Tag Archives: Village Pediatrics

COVID-19 Roundup: Restaurant Closures; Free Tax Service; Easter Bunny; Rebate $$ Answers; Staples Hoops; Much Much More!

As of 4:30 p.m. yesterday (Monday, March 30), Westport had 115 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 1 from the previous day. Weston had 24, up 3.

Of Connecticut’s 2,571 confirmed cases, the largest number continues to be in the 50-59 age group. The over-80 group has the highest rate of hospitalizations and deaths. Click here for a detailed look at the statewide spread of the disease.

Connecticut’s hospitals, nursing homes and medical facilities are in desperate need of medical volunteers. The state has embarked on a campaign to urge people with healthcare or medical backgrounds. Click here to register.


Rizzuto’s, Amis and Terrain restaurants have closed, until further notice. All had provided curbside and takeout dining during the coronavirus crisis.


As healthcare workers and first responders work tirelessly to keep us healthy, we should do the same for them.

“Mission Nutrition” helps. As described by Westporter Lisa Adelmann (whose husband and 2 brothers are local physicians), the goal is to deliver healthy care packages to hospitals, nursing homes, and police and fire departments around the country.

Packages contain protein shake mix, protein bars, energy and hydration drinks, and herbal tea. Some have hand cream.

To minimize human contact, each care package is assembled in a warehouse, and shipped directly to a hospital or first responder site.

Funds are needed. No donation is too small (or too big). To donate, Venmo @missionnutrition. Questions? Email donatetohelp.lisa@gmail.com.


The town of Westport now offers online tax preparation, with no in-person contact.

Volunteers — led by Westporter Mark Spivack — are the same IRS-certified tax preparers who have offered these services for years. The site is safely encrypted.

Users need a smartphone or computer, WiFi access, a working phone number and email address.

Though the US tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, many Westporters have time on their hands now to “be prepared.”

For more information and to access the service, click here.


Bill Vornkahl reports that although the Greens Farms Fire Company’s 69th annual Easter Egg Hunt has been canceled, the Easter Bunny will make rounds throughout town starting early afternoon on Sunday, April 12.

Be on the lookout for him! (Although, Bill says confidentially, Westport’s Bunny is really a her.)

Not the Greens Farms Volunteer Fire Company’s Easter Bunny. (Photo/Hannah Hall)


Need info on the federal government plan to distribute direct payments to individuals and families? Congressman Jim Himes sends along this link to frequently asked questions. To learn more, call his office: 203-333-6600.


Linda Hall offers a special shout-out to Sue Pfister: “My parents never expected the Senior Center director to be their Meals on Wheels delivery person. But last week, there Sue was — by herself, in a downpour.” Thank you, Sue!

Sue Pfister (seated, right), at her beloved Senior Center.


Staples High School Class of 2011 graduate Nicki Brill now works as a middle school math teacher.

She says she is “lucky to be healthy and quarantined with my family.” She wants to recruit volunteers to help neighbors in need.

Click here for her form for healthy volunteers. Click here if you should not leave home (immunocompromised, older, other pre-existing conditions, quarantined). and need help with groceries or errands.

Looking to help in other ways? Click here for a link to many great ideas.

Nicky Brill


Village Pediatrics posted this, on social media. Their “kids” do grow up!

(Dr. Nikki Gorman adds, “We really need these, to use as reusable masks over our N95s that we can wash daily with the new washer dryer we are installing in our office — and for patients’ parents and some patients who could be asymptomatic carriers of COVID.”)


COVID-19 put a brutal end to the Staples High School girls basketball team’s magical season, just hours before the state semifinal game tipped off.

Senior co-captain Marisa Shorrock wrote about that emotional end for The Ruden Report. I reposted her insightful story on “06880.”

ESPN got into the act. Her essay was featured on the sports network.

Then last night, the entire team got a shout-out on ESPN’s Senior Moments feature. Scott Van Pelt did the honors — and quoted from Marisa’s story.

