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I don't like being a parent - Page 2

post #21 of 64

I could have written your post when I had my 1st....he is now 10 and I have 3!   I missed my old life too. I felt like I started too late also and that was why it was so difficult. I see teen moms and just wonder how they do it and I always assume it's because that's all they know(my sister).

A high needs child is so hard, draining along with all the good too. We too wondered what we had done wrong. I got so resentful of friends babies.

You are over a huge hurdle, you really are. Slowly you will get your life back, or a new version of it. No one could do what you just have with a high needs baby always, if it never changed and this was it. Like others said, she will change so fast. You gave her the best and it's not lost on her. My son is a wonderful caring boy now. You would never know he was such a high need baby. He is calm, quiet even and just really mild mannered.

Just keep doing the great job you and your husband are and stay strong. I know it seems never ending but it will pass.

post #22 of 64

Hey there,

I really don't know how often your daughter screams and cries, but I am familiar with what it feels like.

When my daughter screams because she has seen something she wants, I lower myself to her eye-level and look at her with "very big eyes" seriously and say "no screaming". She is 13 months. She sees a lot of new things that she wants, so she tends to sometimes utter the loudest shrieks that turn to crying. However, and especially at public places, I cannot have that. I am not tough, but I cannot let her ask for things with screaming. I talk to her explaining why she cannot have that and why she cannot scream. if she calms down I give her the object if safe, if not safe, I give her another object.

I sometimes tend to go into panic mode when she screams and I can't do the above. At those moments I try to count. And I do. Things are better at 5 than at 1, and much more so at 10. 

She knows very well that screaming gets me to do things for her that she wants. If her basic needs are covered (fed, changed, comforted for a reasonable amount of time), there is no need to respond to her screams with doing things for her. I know it is hard, but try and show your DD that and she will gradually adjust to that because she has to. I read somewhere that a baby just wants to fit into her new family and find a place to please mom and dad. I believe that is true. We all want to fit in with those who love us. But you have to show her what mom and dad like- quiet. Otherwise she will be running the show. 

I have days when I have had too much, and I give in, maybe 20% of the time and especially when DH is home, because that is when I am doing dinner and it is all too much. When I give in, I just give her whatever she wants. And she immediately stops to cry or screams. Which just serves to show it was all a game to begin with.

Definitely take her out as much as you can, but not to do errands. Playgrounds, parks, coffee shops, museums. Just walk. Try and talk to other mothers. There is nothing like having a true mom friend that you can vent to for real. I bet that you can meet a friend like this somewhere around you.

And every single day have 15 min minimum to yourself. Also planning trips and vacations even if they are not soon can take your mind off of thinking about your past travels. We went to a mountain - a serious one at that with DD and we stayed in a cabin (it did have most amenities) and we went hiking. It is totally doable.

Hugs,

Terraka

post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenmama1 View Post

Hi Simonmom

That's a good question...What did I think it would be like. I guess yesterday I just felt like complaining lol. Because truthfully I can hold off on doing those activities for a few years until she is old enough to participate. But to answer your question I thought the every day stuff would be A LOT easier. Stupid me, huh. I hadnt really been around many young babies, so I didnt really know what to expect. But I had never heard of attachment parenting or spirited babies, so I envisioned my baby sleeping in a crib by 8pm every night, breast feeding for a few months, napping at a set time wherever we were and just kinda going with the flow.  But in reality I sleep in a separate room from my husband in a bed with my DD because she wakes so often to nurse. I am breastfeeding about every 2-3 hours day & night still. she won't nap anywhere but at home or in the car. transferring her from car to bed doesnt work. Getting her to take a nap and go to bed are often a struggle. I thought my husband would be able to put her to sleep at night...but in the off chance she does fall asleep in his arms, she wakes right up as soon as he lays her in bed. I dread even going places because she hates being confined in a car seat and cries after 15-20 mins. I pictured my husband and I doing more baby friendly traveling, but driving with her gives me anxiety, and being in a new place/bed with her completely throws off any kind of schedule we had. I imagined babies were just more easy going and I had never heard a baby cry so ear piercingly loud.

