Friday, May 30, 2014

Waking up with bears

It is 6:10 am. Bear number one's alarm goes off. He ignores it and rolls over. About 10 minutes later, I attempt to wake bear number two. He asks me to go away and come back in five minutes.

I'm surrounded by bears.

I'm a bee. I know that about myself. I buzz around in the mornings: going for a run, making lunches, taking care of our needy cat and finishing various chores. But bees and bears don't get along in the morning.

You see, bees like the mornings. We learn new things, catch the best meals and generally get stuff done. Bears, as we all learned in elementary school, hibernate. And, it takes about three weeks for a bear to completely wake from its hibernation.

I'm not trying to turn my bears into bees. I understand circadian rhythms and that I can't change that about my guys. What I am working for is easier mornings with a few less growls. My husband has struggled with mornings for his whole life. But, I still have hope for my son, who used to be an early bee like me.

So, this is what I've been trying to help my son wake up better:
  • Make sure he gets enough sleep. This seems obvious, but if he goes to bed late, than he is harder to wake up in the morning. 
  • Make morning fun again. I play happy music, tell him stories and jokes to get him talking to me and help him get out of bed.
  • Keep his routine to the basics. Bedtime routines work for a reason - the repetition is comforting. But I need to keep his morning routine simple.
  • Wake him up earlier. This was actually Papa Bear's idea. He said that bears need the extra time to get moving in the morning. That's when I moved his wake-up time from 6:45 to 6:20.
  • Let him eat. I used to make my son wait until school where he is served breakfast, but I have found that bacon or sausage or blueberry bars are a big motivator. As long as he doesn't overeat at school, this works great.
As a bee, I'll never really understand what my bears go through in their struggle to wake up every morning. I do know that stinging them and bugging them into action doesn't help. Instead, I'll buzz around them and make their way a little easier.

Now...if I could just help out my coworkers.

Who are the bees and the bears in your household? Do you have any tips for making mornings easier? Tell me in the comments.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I wouldn't trust a "Bambi" to do my taxes

We all make associations with people based off their names. For example, I don't think "handyman" when I am introduced to guys with names like Trevor or Preston. And I don't think "financial genius" when I meet a woman named Bambi or Sequoia. Am I instantaneously judging people based off their name without actually getting to know them first?

Yes. And I'm sorry, but it happens. (And, I suspect I am not alone in this.)

It turns out that I may also be more or less trusting of a person based on the way a name is pronounced. A U.K. study found that people with easier-to-pronounce names were judged as being more familiar and trustworthy than their counterparts who had harder to pronounce names.

The study doesn't indicate whether this is equally true of first names as it is for last. I had a relatively hard-to-pronounce maiden name (at least, upon first glance). So, when I married and took my husband's last name did my perceived trustworthy factor rise a few degrees as well?

Last week I posted Time's fun baby name predictor which helps parents determine when their potential perfect baby name may hit peak popularity. I understand a parent wanting a unique name for their child, but maybe this research adds another layer. Can you have a one-of-a-kind name that is still easy enough to pronounce that it won't trip up every substitute teacher during roll call?

Everyone has a name story from when they were growing up: I recall that it was always easy for me to determine when a telemarketer was on the phone as their would be a pause before they attempted my last name. What's your name story? Share it with me in the comments.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Why you should call your mother

There is a parody tea mug on my desk that says: Keep Calm and Call Mom. And there is a lot of truth to that.

It's no secret that I love my Mom. But I wasn't aware of how often I reach out to her when I need some reassurance, until I read this study by the folks at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Researchers placed a group of young girls into a stressful situation - doing some advanced math in front of a panel of strangers - and then either allowed them to get a hug from their mom, talk to their mom on the phone or watch a video beforehand. The girls who got some interaction from their mothers did significantly better.

The science behind the experiment indicates that the girls' levels of oxytocin rose significantly with their mom interaction and helped wipe out the stress-inducing cortisol hormones.

So maybe all those times I called my Mother from college before finals was my way to get some verbal reassurance and a better balance in my hormonal levels - even if I didn't know it at the time. And maybe when I call her today, it's not just because I want to hear her voice or see what she has been up to, but because my life is a little crazy and I need my Mom.

Because Moms are amazing. (Thanks, Mom!)

Call your mother - tell her I said hi - and tell me if you feel better in the comments.

