17 Top tips for a happier life with a new baby

17 Top tips for a happier life with a new baby

A new baby is something really special, they smell gorgeous, are tiny and cute and they completely over haul your lives for a while. It takes some to time to adjust to a new baby in your home, as you get to know them and they get to know you. It’s hard work, exhausting and emotionally draining. I’ve written some tips I would have given myself as a new baby arrived.

 

  1. Trust your instinct it’s usually right.
  2. If in doubt ask for a second opinion. Always feel strong enough to ask for a second opinion about your baby, see another doctor or see a health visitor and make sure you feel comfortable with the advice you’ve given.
  3. Sleep when the baby sleeps and don’t feel guilty about it. A tired mummy is no good to anyone.
  4. Breastfeed your baby and if that isn’t what you want to do or it doesn’t work out, then bottle feed your baby.
  5. Own your parenting decisions and don’t be made to feel guilty. We all have to make difficult decisions around are parenting choices and we need to be confident in them.
  6. Let the other stuff slide. cooking, cleaning friends can all take a bit of a backseat whilst you adjust to motherhood.
  7. Make sure you still do stuff you enjoy. If that’s getting out with some friends then so be it or if you’re a home bird and not ready to leave the baby then have a nice bath or read a book whilst someone watches the baby.
  8. If you don’t already have them, make mum friends. Join a group on Facebook or go to a local mum’s group, these women need you as much as you need them.
  9. Your baby probably wont sleep for a long time and that’s normal. Try and ignore anyone who says that their 2 week old sleeps through for 12 hours as the chances are when that baby is teething, sleep will once again be a distant memory.
  10. Hold your baby, let time pass by, breath in that smell and remember the perfect moments.
  11. Every mum 1st, 2nd, or 6th time will make a mistake so don’t let it upset you. Your baby won’t remember and guilt is every mum’s worst enemy.
  12. Take everyone’s opinions with a pinch of salt. Take your time to make up your own mind.
  13. Don’t compare your baby to another baby.
  14. Sometimes are own mother’s and grandmother’s want to pass on their words of wisdom, but please remember advice has changed hugely over the last 20+ years. I’m sure the advice is meant to be helpful, but please make sure the advice you are given meets current guidelines. No babies sleeping on tummy or thickened formula please.
  15. Muslins clothes are amazing and you can never have enough. Great for all sorts of spit up and mess and also double as handy breastfeeding cover tucked into your bra strap.
  16. Ask for help. You don’t need to be a hero and you won’t get an award. If you need help, please ask for it.
  17. Always have baby wipes around. I honestly don’t know how mum’s managed before baby wipes, as they really are amazing for cleaning anything! If you don’t fancy shop bought ones you can always make your own.

Little babies don’t stay little for long so try to remember those special moments as when you look back this is what matters. The night-time feeds, screaming, baby sick and tears from you and baby will fade much quicker over time, but those little moments of happiness will last a lifetime,

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10 facts on why you are a better mum than you think

10 facts on why you are a better mum than you think

No doubt if you’re a great mum you are probably questioning your abilities as a mum through one decision or another and you are trying to think of ways to be a better mum. We are expected to do it all, raise a chid, run a house, have a job and still look presentable. Some people make it look easy, whilst other like me just look frazzled. I guess some of us are better than others of keeping up the appearance of keeping your shit together and that’s great, but for others we burn out, struggle and we question ourselves as a mum. I’ve written 10 facts on why you are a better mum than you think.

  1. Because you care enough to even read this. Just by questioning your ability as a mum shows how much you care.
  2. You have sacrificed something in your life, probably lots which makes you selfless.
  3. You priorities your money and pay your bills to keep a roof over your children’s home. You will go without to make sure your children have security.
  4. Your children are fed, warm, have a safe home and probably have far too many toys.
  5. You have a child who loves and needs you. That makes you special. In their eyes you are amazing and they idolize you.
  6. You are teaching your children important life skills everyday. You show them  understanding, empathy, patience just to name a few.
  7. You are showing your children love. Your love for them imprints and shows them what to base love on as they grow.
  8. You have made mistakes, but you have also learnt from them. You are showing your children how to learn from mistakes and that no one is perfect.
  9. You don’t give up, you keep trying to be better parent.
  10. You love them fiercely like you could have never imagined and would protect them with your own life.

