Back to Rufus Rufus Visits the Lazenby Family

The Lazenby Family, Silverton, Pretoria, South Africa

Friday, November 8, 2002
Rufus arrived quite unexpectedly for Tia and Gideon. They knew a diabetic friend would be visiting, but did not know when and that he was a teddy bear! Tia is 3 1/2 years old. She was diagnosed on 27 December 2001. She attends day care, which is actually almost like home, because Amanda only looks after her and another one-year-old little girl. She attends a playgroup three days a week from 9-12. Amanda was the first person I phoned after Tia was diagnosed. I wanted to know if she would be able to cope with diabetes, menus, needles, and she said, "YES!" She will learn. And she did. We did. She attended all the initial dietitian, educator and doctor appointments with me. And she "coped" long before I did! Gideon is six years old. He adores his little sister, and helps to test and inject her. At this stage, Tia only does the finger prick herself, and presses the button to put the machine off.

Tia was diagnosed on 27 December 2001 after we struggled through a seaside vacation of two weeks with a sick child. They treated her for everything under the sun! Finally, back home, we got some answers and our carefree life became disciplined! The "sentence" was soon replaced by control as we started to understand the condition. Today I cannot think that I ever planned a meal without counting, balancing and substituting! Sometimes even before we got a reading, and then we had to start all over again.

I picked Gideon up from school first. He is in Grade 0 at Laerskool Meyerspark's crèche: Babbel + Krabbel. He said a very polite "hello!" to Rufus, and asked me with disappointment if he could speak. Next stop was to pick up Tia at Amanda's. Tia just said, "Wow!" and they were hooked forever. We went home for a quick supper, because Gideon had to be back at school at 18h00 for the last revue session. We eavesdropped a little and his classmates met Rufus.

Saturday, November 9, 2002
This was a difficult day for a diabetic teddy bear and a 3 1/2 year old with the same condition! We went to the Sweet Factory to buy supplies for Gideon's birthday next week. Back home, Rufus and Tia helped to fill 26 little packets with sweets. Tempting! In the afternoon, we visited the Collenade Centrum - Milky Lane - and had "skinny" fruit salad and ice cream. A visit to the Wimpy for take-away toasted anchovette balanced the meal.

Sunday, November 10, 2002
A quiet day at home. Esme's sister and brother were visiting. Annemarie and her husband stay in Hartwater (Eastern Cape) and attended the annual pecan nut workshop. Andre is a computer technician and is local. We attended the evening church service where Gideon performed an act with some friends. Tia showed Rufus to everyone during the service.

Monday, November 11, 2002
Rufus attended Cojjo classes with Esme at Marion Marais. Some of our issues were finally addressed, and we decided to continue via e-mail online. Cojjo classes help Esme to understand diabetes better and discover important stuff she never knew about. In the afternoon Rufus went with Gideon to occupational therapy and we picked Tia up afterwards; quick supper and yes - back to school at 17h30! Gideon had his Grade 0 graduation ceremony. Tia was really fed up with the past week's rush to school every afternoon, and did not want to eat. Instead, she ran around wild while Gideon tried to graduate to Grade 1 with some dignity. When we tested her, she was 2.4! At least now she was ready to eat!

Tuesday, November 12, 2002
At last! Rufus attends day care with Tia. Amanda is the "Day Care Lady" for the family since Gideon was a baby. He stayed with her from 4 months to 2 1/2 years, when he went to crèche. Tia also started there at 3 months, and went to crèche at 20 months. Did not like it one bit, and went back to Amanda 2 months later. Today, Rufus and Tia helped to vacuum carpets and clean the fish bowl. Tia had a swim.

November 13-18, 2002
Today, 13 November, is Gideon's sixth birthday! It is also the day that Rufus will visit Tia's playgroup, and he will leave for Mpumalanga in the afternoon for a few days holiday. At the play group, Esme made a short presentation to the little friends on Tia and Rufus's diabetic condition. They shared a diabetic treat, and the parents got a special letter. It is Diabetic Awareness Week, and we need the exposure! We picked Gideon up from school at 12 o'clock and left the city buzz for a few days in Mpumalanga, where Esme's parents stay in a conservation area outside Nelspruit on the way to the Kruger National Park. We enjoyed our stay tremendously! We baked pancakes, banana bread, muffins, whole-wheat bread; all diabetic recipes! Tia's grandmother really did a lot to make meal times easier. Because there are no shops nearby, we had to stock up before hand. And she did just that! We had no problem to dish up wonderful recipes for Tia and Rufus. But food was not the only thing on our mind. We helped in the pecan nut nursery; picked strawberries and tomatoes; had a fun ride on the tractor; went to see how the new dam was coming along, and climbed a lot of steps for exercise. Rufus did not like the swing though!

Tuesday, November 19, 2002
Back in Pretoria! Tia's Medic Alert bracelet arrived while we were on holiday. And after the holiday, Rufus and his clothes needed a gentle cleaning! Thank you for having Rufus! While with us, he had an accident with a flying cigarette butt in our car. Luckily we got hold of an excellent Teddy Bear restorer, and she fixed him perfectly! But please, keep him away from people smoking and barbeque fires! We learned the hard way.

Thursday, November 28, 2002
Tia packed Rufus' suitcase tonight and asked if she couldn't pack a sandwich as well. We always pack a snack if we leave home. Luckily she settled for a fruit bar instead! Rufus can enjoy it with his next new friend. Tia and Gideon had a super time with him! Tia went to bed with him, but Gideon always snatched him away as soon as she was asleep. We will miss him, and know he will touch more hearts every week.

Good luck on your journey, Rufus!

James, Esme, Gideon and Tia Lazenby

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Copyright Notice:
Rufus and Ruby, the bears with diabetes, is the creation of Carol Cramer, who owns the copyright to Rufus and Ruby. The graphics of Rufus are from Rufus Come Home, written by Kim Gosselin and illustrated by Terry Ravenelli, and are used by permission of the author.

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Last Updated: Tuesday January 14, 2003 10:55:34
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