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My DS is 22 months old. For the past 4-5 months, he had become extremely difficult to deal with discipline wise.<br>
First of all, he has enormous amount of energy. He doesn't sit still for a second, he doesn't like sitting in the high chair or stroller. When we are outside, he only wants to walk by himself, he doesn't like holding my hand. He gets frustrated when we are at crosswalk and have to wait for the green light to cross the street. When my DH and I take him out to the restaurant, he will sit in the chair only for 10 minutes when the food comes, prior and after he wants to walk around, come up to people, wave to them. Needless to say, my DH and I end up running after him the entire time. We can never have a normal dinner any more when we are out. When we are in the park, I observe other children playing in close proximities to their parents/caregivers. My DS runs away from me, only wants to play with bigger boys who are always about to knock him down.<br><br>
Now, the tantrums. He has become so strong-willed. He had always been like that, but lately more so. He will fall on the floor and start screaming if doesn't get his way. I can see stress all over my DH's face. I work during the week, but when I spend the whole day with my DS and DH, I feel like I'm about to lose my mind.<br><br>
He is very sweet and very affectionate child. He is also very emotional. He laughs loud and screams loud. When he sets up to do something, it's hard to change his mind.<br><br>
I feel like both of us are struggling. His behaviour affects our marriage because we are both on edge. We get on each other's nerves and criticize one another. I almost feel like it's one big test. Will we make it or not. However, I need reassurance that this kind of behavior is correctable, that it's just a difficult age and things will be better.<br><br>
Also, one thing that scares me is my own reaction to what my DS does. For example, he took a bath, I dressed him in nice clean pajama. He asks me for something to drink, I give him a cup of water. He spills it all over his pajama, and I don't even know if it's by accident, but to me it seems like everything he is doing is to get on my nerves.<br><br>
Another thing that kills me is that my DH is constantly saying: "is he normal? is this behaviour normal? Should we take him to specialist? Is something wrong with him". It's like "shut up!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't put these thoughts in my head!!!!!!!!!"<br><br>
Sorry for venting. Just really needed to talk.
 

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Yeah, its normal. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> We swore of restaurants for about a year when each of our kids went through this stage! Not worth the money to have a meal like that, is it??? Get take-out instead, enjoy it while he is asleep. My kids were easier in restaurants sometime between 3 and 4 yo.<br><br>
Its okay to introduce some structure into his routines, if thats what you need to stay sane. Its okay to decide, for example, that he needs to hold hands or ride in the stroller when you walk near busy streets. Its hard when rules like that make them angry, and it makes me feel bad too, but with a high energy child -- you sometimes have to have some very consistant routines. Its not forever.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">He spills it all over his pajama, and I don't even know if it's by accident, but to me it seems like everything he is doing is to get on my nerves.</td>
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My best advice is just to assume that best of intentions. Just assume that it was by accident. This applies to other situations too -- whenever you can, assume positive intent. It never helps to fall into the trap of thinking they are out to get you. You almost never have to address motive -- you can nearly always address behavior. <i>"Oops. The water spilled. Lets get new jammies and a cup with lid."</i> Or, if you are really on edge, "<i>Oops. The water spilled. Go find Daddy so he can put new jammies on you and I can get some air!"</i><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I feel like both of us are struggling. His behaviour affects our marriage because we are both on edge. We get on each other's nerves and criticize one another. I almost feel like it's one big test. Will we make it or not. However, I need reassurance that this kind of behavior is correctable, that it's just a difficult age and things will be better.</td>
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I agree with you that raising children is tough on a marriage. I'd like to say it gets easier -- but the truth is that it comes in waves. Being on edge, managing tough stages with the kids, being critical -- it happens with older kids too. I guess in some ways you get better at coping and communicating effectively. But its something to be continually conscious of.<br><br>
And I guess the same advice about positive intent applies to spouses too. Always assume your spouse is doing the best he can, and has good intentions.<br><br>
Try the take-out thing while your kid is sleeping. Seriously. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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At that age, yes, dd's behavior did affect our marriage. It's a difficult age, and as first time parents we didn't really know how to deal with her behaviors. On top of that, since we were raised by different people we had different ideas of how parents should act and how kids should act and we had a lot of disagreements. It took a while to work the kinks out. Now, dd is 4.5, and DH and I have learned to be on the same page about most things.<br><br>
Regarding his behaviors, yes, they are normal. DH and I did not go to restaurants with dd when she was that age. She was not able to sit still and be quiet at meal time, and that wasn't her misbehaving, it was just her being little. That's what little kids do. Yes, she did run away from me constantly. In public places she had to be harnessed for her safety. Yes, she spilled water on herself on purpose. And many other lovely things. She was just figuring out how the world works. Like, "gee, what happens when I turn this upside down? Well, hmm, that was interesting, I wonder if I do it again, will the same thing happen? Let's try it! Oh, look at that, it did. What about if I do it again?"<br><br>
I no longer consider these things misbehaviors that need correcting. They are developmentally appropriate behaviors that will go away when that particular developmental stage is passed. My job as a mother is to create a safe environment where dd can do all the developmentally appropriate things that she needs to do without hurting herself or others. And, sometimes, I just make it impossible for her to do things that are detrimental to my sanity. For example, I found a brand of sippy cup that, if screwed tightly enough, she could not unscrew at that age. So no matter how badly she wanted to dump the water out, she couldn't. Cupboard locks and extensive childproofing are other sanity saving examples. When she started taking off her diaper and peeing on the floor, I changed to a pull up type diaper that she couldn't get off without help.<br><br>
As for a family counselor, I HIGHLY recommend it. Not because there is anything wrong with your son, but because parenting is stressful and marriage is stressful and it's important to spend an hour every week or two with someone whose job it is to listen to you and offer you emotional support. Personally, it makes me feel SO much better, which makes me a better wife and mother. And it makes DH less cranky, too.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
Angie
 