You are a better mum than you think and your love for your children is unconditional. We all have moments when we shout too loud, let our emotions get the better of us or have to make a sacrifice in one way or another. We are not bad mum’s, we are human, we have little ones dependent on us and it is hard work at times. Be kind to yourself, you’re doing a great job.

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How to become a happy mum

How to become a happy mum

I have been a parent for almost five years and I’ve learnt a think or two in this time. I’ve gone from control freak, over protective mum, to having a mental breakdown and now I am the happy mum. To become a happy mum it took time, lots of realisation and took the strength to finally let go of guilt around my decisions.

I’m not an organised person and even though I have the best intentions it just doesn’t happen for me. I always forget dates, double book and never have the children’s stuff ready for the morning. I think I like to be rushed in some ways as it actually makes me productive and sets me up for the day. My friends don’t hold this against me though and even know it’s worth reminding me a couple of times about something important. I  swear far too often and Miss J has dropped the ‘F’ bomb, I may have sniggered slightly, whilst in my best grown up voice I explained that it wasn’t ok to use that word and mummy is naughty sometimes. Yes I know it’s not great that my child knows some swear words, but she also knows she is not to use them and also mummy isn’t perfect and makes mistakes. When I’m not swearing I sigh, all day long I sigh from one thing to the next, whilst probably muttering ‘for ducks sake’ under my breath. I find this whole parenting work hard work and sometimes very monotonous. I hate folding clothes endlessly, forever picking up messes left around the house and I moan about it LOTS.

Some days I get up, do my make up, get organised, take amazing photos of our beautiful life and others I’m just winging it with a messy bun that resembles Miss Trunchbulls. Some days I look content, happy, smiling and skipping along, enjoying every second of this idyllic family life and being a happy mum. Other days I’m just fighting a losing battle and counting down the hours until bedtime. My point is it’s tough, we can’t always get it right every day and there is nothing wrong with that. Parenting is a hardcore job, you deal with the good, the bad, the ugly and the just dam right minging at times. There is nothing to feel guilty about if you don’t like it all the time, just like if you have a partner you probably don’t like them all the time. They might be our kids, but they can still be pretty horrible people at times and we don’t always have to get on with them.

We are influenced by social media and also the media that we should love, embrace and never moan about parenting as we are lucky enough to become mum’s, when in fact it’s a tough job which we are usually trying to manage alongside a house, a job and dare I say it, a life outside of this. We are told what way we should feed our babies milk, what nappies, what age to wean. We are still be dictated to and made to feel guilty about what we choose. We need to remember we are the baby’s mother and we know what is best for our family and we shouldn’t have to explain or defend these decisions.

Being a happy mum isn’t a race or a competition and we shouldn’t compare ourselves. We are all just winging it and probably feeling guilt over some of the choices we have to make. I bet making that choice to return back to work wasn’t done because you don’t want to see your child, it was done as it was best for your family. I bet deciding to be a stay at home was made as it was the best decision for your family. everyone’s family life is different and one size doesn’t fit all and that is nothing to be ashamed about.

Put the kids in front of the TV, have a hot drink, scroll through your Facebook and take 5 minuets for yourself. Yes they are only small once, but remember you deserve to still be you whilst being a mum. Let go of guilt, forget the mess and enjoy being you. You are an individual and you are more than a mother. Let’s all start being happy parent.

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Mr T is turning two – Reflection

Mr T is shortly turning two and is no longer my little baby boy, but rather a tall toddler. Mr T has done well to holding onto his baby status for longer than his peers with his chubby cheeks, his late walking and reluctance to talk. If I’m honest I have loved keeping him a baby for longer and have savoured every second with my baby boy, but times are moving and he’s ready to graduate to a toddler. Mr T stopped having the boob last week, which makes him seem so much more grown up to me and has been surprising me daily with new words, he’s also had his first proper big boy hair cut which has turned him from cute to handsome.