Monday, May 26, 2014

How long can you ignore your phone?

I'd like to issue a long-overdue apology to each of the five roommates I had in college: I'm sorry that I did not answer the phone when it was ringing. I knew that it drove you crazy, but I was absorbed in something else/didn't feel like talking to anyone, and thus, did not answer the phone.

But, I understand that most people aren't wired that way: Their phone rings and they answer it. It beeps and they answer it. Even when they are on the road.

And that is what worries me.

A University of Michigan study has announced that 90 percent of parents drive while distracted. Distractions include everything from eating, personal grooming and cell-phone related activities while driving. 

Last November, I posted the results from a similar distracted driver study done in Australia and wondered if the results from the U.S. would be about the same. They aren't. Australia distracted drivers hovers around only 20 percent.

So, back to that ringing/beeping/buzzing phone in the car. Let me ask you something: Exactly how many times has it been an emergency when you've answered it? Do you really need to answer that phone at that moment in the car or can you wait for a few minutes until you can either pull over or arrive at your destination?

I know that things won't change overnight, but I think this is a worthy cause to get behind. I, for one, do not want to be in the emergency room with my child, having to confess that the cause of the accident was that I was answering my phone.

Tell me how long you can ignore your phone (if it is really important, they will leave a message): Through your commute home? Or, at least until you get to a stop light? Let me know how you plan to be a safer driver in the comments.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Changing your inner Mommy-logue

The following snippets are actual lines I've heard other mothers say:
  • I don't let my daughter watch TV, I'm a mean Mommy.
  • I'm not crafty at all - my poor child will have no idea how to be creative.
  • My son is so unhappy with me because I'm so tired by the time I get home, I don't want to play trucks with him.
  • We don't really decorate or make a big deal out of the holidays - I'm like the worst Mommy ever.
  • I have no idea how you have time for planning parties like that - your kids are so lucky; mine are stuck with me for a Mother.
What's the monologue inside your head sound like? Positive or Bad Mommy negative? 

To all those women who have said those phrases to me, I've usually pulled them aside and told them three wonderful things about who they are as a person (not just as a Mom). Because we are not bad Mommies - we are tired sometimes and sometimes we burn dinner, we feel pressure to keep up with those other Moms in our social circles, and we feel horribly stressed when we can't maintain a work/life balance.

But we are human. And we are not perfect. And we are all wonderful in our own way.

So, I am challenging you to change your own inner Mommy-logue and make it a more positive dialogue. Because, if you are going to talk to yourself, at least you should enjoy the conversation. Here are my tips for staying positive:
  • So what if that other Mother can do something better than you can? Make a list of at least five things that you are amazing at. Repeat it to yourself as necessary.
  • Make up an insane/silly family tradition and celebrate it. Fun traditions are the ones that make the best memories.
  • If you aren't good at something, either learn how to do it better or expand your network. For example: I'm a miserable camper, but that's why the world invented the Boy Scouts.
  • Recognize that you are human. We all get tired, cranky or grumpy from time to time. You want your child to know that you are not perfect and it is OK. 
  • Remember that your child loves you because you are his/her Mom. And no one is going to replace you in their heart.
Tell me how you are going to replace your "I'm a bad Mommy" thoughts with "happy Mom" thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Life in large families

I have one child. That's it. Because I have one child, studies tell me that because he is the eldest (and the only), he will be very mature before his time, as he primarily interacts with my husband and myself. Recent research also indicates that if he were born female, he would have an even higher likelihood of success than he does now. 

My son doesn't have other siblings to teach things to or to boss around (although he does enjoy bossing around the cat). With only one child, our family is under the average number of children per family in our country, although we are spot on for living in Taiwan. (Note to husband: I do not want to move to Taiwan.)

I often wonder, though, what my son's life would be like if he suddenly had a large number of siblings. My Mother has told me in the past that she wanted six children. (Which would have made her an excellent candidate for living in Burundi.)

I know about the challenges that all parents face (potty training, tempers, learning to negotiate), but I imagine there are additional factors at stake with larger families. Most parents are faced with time and money issues, but if our family was larger, I probably wouldn't have a paying job as I would be a full-time stay-at-home-mom. With more children in the household, I might also have less time for my son as it would be divided among other children. We would also probably own a van.

Then there are the less obvious challenges: A recent study from Australia suggests that children from big families do worse in school. I'm not sure if those results are replicated in other countries, but after reading the study, it seems that most of this is caused by teacher bias.