 

In hind sight I realize I was just disillusioned. Probably because I see so many babies at the mall sound asleep in their strollers :) And those infant car seats that unlatch so you can bring your peacefully sleeping baby inside - haha what a joke. DD would be wide awake crying before we were even out of the car. But I never expected it to be so drastically different than my crazy perception. I guess that comes with the territory of having a spirited baby.

 

I also haven't mentioned several other challenges that have presented themselves along the way. I had hyperemesis during my pregnancy. A difficult delivery. A baby with severe colic, eczema and hive break outs.  She has a severe dairy allergy. She has also had to have a lot of medical testing and doctor visits due to "failure to thrive." So we definitely havent had the easy road.

 

Also, as far as having help goes. I don't have many options. Grandparents are either "too busy," too far, or no longer living. I did find a 16 year old relative that is willing to babysit from time to time but that is all. I'm also thinking of trying to hire a neighborhood kid to come over and play with her while I am home some days. So hopefully these things will help.

 

Sorry if all this sounds kinda random. My DD has pulled me away from the keyboard about 10 times since i started trying to type this :)
 

 

Our daughter (our first) was/is like yours, and we also thought it would be easier based on babies we saw sleeping in strollers and car seats, at Starbucks, whereever.  Our daughter fell asleep exactly once in the stroller (and I think that was because she was exhausted from refusing to nap and screaming at top volume for the entired 35 minute car ride to where we were going), and laying her down in her crib if she was already asleep failed 8/10 times.  My husband was (and still is) the at home parent, and it was especially difficult for him being "not-the-mama".  We also thought it was our fault she was so...challenging.  You should know that its not...we now have a son who is so super mellow, and a sleeper.  He was like that from the start (within minutes of being born he nuzzled up and fell asleep, unlike our saughter who screamed for 10 minutes until she latched on).  She's 3 now, and still a challenge, but its so much easier, and she's truly a joy (except when she isn't, but this is much more rare these days).

 

Some things that helped:

 

1.  Finding a mama's group, library story/play time, LLL, something where you can bring your DD but its still a bit of break because you can talk to other mamas while worrying less about her getting hurt (like say, at a park).

 

2.  Finding a good carrier.  We spent a fortune on a stroller that faced us because we thought that's why she hated it (when we visited my family we had a borrowed one that faced us, and she seemed to hate it less).  No, she just hates strollers, but would happily be carried.

 

3.  Figuring out what calms her.  For DD it was water.  She would sometimes be in the bath fives times in the course of the day because if she was losing her shit she would be immediately calmed by going into the bath.  We also found that changing the scenery would help...it was like she was bored....going somewhere different (even just outside for a walk, in the carrier, of course) would help. 

 

4.  Eliminating expectations.  Having no plans meant that we were never disappointed if DH/I didn;t get to something, and it was a huge bonus if we did.  This meant a constantly trashed house and take out more than we would have liked, but it was better than feeling angry for not getting something done that we planned on.

 

 

It really does get a lot easier.  My daughter also nursed all the time at night at 16 months, and continued to do so until about 19 months when I night weaned because I was pregnant and I was exhausted (FWIW, it went much better than I thought it would and she started sleeping through the night).  Her sleeping better/more enabled DH and I to spend more time together, which made us both happier.  She's amazing, and so much fun....smart, funny, creative, and kind.  She still has her moments, but they're less frequent.  It sounds like with your pregancy and her health issues its been a tough road, and I can imagine how drained you must be having a spirited baby on top of that.  I hope that as she gets older and more independent she'll mellow a little, and you'll enjoy her more.  I adore my daughter and wouldn't change anything about her, which is something that I/we might not have said when she was an infant.

post #24 of 64
Thread Starter 

I think you are all so right. I definitely need to hang out with more moms. I think DD's unpredictable schedule has kept me from committing to plans. But I think I just need to do it and deal with whatever consequences there are..like screaming in the car, not napping, etc.

 

This weekend was really tough for my husband and I. My husband actually admitted that he is afraid of our DD. And then I realized I am too. We are so afraid of doing anything that will trigger her melt downs. But its such a horrible way to live. Like we are walking on eggshells because of a little 16lb girl. How crazy does that sound. We try ignoring the temper tantrums and they just escalate and never end. We can easily stop them by giving in to what she wants, but then we feel like we are spoiling her and she is going to turn into a rotten kid. We have no idea how to get her to settle down at night and go to bed. We try a bed time ritual every night but it doesnt work any more. And we end up putting a crying baby in the car to get her to sleep. Does any one have any suggestions on how to improve every day stuff like this?