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I noticed this thread cuz the title. This stuff is hard! For us we're having trouble finding the time and energy to sit down and hash out our parenting styles. Dh is very laid back and I see the value in structure. I really feel if we can make it through 'toddler-ville' on this little sleep (we have a new darling baby added to the mix) than we can do anything.<br><br>
Hang in there!!! I keep reminding dh to keep focused on the months to come when we'll be more rested.<br><br>
A few thoughts - YES your son is normal! Maybe sit down and talk to dh about it once and for all and convince him (and yourself) that this is normal behavior. Then ask that you guys really try to only encourage each other for the next month or so to get through this.<br><br>
Ya know how you baby proff your house? Maybe you have to baby proff your life in a way. For example, I do sippy cups unless she's strapped in her high chair. (you mentioned spilling on PJ's).<br><br>
You mentioned ds doesn't like the highchair or stroller or holding hands. Honestly I wouldn't like those things either. I mean we sit on a bench, think we want to get up, and we do that. But they have to ask and get our permission for everything. It must be maddening.<br><br>
Re going out to eat - I loose my appetite. It's not worth it to me right now. We order in. I think it's a lot to ask of toddlers. But when we do go out on the rare occasion I bring crayons, etch-a-setch, stickers, snacks, juice or rice dream box - the works. None seem to keep dd's attention for long but it may buy me 10 mins.<br><br>
Also a friend recommended a book on CD to listen to. It's <b>The Happiest Toddler on the Block: The New Way to Stop the Daily Battle of Wills and Raise a Secure and Well-Behaved One- to Four-Year-Old By Harvey Karp.</b> While I don't jive with all of it there's lots I'm getting from it. I listen to it in the car cuz I just can't find time to read.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Janelovesmax</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7981383"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">He asks me for something to drink, I give him a cup of water. He spills it all over his pajama, and I don't even know if it's by accident, but to me it seems like everything he is doing is to get on my nerves.<br></div>
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I tell myself........don't take things personally! I've been much happier as a parent since I instituted that.<br><br>
Ds pours water on the floor..........not personal.<br><br>
Ds calls me stupid.......not personal.<br><br>
Ds gets toilet paper all over the bathroom.....not personal.<br><br>
Etc. Etc. You have to take your ego out of your parenting (easier said than done, I know.)<br><br>
When my 4 yo. son gets in a "mood," I know it's one of three things...<br><br>
1) he's tired (tired kids sometimes <b>act</b> like they have ADD...they are trying to keep themselves awake!)<br><br>
2) He needs to eat something (healthy, of course)<br><br>
3) He needs to run around outside and expend some of his energy!
 

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I agree that his behavior is normal and I would suggest that you lower your expectations of him a bit.<br><br>
22 mo do not go out to "normal restaurant dinners". Ain't gonna happen! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> You could: call and order in advance, have one parent entertain him outside while the other orders and waits, make a special "restaurant only" bag of toys and activities to bring, and just realize that dinners are going to be like that at restaurants until he gets older.<br><br>
I think the advice to make it not personal is a good one. I read in your post a definite personal reaction to the water thing. You put him in nice, clean pajamas, and he spills water on them. They're still nice and clean, though, and I assure you that even if he did it on purpose, it has nothing to do with you. Also, try to avoid these things at bedtime by using a sippy cup or just a sip or two of water at a time.<br><br>
About the tantrums, I would talk to your husband and set up a plan so that you both react consistently to them. He's doing it because a) he's overwhelmed emotionally - his age is especially hard because kids want to be independent but aren't ready yet, and b) sometimes it works to get his feelings or needs met. So if you pick the same way of responding that doesn't reinforce the tantrum but helps him to label his feelings and model a different way to communicate, it will help him to know what is expected and do that instead.
 