Starting off Mr T had a bit of a rough time with horrible reflux and because he was a bit of a piggy and was still gaining weight the doctors weren’t concerned. He would scream all night and often go through five babygrows a night. I spent so much time googling and eventually found a pillow (babymoov cosydream) that helped him sleep in comfort and after many trips to the doctor I finally got some prescribed which helped. The reflux has finally stopped in the last few months and I no longer find puddles of sick around the house or him going blue and it’s one phase I am so happy to be out of.

I’ve always found Mr T to be more needy than his sister, he didn’t sleep well and always needed me around. I loved all the cuddled, but at times it was suffocating never having a second without him attached to me. Recently it’s all started to pay off and he’s finally found his independence to play and explore. Last week I managed to get him to stop breastfeeding, which was a huge step for us. I had planned to feed until a year like his sister, but we just kept going. I never thought I would be an extended breastfeeder, but I am now so happy I have. For the last six months he has only fed before bed so it hasn’t been an inconvenience, instead a nice part of our bedtime routine. Mr T has happily weaned and excepted that the milk has gone and I couldn’t be prouder of what a big boy he has become.

When I compare my two children I always feel a bit like he pulled the short straw having to divide his time with his sister and also having a mum who had postnatal depression. When the depression was at it worse I was forever blaming myself and letting the guilt eat me up about what a rubbish mum I was this time around. In reality I can now see, he was none the wiser to anything going on and I’ve done an amazing job over the last two years at being his mummy. The joys of coming out the other side is now seeing I did the best I could have done in the situation I was in and that is pretty amazing.

One thing that has shined in the last few months is Mr T’s personality, I really have a little comedian on my hands who will do anything to make someone smile. He really is a little sunshine and always such a happy little boy (besides when hungry), he actively is always trying to get people’s attention, just so he can show off how charismatic he is becoming. I’m certain he will be the class clown when he starts school and will keep us in stitches for many years to come. He’s honestly so engaging and I could just watch him for hours pottering about doing his little thing.

One thing that has always been easy with Mr T is his eating and something I am so grateful for after his ultra picky eater sister. I’ve always had that worry that he will also get more difficult, but ‘touch wood’ so far he is a real food lover. He was feasting on calamari and steak the other day and likes a good Thai curry.

All in all it’s been a good two years with Mr T, he has taught me so much and shown me such love and I can’t wait to watch his personality grow in the next year of his life. He is still called ‘The destroyer’ and doesn’t seem to be dropping that nickname anytime soon, but you have to admire his strong wilfulness. This boy will do great things.

 

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mothers day

To my wonderful mum on Mothers Day

Mother Goose you have taught me everything about being a mum and I will always be grateful for your love and support you have shown me. I know at times you don’t understand me and my actions confuse you, but I know you are always seeing the best in me, even when I can’t see it in myself.

Since becoming a mother almost five years ago I now know how hard it really is. They say you never truly appreciate your mother until you become one and I believe this is true. Telling me your labours were like being constipated with some period pains and they were over and done with quickly wasn’t helpful and I often doubt if you must have forgotten how bad it really was. You love to tease me about what hard work of it I made it, when you were the natural earth mother who sneezed and popped a baby out. You’ve always had a way of making it all look so much easier than I know it truly is. I will never understand how you kept a big house so tidy with two small children and an even more demanding man-child (don’t tell dad I called him that).

I believe I share your core values and I parent the way I do because of you. You were one of the original ‘attachment parents’ before it even was a thing. You didn’t wean us until we were six months of age which was unheard of in the 80’s, you breastfed on demand without a care in the world about other people’s opinions and I know you spent many an hour rocking me to sleep and never letting me cry it out. I love your beliefs, your passion and values you have as a parent and I love the grandma you have become to my little two. Your ability to never say no to my children is pretty amazing and must be exhausting at times.

Thank you for showing me how to breastfeed, not judging me when I had to use formula and for supporting me through the difficult early days until I had established a routine. Thank you for teaching me to breastfeed in public and not give two hoots what anyone else was thinking. If it wasn’t for you I’m certain I would have given up in those early days. Thank you for listening to me cry over the phone when I tirelessly struggled to get Miss J to sleep in her own bed, night after night. Thank you for looking after my children on Fridays so I can work and thank you even more for the occasional over night stays so I get to still have a life outside my home. Thank you for teaching me how to make an amazing roast dinner, your gravy is still always better than mine.

