Monthly Archives: October 2012

Blocked (again)

Warning: Not for male readers (if you even exist) unless you want to know how much women suffer when we breastfeed. 

I woke up one night last week with that all too familiar soreness and ache in my left boob and knew immediately that my ducts were somehow blocked again. I quickly tried to massage the area and kept getting Noah to nurse from the same boob, but things didn’t improve. It was weird because it was the lower part of my boob that was causing pain, and usually, that’s the part that gets emptied the fastest. I suspect it was caused by the bra I was wearing some time before the blockage occurred, as it wasn’t one of my usual ones and was probably a tad too tight. I really regret buying so many nursing bras beforehand because all but two of them can’t be worn now, and I’ve had to buy new ones after I gave birth. I thought I was being well-prepared but I guess not!

Anyway, the blockage couldn’t have come at a worse time (yes, I am fully aware that there’s no good time at all for these things to happen) as I was already down with a bad sore throat and cough. I had lost my voice and my cough was so bad that poor Noah kept getting badly jolted during his feeds. And when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, both my nipples started getting really sore and I dreaded having to nurse my baby boy. It’s during moments like these that I always wonder if I can bring myself to continue breastfeeding, and I get hit by huge waves of guilt for even thinking about stopping because I’m too weak to take the pain. Things got so bad that I started taking Panadol before I had to nurse him, just so that it wouldn’t hurt as much. 😦

When Noah spat up pink milk during one of the 4am diaper changes after his feed, I freaked out and woke C up. We didn’t know what to do, but because Noah was smiling happily at us, we figured that he should be fine and went back to sleep. I nursed him from the same boob for the next feed too, just to see if the blood was coming from me instead, and true enough, when he spat up after that feed, the milk was tinged with a few patches of blood. I called the PD’s clinic just to be safe and C decided to work from home too, just in case he had to drive us to the clinic. I must say that I really like our PD quite a bit, because she called me back after a while to find out what exactly happened, and told me that the blood was probably from my nipple rather than from Noah. She also told me what to look out for, in the unlikely event that Noah was the one bleeding, and was generally very reassuring. At least she didn’t ask us to bring him down and charge us for a physical consult! A few hours later, I noticed blood stains on my breast pads and after another painful feed, I saw blood coming out from my right nipple. So yes, I had blocked ducts on my left boob, and a bleeding nipple on my right. Woohoo.

On Friday, when the blockage didn’t seem to be clearing despite the many painful massages that C had given me, I decided to seek help from a massage therapist whom my friend, Motherkao, had recommended. Thank God she was working that day, even though it was a public holiday! She managed to clear the blocked ducts for me and things are now back to normal again. Breastfeeding really isn’t as easy as some people have made it out to be. I really pray that I won’t have any more problems breastfeeding…

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The Third Month

I can’t believe that our baby is three months old already! I do this ‘Photo a Day’ thing on Facebook with him after I got the idea from my friend, and when I look through his earlier photos, I’m so amazed by how much he’s grown. He’s still much smaller than the other babies around his age but I’m just glad that he’s growing pretty well. I’ve also had people telling me now that they thought he was super scrawny at birth and that his legs looked like chicken legs, but they just didn’t dare to say it at that time. Now that he’s put on some weight, his limbs no longer look that scary. Phew!

Noah’s neck is a lot more stable now and we no longer have to really support his neck when we carry him. This makes things so much easier! I can just pop him over my shoulder and he ‘sits’ quite comfortably on my arm while I walk around the house, instead of having to put him in the cradle position that we used previously. He enjoys being in the Manduca carrier too and can sleep for hours when he’s in it. I’ve gone out on my own with him in it and didn’t even need to nurse him during the four hours that I was out, because he was sleeping so soundly. The Manduca carrier is also the only way we can calm him down when he gets colicky at night, and I think it’s really worth every cent we paid. C remarked that it is money so well spent that our Bugaboo has become redundant, as Noah doesn’t sleep when we put him in the stroller and can get quite cranky if we leave him in it for too long.

We’ve also started putting him in the Bumbo a few days ago, after we visited the PD. Dr Ellen noted that Noah’s back is straighter now and so we figured we can try getting him to sit up more. He still needs to be closely monitored if we put him in the Bumbo, as his neck isn’t very strong and he bobs forward now and then. Noah seems to enjoy being in his bouncer too, so we use the bouncer more at the moment. I’m looking forward to letting him use the exersaucer but Dr Ellen suggested that we wait till he’s about four months old to try it.

This month, he got his first dose of the Pneumococcal vaccine and the poor boy wailed quite a bit as it’s a more painful jab than the 6-in-1 shot. The good thing is that he didn’t develop a fever this time round, for which I was really grateful, as I’ve been down with a sore throat, cough and blocked ducts for more than a week. C has been helping out more because I’ve been so tired and feeling unwell in general. He has been changing Noah’s diapers more frequently (and gotten poop exploding all over his hand while he was cleaning Noah’s bum) and also bathing Noah on a couple of occasions when I was just too exhausted. Noah adores C and I love how he looks at C and smiles.

