What is support?

"Support" spelled out in Scrabble letter tiles

image credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery. CC license.

Support is unconditional. It is listening, not judging, not telling your own story.

Support is not offering advice. It is offering a tissue, a touch, a hug. It is caring.

We are here to listen, not to work miracles.

We are here to help parents discover what they are feeling, not to make the feelings go away.

We are here to help parents discover their own strength, not to rescue them and then leave them vulnerable.

We are here to help parents discover that they can help themselves, not to take responsibility away from them.

We are here to help parents learn to choose, even when the choices are difficult.

– Unknown

At the Beaumont Parenting Program, we are happy to support and educate first-time parents who deliver at Beaumont. We offer specialized support for single mothers, parents experiencing postpartum depression, families of multiples, and families with a child in the NICU.

For Postpartum adjustment support, we offer weekly drop-in groups. Read more about postpartum adjustment.

For families who lost an infant during pregnancy or as a newborn, Beaumont offers the “Looking Ahead” Bereaved Parents support group.

However, Beaumont Health offers a wide range of support groups depending on your need, from cancer care to eating disorders to women’s pelvic pain and more. Check out the complete list of Beaumont support groups.

Meet the Parenting Program Staff: Anna Paterson

Photo of Anna Paterson

Anna Paterson is a car seat safety educator at Beaumont, Royal Oak.

Where did you grow up?

Born and raised in East Lansing, Mich. — otherwise known as Spartan Country.

Tell us something about your family.

My husband, Brian, and I have two children: Grace (3) and Benjamin (1). Our favorite thing to do together is dance; we have several weekly dance parties in the kitchen!

Why did you choose to be part of the Parenting Program?

I am so inspired by the interesting, genuine, caring and charismatic group of women who make up the Parenting Program team. I chose the Parenting Program to work with such amazing women and to work with new families across metro Detroit during such a poignant time of life.

Who or what inspires you?

People who live with passion, gratitude, joy, intention and honesty. My grandparents, of the greatest generation, exhibited integrity, humility and sacrifice.

What are your hobbies or special interests?

My babies, barre, working out, running, exploring new cities, and traveling

What’s your favorite family-friendly destination?

Charlevoix or Traverse City

What’s your favorite movie? Book?

My favorite movie is “Good Will Hunting” and my favorite book is “The World According to Garp.”

What’s your favorite meal?

Anything from Luxe in Birmingham, Mexican topopo salad, or white sheet cake with mounds of frosting

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Oreo, mint chocolate chip or cookie dough with lots of sprinkles. With ice cream, I really don’t discriminate. 😀

Share something about you that might surprise us.

I played collegiate volleyball and have run several marathons.

Why do they fall apart when fall comes around?

Tired boy with head on a book

I don’t know about you, but I was really ready for the new school year to begin. I felt like old milk: expired. I had run out of things to do with my kids and the bickering between the four of them was putting me close to my breaking point.

Don’t get me wrong, the summer months made for some great memories, and I’m sure soon enough I will miss those days. However, right now I’m putting all of my energy into getting my kids back into their school routines.

Over the years, I’ve noticed a pattern in this transition time. In our house, the first few weeks of school are the easiest. My kids are eager to get up early, tuck their shirts in, wear their belts, do their homework as soon as they get home, get to bed on time — there is a peace and order in our household that feels reassuring and timely.

And then something happens around the end of September, almost as if the beginning of the fall season brings it in. I struggle to get kids out of bed in the mornings, apparently school is really boring, there are complaints about going to practice or too much homework, bed times are getting ignored and most of all, the children I’m sending to school in the mornings are coming home as cranky and irritable monsters.

I can deal with a lot. I know that being consistent around my expectations for morning and night routines will get my kids back on track. I’m also used to being the emotional punching bag for my kids. But I’m not going to lie; the cranky and irritable monsters that rear their heads back home can be challenging to deal with, especially when all four of them are acting up at the same time.

