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i_am_jan
Oh great...Christmas time again. I'm curious: of those of you who celebrate this peachy holiday such as is the lovely tradition in my family, how do you handle gifts for all the kids? I am the only person in my family fortunate enough to be childfree. I have 4 bros and sisses and each has kids. We only buy gifts for the kids right? Which really works out great for my siblings, it's sort of like a 'gift exchange' of sorts for them since they buy, but then their kids will get something out of the whole thing too. So last year, I go and buy gifts for everyone's multiple offspring. No one gave me a thing. I mean, not. one. thing. I was simply out my pocket several hundred bucks when it was all over. I mean, it's not about the money or gifts at all, it's the thought that not one of my siblings went "hmmmm, jan buys for all the kids but she doesn't have any kids for us to buy for...maybe we could send a little something her way, if just a nice card." Not that I wanted anything, believe me. But now here it is again that time of year, and I'm kinda broke. So really I'm just venting.

I have one girlfriend who's CBC ~ she buys gifts for all her siblings' kids, but then her siblings each buy her something nice as well. I'm just sort of like ?? I scratch my head in wonder at how inconsiderate of me my siblings are, that's all.

I mean it's like: I *AM* Santa Claus!?!
turbojenn
Jan....that totally bites. I wonder if there would be a gentle way to tell your sibs how this makes you feel - and if you truly feel like you don't *need* a gift from them, be honest about that, too....just tell them that acknowledging your efforts and expense would be greatly appreciated by you. And if you're less flush this season, what about just doing something small for all the kids - maybe just get them movie passes so that the kids can go see a movie? ...A lot less money, but still fun for the kids....and if they live near you, maybe you could offer to be the cool aunt to take them out to the movie, and get a special ice cream treat or something after...just a thought.

We're hitting the same wall on xmas - not just with the kids, really, but in general, not wanting to spend loads of cash on gifts for every single family member, when none of us really needs anything. Just seems wasteful, and I'd rather give a little more cash to the charities I like to support this time of year.
rainarana
When I was living near family the adults would all buy gifts for each other in a secret santa kinda way. Then from there the grandparents and parents would buy for the kids but the adults would have their own tradition. Frankly, the kids didn't need any more gifts. They're much more likely to remember if you set aside time to play with them and their new toys than more loot piled up.


ETA- Another thought, if you have the time, perhaps suggest that in lieu of gifts you could have a cookie baking or crafts session with the kids and let the parents can have a night out, or time to shop or whatever.
treehugger
Oh, gah. I just remembered that for reasons out of my hands (mom in a nursing home in colorado, while i am in wisconsin), i have to go to my brother's house in colorado over christmas.

Sooo, i have absolutely no clue what to do about gifts. I see these people once every three or four years, at best. My niece has three children and by now i have the sinking feeling that this is going to get expensive.

What do you buy for three kids, I'm assuming none of them are twelve yet, but I'm not sure, two boys and a girl? Last time I got gift certificates to toys-r-us, but that sorta feels like cheating. Gah.

culturehandy
tree, why not follow suit and get gift certs to a movie or a bookstore?? you don't see then very often, I'd spend no more than $20.00 a pop, besides, the little rodents are going to get spoiled by thier parents.
falljackets
*delurks*

i agree with culture. i always go the cash/gift cert route with my nieces. i see them once or twice a year and can't keep up with their sizes, much less the games/books/music they're currently into. i like the idea of movie passes. or what about a video game store? they're probably into gaming and you would get total cool aunt points for it. kids that age love having their own money and making their own decisions.

*relurks*
i_am_jan
I like the ideas for movie passes...reasonable prices and something the brats can actually go out and do...Thanks everyone for ideas and good luck treehugger... I hear you, at least my peeps are here in town so I can be thankful for that! I was also thinking of buying cheap mittens or gloves and sewing felt art onto them to personalize a pair for each kid. It'd be something to do on the cheap cheap, but I don't think I'll have time so bah humbug
faerietails2
I went to a library sale yesterday and bought 4 children's books for my nephew at a dollar a pop, and they're in mint condition.

I'm seeing him for the first time in months in a couple of weeks, so I'll probably cave and bust out the books way before Christmas, but I was thinking of buying more books anyway. They're cheap, and he doesn't need any more toys or clothes for the time being.