And that part I can understand. My brother and I are three years apart, and every time I entered a new classroom, the teacher/nun would let me know that she taught my older brother. 

This was slightly annoying, as it meant that I had to make sure to differentiate myself from my brother. Maybe I was too competitive as a child, but I wanted to be more than "my brother's little sister."

Now that we are older, I don't feel the same pressure. My brother has his family and life and I have mine. We meet up for holidays at our Mother's house and watch our children play together. I am truly happy for the joys in their life and I try to celebrate our differences.

For now, my husband and I are happy with our single son. We want him to forge his own path - in school and in life. 

For those of you with "larger" families - what unexpected challenges have you faced as you grow your family?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Good-bye Sophia; hello, Emma

One of the most fun pre-baby activities my husband and I enjoyed was choosing a baby name. Of course, since my husband and I were together for a really long time before getting married and having a baby, we had the conversation on baby names long before we were ready to have children.

Like most couples, we devised a method that worked for us to narrow down the selection: We eliminated the names of any exes and family members from our list (which was a surprisingly large number of names), and then focused on the names that would have a special meaning to us. We also tried hard to avoid "trendy" names from the past few years, so that our child would be uniquely named in the classroom.
Time magazine has revealed a really useful tool to help with that last part of the baby name search. The baby name predictor looks at the cyclical nature of children's names and predicts when a name has peaked and when it may become popular again. For example, the tool suggests that the current number one girl's name of Sophie is on its way out to be replaced by Emma. Of course, there are always outliers - a sudden surge due to national prominence of a name (think Khaleesi or Miley), - but overall, the tool gives you a good idea of where the name is in its normal cycle.

I've been playing with this tool for hours. I've learned that my son's name actually peaked a few years after he was born but is on a steady decline. I've learned that my name peaked in 1989 (my parents were ahead of the curve on that one). And I've learned that my husband's name probably won't peak again until 2023. I've even learned that Maude - the name of one of my favorite blogs (Modern Maude) last peaked in 1882. (She is one of a kind!)

Have fun playing with the tool and let me know when your name peaked and when it is destined for a comeback in the comments.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The right to be forgotten

There is a history podcast that I listen to (mostly in my car). In addition to telling me little-known stories about famous rulers, the podcast also spins tales about lesser-known figures. Sometimes the details that are included astound me - what people ate, how they spent their free time and even the exact reasons for their deaths. (It seems there are a lot of historians and even forensic scientists who study past lives to figure out how people died.)

But occasionally, the history podcast will say something like "this person faded into obscurity," and I find myself surprised that it isn't said more often. I enjoy the level of details recorded and pieced together on ordinary citizens: Government records, letters, journals and newspapers all hold clues to that person's life.

Of course, today, we have social media and blogs to provide intricate details of our daily lives to whomever wants to read them. But what if you want your details erased? What if you want to be the person who fades into obscurity? Is that possible today?

It doesn't look likely in the U.S., but it does look like a possibility for citizens in the European Union, where the right to privacy is under stricter protection. Earlier this month, the European Court of Justice ordered links leading to articles on the foreclosure and auction of a Spanish man's home be stricken from Google's search engine.

I am really intrigued by this idea, which is often referred to as the right to be forgotten. Shouldn't we have more control over our personal data, including its deletion? Of course, I'm not referring to the data used in background checks or run-ins with the law, but more along the lines of the content we put online once, but wished we hadn't.

What links would you want to see stricken from a search result connected to your name? (You don't have to share that answer with me in the comments.) But, I'd like to know what you think - what personal data would you want to have access to and what should remain public?

Friday, May 16, 2014

They keep changing the math

In my nightmares, I am sitting at a too-small desk, faced with a series of computations. I have to solve for x...but I have no idea how to do the work.

Math is not my strong suit. Don't get me wrong, I can do it - algebra, geometry, even some calculus - but I don't enjoy it. I plodded my way through my required math classes, made my good grades and then was happy when I didn't have to take any more of them. I remember some of the concepts being hard, but I eventually got them.

One thing I don't remember is getting lots of math homework help from my parents. But this could be a failing of my memory: I am sure my parents helped me when I was little (thanks, Mom and Dad!), but when I got older, I either stopped asking or maybe they couldn't do the math.