One of my favourite memories as a child with you was the day that just me and you went to Argos to get my new Barbie and Shelley set with the pushchair and we went down to the river to have lunch and you let me get her out the box to play. I remember so clearly how you would take me to the Library once a week and let me pick a book, how we went in on the bus together on our own little adventures. We had some amazing trips out as kids on the bus to Wickstead and by train to Brighton, me and my sister never missed out on anything and always had the best girls days out. I hope i’m making it up to you by taking you out for our ladies days out with plenty of wine.

Once I reached twelve I had not only over taken you in shoe size, but also height and I became protective of you. You were my little mummy and I always had your back. We had our fights and arguments, especially through the teenage years and I know you were confused with what to do with me at times, but I hope you can now look back and see you did a good job as I am just doing fine.

You have been the best mother I could have asked for and an equally fantastic nanny. You have supported me through so much and even as I approach 30 I know you still we always be by my side and hold my hand when I need you most. I respect your work ethic, your patience and your confidence that you give to life every day. You really are an inspiring lady and if everyone was like you as a mother, this world would be a much better place.

I will always be your baby daughter, your little girl and your friend. I will be with you, by your side until the end and I hope to make you prouder everyday we have together. I love you mum and I am eternally grateful that I have been lucky enough to have you as my mum. Your soul is beautiful and your love is kind and thank you for helping me become the amazing mother I am today to my children.

I love you Mother Goose xoxox

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Sorry children mummy is leaving

Sorry children mummy is leaving

Sorry children mummy is leaving, not forever,

but I am leaving for a few days.

You will be with your daddy and we can skype,

but unfortunately I will not be there to tuck you in at night.

Mummy is a little bit exhausted and needs a break from parenting for just a few days.

I won’t be doing anything you enjoy whilst away, actually everything I am doing you really despise.

I will be sleeping lots, reading long books with no pictures,

laying in the sun with a cool pina colada and not moving a muscle as I let my skin bake,

I plan to eat lots of food you definitely will not like and I will be drinking lots of fizz and wine.

There will be no building sandcastles, no inflatable balls, no early mornings and no chicken nuggets, not at all.

I’m sorry children, but mummy just needs some time to herself,

to talk about something besides elf on the shelf.

Mummy doesn’t want to argue with a 4 year old diva or a tantruming terrible twos,

she just wants to get shit faced and placed by the pool.

I love you both dearly and will miss you so much,

but mummy is hoping to find who she once used to be

before all the breastfeeding and pooey nappies.

Before the stretch marks, the bags under the eyes,

mummy once had a twinkle in her eye.

She wore high heels, make up and even a push up bra,

but then she became a bit ga ga.

I hope you behave for your dad and remember he is just as good as me,

he might not make the barbie voices the same,

but you know he’s the best for rough and tumble and games on the wii.

But please children don’t forget about me,

as mummy will be thinking about her little family tree.

Mummy will come back all refreshed and say lot less f’s

and daddy will sure appreciate how much work it can be to run a family.

So here you go daddy,

you now have a story to read the children before bed about

the mummy who ran away to escape to the magical island and dared to bare her tummy.

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Parenting a strong willed boy

Parenting a strong willed boy

It was quite apparent from an early age that Mr T has been strong willed and a bit of a handful. Miss J has her moments and is pretty stubborn at times, but from an early age distraction or even reasoning with her has always worked. I’ve found parenting Miss J easy to some extent and never doubted my abilities as a parent until Mr T started to show us his personality. Often since his arrival in May 2015 I have refered to him as difficult baby and toddler, but this is not true, he is not difficult or naughty he’s just strong willed and that’s what makes him, him.

Mr T is now 21 months and is pretty much mute with words besides mummy, juice, milk and please. He does seem to have a good understanding of what we are saying to him, but he as far as he’s concerned he has no one to please and will listen if he fancies it. I do wonder at times if I gave him the wrong name as he rarely responds to it.

