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#1 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter has gotten into a bad habit. I'll make dinner and lately she has been refusing it and asking for a sandwich or an alternate. I'm honestly tired of having to prepare several meals every night: my autistic son will only eat a handful of stuff, and mostly junk, though I put a spoonful of whatever we are having onto his plate in hopes that he might deign to sample it; my infant, of course, eats a jar of baby food and cereal then gets whatever we are having to "explore"; but the eldest has decided that she does not want what we are having. We are pescatarian and she does not like seafood. But I work full time. I don't want to (insert petulant foot-stamping here) put in the extra work of preparing her an alternate meal or "reward" her obstinance by letting her fix herself something else or letting her hold out until dessert. I mean, when we have fish fillets, then I'll just bake her some chicken, but when I do a stew or casserole, then it is a bit more difficult to make her an alternate.
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#2 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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I make one meal. But I make sure that there's a side or something that everyone likes. I've yet to find a meal that everyone in my family loves other than tacos. So each night is something one person likes and I make sides that everyone else will eat and we deal.
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#3 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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I also refuse to be a short-order cook. If it is something that I know someone doesn't like, I offer an alternative, but just because you don't want it, is not a reason to not eat it, in my house, barring illness.

What works in my house may not work for other people, so I am not telling anyone what to do.
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#4 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 04:43 PM
 
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I do the same as the pp. I cook one meal, period. There are always sides the kids can eat if they opt not to eat the entree. There is fruit afterward. But that's it.

My kids are great eaters as a result.
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#5 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 04:56 PM
 
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Count us in the One Meal crowd. I make one thing a night. Now, I will offer several veggie sides and there is always fresh fruit but I make what I make and you get what you get. Otherwise, there is always breakfast in the morning. No exceptions.

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#6 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 05:05 PM
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I'm a one meal for all cook too. But I do understand that may not work for you. Do you think part of the issue is that your son gets "special" food so your daughter wants something "special" too? (My kiddo is special needs too so I get that you may not be able to just insist your son eat whatever you fix.)

Do you think it would help to involve your daughter in meal planning? Who are you cooking for, is it just you and her or a partner too? If it's just the two of you (plus a bit for your son and baby) would it work just to make the sandwich she usually asks for instead of making dinner?

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#7 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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Your stews and casseroles...are they of fish/seafood base? Being someone who dislikes seafood I know I wouldn't want to eat it either.
for sure try and at least have sides that appeal to her.
My son (3) goes through periods of not wanting what I cook so I always makesure there are a few items he likes and he snacks on healthy food throughout the day.

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#8 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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We make one meal with at least one thing that each person likes. My 5 year old picky eater often has cream cheese on bread with the veggies because she doesn't like many protein sources.

It's not making lots of extra meals or feeling pushed around. It's just focusing on feeding people what they love to eat in an atmosphere of family harmony and love, rather than conflict.
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#9 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 06:04 PM
 
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We make one meal, but try to include a few different choices.

If we do, say, roast chicken, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, I'll let dd have bread instead of the sweet potatoes (which she doesn't like) and serve fruit as well. We do a lot of one-dish meals--casseroles, bean soups, veggie soups, etc.--and with these we'll always serve a grain (brown rice, quinoa, bread) and some fruit, so that dd has something to eat if she doesn't like the main dish. If she's tried everything on her plate, genuinely doesn't like it, and is absolutely famished, I'll let her have bread, turkey or cheese, or some fruit.

How old is your dd? I think that makes a difference.
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#10 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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How old is she? I learned at a very young age how to make my own sandwich! My mom made one meal but she did not have a problem letting me make my own food if that's what I wanted. I did not like the same food as everyone else in the family, I still don't, and I'm glad she didn't make me just sit there and be miserable. But I did learn that making sure that there was something for me to eat for dinner was my responsibility, not hers.

I don't see letting her make her own food as being a "reward". It's a responsibility as long as she knows that it has to be nutritionally sound. She may not be being "obstinate", I know I've had times when my taste has genuinely changed. And if she is being stubborn, she may get over it very quickly when the novelty of making her own meal is gone.

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#11 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 06:33 PM
 
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I make one meal, planning one part of it that I know dd will like. She's 4yo and will often be a bit of a pill about eating dinner, but we generally ask that she at least try one bite of everything. She often decides that it tastes pretty good afterall, but occasionally she really won't want anything I've fixed, in which case she is welcome to fix herself something from her shelf in the fridge, but I'm not going to fix another meal. We keep her shelf stocked with yogurt, cheese, baby carrots, hummus, grapes, and the like. I really try to avoid power struggles over food. I definitely wouldn't make dinners that I know she dislikes for several nights in a row. On the odd occasion that I'm fixing something dh and I LOVE but that I know she's not a fan of, I try to keep in mind that I made that choice of what to serve- I chose to ignore her preferences- and in those cases, I'm really happy that she can easily and cheerfully make herself a simple meal of healthful foods.
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#12 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 06:49 PM
 
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I too, will not make alternates, unless someone is ill.