It’s not the state championship they probably would have won. But it’s nice to get a bit of well-deserved national recognition! Click below (skip to 1:44, if all you care about are our Wreckers).

(Hat tip: Russell and Don Kubie)

 


A bogus website claims that the Greens Farms post office is closed. (Here it is — but don’t click on any links inside it. You can never be too safe!)

The cute little post office by the train station is not closed. They’re still open, still serving customers in their homey, neighborhood way. Officials are aware of the fake site, but have been unable to shut it down.

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)


Though the awards ceremony for TEAM Westport’s annual teen diversity essay contest is postponed, the group — town’s multicultural committee — has announced the 3 finalists.

Staples High School seniors Sahiba Dhindsa and Zachary Terrillion, and sophomore Victoria Holoubek-Sebok, are in the running for prizes of $1,000, $750 and $500.

This year’s prompt asked teens to describe experiences involving stereotypes focused on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, and consider steps that organizations, schools or individuals could take to counteract those stereotypes.


Westport musician Jon Saxon has performed for the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce at Supper & Soul and the Levitt Pavilion.

Tonight at 8 p.m. he livestreams a 30-minute concert. Click here for the Zoom link. The meeting ID is 901 431 6011.

It”s free — but he encourages donations during the show (or any time!) to benefit Yale New Haven Hospital. Click here to contribute.


Many supermarkets take strong measures to guard against COVID’s spread. Stew Leonard’s goes extra far. They’ve put Plexiglas shields on all registers and express lines, and at the customer service and coffee departments. Their hot and cold bar food is all pre-packaged now, and employees serve hot food and soup.


And finally, I love the song “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers. This isn’t it. (It’s a lot less Scottish, for one thing.) But it’s almost as good.

Pediatricians: How To Manage Kid And Adult Stress

As the reality of COVID-19 sets in — and Westporters realize just how isolating “social distancing can be” — emotions run high.

Like many doctors, Westport’s Village Pediatrics group recognizes the wide range of issues facing children and parents. Here’s their advice: 

As we slowly adjust to the new normal of isolating and “social distancing,” emotions run the gamut.

Anxiety seems to be at the forefront of much of what we’re experiencing: How are we going to manage this? Have I been exposed? What if I get sick? What if a family member gets sick? How long will I have to worry about this? What’s going to happen to my job/retirement fund/vacation plans?

We are inundated with unknowns. All the while, we’re being advised to keep our children at home and isolate ourselves from the world around us. This request alone is enough to send many parents into a state of panic.

If you’ve been in a grocery store in the past week and laid eyes on the empty shelves, you can see evidence of this panic in action. Which serves only to increase our sense of panic!

So how can we manage, as parents and as individuals with our own emotional needs?

First, let’s acknowledge that life as we know it will be different, indefinitely. We will have to adjust to this new normal. We are wired to resist change. But allowing ourselves to fall into a place of acceptance — “ride the wave,” “go with the flow,” etc. — will help reduce the feeling of stress and worry.

Clearly, this is easier said than done. But the more we do this, the more “normal” it will feel.

Families on Pheasant Lane practice social distancing. (Photo/Adam Goldberg)

Here are ways to help embrace this new normal, as both parents and individuals, and manage the anxiety that comes with it:

Turn off the news and disconnect from social media for as long as you need and as long as you can — certainly before bed! Unfollow people and mute groups whose posts you find particularly unsettling.

Engage in calming activities: meditation, yoga, stretching, moving your body.

Take advantage of technology: schedule FaceTime parties with family and friends, and with friends of your children. Stay connected to others this way.

Get outdoors! Spring is coming. The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. It’s nature’s way of reminding us of the cycle of things. Get outside and go for a nature walk. Notice where flowers are poking through the dirt and what kinds of birds you hear chirping. Fresh air is amazingly therapeutic.

Spring can’t come soon enough!

Slow down!: Anxiety has been rampant in our society far longer than anybody had ever heard of a novel coronavirus. This is a chance to reset and reconnect with our passions, and take a break from the everyday grind that raises our stress level constantly. Forced downtime can be a gift!