However, here’s what I’ve finally learned. My kids are really well behaved in school. They follow the rules, respect their teachers, do their work, and enjoy their friendships.  So when they get home, they need to let go, unwind, and release the “good student” handcuffs that have been keeping them in line all day. While it can make some afternoons pretty miserable, I’m learning to give them this space without over analyzing it or engaging with it. I’ve stopped complaining that my kids are like disgruntled workers at home because now I understand why.

So if your kids are like mine when they get home from school, try to remember that they’ve just spent eight hours keeping it together: following someone else’s rules, problem solving, reading, writing, getting to class on time, making good decisions, interacting with adults, and trying to fit in with their peers.

To be honest, just thinking about doing all of that is making me cranky.🙂

– Andree Palmgren, Beaumont Parenting Volunteer and mother to kids ages 13, 11, 8 and 4

Swiss oats with apples and walnuts

 

Various breakfast foods and "September is Better Breakfast Month" text

image credit: nationaldaycalendar.com

 

Breakfast is named such because you “break the fast” after a good night’s sleep. Eating within an hour of rising kick starts your metabolism, replenishes your body’s supply of glucose, and helps keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

Did you know that regularly eating a healthy breakfast may also help you lose excess weight and maintain your weight loss? When you skip breakfast, you may be more tempted to reach for a quick fix like doughnuts or Pop-Tarts; you’ll end up feeling hungry much sooner when choosing high sugar, processed foods, and that can lead to overeating throughout the day. If you start your day out with something healthy, you’re more likely to make healthy choices over the course of your day. The prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can also increase your body’s insulin response, which can increase fat storage and lead to weight gain.

As you can see, breakfast is very important for our health and well-being!

Start the day out right with this autumn-inspired Swiss Oats with Apples and Walnuts recipe. The fiber from the oats and apples paired with the monounsaturated fat from the walnuts will help you feel fuller longer, which helps to maintain a healthy weight to lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups dry oats (quick-cooking or old fashioned)
  • 1 ¼ cups skim or plain soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 cups chopped apples
  • ¼ cups chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. The night before; stir together oats, milk, honey and cinnamon in a large bowl. Allow to soak in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. In the morning, add the apples and walnuts.
  3. Gently mix together and serve.

Yield

Makes 4 servings (Serving size equals ¾ cup.)

– Kayleigh Delaney is a Beaumont Dietetic intern with the Beaumont Health Center’s Weight Control Center. Learn more about the Weight Control Center.

 

Green up your school lunch

 

Close up of a bento-style lunch with sandwich, fruit, carrots and snack

image credit: Meredith at allrecipes.com

With our children back in school, we may find ourselves stocking up on brown paper bags, zip-close plastic bags, and “lunchable”-type goodies. After all, a well-stocked pantry can make all the difference in having a smooth school morning or an anxiety-filled mad dash for the door.

But let’s follow that lovingly-packed brown paper bag into the lunchroom. Where does it all go when the bell rings, lunch is over, and it’s time to run off to recess?

The EPA estimates that a child who brings a brown bag lunch to school every day throws away about 67 pounds of waste each school year. Other estimates are as high as 90 pounds per student per year. Multiply that by over 58 million students in the U.S. and you don’t have to be a math whiz to realize that millions of tons (between 1.9 and 2.6 million tons for the star students out there) of garbage could stay out of the waste stream with a little tweak to our school morning preparations.

Lunchboxes and lunch bags

First, let’s replace the paper bag with something that is reusable and can hold a little more weight. Have older kids worried about style? Check out the resources below for simple canvas lunch sacks, modern insulated totes, or retro metal lunchboxes.

As we are shopping and doing our best for the Earth, let’s also think about our health. Plastic lunchboxes and containers may contain numerous chemicals of concern, including leadphthalatesvinyl (PVC), and bisphenol-A (BPA). Some brands may infuse Microban®, an antimicrobial chemical (triclosan), into the fibers of a child’s lunchbox. While this may seem like a good idea to avoid germy boxes, health advocates warn of serious health and environmental concerns associated with the chemical. Learn more about triclosan.

For lunchboxes without chemicals of concern, look online or in stores for brands such as Crocodile Creek (PVC-free, phthalate-free, BPA-free), Ecobags (Organic cotton), Kids Konserve (100 percent recycled plastic bottles or recycled cotton canvas). Find many brands and materials (including stainless steel) at Reuseit.

