Waking up to check Nick’s blood sugar at 2 a.m. is hard. Not hard like watching your child starve because you live in a country where you have no access to food. Not hard like having your leg blown off. Not hard like actually having diabetes yourself. But a challenge under the circumstances of our relatively comfortable lives defined by working and wakefulness during the day.

I worry I might fail to wake up. Sometimes I set the alarm. Waking up to the blast of music shocks me out of sleep with a force that then keeps me awake for hours. The sound also travels though the house, disturbing everyone else — my footsteps up-and-down the steps, the sliding of the door, the shock of the hall light bothers the girls enough without adding loud to the mix.

So (Confession #1), I do this thing to make myself wake up: I don’t brush my teeth when I go to bed. See, during the day, I floss and brush my teeth after I eat or at the very least, chew gum or devour mints; I can’t stand my mouth feeling unfresh. Refusing to brush before I slide under the covers ensures the yucky taste will wake me up in the middle of the night. Gross, but effective, especially considering Confession #2. And once I check Nick, I brush really, really well.

Confession #2: Sometimes I wake up, but am so cozy and warm, I’m tempted to stay in bed. “He’s probably OK,” I think, ears straining for the sound of movement above. But I always get up –always. Because I have to. What if he’s not OK? Like tonight. I padded up the stairs, crept into his room and whispered, “Hey, need to check your blood sugar.” (His hands were tucked under his head, so I couldn’t get to his finger without waking him.) His response came out cranky and nonsensical, not a good sign. The glucose meter popped up “44,” confirming what I suspected. Luckily, four sugar tablets boosted that number to 135 by the first 15-minute follow-up. I poured some eggnog to ensure he stays at a healthy level through the rest of the night. (His blood sugar’ll be fine, but his teeth!) He drifted right back into what appears to be a deep sleep.

I, on the other hand, am wide awake. But at least my mouth is now scrubbed and tasting like mint.