 

It's so nice to hear that other moms feel the same way. And that this is just a stage that we will get through. But my DH and I are really struggling with how to make things better right now. I feel like my DH is becoming depressed and he is usually such a happy guy. It makes me sad. When things are good we love our DD. She is so cute and fun. But we haven't quite figured out how to be a family who has fun together. Does that make sense? I'm sure it just takes time to adapt. But if you have any ideas for right now let me know. What are things we can do as a family - but still feel like adults too? Or do we have to separate the two and leave DD with a sitter more often?

post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenmama1 View Post

I think you are all so right. I definitely need to hang out with more moms. I think DD's unpredictable schedule has kept me from committing to plans. But I think I just need to do it and deal with whatever consequences there are..like screaming in the car, not napping, etc.

 

This weekend was really tough for my husband and I. My husband actually admitted that he is afraid of our DD. And then I realized I am too. We are so afraid of doing anything that will trigger her melt downs. But its such a horrible way to live. Like we are walking on eggshells because of a little 16lb girl. How crazy does that sound. We try ignoring the temper tantrums and they just escalate and never end. We can easily stop them by giving in to what she wants, but then we feel like we are spoiling her and she is going to turn into a rotten kid. We have no idea how to get her to settle down at night and go to bed. We try a bed time ritual every night but it doesnt work any more. And we end up putting a crying baby in the car to get her to sleep. Does any one have any suggestions on how to improve every day stuff like this?

 

It's so nice to hear that other moms feel the same way. And that this is just a stage that we will get through. But my DH and I are really struggling with how to make things better right now. I feel like my DH is becoming depressed and he is usually such a happy guy. It makes me sad. When things are good we love our DD. She is so cute and fun. But we haven't quite figured out how to be a family who has fun together. Does that make sense? I'm sure it just takes time to adapt. But if you have any ideas for right now let me know. What are things we can do as a family - but still feel like adults too? Or do we have to separate the two and leave DD with a sitter more often?

 

 

My husband also gives in more than he wants to avoid conflict (except now its over playing with his phone/iPad).  With our DD, her meltdown triggers were/are unpredicatable and somewhat random but were/are most often driven by something not being as she planned (she wanted the blue cup and not the yellow, she wanted to close the front door, etc). In terms of "giving in" leading to her being spoiled....we choose what it is that is really important to us/non-negotiable (e.g holding hands crossing the road, checking the straps on her car seat), and let the rest slide because those things clearly mean a lot more to her than they do to us.  We'll have do-overs for things that we miss (like going back outside and then in again so she can close the front door) because its important to her.  I also always try and get her input as I'm doing things so that she can choose in advance to minimize surprises (do you want the strawberries cut up or big? do you want to put the raisins in the oatmeal or for me to do it?).  It's made a world of difference, and her breakdowns are greatly minimized because she's had a say.  For things that results in a meltdown that I can't change I'll explain that and ask if she wants a snuggi and distract her with something else, which usually works.  When it doesn't she cries and tantrums, and once she gets her frustrations out she's receptive to snuggles.  I think that by giving in you won't necessarily be spoiling your daughter, but respecting her need to be in control of some aspects of her life.

 

As for family fun....I don't have great ideas except that we found we used to underestimate what our daughter could do and how she would be in "adult" situations (like say, going to dinner).  I travel a lot for work and my family comes with me.  As long as the restaraunt isn't super quiet, DD would do really well sitting for extended periods because there were new things to look at.  this may be from the fact that she's always had to do this though.  We also try and go places that gives her (and now her 15 month old brother) more control....farmer's market, beach, places where she/he can "lead" and we can follow.  Its sometimes annoying and we still need to step in (i.e. don;t walk in the water!!), but it makes a huge difference, and still mostly fun for us too.

 

Finally, I know you said that you've read Raising Your Spiritied Child" and found it for older kids.  It is, but its the one book that's always on my bedside table because its a reminder that DD is normal when things get rough, and I find I always get something new out of it because something that wasn;t relevant during the last read is now.

post #26 of 64

One thing is certain, changing what you currently do until you find something that works will have to be your daily effort. Have you thought of consulting an expert? Is she eating a protein-poor diet? What is her pediatrician saying? What triggers her meltdowns? 

