Mean kid at LLL - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 01-18-2011, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The LLL Leader's son, 9, is mean to my 2 yo.  DS wants to play with him, but the kid pushes, shuts the door to lock DS out of the playroom, and in w/ the grownups, tells him he's bad, takes toys (though I bet they both do this), etc.

 

I've talked to the boy about this, two months in a row, but he hasn't changed.  His mom doesn't seem to know, since the kid is careful not to do it in front of mom.  What's a diplomatic way to broach the subject with the mom??


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#2 of 25 Old 01-18-2011, 12:29 PM
 
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How often are the visits?  How many other people are there? Are the kids out of your site a lot?

 

I would find things for your two year old to do that don't include the older boy.  Seven years is a big age difference. It's more like baby-sitting for the nine year old, not playing. I don't mean to hurt any feelings, but to him a two year old is an irritation, not fun.  While it would be perfect if the boy spontaneously knew how to patiently play with a two year old, this isn't the case.  Compared to your 2 y.o. I know the 9 y.o. looks like he should know better.  But he still needs help figuring out how to deal with a little person, and for whatever reason his mom isn't helping. You need to help your son stay occupied/entertained without the nine year old.

 

Edited to add, I'm re-reading your post and want to ask, does the older boy seek out your son to pick on him?  Are there other kids there and does he treat them the same way?  If so, definitely take it up with his mom again.  If she can't get a handle on it then I'd find another meeting. 

 

From what you describe, I don't think the boy is particularly mean, but clueless. He's just a kid himself.  I know it hurts to see someone treat our own child any way but kindly.  My son has been on both sides: the little kid following the big kids only to be rather harshly shut out, and the exacerbated big kid who just wants the pesty little kid to go away, and handles it himself --poorly.  I hope I haven't completely misunderstood! smile.gif


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#3 of 25 Old 01-18-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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yeah... I wouldn't expect the 9yo to play with the younger child. Is this meeting in the 9yo's home? If so I'd keep my 2yo close by. /in with the adults. 


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#4 of 25 Old 01-18-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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How many kids total are at the meeting, and what are their ages? Who is supervising the playroom? It's hard for me to understand what exactly is happening just from your OP. 


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#5 of 25 Old 01-18-2011, 08:06 PM
 
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Well I know my 9YO would not treat a two year old that way. He might, however, treat a 6/7 year old that way. LOL He happens to be really good with babies and toddlers (and animals). Given that situation I would definitely keep your little one close and not allow him to play with the older boy unsupervised.

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#6 of 25 Old 01-19-2011, 03:09 AM
 
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I have an eight year old DS. He wouldn't intentionally be mean to a 2 year old, but he wouldn't want to play with one either.

Just to give some perspective (and, truly, I'm not questioning your version of events), the pushing could be the 9 year old trying to get the 2 year old to leave him alone. The taking the toys could be taking his toys back. The shutting him out of the playroom could be trying to get some peace and privacy.

I'm not sure what the whole layout of the LLL meeting is or how it's set up.

Anyway, I don't blame you at all for having your Mama Bear get out of her cage, but, as the Mama Bear of a kid around the same age, I can tell you that they're still little people themselves and they do have a right to be left alone.

Maybe you could talk to the LLL leader and problem-solve together.
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#7 of 25 Old 01-19-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post

I have an eight year old DS. He wouldn't intentionally be mean to a 2 year old, but he wouldn't want to play with one either.

Just to give some perspective (and, truly, I'm not questioning your version of events), the pushing could be the 9 year old trying to get the 2 year old to leave him alone. The taking the toys could be taking his toys back. The shutting him out of the playroom could be trying to get some peace and privacy.

I'm not sure what the whole layout of the LLL meeting is or how it's set up.

Anyway, I don't blame you at all for having your Mama Bear get out of her cage, but, as the Mama Bear of a kid around the same age, I can tell you that they're still little people themselves and they do have a right to be left alone.