Food and drink containers

The iconic brown paper bag is not a horrible thing in and of itself. After all, it’s what’s inside that counts. The plastic sandwich and snack bags, disposable applesauce or yogurt containers, one-time-use water bottles or drink boxes, etc. that we smartly bought to prepare for the morning hustle are now all in the trash — after only being used for a few hours. Yet, they will last in the waste stream for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Instead invest in a sturdy set of reusable food containers (which can save trips to the store too). Look for stainless steel, which is dishwasher-safe and a great alternative to plastic and glass (no breakage!). LunchBotsKlean KanteenKids Konserve offer stainless steel waste-free lunch kits. If you opt for reusable plastic, look for lead-free and BPA-free, such as Crocodile Creek. Online retailers, such as Reuseit, carry a plethora of options. Also consider insulated food jars to give you and your kids more lunch options (think: warm soup, mashed potatoes, spaghetti and more). Check out Target, Meijer, ACE, or other local retailers for Thermos and Aladdin brands.

Feeling like there are too many small containers to fit into the cute or stylish lunchbox? Check out the latest craze: all-in-one bento boxes, which have two to four compartments in one container.

Be sure to toss in a durable fork or spoon (one that you won’t mind if it doesn’t find its way home) and a small cloth napkin.

OK disposables

For food wrappers that don’t need to be hauled home each day, yet are more eco-friendly than plastic wrap or bags, reach for unbleached wax paper or parchment paper. These come in individual sheets, long rolls, or pre-formed bags. Rolls of unbleached parchment paper and wax paper are available at most grocers. Check health food stores or the health food aisle for disposable wax paper bags, such as those from If You Care.

Drinkboxes and snacks

After this thoughtful preparation, some mornings will still call for a quick grab and go. But you can still be a waste-free hero. Schools or families can collect juice pouches, chip bags, or granola bar wrappers and send them to Terracycle in exchange for a donation to your favorite school or charity. TerraCycle recycles items that most recycling programs won’t accept. Participating brands include CapriSun, Clif Bar, Honest Kids, Kool Aid, Lays and others. Go to TerraCycle to learn more and start a lunch recycling program at your child’s school.

Food

Lastly, it’s not just the containers that get thrown away! Food also winds up in the garbage pail. According to the USDA, Americans waste enough food every day to fill a 90,000 seat football stadium, almost one third of which is wasted at the retail and consumer level. They suggest extending lunch periods to 30 minutes to save 30 percent or more of lunch room food waste. Schools can schedule recess before lunch to save another 30 percent. Visit the USDA’s website for more Creative Solutions to Ending School Lunch Waste.

At home, be sure to involve children in making their own lunches. They will pack what they like (with grown-up approval) and — like anything that requires a bit of effort — they will have pride and appreciation for the end product. Remind yourself and your children to only pack what they can eat in a 20 minute sitting (the standard amount of time allotted for school lunch). Feeling stuck in a PB & J rut? Check the Internet or magazines for fresh ideas; 100 Days of Real Food is one of the many resources out there.

Happy (waste-free) lunching!

– Melissa Cooper Sargent, Environmental Health Educator with LocalMotionGreen at Ecology Center. For more information, you can email her at melissas@ecocenter.org or visit http://www.ecocenter.org/lmg

Getting help through pediatric OT and PT services

Therapist working with a little girl and blocks

Many families ask how to get their children enrolled in physical, occupational or speech therapy.

If you’re a parent and noticing motor or speech delays in your child, a good place to start is at the pediatrician’s office. Pediatricians are excellent at screening motor milestones, listening to parents’ concerns, and making the appropriate referral to one of our outpatient locations. We see children diagnosed with developmental delay, torticollis, cerebral palsy, injury/trauma, toe walking/difficulty walking, hemiplegia, sensory processing disorder, feeding difficulties, incontinence, and various other diagnoses. A child will require a script from the physician that states physical therapy, occupational therapy and/or speech therapy: evaluate and treat.