I know he's just 7 months old, but the kid never gets read to. Like, ever. The last time I was with him he was fascinated when I sat him on my lap and read him a letter, so I figure books are the way to go. *shrug*
treehugger
hehe...I saw gramma and grampa (my brother and his wife) yesterday at the funeral I went to in Cali. I told them, only partly kidding, that they better get me some sort of a wish list SOON or I will be bringing itchy wool socks which would most likely make them cry. They thought that was funny, and I hope they take it seriously enough to at least let me know what kinds of things the kids like.

FJ, I'm loving the video game store gift certificate idea! Um...the two boys are, I'm thinking six to eleven, somewhere is the age range to the two. What kind of dollar figure would get a cool game for each of them?

And...unfortunately, I'm thinking Hayden, (the daughter) is probably too young for the video game thing, I'm pretty darned sure she's not four yet.
thepointybird
Hhhmmm... A few weeks back I was chatting to some colleagues, both mammas, and one asked if I had any kids. I basically just told them that I wasn't interested in having kids and planned not to, hoping we could leave the conversation there, but no.... the next thing I get is a chorus of 'awwwww, that's such a pity! Oh, you'd love being a mum, it's sooo great! Oh, you just have noooo idea what you're missing!'. Um, what? First of all, why is it a pity? I'm perfectly happy, nay blissful in my childfree state! Also, how in the feck do you know if I would love being a mum? How do you know I wouldn't hate every minute of it, be terrible at it and regret it until the day I die? That shit pisses me off so much - I'd never turn round to one of them and say 'Oh, you have kids? Oh, that is sooooo sad, it must really rile you having to give up late nights and lie-ins and time to yourself. How awful for you! You should give your kids up for adoption and have a childfree life, it's so fulfilling and awesome, it'll be the best thing you've ever done!' Plain fecking rude. Hmmmph!
faerietails2
Heh. If it were one of my friends who told me stuff like that, I would totally go there with them.
culturehandy
Why do people think it's okay to voice how they feel about my childfree status? Like pointybird said, I don't comment on your sleepless nights, and lack of sex life.

faerietails2
This article is disgusting.
humanist77
yeesh, seriously, faerie~
Not only is it just another ploy for money from jewelry manufacturers, it's probably like an incentive to have more children.."oh boy, if I go through another 9 months of hell and childbirth and child-rearing, I can get another pair of diamond earrings!"
And that gift consulting woman had my immediate reaction: shouldn't a ton of help and support before and after the kid is born be enough?
It's just another practice of silly rich people.
rainarana
Heh, whenever I buy myself something expensive, jewelry, a new handbag, I always tell my childed coworkers that "It's so much better than a baby."

Yeah, that's gross, but when I got a diamond ring for my b-day a few years ago one of my coworkers, who's wife was pregnant, was asking about it because he wanted to get something for his wife for having a baby. Bleah! Hey, she's already getting a howling handbag.
loverufus
hello all, it's been a long time since i've posted in here (i used to be ambercherry).

just read that article and it's absolutely sickening, i think. and i think it cheapens the whole experience - at least if i were to find out my dad gave my mom some piece of jewellery for having me...bleh. mother's day is something else - but for the actual birth?

also - if i were a new mom, i think the only thing i would find glamourous would be having a long relaxing hot bath and some sleep! and maybe some great food. and love and support, of course.

and thepointybird? i love that response!!!
culturehandy
vile.
kaylafresh
The Pointy Bird,
I love your entry. If someone even says one thing to me at Christmas about not having kids, I am repeating yours WORD FOR WORD. Hee hee. I usually say, "As much as you want to have them, is exactly as much as I DON'T want to have 'em." Sometimes, and I know this might be passive aggressive, but I swear I don't mean it that way, but I say - "Everyone I know with kids is miserable, exhuasted and no fun. Why would I want that for myself?"

The problem is, we're expected to be so polite, I am always considering someone else's feelings (because their Moms and I don't want to offend them) BUT then they can completely insult me. Hmmm.
i_am_jan
pointybird: one word for these people: IG-NOR-ANT. But so tell me about it: I have this new neighbor downstairs. She seems cool, an older lady who lives by herself, we get to talking one day and she asks me about kids. Tell her I have none. She goes: "oh, well, you will. Just don't wait til you're 40." Whatever the f*& that means. Then just yesterday I run into another gal, one of my mom's friends. Asks me about kids. I say none. She goes "oh...you'll have ONE." Like, not a question ~ an actual statement. Then just looks dead at me waiting for a response. I just mumbled sort of timidly "I've never wanted to be a mother."

