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#151 of 171 Old 07-09-2004, 12:33 AM
 
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talk about embarassing, can you imagine how that would make a 3 yr old feel to have to wear duct taped shoes all day, as if that wouldn't draw more attention than smiling kitty cats.

about the "imperfect" thing... i wasn't at all refering to children with learning disabilities, because our culture seems to veiw these issues with a lot more acceptance than what i was referring to. by "imperfect" i was being slightly sarcastic in describing a kid that might not meet the standards that seem to be the expected norm at waldorf and other private schools...

my point that i am trying to *discuss*, because i don't claim that i know all the answers, is should a child that comes from a family that is mainstream or even dysfunctional, have less of a chance to experience good things in life. in trying to make our own kids childhoods perfect are people making an even bigger dividde between races/classes? i mention this because i feel that it is counterproductive to talk about wishing that there was more diversity but than not being willing to accept those diversities when they are there.
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#152 of 171 Old 07-09-2004, 10:20 AM
 
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i mention this because i feel that it is counterproductive to talk about wishing that there was more diversity but than not being willing to accept those diversities when they are there.
Good point......but arent we only talking about TV/Movie watching.......and not allowing character clothing? I dont see how that is about diversity. Im thinking about sending my dd to waldorf, but do allow her to watch an hour of PBS in the morning.......and sometimes a video. She's seen Shrek, Nemo....(not LOTR!). So maybe this will be somewhat of an issue for me when I get there......though the thought of eliminating her TV viewing completely, is something I would comply with, or try to.

My friend had her ds attending waldorf charter school in my town this past year. THere was one child who had some serious behavior problems.....was hitting and bullying the other dc's. Every evening, this is all her ds talked about, this boy in his class that got all the attention. She finally pulled her ds out of school.........and right after that, while removing the boy from class, he bit a teacher right thru her clothes and broke the skin. The school told her they were upset about losing her ds......"we're losing the most difficult dc, and the best dc in the class". Now she homeschools.

Bc this school is a charter public school.......all dc's can attend. Its not limited by the money factor. But I dont think all kids are suited for waldorf either. Thats why reading about it and seeing for yourself how that particular school is run is so important, instead of making sweeping judgments about things youve heard or read on the internet. JMHO
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#153 of 171 Old 07-09-2004, 10:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by captain optimism
I just want to point out that in dewlady's original post, she used scare quotes around the word imperfect. She wasn't actually saying that children with learning disabilities are imperfect, like seconds at a clothing factory.

I believe the saying goes, "Nobody's perfect."

I can't say that reading your post has me falling all over myself to investigate Waldorf.

I am not perfect either. The school does its best with its limited resources. It doesn't have the money or the system that public schools have. I think it is very telling that many children who do leave due to difficulites do return after a couple of years. They don't want to go and they can't wait to get back.
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#154 of 171 Old 07-09-2004, 11:12 AM
 
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Some teachers consider Hello Kitty media (she does have cartoon DVD's) just as they consider Barbie, Bratz and Polly Pocket as media characters. Some schools go so far as to eliminate all cartoon looking characters.

In general, all Waldorf schools have some sort of dress code that prohibits media characters (Micky Mouse, Pooh, etc.), often sports teams, cartoon characters, etc. The dress code is understood beforehand. Perhaps in this instance it was a bit harsh to send the letter but it may have been standard procedure at the school. If anything, I have seen our school as being too lax in the enforcement of dresscode. If the dresscode isn't enforced then what is the point? I send my kids to the school so they are not inundated (spelling?) with media. We very, very rarely watch TV. My kids do see some movies in the summer and on school breaks but never on a school night. My kids don't play computer games or game boys. It is what is expected if you go to the school. Why would you send your kid there if you don't support the policy? In this instance, the child was wearing hand me down clothes so perhaps another pair of shoes could have been found. Lord knows our lost and found is regularly overflowing and donated to Good Will.

