't let himself starve."

Would you please help Jen out? And if your child is older, could you let her know when it gets easier?

I am feeling very lucky that I have extremely mundane non-issues with my kids and eating.