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Having a child affects your marriage to varying degrees depending on ages and stages. For most couples a newborn means round the clock baby care. Then there is sometimes a nice phase with the older baby where they aren't mobile but have a routine and enjoy going out.<br><br>
Then, you have a toddler <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> We did not go out to restaurants when ds was that age. Just last week I said to dh "Do you remember that when ds was 2 the only place we took him out was to Crackerbarrel and the local pizzaria?". It was true. Ds was captivated by the stuff on the walls at Crackerbarrel, the game on the table, the plate of biscuits, and he always set to eating up the little containers of butter! That bought us about ten minutes quiet before we had to take turns walking him around. The local pizzaria was spartan and quiet and ds could walk around freely without bothering anyone. Other than that, we never ate out until he was closer to 3 and a half.<br><br>
In my experience ds turned 3 and became much easier again. I think 5 was a little tiring, he seemed to be very loud at that age, and then he was easy again by 6 and a half.<br><br>
I guess we'll have a teenager in 2 years, so I"ll let you know how our marriage survives that then <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Just about eating out - we've found the "timer" concept helpful, along with the 'bag of cool toys you never otherwise see' -<br><br><a href="http://www.tastingmenu.com/archive/2005/11-november/20051117.htm" target="_blank">http://www.tastingmenu.com/archive/2...r/20051117.htm</a><br><br>
But our son's younger, so we may yet be giving up eating out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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As I read the OP's post I thought I had written it in my sleep except substitute ds for 21 mo dd and I have the same exact situation even down to some times feeling really really overwhelmed when we are all together. Though in my case weekends can be compounded because my 15 yo is home from his Dad's so I am split between the strong willed toddler and a mellow teenager who also needs Mama.<br><br>
That said my dd's behavior has at times had a real negative impact on my marriage, what was probably the saving grace is when I started taking Fridays off at work and dh arranged his schedule so we can connect as a couple while dd is in daycare. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">:<br><br>
My dd still needs to have one of us in her vicinity when she sleeps so even night time was no break and after a year of not sleeping together and never having time to talk on top of having a highly spirited child we were both losing it.<br><br>
As far as your son's behavior like others have said its all normal, like you though I like to eat out and be out and not necessarily at kiddo friendly venues. I find that if we eat out for breakfast or lunch dd does well, granted she won't just sit and be patient and wait for the food and allow us to talk. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> However she won't melt down if we pick places where she can engage with the staff, now that warm weather is coming I am definitley looking for outside venues. Dinner is a big no-no though, just the other night I had planned to take just my 15 yo out for dinner instead we all went and it was past 7 pm, OMG it was not good. Yet just a few days earlier we did a brunch out and dd was fine.<br><br>
I find that when I get time to meet my own needs its easier for me to deal with dd and her energy levels, its when I am tired and run down that things are not so well.<br><br>
Shay
 

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I would suggest the books:<br><br>
The Emotional Life of the Toddler - there's an excellent chapter in there about highly active children that will help you feel better.<br><br>
You might also look at Sleepless in America. It's a great book on sleep, even though she makes it seem like every tantrum can be prevented by a child just getting enough sleep. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> But in your pajama example, he may be spilling it because he's TIRED, too tired to be coordinated, and he's too stressed to relax because well, you're on edge.<br><br>
As for restaurants. We didn't go from when dd was 18 mos until she was 2 1/2. Too difficult.<br><br>
Get a harness/leash or one of those backpacks that has a leash on the back. He'll be happy, you'll be happy, life will be better. A highly active child who NEEDS to walk but can't understand why it's important to stay near is what those are made for. The only people who I know that are against them are the ones who have children who aren't mobile or very, very calm children, or something like that.
 

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Yes, this is normal behavior for a toddler and yes it did affect our marriage. From Birth-2 1/2 DH and I were hostage at home and could only take turns to meet our needs.<br><br>
It was VERY hard. DS will be 4 in July and DH and I are just-now able to sit down at a restaurant and eat (has to be buffett style or a place where Kids can run around without offending other Adults because THEIR Kids are running around (CiCi's Pizza).
 