As an aside, in my child's class there is a boy who is perpetually ripping a hole in the knees of his pants. Ripped or ragged clothes are not allowed. The family is not poor but they are stretched thin with sending 4 children to the school. The boy is of average size and many of the boys in the class are taller so the class has been handing down clothes to this boy and other smaller children in the class. Every little bit helps. We are a cohesive and close community and we are very supportive of each familiy's needs. That is why I love it here!
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#155 of 171 Old 07-09-2004, 03:42 PM
 
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i understand that there are awesome ways for communities to pull together for struggling families, thats the best way, of course, i am just trying to show things from another angle...if people on the top half of society, which is the "norm" among families that can afford private schools, aren't willing to look out for the other 1/2, especially the ones a the bottom, then how can we truly make the world a more peacefull loving place? is it our responsability, or if we just seperate our kids from them enough and shelter them from everything that is not perfect, will those other ones just dissapear? or can we at least rest assured that our children will be different than them.

i think in the end we all want the same thing for our children...caring, understanding, peaceful citizens that can help others, love and see good in others while at the same time being thier true imaginative creative selves, free from the hurtful images of themselves and others brought on by the influence of media.

i guess i am just saying that i think that this should be avalible for all little kids, not just mine... obviouslly i can't save every child, but the ones that cross my path deserve what i can offer. i just try to constantly make sure i am really doing all i can.

here is something i have witnessed at the free school i work at... one day i was watching some of the preschoolers playing in the corner together. my daughter, along with 3 other kids were sitting at a toy picnic table. there is a large supply of wooden blocks and peices of random materiel, (not silk, just scraps) avalable to the kids, all aquired over the years for *free*. the kids had spread a lage peice of fabric over the table and were laying out various shaped wooden blocks on top. they were fully imersed in a grand feast. my immediate thought was, "i sure wish we could afford some of those really cool wooden waldorf toys, they would love them!" but then as i watched i realized something. (the wooden fake food and kitchens are very cool, even if expensive, BTW) i realized that to these kids, it didn't matter at all. there imaginations were ultimitly engaged. it was beautiful to watch the power of imagination at work. then i started to see other examples. there is a large wooden junge gym in the "big room" (also the preschool) of our school. the older kids come in and out of this space throughout the day often stopping to play with the little kids along the way, much to the delight of the preschoolers. over the spring semester this year it became a really fun activity for all to tie up old sheet/peices of fabric like hammoks all over the wooden structure. the big kids were petitioned to tie the fabric and all the kids, 2yrs-8th grade, enjoy the intricate web of swings and hiding spots. all this for free!

maybe kids use even more imagination when they have to.. it can be beautiful.

i'm not saying everone else shuold do it the way we do, but i have to argue that each school uses it's resources the way they choose, i am only trying to portray another way.
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#156 of 171 Old 07-09-2004, 08:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
... So it *is* a subtle form of elitism to ban Hello Kitty sneakers or make the child cover them with tape, as someone else suggested...
I don't think it is a subtle form of elitism that Waldorf promotes. I think it's right out there in the open. From the approved toys to the tuition to the dress code, I think Waldorf wears its elitism right on it's sleeve. But it does it under the guise of "natural" learning, so it often seems to be an elitism that parents who would normally avoid private schools can feel comfortable with.

Add that to the fact that so many Waldorf schools are not completely open about the influcence that anthroposophy has had on shaping the Walforf philosophy and you have, in a nutshell, my objections to Waldorf.
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#157 of 171 Old 07-10-2004, 02:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pugmadmama
I think Waldorf wears its elitism right on it's sleeve. But it does it under the guise of "natural" learning, so it often seems to be an elitism that parents who would normally avoid private schools can feel comfortable with.
Yeah, I would fall into that category, and I'm starting to question it more and more. As Ds gets older and I think needs less "protecting" from the world, I feel quite odd about him being in that elitist, closed world of Waldorf. Just the selection process for the playgroup (3-4 yrs) turns me off big time. We have friends who's daughter goes there, who are fantastic parents, extremely conscientious, and the dad is a big believer in Steiner. Still they barely scraped through a second interview because they let their daughter watch one half hr video (carefully selected) a day. And I know for sure our neighbor's son won't get in because he watches TV constantly, but his mom has chronic fatigue syndrome, dad is out supporting family, and this is a kid that could really use the waldorf environment to give him extra support due to his mom's illness. But he won't match up to what they're looking for, no way. How do I explain that to DS, down the line? "A**** can't go to your school because they don't want him"???
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#158 of 171 Old 07-10-2004, 10:59 AM
 
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Totally not trying to start a debate here....but I don't get how not wanting the children to wear character clothes (ie Hello Kitty) and not watching television is elitist. It is a philosophy about childhood and parenting...how they don't want their children exposed to commercialism and media. Waldorf isn't saying "we don't accept you" or "you aren't good enough" it's that they have a policy on media and commercialism and ask that parents follow this. It isn't for everyone, but I don't think it is elitist on that basis.

