The count-down is on;
we are having our little baby girl in about a month from now!
With so little time left before this life-changing event, we decided to write down an action plan with quick and simple improvements we could do to be better people, and ultimately, better parents. A little self-help is always good.
Becoming a better person
With a few weeks left before the birth of our new baby, our short-term action plan revolves around being as prepared as we can be, without getting over-paranoid about it. By breaking it down in a few weeks and repeating the motions, we should get a few key things accomplished.
This week, for example, we are reading a lot of books on delivery and parenting and are getting ready for the big day. We changed our diet slightly to accommodate the higher needs of Baby. Mrs. also started to follow a series of exercises and is taking pre-natal yoga classes for a few weeks now.
We simply want to stay healthy and be ready to welcome our baby into this wonderful world.
Once we go on parental leave, we will have the time to practice things, learn new skills, and work on certain traits we would like to improve. One thing we would like to practice is our third language; Spanish.
Since it is the second-most widely spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese, with 400 million native speakers around the globe, being fluent in Spanish seems like a great way to expand our horizons and help us along in our future travels. Our current Spanish level is pretty basics, we traveled to Spain, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, and Costa Rica without any problems but we could not fully communicate our thoughts if we had to start a debate about Star Wars vs. Star Trek if we had to.
At least, it is closely related to French so the learning curve will be much easier. Going forward, we will try to step up from our tourist level to a quasi-fluent level in the next few months. Using apps like Duo-lingo, Speak Tribe, or Memrise, we should be able to advance pretty quickly.
Another thing we would like to improve is our current sleep schedules. We are both late risers and our current work schedule allows us to go to bed late and wake up late. However, the recent changes Mrs. has been going through gets her in bed before 10 p.m. and she usually wakes up early due to baby kicks or soreness. Going forward, Baby will keep us up all night and wake up before sunrise.
To get enough sleep, we need to get in the habit of going to bed earlier and getting up sooner. Not only for our own good but also for our future grade-A student. A recent Texas University study found that students who were early risers scored better grades than late risers.
Getting up early makes you happier and more productive. Even millionaires tend to be early risers so why not join the crowd? Looking at some of the most financially-successful people around, 89 percent wake up between 4:30 and 7 a.m. while only 11 percent slept in until 8 a.m. With our current anywhere-between-8-and-9 a.m. uprise, we are far from 4:30 a.m.
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin
Our action plan is to gradually wake up about 15 minutes earlier for the next 4 weeks and, by then, we will wake up a whole hour earlier. By minimizing the use of the snooze button and trying to get up as soon as the alarm goes off, we want to put this hour to good use. Over the long-term, an earlier schedule will be better aligned with our kid’s schedule and allow us more time with her or more time to be productive before she wakes up.
Further on, we would really like to improve our time management system. We are pretty good at getting things done and we both use to-do lists to follow up on things. A great new app we discovered recently is this calendar Countdown widget. It lays out your calendar events in a to-do list fashion with a countdown timer beside each event. This way, we can input everything in our calendars without the need for multiple apps. We used to get lost with separate notes, to-dos, and calendar apps.
Obligations will only increase with a kid and we want a good way to manage appointments, bills, chores, and other tasks between two phones and computers. If you have any suggestions, comment them below.
With better systems, we hope to improve our time management and get more things done in less time. Once we master that, we will end up with more free time to do things we enjoy playing with our little girl.
Raising a good person
We want to pass along as much knowledge as possible to our daughter and raise her to be a well-rounded, thoughtful, grateful, amazing human being. Raising kids is not an easy feat, we personally do not have any experience in child upbringing yet but, as any new parent, we are jumping in the game and hoping for the best. Of course, there are a few things you can do to help your child become a better person.
One thing we wish to teach our kid is to be open to multiple cultures and languages. When they are young, kids can easily learn new dialects and quickly absorb knowledge. At home, we speak both French and English and wish to raise her to be fluent in both languages.
As part of our own personal growth, we plan on elevating our fluency level in Spanish and wish to teach it to our daughter too. Starting with basic words, reading bed-time stories in Spanish, to fluent conversations, there is plenty of room to learn together. Since it is so widely-spread around the globe, we think it would be a great language to teach her.
Learning together like that will be a great way to connect and learn more about her. Howard Gardner, a researcher from Harvard, established eight ways kids learn best, which include musical, logical-mathematical, linguistic, and interpersonal traits. By paying attention to our little girl and spending time learning with her, we can try to identify her specific learning style and help her grow even more.
Jointly with these efforts, traveling will also be a mind-opening experience for our little one. With over 195 countries in the world, there is so much to see. So much to learn. So much to explore.
We are planning to apply for her passport shortly after birth and bring her along a few trips before she even turns one.
We want to raise a caring, grateful, respectful daughter and plan to provide all the love and attention she needs but also act as models and mentors for her. This is why, not only do we have plans for her, but we also have plans to improve and develop ourselves as persons.
Do your best, be your best.