Show yourself grace. Be kind to yourself. These are unsettled times. It’s okay to feel worry. Accept these feelings and take comfort in knowing you’re not alone in them.

Engage in self-care activities. Find time for yourself each day — even if this means setting an alarm before the kids get up each morning for a cup of coffee or a workout session in silence. Focus on eating nourishing food and on getting as good sleep as you can.

Reach out to loved ones, and share your worries and frustrations. Venting is incredibly effective at helping reduce overwhelming feelings.

Seek professional guidance and support if you need it. This situation can leave many feeling overwhelmed in many areas. If you feel as though you’re having a hard time managing your stress level/anxiety/fear on your own, mental health professionals are available by phone or videoconferencing. You can reach out to the office for names of local clinicians who are able to provide this service. (If you have a therapist, please reach out to see if teletherapy is available.)

Teletherapy is getting a big boost these days.

Here are some ways to help our children manage this time of uncertainty:

Create new routines for both yourself and your family. Maintaining consistency of meals and bedtimes is important. Many people feel more secure and in better control when they have a routine for the day. Many sample schedules are floating around on social media. For some people, these schedules are a godsend; for others they serve to increase anxiety unnecessarily. Go with what works for you. However, it is important to remember that children benefit from structure and predictability, especially when the typical school routine is upset.

One way to create some structure while managing the “how much longer?” anxiety of school closures and self-containment (this can work with children of all ages once they are aware of the alphabet or color names) is to practice “Alphabet Days.” Beginning whatever day makes sense for you, start with the letter A and focus activities around that letter (Art! Acting! FaceTiming a friend whose name starts with A! Eating apples! Watching movies and discovering songs that start with A!) for each day until either you get to Z or (fingers crossed) the containment request is lifted.

If self-containing must continue beyond 26 days, next up can be “Color Days”—pick a color of the rainbow and focus on activities/foods/games that are associated with that color. This will take some planning and creativity but, even if not followed exactly, it can help kids understand the length of time of quarantine in way that makes sense to them.

Go outside with the kids. Play ball, blow bubbles, draw in the driveway with chalk, ride bikes, count the animals you see, listen to the sounds you hear, look for budding plants and trees.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Schedule FaceTime parties. Reach out to family members and friends. Plan to engage in the same project or activity together. Younger kids can do a craft together, show each other their favorite toys or lovies, and give video tours of their bedrooms. Older children can watch the same movie together, read book chapters to each other, play “I Spy” games, have scavenger hunts (“Find something in your living room that’s blue”), etc.

Seek out resources on social media. A number of educational companies have made much of their material accessible either free or at very low cost. Many parents have taken it upon themselves to crowdsource ideas about how to fill the days. There are some brilliant ideas available. If you’re having a hard time finding things, ask friends. Chances are they’ve come across ideas that they’ll be happy to share. You can also follow Dr. Lindsay’s professional page (Lindsay Blass, Psy.D.) on Facebook for regular updates and ideas.

Access educational resources — but don’t fret if it feels unmanageable. Our dedicated teachers and staff have worked hard to provide students access to the curriculum while schools are closed indefinitely. Do your best to get your children engaged in learning activities appropriate for their grade level — but do not stress if you’re met with resistance from them. The best we can do is try. Some kids love the daily activities and structure. Others will avoid at all costs. If nothing else, make sure reading is happening each day in some capacity, whether it be by them or to them.

Create house projects. Pick a room a day and see what you can all do in it to make it cleaner/neater/more comfortable. This can be an opportunity to clean out old toys, organize closets, remove and donate old clothes, etc.