I guess I don't understand how this is any different than say for example, AP. Is it elitist to co-sleep, cloth diaper, etc. and want to find other moms who practice your similar beliefs? Are we elitists because we frown upon those who CIO?

Dana, mom to Avery & Natalie 7 , Cole 4 , and Baby #4 on the way!
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#159 of 171 Old 07-10-2004, 11:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dewlady
here is something i have witnessed at the free school i work at... one day i was watching some of the preschoolers playing in the corner together. my daughter, along with 3 other kids were sitting at a toy picnic table. there is a large supply of wooden blocks and peices of random materiel, (not silk, just scraps) avalable to the kids, all aquired over the years for *free*. the kids had spread a lage peice of fabric over the table and were laying out various shaped wooden blocks on top. they were fully imersed in a grand feast. my immediate thought was, "i sure wish we could afford some of those really cool wooden waldorf toys, they would love them!" but then as i watched i realized something. (the wooden fake food and kitchens are very cool, even if expensive, BTW) i realized that to these kids, it didn't matter at all. there imaginations were ultimitly engaged. it was beautiful to watch the power of imagination at work. then i started to see other examples. there is a large wooden junge gym in the "big room" (also the preschool) of our school. the older kids come in and out of this space throughout the day often stopping to play with the little kids along the way, much to the delight of the preschoolers. over the spring semester this year it became a really fun activity for all to tie up old sheet/peices of fabric like hammoks all over the wooden structure. the big kids were petitioned to tie the fabric and all the kids, 2yrs-8th grade, enjoy the intricate web of swings and hiding spots. all this for free!

maybe kids use even more imagination when they have to.. it can be beautiful.

i'm not saying everone else shuold do it the way we do, but i have to argue that each school uses it's resources the way they choose, i am only trying to portray another way.
I think you would be pleasantly surprised to see how simple the toys are in the Kindergartens. In my children's kindergarten, most of the toys were found at second hand stores (dishes, etc.), made by parents (capes, cradle, tree blocks, felted fruit, felted dolls, Waldorf baby dolls in many skin tones) or donated by parents (wooden kitchen, trestles, etc.). Everything is well loved and used. Most of the fancy wooden toys you see in catalogs are bought by parents for their homes. The schools prefer to have things made by the community. The children in the Kindergarten often play as you have described above. Trestles become houses, stores, planes, pirate ships, castles, etc. Horse chestnuts (buckeyes) and acorns are used as currency and pretend fruit.

I think you have found a wonderful school. It seems to have many Waldorf elements in its simplicity of toys and the natural materials used.
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#160 of 171 Old 07-10-2004, 12:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pugmadmama
I don't think it is a subtle form of elitism that Waldorf promotes. I think it's right out there in the open. From the approved toys to the tuition to the dress code, I think Waldorf wears its elitism right on it's sleeve. But it does it under the guise of "natural" learning, so it often seems to be an elitism that parents who would normally avoid private schools can feel comfortable with.

Add that to the fact that so many Waldorf schools are not completely open about the influcence that anthroposophy has had on shaping the Walforf philosophy and you have, in a nutshell, my objections to Waldorf.
What you see as elitism, I see as reality. It costs money to run a school. Our teachers earn a decent salary that is less than public school teachers that takes up a large part of tuition. Our teachers receive health care which also takes up a large part of tuition. We have to pay for our buildings and maintenance. Materials for the classrooms cost more than regular Walmart materials because they are usually natural materials (beeswax crayons) and organic. Every year we struggle with the budget. A large part of the budget goes to lowering the tuition for families with multiple children and for lower income families. It is a financial sacrafice for many of the families that attend our school. Tuition for us is a second mortgage. We don't own fancy cars or vacation homes, we don't go on fancy vactions, and we both work to pay tuition. Our school has a very good financial diversity in the families who attend. Some are wealthy and some are downright poor. The wealthy may not sacrafice as much but they are supporting the poorer families by paying higher tuition and by donating large sums of money to the operating budget and the capital budget.

