Signature Healthcare’s Asthma “Camp”

Asthma is a lung disease that has very, very serious complications, yet the most effective tool in management is awareness and education.

Unfortunately, this disease is one of the most common long term diseases in childhood, and children with asthma will experience attacks described as wheezing, shortness of breath, incessant coughing, chest tightness, and breathlessness. These attacks occur in flares and the child is usually symptom free in between these attacks. Unfortunately, we still do not know what the exact cause of asthma is, but we know how to recognize and control it. We know that it usually runs in families, so having a family member with asthma, eczema, or allergies makes one more prone to developing this disease. We know that asthmatics have lungs that are more sensitive to certain triggers, and it is this trigger that usually sets off an attack.

Signature Healthcare Asthma Camp

Join us this Saturday at Signature Healthcare’s Asthma “Camp” for a fun Halloween-themed time. Children will move through stations and learn about triggers and controlling their asthma with hands on activities. This event is free for the community and registration is requested. To register, visit MySignatureCare.org/asthma or call 508-941-7654.

Posted in Activities, Brockton, Halloween, Health | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Letting Go and Allowing Growth

By: Carolyn Coleman 

Carolyn Coleman“We don’t own children or have the right to live their lives for them. Our task is to prepare them for life.”

I’m finding it hard to decide when to be a parent and when to let go of the parenting thing. While I know there have been years of studies on how to let go and allow your child to grow, those studies are no good to me because I am such a protector when it comes to my son.

I feel we need to let ourselves “off the hook” and give ourselves credit for being good parents. Parenthood is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and we have to realize that our kids are going to make mistakes. I can only prepare my son for dealing with life’s mistakes; I cannot prevent those mistakes from happening. There are so many obstacles that he will need to cross, and as much as I would like to hold his hand as he approaches each obstacle, I know that I cannot.

As my child gets older, I’m finding that I am needed more as a listener instead of always forcing my opinion or thoughts on him. I try to understand that parenting is about connection rather than perfection. It’s important that I share a connection with my child that allows him to feel comfortable talking with me about life’s ups and downs, the good and the bad. I hope he is pleased to know that I am always there for him.

I continually fight the urge to step in and take control; instead I talk to my child and allow him to make his own decisions. I am learning that allowing my child to make his own decisions gives him more ownership over his life.

As I loosen this mother son bond, I know that my son will make some good choices and some bad choices. But as his mother, I will be there to encourage him – no matter what the situation. As hard as it is, we have to know that if we plant good seeds and build a solid foundation, we can let go and watch our kids grow.

How are you letting go?

Posted in Carolyn Coleman, Parenting Advice | Leave a comment

Frozen

By: Rachel Ventura

If you have kids, I’m going to assume you’ve heard of a little movie called Frozen. Actually, I’m going to assume you know every word to every song, or maybe even every word in the entire movie. I know I do. Both of my children are head over heels in love with everything Frozen, and I find myself just as in love as they are. The Frozen craze has totally taken over in the past few months. I find myself stalking stores and websites for the latest Frozen toys, books, clothes and accessories, and I find myself just as excited as my kids when we find out the Frozen goods have been restocked!

So imagine my excitement when I heard Disney on Ice was devoting their new show to the phenomenon that is Frozen. However, I wasn’t too excited to see the ticket prices. I started bringing my daughter to Disney on Ice when she was two years old. Every time we go, I use a coupon code to buy our tickets. I knew there would be no coupons available for this one. But it makes sense. People will pay full price to see this show, so why not charge it? I was hesitant at first, but I couldn’t pass up the chance. I paid full price.

It was going to be our fourth Disney on Ice show. The first show I brought my daughter to was also my very first Disney on Ice show. Each one has been amazing! They really do put on a great show and everyone in the arena is completely entertained.

We always go to the shows at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence rather than in Boston. I don’t like driving in any city and for me it’s much easier to drive into Providence. Plus, there’s usually at least somewhat less traffic and parking is cheaper. I’ve also found that the tickets themselves are a little cheaper than in Boston, and usually the discount with the coupon codes is a little deeper as well. And, the venue is a bit smaller, so the show feels more intimate and every seat has an amazing view of the show. We’ve sat 6 rows from the ice, and probably 40 rows up, and could see everything throughout the whole show from both spots.