Here are some great resources parents can turn to for guidance and support, and for activities that can help keep children engaged and active:

Child Mind Institute: wonderful mental health resource with great articles on a range of topics related to child development and psychology www.childmind.org

Go Noodle: fun videos and songs that encourage kids to get their bodies moving www.gonoodle.com

Scholastic is providing educational curricula for home-based learning www.scholastic.com

Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube has great videos to get kids moving mindfully

This link will take you to a Google doc with dozens of activities to keep children occupied:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1o6kEgCKLn3cyIm2hehhhSTIk7yRTd0C3zx49JS4wwCI/preview?fbclid=IwAR2z3UkHWHrFDGnkZvJB9URJQ4fNEoykSi2FZsJVzR6cab_iJEyZS8O0DO0

Don’t be afraid to reach out. As isolating as this feels, it truly does take a village, and none of us is alone in this!

(Hat tip: Stacey Henske)

Pic Of The Day #1052

13-year-old Lexi Gay took this photo of a beautiful cardinal this morning, from Village Pediatrics overlooking the Saugatuck River.

Pic Of The Day #1025

“Story Walk” on Riverside Avenue, behind Village Pediatrics. It’s great entertainment for kids — and their parents.

Storywalk: The Sequel

The wooden walkway behind the Riverside Avenue medical complex is beautiful any time of year. It’s especially lovely in October.

Village Pediatrics takes full advantage. They’ve created a story walk there. They  laminate pages of a popular children’s story, then mount them on pylons behind their office.

Children and parents love it. So do random walkers and joggers of all ages.

Unfortunately — as “06880” reported last month — someone stole a story walk. Hard to believe why anyone would want to do that — or even think of it — but it happened.

Fortunately, the pediatricians were not deterred. They found a great story — The Hallo-Wiener — that’s perfect for the upcoming Halloween holiday kids love. (And dentists hate.)

It’s fully laminated, mounted on pylons, and ready for everyone to enjoy.

Except, hopefully, the Grinch who stole the last one.

Coleytown Middle School 7th grader Sophia Lomnitz enjoys the new story walk.

Case Of The Missing Story Walk

Village Pediatrics is a full-service practice.

As part of their mission to connect young patients and their parents, the pediatricians laminate children’s books. They spread them on pylons along the length of their very cool walkway over the Saugatuck River, behind their Riverside Avenue office.

Kids and adults enjoy the story — and the gorgeous view.

They’re not the only ones. Joggers, dog walkers and others also like them too.

The riverwalk behind 323 Riverside Avenue.

The book choices are not random. The Village staff carefully reflects the season, or something relevant to the time of year. Around Election Day, for example, they displayed “Duck for President.”

Recently, they changed the story walk. “The Kissing Hand” is a beautiful book about a raccoon nervous for his first day of school. His mother teaches him that they are always connected — even when they’re physically apart.

Many youngsters and parents appreciated it, as they got ready for school to begin.

An illustration from “The Kissing Hand.”

The other day though, the pediatricians looked out their window. The story walk was gone!

They also had a small live cam taped to one of the pylons, so everyone in the office could watch the swans rotate and eventually hatch their eggs. That camera was taken too.

They’ve asked “06880” to help. Please return “The Kissing Hand” and/or the camera — no questions asked.

Village Pediatrics wants our entire village to enjoy the book!

Cygnets And Swans Teach Lessons Of Life

Doctors Nikki Gorman, Jenn Gruen and Robin Abramowicz have helped thousands of babies grow up healthy and strong.

But when it comes to swans, all they can do is watch.

Fortunately, they’ve got a great vantage point.

Village Pediatrics‘ office is on Riverside Avenue. Nearby — on the banks of the Saugatuck River — a swan built a large nest.

The doctors were fascinated. So were their patients. Many headed to the adjacent boardwalk, for a closer look.

The pediatricians set up a video cam, with a live feed. Kids and their parents monitored the progress of the eggs — and then the birth of a few cygnets.

The Saugatuck River swan, with 3 cygnets.

On Tuesday, Jennifer Seymour, her husband and their sons ate dinner at Rive Bistro.

Suddenly, the swan family paddled by.

But the Semours’ excitement turned to sadness when they saw only one cygnet trailing the 2 adults swans. There were several more cygnets earlier that day.

Jennifer notes, “There are big lessons here on life, death, grieving and nature, to be tackled for patients and their parents.”