All private schools and many public schools have approved toys, dresscodes and culture. Montessori schools have their special toys for learning. Catholic schools have uniforms as do many public schools now. If you don't like the culture or the rules, you are free to go elsewhere. For our family, the culture at Waldorf with the emphasis on letting kids be kids, natural toys, no media, organic food, choice on vaccination, recognizing the spiritual in the child without being overly religious suits our family.
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#161 of 171 Old 07-10-2004, 12:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by octobersweethearts
Totally not trying to start a debate here....but I don't get how not wanting the children to wear character clothes (ie Hello Kitty) and not watching television is elitist. It is a philosophy about childhood and parenting...how they don't want their children exposed to commercialism and media. Waldorf isn't saying "we don't accept you" or "you aren't good enough" it's that they have a policy on media and commercialism and ask that parents follow this. It isn't for everyone, but I don't think it is elitist on that basis.

I guess I don't understand how this is any different than say for example, AP. Is it elitist to co-sleep, cloth diaper, etc. and want to find other moms who practice your similar beliefs? Are we elitists because we frown upon those who CIO?
Waldorf schools ask for parental support of the culture. If the parents can't support it, why do they want to send their kids there anyway? When we started my son watched TV and before we started the teachers asked us if we could give it up. We said yes we would, they took our word and my son got in. We gave up the TV. I am sure if we said 'No way!' we love TV and can't live without it!, then they would have said 'I don't think Waldorf is for you.' Every year we have more children apply than there are spaces. Naturally those parents who are supportive of the culture are given priority.

Don't get me wrong, I am sure that there are Waldorf snobs just as there are Montessori and other private school snobs. I just haven't seen them at our school. What I have seen, is a school that bends over backwards to support the family of the children with difficulities. They are often asked to have homelife that is supportive of Waldorf culture. Most comply because they see the benefit to their child.
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#162 of 171 Old 07-11-2004, 09:57 AM
 
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i do think that you seem to have a very beautiful community, i don't doubt that. i guess the bottom line is that of course you have a right to choose that world for your children...
i guess i don't choose that because i disagree that if a child dosen't have a family that can/will comply to these rules, that they deserve to be cast out of my or my childrens lives. they don't make those decisions...they are just little kids. '
i hear that you guys are really putting yourselves out for "poor" families, that is also awesome. i get it that $$ goes. salaries at our school are 8000$ a year. thats what we all make. we have a ramshakle old building that is well loved, and beautiful in it's own way.. i also am not trying to suggest that everyone be like us.. i am just trying to put things into perspective. i just question what is really important in life for OURSELVES. this is just ME. i reiterate.
the word ELITISM defined:conciousness of or pride in belonging to a select of favored group.
as an AP mom, i do not look down upon the way other people do thing, just as i hope they won't look down upon me. we are all doing the best we can for our little guys, i trully beleive that.
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#163 of 171 Old 07-11-2004, 10:20 AM
 
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You are very fortunate to have found a school like you have. 25 years ago when our school started the teachers made similar salaries to your teachers. They taught for love alone and the parents gave everything to start and build the school because they wanted a Waldorf education for their children.

In a perfect world, I would be able to go to a Waldorf Public School and all children would be accepted because the school would have the resources to help all children. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening in my children's school years. Too many people who don't understand or like Waldorf, label us cultists, religious or worse. For us, it was a choice of choosing a pubic school that totally assaulted our values of simplicity, reverence for nature, recognizing that all humans have a spirit and that children should be allowed to be children and develop at their own pace or paying for a school where we found all of these elements and a supportive parent body to build the culture. In Seattle, there is one public school that comes close to this and their waiting list is a mile long. My big question is, why don't they replicate this school program in other neighborhoods? I willingly pay my taxes for public schools and vote for all levies, why can't I have the public school that I want for my kids?

Anyway Dewlady, I don't have any angst about what you have written. As you have stated, we are both choosing what we feel is best for our children. I would like to have more diversity at our school but we all have to choose the best of an imperfect situation.