I absolutely *love* your response below though. Of course, I am like all ya'll, just tryin'a be POLITE. I guess we're floatin out here all by ourselves in a little sea of *manners* though, sheesh!?
pollystyrene
It's about frickin' time someone figured this out!
culturehandy
Polly, I agree with that proposal whole heartedly. I don't give two shits if you cannot afford it, clearly you can if you are having more bastard crotch fruit in the first place.
thepointybird
Polly, I'm frickin LOVING that article! I'm sick of dickheads who have like 5 kids but feel the need to lecture me on how much damage I'm doing to the environment cos I like to take hot showers of a morning....

i_am_jan
Wow...it's about time!!! I'm so glad a dialogue may be opened about what having kids (or even one) *means*. Breeders don't think twice ~ only think about is what they want and how many. I'm going to print that out and lay it on the breakroom table at work and forward it to everyone I know.
BellyDanceGirl
I just turned 37 on the 7th. I've never heard that maternal/biological clock. The ONLY reason I would ever want to have a child is to see what she/he'd look like. If THAT'S the best reason I can come up with, I definitely shouldn't be a mother. I was my grandmother's live-in care-taker from age 29-34. I developed a very unique relationship with her (I don't know that many women in their 30's that has had the opportunity to have pizza and wine with grandma while watching Cary Grant movies at 2am). I know that I will have to - and willingly - take care of my single mother in the next 15-20 years. I know she will definitely be single - she hasn't been married since 1980. Hasn't dated since '87. Doesn't want to, either.

My mother was fantastic, we also had a very unique and cherished bond. Sure, she'd love grandchildren (my brother is gay so it was up to me wink.gif ) but she understands that I have an immense thirst for life.

I didn't have as many opportunities in my 20's due to financial reasons. And, at times I do wonder where I'd be if I didn't put my life on hold for 4.5 years - my prime years. I just have no desire to put my life on hold anymore. I just been 'back out in the real world' for a couple of years now. I'm back at the bottom of my profession (not bellydancing - btw, a job in the corporate world), with entry level college grads. I just learned how to scuba dive last year and only been diving in one place. I just took bellydancing lessons and have so much more to learn. I just don't feel I will have enough time to do everything I want to do anyway, let alone have children.
i_am_jan
Bellydancegirl:

I hear you when you say you are interested in life and learning...not stopping to simply start all over again by raising other human beings.

Your hobbies of scuba diving and belly dance sound adventurous and fun!!

I also think it's nice you've been able to help take care of older relatives. That is one thing I am interested in doing as well. Being childfree has given me this option and I find I'm very open to it. I am sort of the default person who will take care of my parents in several years because the rest of my sib's have kids to take care of but, at the same time, it's like I have a certain amount of 'energy' that was not used in caring for children? that I look forward to giving back to my parents.

At any rate, welcome to the thread smile.gif
i_am_jan
By now, I'm sure it's been pointed out that during the film KNOCKED UP, the word "abortion" is not uttered one single time...it never comes up as a choice.

But unrelated to that, here's a *very* interesting commentary on that movie from Slate.com. with some words from one of the lead actors, check it out:

http://www.slate.com/id/2179621/
BellyDanceGirl
QUOTE(i_am_jan @ Dec 11 2007, 05:04 PM) *
Bellydancegirl:

I hear you when you say you are interested in life and learning...not stopping to simply start all over again by raising other human beings.

Your hobbies of scuba diving and belly dance sound adventurous and fun!!

I also think it's nice you've been able to help take care of older relatives. That is one thing I am interested in doing as well. Being childfree has given me this option and I find I'm very open to it. I am sort of the default person who will take care of my parents in several years because the rest of my sib's have kids to take care of but, at the same time, it's like I have a certain amount of 'energy' that was not used in caring for children? that I look forward to giving back to my parents.