Mr T started to crawl at 10 months and as soon as he was able to pull himself up and climb he’s been a force to reckon with. He’s strong willed, determined and so stubborn and I often wonder how I manage to get through the day. He will climb anything and often fall off things, if he decides he wants to climb something he will not give up until he’s succeeded and most probably got a bump to the head. I’ve learnt to stay close and guide him so he can explore the world in his own way.

For the last year I’ve lived in a constant state of anxiety trying to parent such a strong willed boy, I’ve often asked myself is it just me who can’t handle a boy, is he particularly difficult or is it just the postnatal depression that has stopped me from parenting how I used to with just one child. Having time to reflect and see his personality grow I am gradually learning to just enjoy him for who he is and that this age is just a phase and it should (I hope) get easier.

Mr T is not just strong willed, he has many other amazing personality traits like his gentleness, affection and his sheer determination is amazing. I look forward to seeing how his personality grows with him and I hope to help direct his strong willed personality into the right areas of his life. I’m sure like his dad he will be a fantastic sportsman and have his competitiveness that I wish I had.

Mr T has taught me so much since he was born, he’s taught me how to catch a falling child without flinching, how to stop a bump swelling so quickly, how to always expect a poo directly after a bath and to love two children equally, but differently. Mr T has shown me that children aren’t just naughty, they are just learning in a way that fits their personality and that no way is wrong. Mr T is making me a better parent every single day and has found his way to fit into our little family perfectly.

 

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Parenting through the tough stuff

Parenting through the tough stuff

I never knew how tough it would be to be a parent until I became one. I was naive before children and thought it was something I would find easy as I was certain I had maternal instinct. In truth the maternal instinct kicked in straight away and I learnt quickly how to nurse with minimal nipple on display, how to pull a vest down rather than over after an explosive poo and how to ninga move out of a sleeping babies room. That stuff is hard to some extent and takes time to learn but parenting is so much harder than I could ever had imagine and something no one could have really prepared me for.

Parenting through sleep deprivation is hard. I have had to function on little to no sleep many times. I have been so tired I have walked around like a zombie unable to complete the easiest tasks like adding orange juice to tea instead of milk. People always assume you are most sleep deprived with a newborn which can be true and you tend to get some sympathy, but when you have a 2 year old who won’t sleep because of his teeth unfortunately you are own your own and just have to suck it up.

Parenting whilst adding an extra child. I thought it was tough, but manageable when I had one child. I could still get the washing done, have a shower and do my make-up with just a little juggling. When you have two or more there is no rest bite in between and they have a tendency to tag team you. Mr T is great at destroying something just as his sister needs to help having her bum wiped after a poo. Some days I literally feel touched out by having constant contact with one little person and I feel like hiding in the kitchen cupboard, unfortunately that is not an option as I’m too fat.

Parenting through sickness is bloody tough. My children have a knack at throwing up directly down my top so my bra catches it, coupled with Mr T doing an explosive poo and me being sick myself, things can be a bit minging and extremely exhausting when you are ill, but when you have children sick too is just relentless.

Parenting alone is something all us mum’s have to do to some extent but lots do it every single day, with little, to no break. I can’t comment on being a single parent as it’s not something I have been, but I can comment on the loneliest of having a husband who works twelve hour shifts, often nights. I have spent many a long day with the children just wishing he was there to take over for ten minuets so I can have a quick shower without my daughter watching, commenting on the size of my big wobbly bottom. It can be extremely isolating and the best way to deal with it is to complain with other mummy friends through play dates and the powers of social media.

Parenting through a mental illness is by far the toughest thing I have ever had to do. Dealing with postnatal depression after the birth of my second child was really tough and something I am still struggling with now 20 months later. On days I feel emotionally and physically weak, I still have to get up, still need to feed the children and still be a mum. I can’t just take the day off or hide under my duvet as much as I want to. I have hidden in a locked bathroom more times than I care to remember with tears pouring down my face, wondering how I will make it to bed time, but I always do.

Through the days of tough parenting I try to remind myself that I have a 100% success rate of completing these days. I have survive and I will continue to survive these days.