You see, I didn't understand when I was little, but the school system had changed the way they taught math between the time my parents went to school and the time I went to school. And with the common core standards in math, it has changed again, making it difficult for parents to help with math homework.

This is frustrating - parents could help their children do the math the way they were taught, but not the new way. Why? Why change the way we do math?

But maybe I should be thankful for the new math. After all, this will keep me from ever trying to do my son's homework. A recent study on family interactions with schools has shown that parents who review their child's work or attempt to do it for them, actually end up harming children's overall test scores.

So, what will I say to my son when he needs help solving for x? I always thought of math as a finite subject - one answer. But, I guess in this case, Mommy's old skills don't apply.

Maybe he'll end up teaching me some new skills. 

What was your favorite subject at school? What about the one that was the hardest for you? Tell me in the comments.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spending time with my "other" family

I love my husband and son. I enjoy our adventurous weekends, inside jokes and our Family Nights together. I often wish there were more hours in the day so I could spend more time with them.

But, let's face it. I'm a full-time working mommy. I spend most of my time with my work family. And, I love that family, too, just in a different way.

I am lucky. I work with an incredible team of people. It is one of the most supportive groups I've ever been a part of. We work in an always-on-deadline atmosphere, but we boost one another's spirits when needed and are always there to act as a safety net. We are a bi-coastal team, but we do fun activities together and it never feels like half the team is on the other side of the country.

It is an incredible working environment. And that is one of the reasons I think some of the things we do to strengthen our team at work can be used to strengthen my family. There are already plenty of articles about parenting skills being incorporated into the office, let's turn that around to see how work skills can be used in the home:
  1. Have each other's back. My husband and I are a team. I know that if I fail to do something, he'll pick up the slack. That kind of teamwork is a great example for our son.
  2. Present a unified front. A good team works as one, with one voice and toward a common goal. It shouldn't matter if that goal is deciding what fun activity to do on a Saturday or conquering the yard work.
  3. Excel at communication. Communication should be beyond "what's for dinner?" and "how was your day?" We try to share stories at dinnertime and ask our son to share about his day, too.
  4. Make work fun. Admittedly, not everyone at home enjoys my "Does this belong here?" game, but we do try to incorporate whimsy into our day. Sometimes dinosaurs come out and play and pirates have adventures in our household.
  5. Express gratitude. We tell each other thank you and find opportunities to make each other smile. Both of these things boost our moods as well as the other person's.
  6. Know when to take off. We all need a break from work. Take a break from your family when you need to, as well. You'll have a much better perspective when you return.
What aspects of your working life can you bring into your home life? Tell me in the comments.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dealing with the H-word

My son is very, very angry with me. He shouts at me and stomps his feet. When I don't react to that, he narrows his eyes, lowers his voice and says, "I hate you, Mommy."

I have his school to thank for that.

You see, my husband and I are very careful not to swear in front of our son. If we do let a bad word slip, we ignore it in the hopes that he will do the same. Even though we are careful, I am pretty sure that his little sponge-like mind has already absorbed some bad words through other people. But I'm not worried about it; I know if he uses them, he is just trying to get my attention. A recent paper in the American Journal of Psychology indicates that when children use "bad words" they are trying to express emotion. 

Keeping children from saying a word gives it power. And my son loves having a little bit of power. (You should hear him boss around the cat.)

So, back to the school. You see, one of his teachers told the class that "we don't say 'hate' because it's a bad word." This is contrary to what my son was taught at home - that "hate" is the opposite of "love." Nothing more; nothing less.

So, when my son told me that he hated me, I only had one option and I took it. I crouched down to his level and said, "That's a shame that you feel that way. I just want you to know though, that I will always love you." And I gave him a kiss on the top of the head and walked away.

About 5 minutes later he followed me into the family room and gave me a hug and told me he was sorry. I took the power out of the word for him.

Now, if I could just figure out how to remove the power from the word, "poopyhead."

What "bad" words do you try to get your children to not say?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Encounters with strangers and eating lunch

Little things in life are important. That statement shouldn't need an explanation, but I'll provide one anyway: 

There's this amazing deli I visit near my office around once a week. Seriously, the chicken salad sandwiches are incredible - not too wet, not too chunky, just light, zesty and sweet. I should know because I get the chicken sandwiches every week, whether I order them or not.