Maybe you could talk to the LLL leader and problem-solve together.

 That.  Yes, it's hard to see your child get treated that way, but it's alot to expect a 9 year old to want to play with a 2 year old. 

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#8 of 25 Old 01-19-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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Yeah, need more information.  Like is this at the 9-year-old's house, or someone else's house, or what?  And is the 9-year-old seeking the 2-year-old out to pick on him, or is he trying to keep from being bothered by the 2-year-old.  It really depends.  He has a right to not entertain children that much younger if he doesn't want to, but on the other hand if he's seeking the 2-year-old out and bugging him for fun, that's not OK.

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#9 of 25 Old 01-21-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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If it's like the LLL groups I've attended (I was a leader of one for a while and also attended a different group for a while), you won't get anyone to change anything. If you have a strong core group of members who attend regularly, you might be able to come up with some kind of plan where moms take turns supervising the playroom but that could be hard if you have sporadic attendance or a lot of new people who just come for a time or two. I think the best solution is to just bring along a lot of interesting toys for your 2 yo and keep him near you during the meeting.  

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#10 of 25 Old 01-23-2011, 11:24 AM
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I would never expect a nine year old to play with my 2 year old.  First of all - I wouldn't trust a nine year with a two year old......The developmental stages are just too different.

 

And I would NEVER expect my nine year old to suffer a toddler.  I think that is worse!! Lol!


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#11 of 25 Old 01-23-2011, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I worked at a preschool for years, and though it wasn't a regular thing, we would have afterschoolers with the toddlers some in the early mornings and before closing, and we never would have seen this kind of behavior.  Did the 9 yos like playing with toddlers?  No.  But, we showed them how to play nicely around them, or to distract the little ones so they could play their fun games.  Maybe the only answer is to have someone supervise.


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#12 of 25 Old 01-23-2011, 10:01 PM
 
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I'm surprised the kids are in another area.  At the meetings I have been to (lots of different ones since we move a lot) the mothers are always clearly told we are expected to supervise our own kids.  I think if I were in your position I would just keep my 2 year old with me, with some toys or something.  If you really want to talk to the 9 year old's mom, you could ask how her 9 year old feels about playing with the younger kids, and if he minds having little ones in the playroom.  This would open up the discussion without blaming her or her son.


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#13 of 25 Old 01-24-2011, 01:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDSmomma View Post

Wow, I worked at a preschool for years, and though it wasn't a regular thing, we would have afterschoolers with the toddlers some in the early mornings and before closing, and we never would have seen this kind of behavior.  Did the 9 yos like playing with toddlers?  No.  But, we showed them how to play nicely around them, or to distract the little ones so they could play their fun games.  Maybe the only answer is to have someone supervise.


The kids have no supervision? That's way different than afterschoolers spending a little while in a preschool where teachers are in charge -- you're pretty much expecting the older kid(s) at the LLL meeting to babysit the younger ones. I wouldn't be okay with that as the parent of the older or younger child -- of course supervision is needed. 


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#14 of 25 Old 01-24-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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Try bringing things for your two year old to do.  Nine year olds aren't super nice to two year olds.  This kid might never be good with kids.  My daughter was fine with small kids when she was that age, but only for a short time.  She'd have been annoyed with me for letting a two year old go in her room.

 

However, I hope she'd have at least been nicer about it.

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#15 of 25 Old 01-24-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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Is it at the Leader's house?  Because if it's not, the first thing I have to say is I don't think it's appropriate for the leader to be bringing her 9 year old child to the meetings, especially if this is happening.  I'm not a Leader, and I don't see myself being one anytime soon, but I happen to know the guideline is children are welcome, but it's mostly meant to be limited to nursing babies and young toddlers who would not be OK with a sitter for a couple hours.  Also that yes, mothers are supposed to be supervising their own children.  For a Leader, that could be hard...I can totally see how she might not even notice what is happening.  Those are the reasons I think it's not right for a Leader to be bringing her older child...if it's at her home, then she needs to be made aware so she can make some accomodations.  I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to ask a 9 year old to put up things the young kids can't play with in a playroom and to occupy themselves elsewhere for a couple hours while the meeting happens.  My SIX year old could happily go off and watch Spongebob and play computer, provided with a snack, for 2 hours once a month LOL