Is there anyway you guys can get a sitter so that you can get a break?

Hang in there and keep trying new things!

post #27 of 64
I can only offer suggestions for the going to sleep issues (not that we have it down- I'm currently incredibly upset due to the screaming that happened at naptime). When I found myself unable to sleep while pregnant, my midwives recommended Wishgarden's Sleepy Time, and I recently discovered there is a children's version. That would be my first choice if we had nighttime issue (our current issues are all napping at home rather than in the car). However, I have a friend whose DD has serious sleep issues, and my friend eventually started giving her melatonin. She was not able to find much research about its use in kids, but it has found to be non-habit forming in adults, and she was at her wits' end. Considering how her daughter reacted with it (their first real restful sleep of the girl's life), she thinks her DD has a deficiency or disruption of her sleep cycle.

Anyhow, I can honestly say that I wish I had more friends of any sort, locally. Moving with small kids and no job away from home has really made me feel isolated. It sucks.
post #28 of 64

I do have friends that would allow their baby to sleep in a car seat in the house, because it was the only place she was happy. And they had already had a child that was completely happy either co-sleeping or in a crib, so they were stymied by their second child who was ONLY happy in a car seat. They would swing her in it at night time back and forth until she settled. She would sleep for several hours this way. So that is something that may work.

 

You might want to look into getting an occupational therapy evaluation to see if she is experiencing sensory integration issues that are constantly triggering her.

 

In terms of family fun,  I would consider things that involve swinging and water play. These are things that spirited children typically enjoy. Is there a park nearby? How about one of those cool water parks with squirting fountains and such. Have you considered a water table at home, or even allowing her to just play in a bucket or trough, pouring and using the water? I got many a dinner cooked by allowed my spirited one to have unlimited access to water with various cups and pitchers to pour and dump.

 

Re: meltdowns, I'd suggest talking to her about transitions and things that are outside her control, even though she may seem too young to understand. she will begin to grasp that you are trying to help her through it.

 

In the dept. of choosing your battles, you can adapt the Ross Greene approach (The Explosive Child). Decide which things are non-negotiable, such as safety seats in the car, hitting, etc, for which you will always have to assert what is 'right' or good for her. This is Basket A. Basket B are things where there is some wiggle room and you can give her some choices--the green pear or the red pear, a bath or dinner first, which book to listen to. Basket C are things that really don't matter but that everyone previously thought did because they thought they needed to be in control/teach the child, etc. Things like, when a banana breaks and there is a meltdown over it--perhaps it is o.k. to give another banana. Getting a strategy like this in place might help you two feel more in control because you are deciding which things you are willing to endure a meltdown over and which things it is possible to navigate around.

 

It's possible to respond to a tantrum with empathy without giving in. This can feel a lot better than ignoring. "I am so sorry you are mad that it is time to leave, but we are late. We'll help you with your strong feelings," rather than giving in and staying, being late, and having her feel over-empowered that she was able to change your plan. Again decide which things you can negotiate on and which things are "must do's."

 

Praise her when she is flexible or adapts to a situation and is able to go with the flow. Make flexibility and adaptability a trait that you notice and reinforce when she is able to do it.
 

post #29 of 64
I just want to thank you for your post. It's a hard feeling to cope with and while I also love my dd very much, I am no stranger to these feelings. I know of the ambivalence too. Of loving dd so much, she has given my life direction, new meaning, unimaginable love and I also regret the decisions that led to her birth. My backstory is different than yours, I am not married and my dd has a complex vocabulary ( for a 2yo) but I can still relate or at least commiserate. Again I'm glad u wrote this. Its important to get these feelings out n the open that way they loose their clout and we gain perspective.
Best of luck to you!
post #30 of 64

My number one getting baby/toddler to sleep tip is baby wearing. Wrapping in particular. I truly don't know what I would do without it. Wrapping your kiddo and swaying/bouncing in a dark room works wonders. Also wrapping the kiddo and sitting down on a yoga ball and bouncing that way. It truly works magic. Good luck!