Over the couple of years I've visited this deli, I've ordered the same meal enough times that it has become my usual. So now, when the owners see me in line, they just make it for me and it is ready by the time I hit the counter. And, it absolutely doesn't matter to me if I wanted to order something different: The chicken salad is so amazing, I will accept it every time. On the whole, it is unbelievably great service. And a little thing, like a great lunch, can turn my whole day around.

Getting a great meal is where the relationship with this deli ends. I am fairly certain that they are not Googling me in their spare time.

But there is at least one restaurant that is researching its guests online before they arrive, and you can read about it here. The restaurant uses its guests' social media profiles to find out as much information about them as possible to take service one step further. Instead of, "Hi, my name is Lauren and I'll be taking care of you this evening; would you like to hear the specials?" you get "Hi, my name is Lauren and I also went to the same college that you did; did you happen to have Dr. Loftus, too?" 

For me, this is taking the little things in life a little to far: To be greeted with a "Happy Birthday" by my coworkers is lovely and sweet; to hear total strangers greet me that way would freak me out.

I find, however, that my privacy boundaries are becoming more relaxed with near strangers. There are people who work tangentially on projects with me at work who show up in my "See who's looking at your profile on LinkedIn" messages. (And sometimes I even see profiles from readers of my blogs.)

So, I wonder what my son's boundaries will be like as he gets older. Since he is little, we distinguish between the differences of privacy and sharing, of talking to strangers but not leaving with them. But before I know it, he will eventually be old enough to have his own social media accounts. What lessons can I teach him now to make sure he maintains a balance between openness and privacy that is comfortable for him?

It's all a series of questions in an ongoing conversation. For now, I should focus on the little things in life. Like an amazing lunch.

What little joy in life are you celebrating today?

Friday, May 9, 2014

The childhood memories that fade

My son is telling me a story. It is a story about a day he spent just with me because Daddy was on a motorcycle trip. He tells me about the fun that we had during the day, including doing yoga together, making some blueberry oatmeal bars, cleaning the house, playing some board games together and then reading a new book together.

There was nothing special about the day - it was just a normal Saturday, but here's the thing: It's accurate. All the events he describes to me were completely accurate. And my son does this all the time. He tells me about events from his recent past and from a year ago. So, clearly he has an excellent memory.

But, I often wonder when those memories will fade and become part of the childhood fuzzy-memory soup we all experience as adults.

Turns out, the answer is around seven.

Researchers studying childhood amnesia (the gradual loss of our early memories) have found that by the age of seven, children start to lose around 40% of events from their early childhood - including things that happened to them when they were only three.

So, now my question centers around which of my son's memories will last? Well, we know that memories with a lot of emotion around them tend to stick - things like childhood trauma. But, since I don't really want my son to have childhood trauma, I think we'll focus on the second type of memories that tend to stick: Ones that are part of a story. The researchers found that when a parent helps a child give shape and structure and context to a memory, it's less likely to fade away.

So, that is what we will work on - telling stories around the memories of my son. Giving him context and structure - not just for the big event days, but for the non-event days, too. It's all part of his life story, which is part of his family story.

And that is worth keeping until adulthood. 

What memories do you wish you still had?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I know what's for dinner

My son and I are laying on the floor of the living room, looking through cookbooks. I am looking through a cookbook that my mother gave me ages ago and I haven't fully explored yet; he is looking through one with Cookie Monster on the cover (because Cookie Monster is cool).

We are looking for new recipes to make - I'm doing this for my 100 challenge; he is doing it for the love of cooking. That's right: My son is my little sous chef.

Whenever I am making a meal, my son is often on a stool next to me - mixing, measuring and helping me organize ingredients. We talk about adding together ingredients (science!) and figure out amounts (science again!) and generally have a good time together.

I cook with my son for lots of reasons:
  1. It is an important skill to learn. Seriously. Learn to cook. It changes your life.
  2. It teaches basic science skills. We measure and add things together and magic (science) happens.
  3. If he cooks it; he might eat it. If he is responsible for the food, then he is more likely to eat it.
But it turns out there is another benefit to cooking together: It may help fight obesity. Researchers have found that a mix of exercise programs and cooking lessons help foster conversations around nutrition and health, and subsequently help fight obesity.

So, let's cook together. Let's cook the classic meals that have been in our family for years and let's try some new dishes. Let's come together in the kitchen and make something wonderful. Or, at the very least, let's dirty all the pans in the kitchen.