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#16 of 25 Old 01-24-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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I had a similar situation at a LLL meeting with the leader's 9-year-old son a few months ago. I was very uncomfortable with it and haven't gone back since. My 2-year-old was completely pestered by this older kid, called "bad" several times and, at one point, even knocked to the floor by the big kid.

 

I think you have a right to be concerned. If your still committed to LLL, I'd either find another group or stick with your toddler like glue at the meetings. You can try talking to the leader, but that didn't work for me. She didn't believe me.

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Originally Posted by LDSmomma View Post

The LLL Leader's son, 9, is mean to my 2 yo.  DS wants to play with him, but the kid pushes, shuts the door to lock DS out of the playroom, and in w/ the grownups, tells him he's bad, takes toys (though I bet they both do this), etc.

 

 



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#17 of 25 Old 01-24-2011, 11:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LDSmomma View Post

Wow, I worked at a preschool for years, and though it wasn't a regular thing, we would have afterschoolers with the toddlers some in the early mornings and before closing, and we never would have seen this kind of behavior.  Did the 9 yos like playing with toddlers?  No.  But, we showed them how to play nicely around them, or to distract the little ones so they could play their fun games.  Maybe the only answer is to have someone supervise.



Well, yes.


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#18 of 25 Old 01-25-2011, 05:57 AM
 
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I have never heard that it was limited to babies and nursing toddlers.  When I've been to LLL meetings, there are often older children there.  For a lot of moms, they either have to bring them or not get the support.  IMO the answer is that the children should be supervised.  If they aren't supervised, then basically a 9-year-old is babysitting, and it shouldn't be surprising that a 9-year-old is too immature to babysit.
 

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Is it at the Leader's house?  Because if it's not, the first thing I have to say is I don't think it's appropriate for the leader to be bringing her 9 year old child to the meetings, especially if this is happening.  I'm not a Leader, and I don't see myself being one anytime soon, but I happen to know the guideline is children are welcome, but it's mostly meant to be limited to nursing babies and young toddlers who would not be OK with a sitter for a couple hours.  Also that yes, mothers are supposed to be supervising their own children.  For a Leader, that could be hard...I can totally see how she might not even notice what is happening.  Those are the reasons I think it's not right for a Leader to be bringing her older child...if it's at her home, then she needs to be made aware so she can make some accomodations.  I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to ask a 9 year old to put up things the young kids can't play with in a playroom and to occupy themselves elsewhere for a couple hours while the meeting happens.  My SIX year old could happily go off and watch Spongebob and play computer, provided with a snack, for 2 hours once a month LOL



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#19 of 25 Old 01-25-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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LDSmomma, I guess I take exception with you for calling the other woman's child a mean kid.  Maybe he is being mean. But your perception is one-sided, and I think you should be open to another perspective of him. He's also just a kid.

 

Of course the children at this meeting need better supervision, that really shouldn't need to be stated.  Of course the boy's mother needs to keep a better eye on him, regardless of his basic nature (mean or not mean).  You asked, what's a diplomatic way to broach the subject with the mom??    There is no secret, you just talk to her.  Politely and firmly inform her exactly what you have observed.  Use your experience from the daycare, because surely there were occasional instances where parents needed to be told that their child had misbehaved.  Her reaction will tell you what your next step should be.
 


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#20 of 25 Old 01-25-2011, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do not consider him a "mean kid."  I just used that as a concise title for the post so people would get the drift.  I think he's a normal 9 yo, based on other 9 yos I've known.  I've known him to be a  very nice kid when my DS wasn't bothering him (before DS was mobile).  But I think he finds a 2 yo annoying, which I totally understand.  

