Catholic Pediatrics Blog

Turning Distress into Joy: Part II, Channeling

“A fine line separates our angels from our demons.”

Shane Neimeyer had just tried to hang himself. It, too, had failed. Like much of his life to that point, which had been spent in and out of state custody since his adolescent years, his road had hit a dead end. But in the depths of his despair, thoughts of a different kind surfaced, with one idea in mind: Ironman. Sitting in his straight jacket, awaiting sentencing as a homeless heroin addict, he had turned the pages of an endurance magazine to pass the time. As he began to read more about triathlons, there was something about the discipline, the drive, the pursuit of a difficult goal, which began to consume him. The thought entered his mind. Maybe he could be one of them. Maybe his life could change forever.

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What did you put in your family emergency kit?

When a category 4 tornado hit St. Louis in 2011, ripping the roof off our airport, I was home alone with three children and 7 months pregnant with my 4th.  Yet I knew we were safe in our fully stocked tornado shelter.  No, we don’t have a bunker in our backyard, we have a family emergency kit in our basement.  Being prepared for an emergency is neither difficult nor expensive, but it does require some advanced planning, especially for families with children.

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Nipple twiddling while nursing- how to stop the tweeks

I thought twice about writing on this topic– it seemed almost indecent– but many moms have nervously asked me to address this this embarrassing and annoying problem.  Breastfeeding babies often twiddle the other nipple while nursing, and breaking them of the habit is no easy task.  Many babies and toddlers continue nipple twiddling after weaning.  When you and your little one are ready, there are gentle ways to to stop the tweeks and give your nipples a break.

I must admit that I’ve lived this reality: two of my five children were nipple twiddlers.

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What are your family’s House Rules?

Our favorite family dinner is my husband’s homemade pizza, thin crust topped with mozzarella and Parmesan. But when that pizza hit the table, the fighting and jealousy would start. Eight little hands would scramble to get the biggest pieces and fill their plates before I had even sat down. One night, frustrated, I exclaimed, “Why are you all so jealous?”

They looked at me, stunned, like I was speaking a foreign language. Finally, a little voice came from the end of the table,

“What’s jealous?”

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Turning Distress into Joy: Part I, Forgiveness

On the night of January 21, 1995, Azim Khamisa’s life changed forever.  While delivering pizza, his 20-year-old son, Tariq Khamisa, was shot and killed by Tony Hicks, a 14-year-old gang member.  Set to be married to his girlfriend, Tariq would never see his wedding day.  Neither would his father.  Days and months went by, and Azim struggled to get out of bed, to even take the simplest steps towards the next day.  But as life dragged on, Azim began to sense that something extraordinary would have to occur in order for him to survive, and thrive again.  He would have to forgive his son’s kill

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Did Cindy Crawford go too far: Your child’s risk of PCBs

Cindy Crawford recently pulled her children out of Malibu high school, expressing concern that the school is contaminated with PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, a chemical known to cause cancer and a host of other health problems including neurological impairment.  This is not a problem limited to Malibu– many schools and public buildings built between the 1930’s and 1970’s are contaminated with PCBs, which were used in caulking and a variety of building materials.

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Enterovirus: Myth, Fact, and What's Really in the ER

sneezing child

Enterovirus has hit St. Louis early this year, and it’s hit us hard.  Enterovirus causes the common cold– a runny nose, sore throat, and sometimes fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle aches.  We usually see a surge of patients with viruses like this each fall, shortly after school starts, but this year the virus has hit early and hit hard.

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Babies after 40: Three moms’ stories

Recently I attended a delivery of a baby a baby born to a mother who was almost 50 years old.  I did a double-take when I saw her age on the chart– this was the oldest mother I had ever seen deliver.  Her baby, who had Down Syndrome, seemed like a miracle to her.

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Should Catholics Get the HPV Vaccine?

HPV, or the Human Papiloma Virus, is epidemic in the United States. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 24.5% of females in the United States aged 14 to 19 years are HPV positive. Among women 20-24 years old, an astounding 44.8% were positive. Given sad statistics like this, it’s no surprise that many people pushed hard for the development of the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix.

But now that we have vaccines, a raging debate has grown up around them. Parents especially express concerns about vaccine safety, parental autonomy, and the financial interest of vaccine manufacturers. So many parents ask me the question, “Why expose your child to a vaccine when virus can be prevented by abstinence?”

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The Day the Silence Died

Blue Bonnets at Big Bend

“When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, then society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate.” — Thomas Merton

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