Peace.
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#164 of 171 Old 07-11-2004, 11:54 PM
 
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Rhonwyn...(and others),
i agree, no hard feelings, just exploring my own thoughts, actually it was a helpful dicussion. just feelin' love for all those little ones out there, regardless of who thier parents are...they deserve the world...they'll have the world...i just want it to be a peaceful, beautiful, gentle loving one for them all...especially since that is where my kiddos will be and i love them unceassingly. peace right back at you.
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#165 of 171 Old 07-27-2004, 11:12 PM
 
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Sorry- I am new to this and still learning to use these boards- just wanted to comment on my (brief) Waldorf experience...
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#166 of 171 Old 07-27-2004, 11:15 PM
 
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Sorry- I am new to this and still learning to use these boards- just wanted to comment on my (brief) Waldorf experience...
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#167 of 171 Old 07-28-2004, 12:00 AM
 
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Not all schools are the same. My children have black and brown crayons available to them and they had them avalible in Kindergarten. Their teachers said 'How can we exclude those colors when we have children of those colors who need them to draw people like themselves?' This is paraphrased. Also, parents are allowed in my son's main lesson. Several parents help during the day because it is a large class.

I must say beautifulaltadena that your responses are rather trollish especially since this is a thread that has been dead for sometime. Makes me wonder why you bring it up?
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#168 of 171 Old 07-28-2004, 12:43 AM
 
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Wow! A racially diverse Waldorf school! Where do you live? You can just say the general region if you are comfortable! That sounds awesome.... we chose a different school here in the greater Los Angeles area rather than the Waldorf school... even though we liked some of what we saw at the local Waldorf school we decided against it- due to weirdness we saw and weirdness we just heard rumors of from others. The Waldorf school here is more culturally diverse than some in SoCal but that ain't sayin' much-- it definitely DOES NOT reflect the demographics of the neighborhood in which it is located.
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#169 of 171 Old 07-28-2004, 12:50 AM
 
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Sorry if you consider me trollish... this thread is on the first page of topics towards the very beginning of the posts on education outside the home. I am new to your forums and don't know about the etiquette of replying to "dead" threads etc. I will try to exercise more care in the future. As for my motives, having just been through an agonizing process choosing a school, and having visited three local Waldorf schools and heard secondhand stories about others, I suppose I am rather passionate about the subject. Excuse me if I have offended you in any way. I have deleted my comments about the black crayons and issue of rote imitation and memorization-- two "red flags" from our Waldorf visits. I am very sorry to upset you. I am sure that you are much like me, a loving and devoted mom trying to do the best for our kids in a very complicated and difficult society!
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#170 of 171 Old 07-28-2004, 07:27 AM
 
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Hi there--just a clarifying point. A thread is never "dead" until a moderator pulls it or sends it to the pen for review. In fact, many times I will pull up an old thread if a member is asking for more info or repeating a question that already had a 6 page thread on the topic! If you haven't read the guidelines on the opening boards, they are pretty simple, and I encourage you to do so. However, I don't think you were in violation. This thread was clearly started for those who wanted to discuss some unhappinesses about Waldorf. When I read your post (I read all posts for Learning at School as mod) I didn't consider it trollish in context of the whole thread. If you had posted on a thread called "reasons why I love Waldorf" it would have been different. Does that make sense?


 
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#171 of 171 Old 07-28-2004, 11:26 AM
 
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Perhaps a better term than dead thread would be a dormant thread. The whole Waldorf thing had been pretty well thrashed out so I was surprised to see it surface again. As a Waldorf parent, I have a real problem with the Waldorf Critics site and the accusations they throw around. A person gets tired of being told they are in a cult. I don't see the same level of animosity toward Montessori, Catholic or other private schools but I may not be as sensitive to that. Being a Waldorf parent can be a constant struggle against the mainstream much like being an AP parent.

The school my children attend is in Seattle WA and it is not as racially diverse as I would like it to be but then again, Seattle has a pretty low African American population especially in the north end where the school is located. We do, however; have several African American children, several Hispanic children and a good population of Asians children in the school. Crayons and pencils of all colors are available to the children. My son regularly used a black crayon for rigging on his pirate ships he drew in Kindergarten. He also used brown and black to draw Martin Luther King Jr. for the January page of his calender he made this year.

Anyway, don't judge all Waldorf schools and Waldorf education by what you have seen in one or two other schools. We have 3 schools in the Seattle area, 2 I like and 1 I do not. Had that 1 been the only one in the area, we would probably be in public school now!

Again, I am sorry for jumping on you beautifulaltadena.
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