I decided that I wanted to surprise my daughter for this show. I told her we were doing something special, but she didn’t know what. I packed her Elsa dress and crown in a bag, put it in the car while she was at school. When it was time to leave, I told her we were going on an adventure. As we pulled up to the parking garage, she saw a little girl in an Elsa dress and said, “Look Mom! She’s dressed up like Elsa!” So I handed her the bag and asked her to open it up. She pulled out her own Elsa dress and when I told her we were seeing Frozen on Ice, she screamed with delight and exclaimed that it was, and I quote, “The best day ever!”

My ice queen!

My ice queen!

So excited for the show to start!

So excited for the show to start!

The show was truly amazing! It was the best Disney on Ice show we have seen, and like I said, they have all been really awesome. All of the others included an ensemble from a few different movies and shows, with one theme that connected them all. It’s a great approach because you get to see a variety of characters and stories. But this show was all about Frozen. They did have some of the most iconic characters (including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, all of the princesses and princes, Buzz and Woody, Timon and Pumbaa, and Nemo and Dory) come out at the beginning and the end, which was great. But Anna and Elsa were the main attractions, and the entire audience was thankful for that.

Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice

 

Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice

At all of the other shows, each character and story were recognized by the kids in the audience, but none have been as huge and well-known as the Frozen characters, story and songs. It was so cool to see the children’s excitement and to hear every kid in the audience sing all the words to each song. It really was magical. My daughter belted out all of the songs and was on the edge of her seat throughout the show. She said it was the best Disney on Ice show we had seen, and I agreed.

Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice

 

Disney on Ice

Disney on IceA few things I’ve learned to make the most of your Disney on Ice experience:

Eat lunch or dinner before you go and bring some snacks. You aren’t supposed to bring in food, so don’t bring anything you would be upset about throwing in the trash. But I’ve always brought a few little things in my bag and have never had a problem bringing them in. Food at the shows is very expensive and there aren’t many healthy options. You also may need to stand in line to get food for a very long time, which we all know is no fun with little ones. Of course, there are a ton of fun and tempting items, so I always allow my daughter to pick one treat. I tell her this ahead of time, so there isn’t any confusion (read: tantrums). The choices are usually between cotton candy, a snow cone, and popcorn. She usually chooses a snow cone, which comes in a plastic cup that you can take home and reuse, so the price isn’t too out of control. The cotton candy usually comes with a hat, so the value is somewhat bearable.

They will also have tables with lots of cool light up toys, stuffed animals, and other appealing merchandise. Be warned, these toys are outrageously priced! Stop by Target or Dollar Tree before the show and bring your own light up toys. And, if you are willing to buy something, let your child know ahead of time that they can pick one thing. I think that letting your child know about your expectation ahead of time works…for me it does, anyways. There are also vendors selling goods, walking around the arena before the show and during intermission. Temptation is all around. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! My daughter really wanted the stuffed Elsa doll they were selling at the show. It was a really nice doll, but it was $35. I was able to get out of that one by promising a trip to the Disney Store to see if they had them, which they did, for $20.

All in all, Disney on Ice is awesome family fun! I highly recommend checking out a show. Watch your Valpak mailer for coupons, just don’t expect to find one for the Frozen show – at least not this year.

Posted in Activities, Family, Mommy Advice, Rachel Ventura | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Creating Time for Children’s Success

By: Martianne Stanger

“Mom, help me…” my son whines when asked to complete a simple, everyday task.

“I can’t.” I carry on with what I was doing.

“But, Mom…” He begins to wind himself into a tantrum.

“I’m sorry. I cannot help you.” I stand firm.

“Yes, you can. You just won’t.”

I go to my son and bend low, so that my eyes are on level with him. I smile. “You’re right, in a way. I am choosing not to help you, because you CAN do this yourself.”

He calms a bit. “But you help me do it sometimes.”

“You’re right again. I do help sometimes. But, I can’t this time, because if I did, how would you ever learn to do it on your own?”

My child makes a sour face that tells me he doesn’t like what he is hearing, but he “gets it.”

“Now, please try, and, if you get to stuck – honestly get stuck – I’ll help you.”

He grumbles, but begins the task at hand. As he works, I reassure him. “I think you’ll see you can do it on your own. All you need is time to practice.”

Conversations like this have been unfolding often in my home. In fact, this one happened just last night.

You see, one day after reaching an apex of frustration over something as trivial as getting on socks and shoes, I asked myself, When did my children go from their toddler and preschooler attitude of “I can do it myself!” to their current complaints of helplessness. And, Why?

The answer hit me hard: Because I let it. I did things for my children that they could do themselves for no other reason than to get those things done faster.

tying shoeInstead of offering consistent room for trial, error and success, I had increasingly trapped my family in a modern phenomena that is a bane to self-sufficiency: busyness.