At any rate, welcome to the thread smile.gif



I love that you said this - I feel the same way:

"it's like I have a certain amount of 'energy' that was not used in caring for children? that I look forward to giving back to my parents. "

And when I say take care of my mother, mean 'be' with her, regardless if she's ill. We're planning to go to Vancouver for the winter olympics.

Thanks for the warm welcome. I guess you could say that I went to some extremes after my grandmother went into the nursing home for a year. I had been interested in bellydancing since I was a child. I had time in my 20's when I could have taken lesson. But I thought I'd have plenty of time. I am now beginning to grasp the brevity of time, so I seized the day and began lessons a few months ago.

The diving came along by pure luck. I fell in love with a man who could dive. Sure, I'd always wanted to do it, but certain I'd never - at least in the near future - due to the expense. It is the most amazing, peaceful, spectacular experience.
BellyDanceGirl
QUOTE(i_am_jan @ Dec 11 2007, 05:40 PM) *
By now, I'm sure it's been pointed out that during the film KNOCKED UP, the word "abortion" is not uttered one single time...it never comes up as a choice.

But unrelated to that, here's a *very* interesting commentary on that movie from Slate.com. with some words from one of the lead actors, check it out:

http://www.slate.com/id/2179621/



Yes, very interesting statement and article. I had no desire to see the film. It was surprising to me who wrote it.
rainarana
Fucking hell, is everyone pregnant? I have a weakness for gossip blogs, mindless distraction that they are. But this AM I read both Lynne Spears and Lily Allen are pregnant?! This whole "I wanna baby!" obsession in Hollywoodland is freaking me out. What about birth control? What about not being a dumbass?
thepointybird
Ugh, I know Rain, I'm so disappointed in Lily. Can't people at least wait until their 30s? Why ruin the most fun decade of your life?
culturehandy
The thing I find most spectacular about the Jamy Lynn Spears thing, is that if this was any other 16 year old, she would be demonized, but I guess it's okay for a 16 year old *snickers* celebrity (of you really want to call Jamy Lynn a celebrity) to get pregnant.
katiebelle2882
hey everyone i have been MIA for awhile i know but i wanted to stop in and say hi and comment on a few things.

the first is knocked up. i HATED THAT MOVIE. it made women out to be whining, maniuplative, nasty hormonal nags. it was horrible. furthermore i truly felt it sent a message to women and girls that getting pregnant by a one night stand ends in happiness and that abortion in that circumstance is not at all a good idea (because clearly it would be the number one choice of anyone with half a brain). god, i wanted katherine heigls sister to get hit by a bus in that movie.

the other thing is this ridiculous amount of way too young girls thinking its a good idea to get pregnant and keep it. i really really cant deal. i want to start tying certain peoples tubes.
i_am_jan
God I had to spend a couple days with my folks and their grandchildren (my nieces & nephs). A couple of the kids (one 6-mo. old and one 18-mo. old) stayed with my mom and dad for a couple days & nights. I actually pitched in and helped them with the diapers & stuff simply because it was such a huge job that was wearing them out every second and they're both not in that great of health. It hit me that if I had to lead that life of dullness, just sitting around doing whatever the kids required me to do, trying to clean the house, trying to cook, hold down a marriage, I would *quite literally* commit suicide. I simply would rather die than live that. That dull, boring, burdened, endless chore-y existence. It is taking me this entire day and I still don't feel recovered from it all yet.

Then ~ you should seen some of the presents these aunts & uncles and parents bought their children. Two of the little girls who are 18-mo. old received baby dolls that wet their diapers (????~they're EIGHTEEN MONTHS OLD???). An 8 year old girl got a barbie kitchen, whatever. I saw NO books (except for the ones I bought and that's all I bought any of the kids). None of the boys received anything except fast cars and videogames. Except ~ (and I'm still scratching my head over this one) ~ a 11 year old boy received a wallet with an online-use credit card in it.

Are people getting stupider? I can only answer for my own family: yes. Yes they are. Very much so.
treehugger
Gah. You know what pisses me off? I spent, hmm, let's add this up:

$35.00 for a Gap scarf and gloves for the father
$25.00 for a basket of designer soaps and lotions for the mother
$15.00 for a craft~home made volcano that will really erupt for the oldest son, age 9
$17.00 for a spinny art thing for the artistic younger son, age 7
$12.00 for angel wings and magic wand for the little girl, age 3

And then, spent about $350.00 for airplane ticket
Another $100.00 or so for traveling expenses

I received from said family, group gift:

A big bag of beef jerky.