 

 

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A mothers unconditional love for her baby

The day I met you, my darling baby, everything changed. I would never be able to just think about me anymore as my actions would directly affect you. I will be the role model to you and I will be the first person in this world that will show you what love is. There has never been anyone like you in my world before and I still can’t believe how instantly I fell in love with you. When someone says they don’t believe in love at first sight they must not have been lucky enough to become a parent like me.

I will never forget the way you smelt as you were laid on my chest for the first time. I felt exhausted, relieved , overwhelming emotions of love and fear of how I was now responsible for this tiny person for the rest of my life. From that day I became a mother which is something I will cherish dearly until my dying day. I had to learn quickly how to wash a baby, dress a baby and how to feed, which was hard to begin with and nothing like when I had played with dolls as a child. You needed me and were relentless with your needs, but I sacrificed it all as I wanted to do it all for you.

I cherished my time feeding you, taking you for walks and rocking you to sleep, as you are not just my child, but also my friend. I would sometimes get you out of your cot, still asleep and sit with you in a chair rocking you and stroking your face, desperately trying to remember the way you felt in my arms. You soon grew, much quicker than I had anticipated and were soon toddling around my house, causing destruction. We started going for walks to the park, just us two, to feed the ducks and I can honestly say I was so happy in your company. We spent many a day cuddled on the sofa, playing dolls and painting together, then the day came where you had to leave me.

You ran off without a second look back through your classroom doors and began a life away from me. I wasn’t there all day to help, guide or teach you right from wrong and I missed you terribly. I still had your baby brother at home, but I missed having my darling little girl with me. When I collect you from school my heart fills with love and I’m so happy to hear your stories and what you have learnt today, but I’m secretly jealous that someone else gets you. I loved the day you told me about the dinosaurs and how they were ‘stinct’ and then asked if I knew any of them.

The days we have together are not as often now and when I reach for your hand to hold, you soon let go to be free, ready to explore the world on your own. I know at bedtime no one does bedtime stories as well as me and that you will make any excuse to keep me in your bed just one more minuet longer. I will hold you as long as you let me, kiss you on the forehead, stroke your hair and breath you in. You will never stop being my little girl and the promises I made to you when you were born will be forever. You are my love, my darling, my baby and I will be with you forever.

 

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I am the selfish mother

I am the selfish mother, which is something pre children I would have never dreamed of becoming. I make sure I have adequate time away from my children, I buy myself treats, I go to the gym and leave my child in a crèche. I am more than happy to book weekends away with friends and have nights out getting drunk and I feel no shame in this. I go to work and feel no guilt leaving my children for the day, as I get adult conversation and money to treat myself. I lock myself away in my bedroom whilst my husband watches the children so I can write my blogs or even sit on Facebook in peace. I even have long baths and leave my husband in charge of the chaos. I sometimes ignore my children and I don’t jump up for their every request. The playdoh and art supplies stay firmly in the cupboard and comes out if I can be bothered.

I am a selfish mother and that suits me fine. I spent so much time trying to give my children every ounce of me and the consequences were not good. I tried to do too much and I got to breaking point and wasn’t able to care for my children properly because of this. I will never become that emotionally and physically drained mother again as my children were not getting the best of me. For me to be a good mother I need to look after myself first so I can look after them. I am again enjoying being a mother and I am again capable of giving my children quality time that they deserve.

I used to force myself to take the children out constantly and felt guilty if they were stuck in whilst I had to do the housework. I used to spend every penny I had on my children’s clothes and shoes when I reality they didn’t need as much as I was giving them. I am strict on bedtime so I get my evenings to myself again, as this is my time and it is important to me for my mental wellbeing. My children are my priority, I love them dearly and their needs are met but I can be selfish whilst this is achieved. As a mother we are told we need to sacrifice everything, our bodies, our looks, our time, our friends, our money and that really isn’t fair. My husband has given up a lot to be a father, but he isn’t the one who has to drop everything at the drop of a hat if a child is ill, or plan his whole life around school pick-ups and after school clubs. I am the one that keeps this house running not because of my money I put in, it is because I plan every aspect of our lives to fit in and work perfectly. I had forgotten for some time to plan myself into this time for me to have a break, but I now am.

2017 will continue to be about me, my wellbeing, my happiness and the happiness pf our whole family. I deserve a break as much as anyone and I will take it.

 

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