It’s awfully difficult to learn how to tie shoes when rushing out the door.

“Hurry up. We’re late,” does not leave much room for “Hang on, Mom, I’m still mastering how to get my shoes on right.” Or, fixing my hair. Or, folding and putting away my clothes instead of throwing them on the floor or in the laundry pile. Or, tidying up what I was just doing instead of leaving it as mess to add to later.

Not that my children would ever say such words to me, but their actions speak them loudly.

When I add just a bit more margin space to our schedule on any given day, I find that my children become a lot more adept at doing things for themselves.

In fact, when I stop “helping” my children to do things faster in lieu of offering them time to do the same things on their own, I recognize a truth: Just a little more time can result in a whole lot more success.

My children can do so much for themselves already, and, increasingly I recognize that they can do even more when I just remember to offer them a few extra moments to fumble through their learning curves.

Indeed, today’s time-consuming mastery can become tomorrow’s peaceful proficiency. Children can do so much for themselves…when we let them.

Might you begin offering your children more unhurried, natural opportunities to master skills, too?

Posted in Family, Martianne Stanger, Mommy Advice, Parenting Advice | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Keeping Our Kids Safe is a Team Effort

By: Jessica Aldred

Peanut Butter and Jelly. Chocolate. Ice Cream. Birthday Cake. These are just a few of the delicacies that my children enjoy without batting an eye. A PB&J is our go-to food of choice, actually, and I am fully aware of how lucky I am that (knock on wood) our family has come out virtually allergy free.

My eldest, at age 6, is capable of understanding the ramifications of one of his not-so-lucky friends consuming some of those foods he enjoys so easily. I can count three close friends off the top of my head with children that have not just food allergies, but SEVERE food allergeies. Having my son attend school with one of these children wasn’t burdensome, but rather was educational for him. He learned that having a food allergy was just another difference or sensitivity that his friend has that he should take the time to be cognizant of. food allergiesOf course while we encouraged him to embrace the differences of others and to be mindful of his actions when hanging out with this child, we have sheltered him a bit with regard to the implications of these children coming into contact with something they shouldn’t or needing to use the ever-looming Epi pen.

I like to consider myself a thoughtful person. I over think my actions and how they’ll affect others. While this can be a personality flaw at times, I think the parents of our allergic friends would be thankful to know how much thought I put into my daily travels and our consumption habits. My children will not have peanut butter on a day I know that they’re going to be seeing a friend with an allergy, and if by chance they do I am sure to thoroughly wash them up, change their shirt and scour them for any signs of allergens. I try to have an alternative at birthday parties or cookouts that these children can generally partake in so as not to exclude them in the festivities any more than absolutely necessary. And I’d never share a snack with a child without being sure that it was something they could enjoy without consequence.

I remember starting college, some 15+ years ago, and reading a plaque placed below a tree that was dedicated to a former student who had passed from an allergic reaction to nuts. At the time, it was the first exposure I had really had to the severity of some of these allergies. I remember being a bit confused, but it didn’t effect me so I moved on. As I’d pass that tree for the next few years I’d think of that girl and how difficult it must have been to keep her distance from such a common food product. Now, as a mother, I often think of her and her parents and how difficult their lives must have truly been in a time when allergens were not such a hot societal topic and not something so common that it has become a team effort for us to keep ALL our children safe.

Thankfully, my children do not have food allergies, but these days food allergies are a very big part of the world. Public schools are adopting allergy-friendly policies that keep all kids safe. Please understand that these policies are not an option, and they are not intended to make your lunch packing more difficult. They’re in place to keep all our children safe, happy and thriving in our schools. Because we have been around children with life threatening allergies, we understand their unique dietary needs. While at first this was confusing and scary, we now have a better understanding of what we need to do to keep these children safe from harm. In hopes of spreading a bit of awareness, I’ve combined minds with the parent of one of these children to compile a list of things to be aware of and little things you can to do help all our children thrive together.