I mean, c'mon...it's not like I expect a LOT...but really. And I know the parents can afford it...the kids were quite royally lavished with wii's, pokemon, nintendo, gameboy, and all the other really expensive kid things that I don't even know what they are.
culturehandy
Tree, that shit is so jsut wrong. I'd say mail it back, but it's not worth the postage.

I have to say, I worked in retail, at a bookstore, and nothing made me happier than seeing parents lay down tons of cash on books for their kids. even giftcards, I love it.

I hate how adverts always make things so gender specific and stereotypical. Just because your kid is a girl does not mean she's a mommy! Fuck off.
rainarana
A big bag of beef jerky.>>

That's some seriously fucked up shit. Unless you're crazy for beef jerky and it was some special gourmet type, it just reeks of, "Shit, we forgot Treehugger, what's here next to the checkout aisle?" Even a generic bath set would have been better, although maybe indicative of their bad taste. Do you have other family there as well or is it just them? If it's just them then I'd put that cash into a long spa weekend next year. If you have other family then go but tell them that no gifts are necessary as you'll be treating yourself as you know exactly what you like.
deschatsrouge
Even a gift card is more personal than that. I would so not be talking to those asshats ever again.
faerietails2
WOW, tree. That is some serious bullshit. I'd be like...is this a fucking joke??? (And if it were my brother or sister I'd especially let them have it.)

Jan, I know what you mean about the child care stuff. I'm soaking up every minute I can right now with my baby nephew since I've only seen him at 3 months and now again at 7 mos. I love him, he's a badass little guy, and I'm cool with it if he pukes on me and stuff. But if I had to do that 24/7 for 18 years I'd blow my brains out. The last time I came down (when he was 3 mos) there was a lot of stuff going on and everyone was at work all day, so I ended up basically babysitting/feeding/cleaning him for 4 days straight. By the end of those 4 days I was bored out of my mind and bitter as hell.
sixelacat
Actually, tree, I'd keep the jerky and re-package it into little cute very sincere-looking bundles to give back to the mother and father next year. And I'd just start getting the kids groovy cards and mail them (while it's not their fault their parents' act like asshats, it sounds like they get plenty of toys n' shit, their very own mail would probably make more of an impression anyway). And I would only make that trip again if there was something fun there I wanted to do regardless of that fam.

But then, I can be a grudge-holding beotch sometimes. Fuck 'em, they don't deserve your awesomeness!
humanist77
The boy found this gem on a messageboard that he frequents:
<Anonymous> "Now, I’m sure many of you have encountered little shits in supermarkets. Little kids running about and knocking things over, being rude, walking all over their parents, you know the kind. But the worst are the biters. Yes, those little cunts that feel it is okay to bite you whenever they feel like it.
Okay, here’s the best part. A biter got me today when I was grocery stopping. He broke the fucking skin, too. This was when the gears started turning, the moment I saw a tiny trickle of blood on the little shit’s teeth as he was grinning at me like the little cunt he is. I made my eyes get wide, and started screaming “SHIT! SHIT!.” Now, my good friend, Tom we’ll call him, was there too, and he instantly picked up on it. He started shouting “FUCK! MAYBE HE DIDN’T GET IT! FUCK!.” By now, the kid is scared shitless and starts crying, and instantly, Ms Mom appears out of nowhere and starts getting pissy at us for yelling at her kid.
Here’s the kicker, I look her straight in the eye and say, “Ma'am, get your son tested as soon as possible, he just bit me and I’m… I’m FUCKING HIV POSITIVE.”
And now there is silence. Not a peep in the entire store. The brat knows he just fucked up big time because his mom isn’t defending his ass. She just stares at me wide eyed. I walk away from them, buy my shit from the wide eyed cashier, all the while blood is dripping from my calf, making a nice little trail on the floor. And, just as we leave, we start to hear the mother sobbing. Sobbing like the cunt she is.
I have never felt any more satisfaction than the moment I heard that sob."
pollystyrene
Wow, that's so mean, but so deserved.