 

Unfortunately, there IS a secret, at least that's how it seems to me.  I have had a LOT of trouble with talking about sensitive subjects like this.  I have been told I lack tact.  I have worked on this a lot over the years, but it is a constant struggle with me, and I hurt people's feelings frequently, and I literally have no idea why they're upset until someone else explains it to me, and sometimes not even then.  Luckily, I have a few friends who know about this problem I have, and are willing to talk situations out with me to help me understand what I've done to hurt other people.  Even when I say the EXACT same words as someone else, when it comes from me, it comes out hurtful, though I don't intend it that way.  I've had hours-long conferences with coworkers & managers to discuss disagreements we've had, and in the end, no one had any brilliant pointer for what exactly I did "wrong", and the hurt party hugged me at the end of one meeting, and it totally blew my mind.  I still don't know why she was upset or what exactly prompted the meeting that kept us after work for a few hours.  That said, I know what types of conversations lead to this kind of situation, and I try and head them off by talking about it before-hand, and finding out how to broach the subject, or by avoiding them altogether.  Since this is the leader's son, I feel like I'll be having a lot of interaction with her, so I want to be sure there are no bruised feelings, particularly since there's no one in this situation that can moderate my way through it.  
 

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LDSmomma, I guess I take exception with you for calling the other woman's child a mean kid.  Maybe he is being mean. But your perception is one-sided, and I think you should be open to another perspective of him. He's also just a kid.

 

Of course the children at this meeting need better supervision, that really shouldn't need to be stated.  Of course the boy's mother needs to keep a better eye on him, regardless of his basic nature (mean or not mean).  You asked, what's a diplomatic way to broach the subject with the mom??    There is no secret, you just talk to her.  Politely and firmly inform her exactly what you have observed.  Use your experience from the daycare, because surely there were occasional instances where parents needed to be told that their child had misbehaved.  Her reaction will tell you what your next step should be.
 




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#21 of 25 Old 01-26-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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OK, that makes sense.  I kind of identify with that.  I feel clueless a lot of the time and can be blunt.  I guess there's a secret to it, a trick.  Some people have a knack for finessing a situation, I certainly don't.  It doesn't come naturally. 

 

However, I still don't think it's complicated. It is simple. Not easy, but there's nothing for it but to do it.  And don't forget, there is still the other person's factor.  You are NOT completely responsible for making this a successful interaction.  Once you talk to the other mom, the ball is in her court, regardless. If you do your very best and you know you were polite then it's fair to say that how she responds tells you more about her than about you.  Either she will step up and do what she needs to do to keep her child from being mean to your child, or she will not. From there the ball is back in your court and you decide what you want to do.


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#22 of 25 Old 01-26-2011, 11:11 PM
 
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OP, regarding the "secret"... my DP is amazing at connecting with people, defusing conflicts, and just getting people to calm down.  He says stuff that I would never dream of saying but it never comes across as condescending.  It comes across as warm, genuine, and concerned. 

 

I am not like this.  Not very good at connecting, not very good at listening.

 

I asked him recently about what he is thinking when he talks to people and he says that... everyone is a mirror.  When people talk to you, it's not really about you.  When someone says somethign to you about you, it's really about them.  So you listen to hear what they are saying about themselves.

 

Then he says that he tries to understand what the other person is saying, about themselves, about the situation, or the conversation, and then when he thinks he hears it, he repeats it back to them to make sure that he does get it.  He says he tries to be a mirror.  The other person might say, "No, that's not what I meant."  Or they might say, "Yes, you understand me."

 

He says when people hear him mirroring their thoughts back to them that is the only time when he can introduce his own thought.  Because now everyone is on the same page.  I've noticed people are more willing to listen to him once this happens - and he is in a better position to frame his thoughts in a way that makes sense to them.

 

It seems like his own intuitive approach to what Naomi Aldort describes in some of her writings as empathetic communication. 