  1. Sharing a ball, toy or jacket is not the same as sharing snacks/food. The teacher and adult are not always going to be watching. It is good to discuss differences with your child and make them aware that some kids eat different things. Tell them they aren’t being rude by not offering their best friend a yummy snack. They are keeping their friends healthy and safe from harm.
  2. Labels, labels, labels. All packaged food is required to contain some form of allergen information. When in doubt, read the label. If you are still confused after reading the label, save that food for home.
  3. Wipes- how did I ever survive without these? I’m pretty sure that even after my youngest is out of diapers I will still carry these things in my purse. Wiping your hands after eating solves lots of allergy issues and has an added bonus to keep us germ free, too!
  4. Asking questions- Do you have any allergies to food or things you eat? Allergy kids are trained from a very early age to avoid things they are allergic to. My friend’s daughter will gladly go through the list of things that affect her and she’s been able to do this since age 3.
  5. Allergy parents aren’t saying you have to change all that you do to accommodate them. An awareness of the allergies that could be around is all they are asking for. Although we make an effort to avoid those foods that my friends’ children are allergic to, it has never been a demand from their parents. At birthday parties they often bring their own cupcake or foods that she can have and does not inconvenience the party host at all.
  6. It doesn’t hurt to know how and when to use an Epi pen. Just pray hard you never have to put that knowledge to good use.
  7. If you send in any treats to school for the holidays check with the teacher to see if there are any food allergies first. Most schools ask you to avoid sending food items in at all but in case it is still allowed it is always good to ask first.
  8. If your child has a best friend who has food allergies, train them to keep an eye out for their buddy. Extra awareness is always welcome.
  9. Be an advocate for these children. Don’t let what is already a difficult lifestyle to maintain become a reason to shy away from or bully these children.
  10. Please keep in mind that this is not a dietary preference but a life threatening illness. Believe me, if they could rid themselves of these allergies they would.

Again, while this does not affect me directly it does affect us all. Keeping our kids safe should be our number one priority as a society. I’m sure each of us can list at least one person we know these days affected by allergies. If you ever find yourself frustrated or annoyed with the attention paid to these issues these days, think of your friend, family member or classmate and remember that this is even more frustrating or annoying to them. Embrace their differences and see how you can help the cause, rather than making the already difficult job of parenting these children even more challenging.

What are your tips for helping keep all our kids safe from food allergies?

Posted in Food, Health, Jessica Aldred | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Signature Healthcare’s Female Physicians

At Signature Healthcare, we thought that the Signature Moms Blog would be the perfect place to share our newest videos featuring several of our female physicians. (Check out our first batch here!) Once you watch these videos, you’ll see that our physicians listen to their patients and communicate with family members. It may seem old fashioned, but it still works.

Posted in Female Physicians, Health | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Flatten Out For Your Health

By: Kathy Trainor

Pink RibbonMost often, when woman hear the word “mammogram,” they think the following:

  1. I am not old enough.
  2. I really don’t want to go.
  3. I need to get there and get it done.

I fall under 1…2… and 3.

I am in my thirties. Many will say that you don’t need a mammogram until the age of 40 or older. I really don’t like to go. I really don’t like it at all.  Yet, I go every year, and flatten out for my health.

You see, not only do I have a very close friend who had a double mastectomy last year, my mom’s family has had breast cancer. This means we are watched closely. My grandmother was YOUNG – she was only in her thirties when she died of breast cancer. So, for my 21st birthday, my mom didn’t take me for my first drink; she took me for my first mammogram.

I was young, scared, and very rude about the whole day. I hated to have to skip deodorant. I hated that my mom was with me. I was 21…I could have driven myself. I hated the cold, dark room. I felt like I was violated when the woman grabbed a handful of my breast and put it on a cold, dark table and photographed me.

I sat there and thought to myself that I was fine, so I really didn’t need to do this. I wouldn’t even hear anything about my results. I was 21.

Then it happened, one week after my mammogram. I got a phone call. “We need to see you and you will need to have another mammogram.” I called my mom in a panic. This time, I needed her there. This time, I KNEW why my mom had wanted me to go so young.

We sat in front of my doctor and she explained that the tissue in my breast had some concerns. It was NOT cancer, but we needed to watch it and do a biopsy to get a better idea if we were looking at pre-cancerous tissue or just dense breast tissue.

I was in tears. I was thankful my mom was there, and I was mad that I had been immature about something so minor as a mammogram. I got my biopsy and my second mammogram, and within one month’s time I met with the doctor again.

She told me that I am at a higher risk due to family history and that I will need a yearly breast mammogram and lab work. We agreed and we understood that I was healthy for now, but that my health could change. I was ok for now and the pre-cancerous tissue didn’t need surgery. Now, I have gotten a mammogram every year for 15 years.

I CHALLENGE all women to get your monogram TODAY. It could save your life.

Posted in Health, Kathy Trainor, Mommy Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment