Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The color of your urine

At some point in my twenties, I learned that my urine should always be really light yellow - never dark. I vividly remember reading that but can't recall where. For some reason, out of all the health advise I've collected (and forgotten) over the years, that piece has stayed with me: If the color is too dark, you need to drink more water.

I keep a reusable water bottle at my desk which I fill every morning. And my water drinking routine begins: Open emails (take a sip), go to a meeting (sip, sip, sip), come back from the bathroom (sip)...until all the water is gone.

I was happy to learn that after all these years, this one guideline still holds true about water consumption.

Now I have to figure out how to teach my son to check his pee color.

Let me explain: I have noticed during the summer months that as he plays outside, he doesn't always realize that he is hot and thirsty. (He's distracted by all that fun, I guess.) So, he needs a signal to see that his body needs more water.

Since he is six, this may be a good time to introduce the concept of checking urine color: Body functions are still fascinating to him, and since I finally see him closing the bathroom door more often than not, I want to have him continue his journey of complete bathroom independence.

But then again, teaching your child to check their pee color may be too weird.

I'm open to suggestions, though: How do you help your child realize they need to drink more water when you aren't with them for the majority of their day? Tell me in the comments.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting to bed on time

It's 7:30 pm. Let the battle begin.

Let's say (for fun) that I can somehow get my son upstairs to start his bedtime routine at 7:30 pm (without the stalling, last-minute things he absolutely "has" to tell me and without any whining). Let's just say that happened. What follows is a series of check-ins. Did you flush? (Oops.) Did you wash your hair? (Not yet.) Are you dried off? (I'm about to do that.) Have you brushed your teeth? (You didn't tell me I had to do that!)

On a good night, we are in his room at 8 pm, ready for him to search for the perfect book to read to each other before I leave his room at 8:30 pm.

The entire bedtime routine is an hour long process that feels much, much longer.

So, maybe it's a struggle, but it's worth it. Not only do I want him to get to bed on time so that he has enough sleep, but I want him to get to bed on time to help him dodge any weight gain or other health issues that may be associated with a later bedtime

I have tried starting the routine earlier (which doesn't always work with our two-parent working lifestyle), lists to help him move through his routine (varying success/failure rate) and kept the routine the same for several years. They don't help speed the bedtime process along, because one thing is fundamentally clear:

No child wants to go to bed.

So, I will continue to prod him through his routine, until someone has a better idea.

What's your trick to get through the nightly bedtime routine? Tell me in the comments. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Stressing out right after your vacation

I think by now, most Americans realize they don't take enough vacation. There are plenty of stories out there telling us we don't use all our vacation time, and polls measuring how many people are going to take a vacation this year and even reminders that vacations actually boost productivity in employees when they return to work. The prevalence of these stories tend to increase in the summertime, but you can readily find that several are published every year.

I try to be a good role model for my employees and take my vacation days, because I want them to know it is expected that they take time away from work. Even better, I do not work on my vacation - I let those emails pile up in my inbox while I'm away.

And I do return feeling refreshed. But then, I open my inbox and instantly feel behind. And that causes stress.

I understand why some people say that they don't take vacations because of work: There are not always people on hand to back you up and when you return, you feel like there is a mountain of work waiting for you. So why bother to go at all?

And yet, I still go on vacation. Vacation is my time with family or friends. My time to explore the world a little. And those things are important. The work can wait.

Do you plan on taking a vacation this year? Tell me in the comments why or why not.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Play that funky music, momma

I like upbeat music. I listen to it when I run, when I am cooking and when I am cleaning. It puts me in a happy mood, which is always a good thing.

My wonderful husband used to be in a band, and his musical tastes tend to run heavier. I had a friend once refer to his music choices as "angry guy punk." (In fairness, my husband doesn't play this music very often in our son's hearing, as the lyrics are sometimes questionable.)

I have noticed that our son leans toward liking the same music that I like. He even refers to it as "happy music" and often asks me to add whatever song I am featuring to his playlist on my iPod.

Our taste in music is not innate, as researchers are currently learning. It is completely shaped by our experiences and exposure. The exposure is something that I have to keep in mind for my son.

So, I'll play my music, but I've been expanding the decades to include songs from every era. He can now come downstairs all sleepy-eyed in the morning to hear "Chain of Fools" by Arethra Franklin (which lyrically is not very happy, but the musicality of the song is fantastic) and start dancing with me in the kitchen.

And you know how much I love to dance in the kitchen.

So, now I am on the lookout for great music from every age. As long as it keeps us happy.

What music preferences have your children developed? Are they similar to yours? Tell me in the comments.