I already have to take into account food allergies and diet restrictions. On top of that I account for preferences, if I know they don't like mushrooms or olives, then I leave them out, or set some aside before adding.

So after all that, no. You eat what's at the table.
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#13 of 30 Old 11-19-2009, 06:56 PM
 
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Nope. One meal only. I am not the short order cook. If your child is physically able to make their own sandwich or their own bowl of cereal... that's the choice ....eat what's served or serve yourself one of those choices.
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#14 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 01:58 AM
 
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I make one meal, but if someone doesn't feel like eating it, I offer reasonable alternatives. Cereal, fruit, sandwich, heating up leftovers. I wouldn't expect my DH or I to eat something we didn't like,or didn't feel like eating at the moment and I don't expect it of my children either.

I let everyone know ahead of time, and during prep what I'm making for our meal. If someone doesn't feel like, say,spaghetti, I let them know what their alternatives are. I'm not going to make a whole seperate meal, but I will put forth a little more effort to make sure everyone is reasonably happy with their meal.
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#15 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 11:39 AM
 
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We make one meal, and the kids have to take a "No thank you bite" of everything. If they don't eat dinner, they can have left-over dinner later if they are hungry. If we have dessert, they get dessert, no matter what they eat of their dinner. In either case we'll have a small bed-time snack, usually a piece of fruit, but that's it. I don't do short-order cook stuff, and we don't make second meals. That sounds harsher than we really are about it. I won't force them to eat all the food on their plates, I won't reward with desserts but neither will I cater to finicky eaters.

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#16 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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If my dd doesn't like what we have for dinner, there are a few other healthy options available for her that she can get herself. They aren't that exciting (cheese, nuts, fruit, PB) but if she truly doesn't like something, I won't make her eat it or go hungry. I am busy, though, and don't make it for her. She almost always eats what we eat.

My personal feelings are that having power struggles over food can lead to issues with food down the line, so I back off. I don't spend the time to cook something else, though.
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#17 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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We make one meal and if the kids choose not to eat it, they can wait until breakfast. My husband *really* frowns on pickiness and the kids are pretty willing to try everything. The kids have a joke they got from a manners book where they go "Eww, I hate _____!" and then try it and say, "Mmm, not bad!" which usually gets them over any grumpiness over foods they don't love. If one of us has a food we really hate (I won't touch pickles with a 10' pole!) we don't make that part of a main dish, but I can't think of any for the kids, actually. My 3 yr. old isn't a big vegetable fan, but we make him eat some (like maybe only 3 brussel sprouts, or a couple tablespoons of kale).
The only alternate foods they can have aren't terribly appealing-- raw veggies or nuts-- and they never, ever choose them over our (very tasty) dinners.
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#18 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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We are struggling with this issue too. I want to ask the moms who are strict about making only one meal two questions:

1. What do you do if the child is very angry and demanding another food? My partner and I feel that it sort of ruins our meal if our kid is yelling at us the entire time we're eating! (We have tried telling him to stay in his room until he's ready to behave, but he won't stay and we don't have a way of locking him in and that seems pretty extreme anyway.) But we don't want to reward the rude demands by giving in!

2. If your children choose to "wait until breakfast" rather than eating what you made, do they really go hungry all night without complaint, and if not how do you respond to their cries of hunger?

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#19 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 02:45 PM
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We fix dinner and if DD eats it fine, if she doesn't fine. Sometimes she's snacked while I've been cooking. And then at times she eats cheese or fruit right after we're done. What a person eats is their choice and it's never an issue in our house. We don't want DD to have any issues about food and we want her to continue being able to self regulate well.
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#20 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
We are struggling with this issue too. I want to ask the moms who are strict about making only one meal two questions:

1. What do you do if the child is very angry and demanding another food? My partner and I feel that it sort of ruins our meal if our kid is yelling at us the entire time we're eating! (We have tried telling him to stay in his room until he's ready to behave, but he won't stay and we don't have a way of locking him in and that seems pretty extreme anyway.) But we don't want to reward the rude demands by giving in!