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Yes. Our son affected our marriage. And yes, especially at 22 mos.!<br>
But don't let yourselves get lost in all this. Hire a babysitter every couple weeks, schedule some couple time. Talk. Talk. Talk about what your gameplan is. If you're united and secure as a couple that will translate to a secure more centered child. My son is only 3 now but from 18-22 mos. was the hardest part so far. I think he took us by surprise with how much he was learning and trying to process all at once! Hang out at a playgroup of other children the same age and observe how similar they all are! Watch other moms interact with their kids, take what you like and leave the rest.<br><br>
Then have a glass of wine and alternately laugh and cry yourselves to sleep!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>A&A</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7982017"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I tell myself........don't take things personally! I've been much happier as a parent since I instituted that.<br><br>
Ds pours water on the floor..........not personal.<br><br>
Ds calls me stupid.......not personal.<br><br>
Ds gets toilet paper all over the bathroom.....not personal.<br><br>
Etc. Etc. You have to take your ego out of your parenting (easier said than done, I know.)<br><br>
When my 4 yo. son gets in a "mood," I know it's one of three things...<br><br>
1) he's tired (tired kids sometimes <b>act</b> like they have ADD...they are trying to keep themselves awake!)<br><br>
2) He needs to eat something (healthy, of course)<br><br>
3) He needs to run around outside and expend some of his energy!</div>
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Just had to chime in with a huge THANK YOU for this post...it really helped me. My 4yo gets in "moods" quite often and it grates on my nerves. But to say to myself "this isn't personal" will really help, I think.<br><br>
Thank you!!!
 

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Honey are you me? I know EXCATLY what you mean! Our ped has put ds in a behavourial study and I am worried about it but we will see. I know that this behavour later in life is going to be a huge asset but it is KILLING me right now! I am working through it to so I am going to be lurking around. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Check out Mary Kurcinka's book <a href="http://www.parentchildhelp.com/SpiritedChild/tabid/59/Default.aspx" target="_blank">Raising Your Spirited Child: A guide for parents whose children are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, energetic</a><br><br>
My son is like this. That book is SO wonderful and helpful.<br><br>
Your son is normal (unless you sense something is wrong, which I doubt.)<br><br>
Make sure he is getting sleep though... check out her sleep book also.<br><br>
My son was a BEAR until I realized <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh"> he was really missing sleep. Kurcinka's book opened <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bigeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bigeyes"> my eyes.<br><br>
Another thing that helped me (and still is) is finding a local Preschool that is run like a Co-op (not a drop off day care) where the emphasis is on Parent Education. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bow.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bow"> I'm so grateful for the experiences, education and support we both have received and my son's local preschool.<br><br>
It's NOT academic, just play, play, play, which, thanks to them, I am convinced is the best way to go for the first 5 years.<br><br>
Check out Lisa Murphy's website (she spoke at our school 3 years ago) for some great tips for your son, who is learning normal cause-and-affect (oh, this is what happens when I spill water.)<br><br><a href="http://www.ooeygooey.com/" target="_blank">http://www.ooeygooey.com/</a><br><br>
Check out that BEAUTIFUL photo of the child (at least 5?) covered from head-to-toe in shaving cream. That is normal. Children LEARN THROUGH their 5 senses. They need the freedom to explore...
 

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Thank you to everyone. OP and PP's. I have felt like this: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: for the past few weeks and DS is only becoming more active and emotionally intense as time goes by. He has always been a very active, alert, social, emotional baby and now it is even more. He is not really talking yet (mostly animal and car noises <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> with the occasional "all done"). 99% of his communication is through whining, grunting, and screaming. 0-100 in no time at all. Its like he goes from happy Mr. Independant to needy, hungry, tired monster without any warning.... that I see anyway.<br>
So, yeah. I can relate to the OP..... which kinda worries me if I am in for several more months of this. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br>
I just want him to talk! And for things to not be so extreme and desperate when he needs something. Anyway. Feels good to get that all out <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Thanks.<br><br>
Ronna
 

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I want to take an opportunity and to thank you for all your responses. You can't imagine how much support I felt and how grateful I felt. I'm not alone in this, I'm not alone. There are other parents who went thru the same thing I'm going thru now and it's comforting.<br><br>
I will check out all the books recommended. I did purchase Raising Your Spirited Child and there is a wealth of information there.<br><br>
Once again, thank you. I'm very happy to be here!
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>A&A</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7982017"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I tell myself........don't take things personally! I've been much happier as a parent since I instituted that.<br><br>
Ds pours water on the floor..........not personal.<br><br>
Ds calls me stupid.......not personal.<br><br>
Ds gets toilet paper all over the bathroom.....not personal.<br><br>
Etc. Etc. You have to take your ego out of your parenting (easier said than done, I know.)<br><br>
When my 4 yo. son gets in a "mood," I know it's one of three things...<br><br>
1) he's tired (tired kids sometimes <b>act</b> like they have ADD...they are trying to keep themselves awake!)<br><br>
2) He needs to eat something (healthy, of course)<br><br>
3) He needs to run around outside and expend some of his energy!</div>
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Yes, this is good posting.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>newmommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8021600"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yes, this is good posting.</div>
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Yeah, I kind of want to tattoo it on my forearm!
 
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