 

Try it the next time someone expresses a harmless opinion that is foreign to you - just echo back the person's opinion to see if you've really understood - and see what happens.  I've actually been trying to do this ("Oh it sounds like you don't really like peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, and you're disappointed that no one wants to make the regular chip ones.") and while it feels a little weird to me, I have to say, it works.  I've actually had people say, "Now it sounds like you understand me."  

 

It is easier for me to do than offer sympathy, because I feel like I never know what the other person is feeling.  You aren't trying to name their feelings or anything like that.  (Like, "ooh, that sounds hard." can be met with, "Actually it's not hard...." or "You're angry" with "No, I'm not angry...." unless they actually say, "I am angry.") 


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#23 of 25 Old 01-27-2011, 02:35 PM
 
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Unfortunately, there IS a secret, at least that's how it seems to me. 

 


 


I like "never assume malice when mere ignorance will do." So, maybe it isn't a "mean" 9 yo, but a 9 yo who doesn't know how to play with a 2 yo. Now that's a different problem isn't it?

 

But again, I think the real problem is lack of supervision. Is LLL always at the 9 yo's house? That must be really tough to have these random strangers come in go pawing all over his stuff. Imagine how you would feel if a group of women who don't even LIKE to cook, much less know how came into your kitchen once week and went through all your stuff.
 


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#24 of 25 Old 01-27-2011, 09:20 PM
 
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I think how you broach it depends in part on the situation.  You still haven't said where the meetings are taking place, what other children are doing, or even if there are any other children.  I can think of several diplomatic ways to begin a conversation, but each would only apply in certain situations.


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#25 of 25 Old 01-28-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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Well it is a suggestion, not something to necessarily ENFORCE......IF the children are not disrupting the meeting.  We also have a few people who bring older children to our meetings--which are not in anyone's home.  It works OK when it's just one set of siblings....often times though too many more and even though they are just playing like "normal kids" it gets loud and hard to hear.  (we have not, that i'm aware of, had issue with 'mean big kids')  It's not that big kids are "forbidden" simply a realistic recognization that older children can survive a couple hours with another person and are more likely to get bored and disruptive than even a nursing toddler who is provided with age-appropriate toys.

 

I know it can be hard if someone is single or has a spouse that works at meeting time...but it's your job as the parent to make sure they have something they can do quietly.

the other day I was at a meeting--different group--that had several kids in attendance--one was probably 11 just a guess, he was back at a table with a notebook, food, and a book to read.  You really hardly knew he was there.(WE didn't tell him to sit alone, I don't know if his mom did, but it appeared to be entirely his choice.)  THAT is what would be appropriate in my mind for a LLL meeting.  yes, they can come talk to their mom and stuff, but it is absolutely NOT appropriate for them to be picking on the little children.

 

Also most LLL meetings I have been to begin with the announcement about feel free to move and tend to your kids' needs---EVERYONE obviously needs to do that, if your 2 year old is bothering the big kid, you also need to be aware and distract them. 

 

I stand by the original statement though....if it's at your house, your 9 year old is old enough to spend a couple hours occupying themselves in a space away from the little kids for 2 hours once a month, if they're not the kind of kid who enjoys "babysitting" and playing with the little kids.  Heck, my SIX year old could be convinced to stay in a room with his MagnaDoodle to write on and play with, the laptop for online games, and Spongebob on TV and be totally happy for a couple hours!

 

The purpose of the LLL meeting is for the moms to come get answers to their breastfeeding questions.  If moms are staying away because children who are well past the need for absolute constant contact with Mom are making it hard for the mothers to hear the discussion, or participate in it because they are having to protect their little ones from older kids who are hurting them....then that is an issue the Leader needs to address. 

And some people don't have the luxury of finding another group, where I am, for example....I am pretty sure we are the *only* current group--I know there were a couple an hour north and south of me...but I think they are now without Leaders.  :(

 

Again, I am NOT anyone affiliated with LLL, just a person who's attended meetings a long time and thought about applying at one point.

 


lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
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