2. If your children choose to "wait until breakfast" rather than eating what you made, do they really go hungry all night without complaint, and if not how do you respond to their cries of hunger?
I only make one meal, but my DD has never been rude if she doesn't want what we're eating. She's only 4, but she's been able to get her own snacks for over a year and a half ..... at least things like triscuts or sliced cheese, cherry tomatoes or grapes, and I try to keep a covered bowl of garbanzo beans or some hummus in the refrigerator. She's never gotten up and gotten something else while we're having dinner, but she could if she wanted to.
I really don't understand the "wait until breakfast" part. Doesn't your DS have a snack before bed? Can't he just have something after dinner if he wasn't hungry for dinner? If he isn't allowed to eat between dinner and bed maybe that's why he gets so upset about not liking dinner. We never ever deny our DD food or try to coerce her to eat because being able to self regulate your own food intake is so important for being a healthy non-obese adult. We wouldn't dream of interfering with this natural ability.

I grew up in a house where if you asked for something you ate it, ALL of it. My ILs have tried to encourage DD to eat, until I explained we don't do that, so I'm sure DH was made to eat at mealtimes. I'm fat. My DH is fat. DD isn't and I don't want to cause her to be by making her ignore her body's cues and eat for social reasons.
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#21 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
We are struggling with this issue too. I want to ask the moms who are strict about making only one meal two questions:

1. What do you do if the child is very angry and demanding another food? My partner and I feel that it sort of ruins our meal if our kid is yelling at us the entire time we're eating! (We have tried telling him to stay in his room until he's ready to behave, but he won't stay and we don't have a way of locking him in and that seems pretty extreme anyway.) But we don't want to reward the rude demands by giving in!

2. If your children choose to "wait until breakfast" rather than eating what you made, do they really go hungry all night without complaint, and if not how do you respond to their cries of hunger?
1. DD had a few problems with this kind of thing when we first stopped making her extra food. After several, maybe 3 or 4 times of this when we DID NOT give in, she stopped. She realized we really weren't going to allow her to demand other food, and she started eating what we have. It hasn't happened in well over a year, probably closer to two at this point. We followed our normal tantrum routine, of giving her a few minutes to calm down, then removing her to her room until she felt well enough to not be screaming in the kitchen. She stays in her room though, so we didn't have that problem.

2. We don't make them wait until breakfast. They can have the same before bed snack they would get if they ate dinner AND they can choose to eat their leftover dinner. But yes, if they complain about being hungry we do make them wait. We are "starving" them, we are giving them two choices- eat the leftover dinner or wait for the before bed snack. And if they are really, truly hungry, then we often add a little extra to bedtime snack- like apples and cheese, rather than just apples.

I'll note too, that when we are trying new things, we are more flexible about this, or we try to include other more typical options. I won't say, make a spicy curry and expect the kids to eat it all. But I will leave out some veg/chicken/rice for them that is not spicy.

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#22 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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We are struggling with this issue too. I want to ask the moms who are strict about making only one meal two questions:

1. What do you do if the child is very angry and demanding another food? My partner and I feel that it sort of ruins our meal if our kid is yelling at us the entire time we're eating! (We have tried telling him to stay in his room until he's ready to behave, but he won't stay and we don't have a way of locking him in and that seems pretty extreme anyway.) But we don't want to reward the rude demands by giving in!

2. If your children choose to "wait until breakfast" rather than eating what you made, do they really go hungry all night without complaint, and if not how do you respond to their cries of hunger?
Yelling is not allowed at the table. If they wish to yell, they may excuse themselves and go up to their rooms to do so. We've never offered dinner alternatives and frankly have never had a problem. If they don't like the entree, there is always rice or pasta or italian bread or potato and a veggie or salad, and there is fruit after dinner. They aren't going to starve.

We don't do snacks after dinner because there are generally only a couple of hours between dinner and bed, and they are filled with activity. If they were starving, they could eat more of the fruit we had after dinner.

We have very pleasant family dinners just about every night, and don't have much fuss at all.
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#23 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 04:23 PM
 
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Ssh wrote:
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I really don't understand the "wait until breakfast" part. Doesn't your DS have a snack before bed? Can't he just have something after dinner if he wasn't hungry for dinner? If he isn't allowed to eat between dinner and bed maybe that's why he gets so upset about not liking dinner.
I was quoting Hottmama, and a couple of other posters said that if their children won't eat dinner they have to wait until the next regular mealtime to eat. I don't understand it either--I mean, it makes sense as a natural consequence, but I don't understand how to enforce it without being cruel to a child who (probably) is feeling genuine hunger.