post #31 of 64

We used the yoga ball a TON for the last two (wish we'd thought of it for our first, who was the most intense baby).  It is really so helpful!
 

post #32 of 64
If I has my second first, I would think I was not cut out for parenting. My first was an extremely easy, portable baby who slept whenever and wherever and never ever cried. She's now a very stubborn 7 yr old (she has SN so it's not anyone's fault, life is more difficult for her)... But I'm hoping that easy baby and tough kid might mean tough baby and easy kid this time, lol. I would probably blame myself or AP or being a SAHM...but they were both raised the same, and are completely different. And yes, it's no surprise that a couple has a harder time getting along to a soundtrack of constant cying and wailing and shrieking. It's enough to drive anyone crazy. People who have several kids themselves come to my house and are amazed by how intense this kid is, all the time. She is absolutely beautiful so everyone wants to interact with her, and if she's in a good mood that's great, but when she isn't, it's very disturbing, actually.

I agree that you might have to throw caution to the wind and just GO out and do things. Actually, my high needs screamer is a lot less clingy and screamy in public if she has space to run and kids to watch, etc. Four star restaurant, no, but relatively kid friendly, sure. Regular scheduled naps and bedtime make very little difference to my kids (I know, I've killed myself trying) as long as they get the total recommended hours of sleep they need for their ages. And even if we listen to ear peircing car screaming there and back, at least I wasn't trapped in the house all day, brewing more resentment and wallowing in lonliness. And this kid was a car screaming champion, but she did get a ton better by 18 months or so. Now she sleeps in the car, and then won't take a real nap, but whatever.

And we take both kids- more like drag them kicking and screaming- to Florida, which is a 3+ hr flight for us, and a couple hours of driving to and from airports, at least once a year. It's two days of traveling hell, and quite a challenge with all the schlepping from the beach and museums and casual restaurants where they range from ok to pretty bad behavior, but we DO IT!! Life isn't over, it's just harder, and it's eventually going to get easier. It's a sacrifice. We are sacrificing some of our own happiness and spontanaeity to raise them into healthy, enjoyable adults. Most of our parenting lives will be spent with our kids as adults, assuming we live a normal life expectancy! If the screaming doesn't do us in first!
post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenmama1 View Post

 

It's so nice to hear that other moms feel the same way. And that this is just a stage that we will get through. But my DH and I are really struggling with how to make things better right now. I feel like my DH is becoming depressed and he is usually such a happy guy. It makes me sad. When things are good we love our DD. She is so cute and fun. But we haven't quite figured out how to be a family who has fun together. Does that make sense? I'm sure it just takes time to adapt. But if you have any ideas for right now let me know. What are things we can do as a family - but still feel like adults too? Or do we have to separate the two and leave DD with a sitter more often?

 

I can so relate to this. We seem to be through the woods now, but for a period (I think it was ages 13-20 months or so) we really, really struggled. DH had never been around kids and would lose his patience really quickly. He ended up just being grumpy and depressed most of the time---which in turn made me grumpy and depressed. DH wanted to keep doing all the things we did before (camping, hiking, traveling internationally) but didn't really accept that we had to do them differently with a baby in tow. And I was just too exhausted to even want to go out on any adventures. But we got through it. DH has grown a ton in the past 6 months or so and is much more patient now and DS can now express himself better--leading to less frustration for all. We have a ton of fun together now. 

 

As for family-fun activities---we would go downtown and listen to free concerts in the summer. DS could toddle around, and sometimes I even got to just lay on the grass and relax while DH chased him. We did go camping a few times, which was fun, but also a lot of work. We went to a secluded area so we didn't have to worry about DS screaming and driving other campers crazy. The pool is a lot of fun for all of us, as was the beach, while we were living closer to it. Just getting out---even if it's just around the block, can be helpful. One day, DH surprised me by bringing a water bottle full of mojitos on our evening walk around the block----it put a huge smile on my face and made a mundane activity feel a little more "adult" and fun. 