Another time when a child may require our services is upon discharge from the hospital. We recommend that all children discharged from the NICU receive evaluations from our skilled team of clinicians. Even while the child is in the hospital, he may also receive our services. At the time of discharge, the clinician or the physician may make the referral to one of our five outpatient locations: Royal Oak, Grosse Pointe, West Bloomfield, Macomb and the Center for Exceptional Families located in Dearborn, depending on which location is closest to your home. A good tip is to have the physician at the hospital include the script along with the discharge paperwork. Once the script is obtained, the parent just has to call the office and set up an appointment time.

All of our locations believe in a team approach in order to treat the child holistically. Our specialized therapists collaborate with the patient’s family and team of physicians to develop customized treatment plans. We typically see children from birth to age 16, although sometimes patients are older depending on the diagnosis. At the time of the evaluation, the clinician will recommend the most appropriate frequency to achieve success. The frequency is generally highest at the initiation of treatment and then decreases as the child meets his or her goals over time.

Each child progresses at his or her own rate and the treatment plan is tailored to success. The treatment sessions are individual; however the child may be recommended for a group session which is offered year round. We see success from the individual treatment sessions and the groups. Sometimes children progress quicker in a group setting along with their peers, and it can be fun. Some of our most popular groups are: dance, yoga, little crunchers/big munchers (feeding groups), social groups and handwriting without tears.

Eventually the child will be discharged from therapy services when the individual goals are met or when services are no longer recommended. However discharge doesn’t mean goodbye forever. We may close the child’s chart for a period of time, but we recommend that parents keep us updated on their child’s progress and home exercise program success. It’s not uncommon for children to require additional services as they grow and encounter new challenges.

Our team is here to support your child’s growth and optimize their success.

– Christina Paniccia PT, DPT, is a pediatric supervisor at Neighborhood Club, Beaumont, Grosse Pointe.

My grandma the firecracker

Grandma holding a toddler girl on lap

Grandma and me, Christmas 1977

When I was growing up, I loved spending time at my grandparents’ houses. I had wonderful grandparents, each with their own quirks, but I want to tell you about my grandma, Sophie.

She was born in 1919 to Polish immigrant parents. When she went to Kindergarten, she didn’t speak English, but I’m pretty sure she had an iron core that didn’t shirk hard work.

She was a Rosie the Riveter and lost part of her hearing making airplane parts during the war. After World War II, she married the love of her life and eventually had my dad, who is an only child. When my dad was 15, his father died suddenly leaving Sophie to support her little family.

Sophie was a corker. She worked with men and kept up with them. She was independent, tough and a terrible cook. Her specialty was SpaghettiOs, liverwurst and Velveeta.

In the mid-’80s, her brother had a stroke and moved into a nursing home. She came to our house one day to show us what she found while cleaning out his things. I remember it crystal clear:

We (my two sisters, mom and dad) were having dinner. It wasn’t unusual for my grandma to show up, so when she came in the back door, we pulled up a chair for her. As she was talking about her day, she remembered something she found among her brother’s things that she wanted to show my dad. She reached into her bag and rolled a hand grenade across the kitchen table.

Silence.

We all stopped eating and looked around at each other to make sure we all saw the same thing. Yep. It was a real, honest-to-goodness grenade and it was right next to the green beans.

Apparently, while serving in Africa during the war, my uncle didn’t use one of his grenades, so he brought it home with the pin still in and live and kept it in a drawer or closet for the next 40 years until it lumped its way across our kitchen table one summer day.

That was Sophie. She feared nothing. Held back nothing. And she lived her way.

It’s sad that we’re so young when we have our grandparents around us most, but we truly don’t understand the treasure they are until we’re much older and they’re gone. I’m glad, though, that my kids are getting quality grandparent time and are learning things from them that I’ll never be able to teach them.

However, I certainly hope they don’t have to learn about explosives. From anyone. And certainly not over dinner. Sheesh.

P.S. Don’t worry, my dad called the police that night. They took the grenade away for proper disposal. Didn’t want you to think we still had it hanging around the house.

– Rebecca Calappi is a Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health and adoptive parent of multiples.


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