Where the hell is that person that strange children are repeatedly biting her? I've never had that happen. Seen obnoxious kids in stores, yes (ohmigod, this 9-year-old girl in Barnes & Noble yesterday- she was on the other side of the store, and I couldn't tell if she was screaming because she got something she wanted or because she didn't get what she wanted, but holy crap, I thought she was being stabbed and if not, she should have been!) but never had a kid bite me.

culturehandy
Wow, that is pretty mean. Damn.

I'd also like to know where this person is going that they are always getting bitten, I have never been bitten by a child. Hmmm.
hellotampon
I've never been bitten by a kid either. Especially not hard enough to break the skin. And this person was bitten on the calf... what? was the kid crawling around on the floor?
humanist77
Yeah, I've never been bitten either by a random child in public, so I wonder if the person who wrote it was exaggerating a bit. I have indeed been bitten by children though.
missjoy
Yeah, that seems a little random and made up.

I think it's entitlement and selfishness that get to me, there are a lot of parents who are great - and then there are a few with their kids that you notice because of the sense of entitlement. But I bet it bugs the good parents too. To flip this a bit, I'm a dog owner and I love dogs - but I was walking in a nice big park in Toronto a while ago with a *huge* off leash area and I heard this guy talking about how the entire park should be off leash, but in a really snotty way. I was so pissed, the park was accomodating him and his dog, but he thinks everyone should. Once again, entitlement and selfishness. Grrrr.

Recently I was out with a friend and her three young kids. We went to a restaurant and at the end of the meal there was food and bits of toys all over the place and under the table. I didn't know what to do when leaving because I didn't feel it was the waiters job to pick it all up, but if I started it would have been pointing out that I thought she was wrong for leaving it. What do you think?
i_am_jan
Treehug: Isn't that something. ? Well if you're anything like me, you're used to being marginalized at Holiday time. Oh well? I have to admire your grace in this situation though...you seem like the type who probably had a good chuckle out of it...you and your very own, personal bag of beef jerky smile.gif

Missjoy: No. NOT the waitress' responsibility. A responsible parent would have directed the children to clean up their own mess. Also I see what you mean about the whole entitlement issue. That's an attitude that really gets on my nerves these days too.
missladyj
I spent the other day helping my mom take care of my niece. Great birth control. oh and babies are fuckin gross, the drooling, shiting, crying, stinkin mess. I love my niece but I do not enjoy being farted on. What a poop machine.

I came home reeking of baby funk and my husband suggested that i take a shower to get the funk offa me.

What's really crazy is I do love her and may do it again tomorrow. Cuz afterall I am her auntie, its the least I can do.

Really, none of that for me thanks, I'll pass.

turbojenn
Yeah, missjoy, that kind of crap in restaurants used to make me blister when I was a server. If you know your kid is a mess-maker, bring one of those height-chair dropcloth things to put on the floor, so at least the server can just pick it up, empty it in the trash, and return it to the parents.

I have to say, I really don't see much gross misbehavior by children or parents where I live...I do typically shop early in the morning when stores are less crowded, but mostly, I see parents trying to do their level best.

Missladyj, the holidays had the very same effect on me - I love my nieces and nephew, but after spending a weekend with them, I was SO relieved when they went home, and FIL's house returned to peaceful, adult quiet. I need my quiet. I am more than happy to play with kids and babysit for friends, but I don't think I'm up for the challenge of 24/7 parenting - that's the toughest job there is.
kaylafresh
Missjoy,
I totally get you on that restaurant thing. It's really hard to sit by when I see friends of mine with kids do things that are a little unbelivable to me. I usually say something, I mean, the things people say to me about not having kids feels pretty inappropriate so why can't I say how I feel to them?

Even just a small, "Maybe we should all help clean up this mess." If she dismisses it, I would say, "Well, maybe you should leave the waitress a few extra bucks for having to take care of this." I think that's okay without being rude.
missladyj
start rant:

Okay a couple of years ago it was weddings all the time now EVERYONE I know is poppin them out. In some cases treating like they are the first humans who have ever reproduced.

Well guess what having a baby does not make you special or unique or INTERESTING. In fact is has the reverse effect you are BORING THE SHIT OUT OF ME. I don't care about whether or not your crotch fruit is sleeping through the night or how EXHAUSTED you are . You choose to reproduce now shut up and deal with the consequences. And no, I don't care to see pictures of your kids.

end rant.

thanks, I needed to get that off my chest.
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