Who wants to help me clean up?

What dishes do you love to cook for your family? Tell me in the comments.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Do you parent from nature or nurture?

My father used to rock me to sleep; my mother used to sing with me. These are things that I do with my son because I have such fond members of them from my childhood. But those are things I know I learned from my parents.

After reading about a study by Michigan State University, I now wonder how much of my parenting style is genetically influenced. In the study, the researchers took a look at more than 20,000 families worldwide and discovered that genes influence up to 40 percent of a parent's warmth, control and negativity.

So, now I am wondering if science is playing a bigger role than I thought when it comes to my outlook about parenting or even my desire to snuggle with my son.

But that's not all - in a breaking study by the same team, it turns out that children's behaviors are also affecting the way Mom and Dad parent. This research made me stop and think a little longer, but it makes sense. My son knows how to push my buttons as well as how to be my special buddy. He knows how to try and manipulate Mom and Dad against each other and he knows how to negotiate. And he keeps me on my toes, which means that a lot of time, I am a reactionary parent, based on the scenario he has set up for me.

What parenting technique do you find yourself doing because you learned it from one of your parents? What parenting technique do you hope your child learns from you? 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Why I read the blogs I read

Like a lot of bloggers, I follow a lot of different blogs. Every week, a collection of interesting, humorous or insightful information fills my inbox via RSS feeds and messages. And I make time for them in my day. Because I don't just read any blog; in fact, I am quite picky about what I read.

So what makes a good blog read to me? I've listed out my favorite types below (because you know how much I love lists).

Blogs that teach me something
I really like learning certain things (side note: No, honey, I am not interested in learning how the network cables in the house are set up). But the blogs that are going to teach me something are my go-to reads early in the morning. Whether I am brushing up on my writing skills with Busy Moms Write or looking for a few good tips from Mommy Inspiration, or random facts and trivia from mental_floss, these are the blogs that start my search for knowledge off on the right foot.

Blogs that tell me a great story
I'm a sucker for a good story. A fairly cohesive story with a decent hook will draw me in every time. This is one of the reasons I love reading Modern Maude - oh the joys of a 1950s housewife who blogs!

Blogs that make me smile
I am not one of those people who laughs really easily, but I love witty, or humorous writing. Make me smile and you've made my day. For that, I look toward The Blogess and Burgh Baby. I also love the amazing views of life that Twister Sifter shows me.

So what type of blogs do I avoid following? Mostly the ones that are extremely personal (just baby pictures and family updates), as I feel like I'm intruding on someone's life. And I get a little sad when a blog becomes spotty in publication (too many times I've dropped a blog because I've had no updates from them in months).

What type of blog do you enjoy? (Hopefully mine, since you have made it this far into the post.) Tell me in the comments.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Everything in moderation - including running

I started running to get exercise and live a longer life. But now, it turns out that running too much may actually shorten my lifespan, and that I didn't take it up soon enough.

Is everyone good and confused now?

Let's start over.

I run. I don't like it, but I do it. I am not the person that gets that "runner's high" or wants to do marathons. I am the person who runs because she hasn't found another form of exercise that she can squeeze into her busy day. (Oh, wait...I'm not busy. I keep forgetting that.)

I run because I have the time for it, it requires no specialized equipment and it is supposed to be really good for my heart and overall health.

But I've recently read that too much running may actually shorten my life. Evidently, when you overdo running - like those people who run more than 20 miles a week - put too much wear and tear and strain on their bodies, although further research is actually needed to support these claims.

To this, I say, "Twenty miles a week! ACK! That's a lot!"

So, clearly, I am not really in any danger.

And then I recently read that I should have taken up running sooner. As it turns out, people who take up running in their 20s have a better chance of warding off dementia when they are older

For me, all this research is just another one of those life examples in moderation - which is a theme I'm currently trying to teach my son. So far, he understands that moderation is the reason we don't eat all the Easter candy, but he still doesn't like it. So, we take baby steps to show how moderation works:

  • Divide things (like candy) into proportions so he doesn't get too much (or too little)
  • Talk about spending our time on both work and play
  • Break up our activities: We can't play cars all the time - let's take a break to take a bike ride or color
In the meantime, I'll stick with running. I'll do it to maintain a healthy heart and brain, but not enough to wear my body down too much. 

What in your life do you need to apply the idea of moderation to?