We do allow a snack before bed. However, because I have a full-time job and pick up my son on my way home, we are home only 2 hours before his bedtime. My partner tries to have dinner on the table when we get home. My son would like, as best we can tell, to spend the entire 2 hours playing and then an hour eating and then an hour of bedtime stories, and we just do not have that kind of time. He very often resists eating much of anything (including things we offer him after we finish our dinner) until it is ALREADY TIME FOR BED and then delays going to bed by insisting on a snack, sobbing about how hungry he is while he spins in circles to keep himself awake. It is really hard to distinguish the hunger from the delaying tactic; however, the fact that he's eaten, like, 3 kidney beans and a slice of bread in the past 6 hours makes it plausible that he's hungry.

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Yelling is not allowed at the table. If they wish to yell, they may excuse themselves and go up to their rooms to do so.
That sounds so clear and reasonable. But my child will not stay in his room. He hates to be alone. The only way we can keep him in there is to stand outside holding the doorknob, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of enabling us to eat dinner in peace.

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#24 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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I'm almost a one-meal mama. I make sure that there is a side dish everyone likes (my kids both like rice, both like a few raw veggies, we have bread fairly often, etc).

Depending on how close to bedtime supper was served (my dh gets home at 6 and bedtime is 7, so if we wait on dh, supper is really close to bedtime) and how much they ate at supper, sometimes I offer a snack. Occasionally, my 3 year old will delay at bedtime (like, after he's in the bed), and say that he's hungry. He gets offered bread. Sometimes he eats it, sometimes not.

I figure that it'll all even out in the end. But, I also don't have yellers and carry-on-ers, either.
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#25 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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If they don't like the entree, there is always rice or pasta or italian bread or potato and a veggie or salad, and there is fruit after dinner.
I think this is the key. Add cheese cubes or something to that and you avoid the dinner conflict every time.
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#26 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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That sounds so clear and reasonable. But my child will not stay in his room. He hates to be alone. The only way we can keep him in there is to stand outside holding the doorknob, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of enabling us to eat dinner in peace.
i got the impression that the pp was saying that if the child wanted to yell and holler, they could excuse themselves from the table to do so and then come back to the table. what you're talking about sounds more like a forced time out alone in his room.

i just have a little baby so we don't have this issue yet, but i don't see anything wrong with a child who doesn't like the dinner being offered making their own alternative.
i once babysat a 10 year old who "didn't know how" to make a sandwich. that will never be my child.

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#27 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 05:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
We are struggling with this issue too. I want to ask the moms who are strict about making only one meal two questions:

1. What do you do if the child is very angry and demanding another food? My partner and I feel that it sort of ruins our meal if our kid is yelling at us the entire time we're eating! (We have tried telling him to stay in his room until he's ready to behave, but he won't stay and we don't have a way of locking him in and that seems pretty extreme anyway.) But we don't want to reward the rude demands by giving in!

2. If your children choose to "wait until breakfast" rather than eating what you made, do they really go hungry all night without complaint, and if not how do you respond to their cries of hunger?
If my children are misbehaving at the dinner table, they need to go to their rooms until they can behave. They stay because the consequences will be worse if they don't.
We leave their dinner out until bedtime if they don't eat it. If they are hungry, it's available. If they eat it all and want seconds, or something different, they are available. We eat dinner at 7 or 7:30 and bedtime is 8:30, so there is no need for a bedtime snack.

We talk about how lucky we are to have enough food and that farmers work hard to grow our food, and we consider wasting food to be wrong. They are expected to eat all of their food, and we give them small portions of everything to start with. They love food from all over the food and eat every type of veggie. They know that picky eating is unacceptable to us and that phase was very short-lived. They know that mama doesn't love collard greens, but that it's important to eat a variety of green veggies and they see me eat a modest portion when it is served. We talk about everyday foods and sometimes foods, about the dangers of HFCS and fast food, about how we should watch our sugar and salt intake even though they are tasty. At this point I completely trust my 1st grader to make healthy food choices when I'm not around, and see no chance of "food issues" in my kids' futures.
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#28 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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I think this is the key. Add cheese cubes or something to that and you avoid the dinner conflict every time.
I don't add anything at all that isn't on the table as part of the meal. One unbalanced meal here and there isn't going to kill them if they opt not to eat the entree.
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#29 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 11:02 PM
 
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I don't add anything at all that isn't on the table as part of the meal. One unbalanced meal here and there isn't going to kill them if they opt not to eat the entree.
Yup, that's what I'm saying. If you include stuff that they like, they can skip what they don't and still not be hungry. Seems like it balances out overall.

I'm happy to add the cream cheese for the bread for my younger one.
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#30 of 30 Old 11-20-2009, 11:04 PM
 
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