 

But definitely also see if you can make more alone time with your hubby. It's something that we didn't do and I regret in hindsight. I think having a night (or two!) a week to reconnect would have helped both of us tremendously. 

post #34 of 64

My daughter is so like yours - the screaming and tantruming, the intensity, the high needs. It is really really hard, especially because I was NOT expecting it to be like this. I wasn't like this, my brothers weren't like this, none of my friends had babies like this, I just didn't know that some kids are like this.  When DD is on, she's amazing and wonderful.  But when she's off, she's a terror. I don't have any answers, but you're not alone!  I appreciate the suggestions offered to you and I will be following up with some of them. 

post #35 of 64

I wanted to add that I think the way we raise kids in this country has a lot to do with feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. The all day, one-on-one of being a SAHM is taxing enough, even with an easy child. I really believe that it takes a village to raise a child---and most parents I know (myself included) don't have that kind of support system. We're often alone with our kiddos for most of the day, only to hand them off to our equally exhausted partners for a bit when they get home from work (if we're lucky!) It's a system that can easily leave everyone feeling depleted and resentful.

 

I think it's a great idea to find other mom's that you can connect with, and maybe even share childcare with. I've noticed that my son is much happier around kids his own age or older--it often helps keep the tantrums to a minimum because he's engaged and stimulated (although there are the usual scuffles over toys, etc.) My high-energy kiddo needs almost constant stimulation or else he gets bored, grumpy, and is prone to huge meltdowns. 

post #36 of 64

i had my first when i was fairly young (23), and I still had the "I miss my old life" in a major way. I honestly just think that it's normal, because after having a child things just change so much, and change can be stressful, and so we can romanticize the past to escape it a bit, and see the present in a worse light than it really is, because we're in a bad mood/overworked/overwhelmed/tired/etc. And maybe not always romanticized, but at least with the worries and stresses of the times edited out- that's what I do, anyway! ;) I haven't read through all the replies yet, have to get off the computer soon, but thanks for bringing this topic up, I can so relate some days.  Like another poster said, I think the ages and stages are big players. There's ups and downs, and the challenging times make us wonder what we were ever thinking of in the first place! :P

 

"I wanted to add that I think the way we raise kids in this country has a lot to do with feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. The all day, one-on-one of being a SAHM is taxing enough, even with an easy child. I really believe that it takes a village to raise a child---and most parents I know (myself included) don't have that kind of support system. We're often alone with our kiddos for most of the day, only to hand them off to our equally exhausted partners for a bit when they get home from work (if we're lucky!) It's a system that can easily leave everyone feeling depleted and resentful."

 

gitana mama, i think you hit the nail on the head. true, true, true. 

post #37 of 64

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Edited by Snapdragon - 8/21/12 at 7:44pm
post #38 of 64

Mine too. But, now I've begun to seriously believe those kids hv been made to CIO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curlyfry7 View Post

 My perceptions were also way off, but then I do see other babies who ride in strollers, don't scream for hours during car rides, and can sleep without having to touch their moms. So they exist-I just don't have one. I had never seen or heard of high needs kids until I had my 1st.
 
post #39 of 64

I was wondering if your daughter has any illness. We found at 2 that dd is asthmatic. I think that was definetly part of her being cranky a lot. She also clearly had issues with lactose when she was a newborn and colicky. She is still a strong character at 5.5. It's just inborn -- there's v. little to change that. Instead of fearing her I'd give her a lot of hugs. As little as they are, they are v. good at picking up on our cues. They rely on us so much that if we are frustrated and fearful it makes them confused and makes things only worse.

post #40 of 64

becoming a parent doesn't just require you to drop what you're doing and care for child. It requires a change of perception and a change of priorities. It's taken me a LONG time to let go of my old life. I now have a 3 1/2 year old and a 15 month old. The daily demands are not exactly my picture of a fun day, but I've finally shifted my thinking from I having to somehow fit my kids into my old life, to start to put them as the priority, then focus on my own needs and desires. No it wasn't fun to come to that realization. Some days I am a better parent than others, but it really does take some personal growth to become a good parent and to prioritize them over your own desires. Also, rememeber that your kiddo will only be this little once, and it goes by SO fast. I know that's not too comforting at the moment, and I'm currently going through holding out for the next phase, even though I know I need to enjoy where they're at right now, frustrations and all. I know in a few years I'll look back and miss the stages they're at. Even if you have to get up every morning and remind yourself to love and enjoy and play with your daughter, frustrations and all, do it. It will be worth it in the long run, I promise!!

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