Noah’s skin is still pretty sensitive and he keeps getting rashes all over his body and face. Dr Ellen says it’s most likely due to the heat and I’ve also noticed that if he’s kept cool, the rash isn’t as pronounced. I’m also trying out some new products on his skin, so hopefully, things will get better. He scratches his head quite a bit and we’ve resorted to making him wear mittens at night, so that he doesn’t end up with horrible wounds in the morning.

I miss being able to sleep through the night and being able to wake up late. As C puts it, Noah is an alarm clock with no snooze button. But when I see that adorable face smiling at me from his cot, or hear him ‘talking’ to his bumper or mobile, I forget how tired I am for a little while, and thank God for this very precious gift. 🙂

Our happy baby

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Missing my Boys

As I write this post, the last batch of students I’ve taught are sitting for their EL O Level paper and even though I only taught them for half a year when they were in Secondary Three, I still feel nervous for them. Time really has flown by, and I’m getting all nostalgic thinking about my time with these boys. I loved teaching this batch, and bonded with them despite the short time frame.

I still smile when I think about the silly things they said and did during our Full Literature lessons. I’ll admit that I’m easily amused, which makes it difficult for me to stay angry with them for long. I had a boy with a lovely, deep voice, and I enjoyed getting him to read aloud in class, just because his voice was so beautiful and such a joy to listen to. Another boy, who has the most expressionless face you can imagine, when asked to read Juliet’s lines, put on a very girly voice to do so, taking the class by surprise and we all burst out laughing. I had plenty of filthy-minded boys, which is to be expected in an all-boys’ school, I guess, and having Romeo and Juliet as our text didn’t help matters at all. They all had plenty of things to say about how stupid they thought the young couple was, and came up with various lewd interpretations of the most innocent of lines. But I loved that they were engaged during the lessons, and to me, I felt that them having so many opinions meant that they actually cared about the text, which is what I wanted from them.

My form class was also a lively bunch, and the first batch that I had to camp with. I hate camps and utterly dislike the idea of having to spend a night away from my cosy bed unless I’m on holiday in a nice hotel, but these boys made it just that little bit better when I saw how much fun they had and how the camp helped them to get along better with each other. I’m generally quite sarcastic with my students and the previous batch didn’t seem at all bothered by it, so I didn’t really think much about it, but this class, ah… they were so quick to react to everything I said, and I was very much entertained by their reactions. I think one boy summed it up best when he exclaimed, “I don’t even know whether you’re really praising me or you’re being sarcastic anymore!” before dramatically miming tearing out his hair in frustration. Hahaha. I don’t even think he’d remember this incident, but I do, because I miss all of them very much. Plus my brain has the strange habit of storing useless information like that, but that’s not the point here.

I think about my boys very often and wish that I could have seen them through their final two years in secondary school. My previous batch of boys are going to take their A levels very soon too, and I still miss them dearly. I’m glad that many of the students I’ve taught over the years are still in contact with me, mainly via Facebook and Twitter, and thankful that they make the effort to say hi once in a while. I miss being in a classroom and the mental stimulation that teaching provides. I miss interacting with my colleagues and students, but I don’t miss the seemingly never-ending marking and administrative work, and I definitely don’t miss the stress that came along with all that.

I look at the little boy snuggled in the crook of my left arm as I type this with my right hand, and I know that I made the right decision to go on no-pay leave. Yes, I miss my boys very much, but as my very wise boss once said, “Students come and go. Your family is more important now.”

If any of my boys from the class of 2010 and 2012 are reading this, know that you are all very dear to me and that you are in my prayers during this important examination period. May God bless all of you and I look forward to sharing your joy when you receive your results next year.

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Down with a Bug

I came down with a really bad sore throat on Thursday night and by Friday afternoon, I was so uncomfortable that C had to come home early from work so that I could see the doctor. I didn’t want to bring the baby to the clinic and expose him to even more germs! The doctor prescribed some Paracetamol for my body aches and mild lozenges for the sore throat, as I’m still breastfeeding. She also told me to wear a mask when I’m breastfeeding the baby, which I tried to do diligently, but I gave up after a while as it got quite uncomfortable and Noah kept trying to swipe it away from my face.

I’ve been gargling with warm salt water, and although I’ve managed to cough out some really disgusting phlegm, the sore throat hasn’t gone away yet. To make matters worse, I’ve also lost my voice. I can’t really talk and I have had to resort to whispering when I speak to Noah. He finds it funny and would smile or laugh whenever I whisper, so I guess it’s good that at least one person is enjoying my misery. Poor C seems to have caught my bug and is now also suffering from a sore throat. Sigh.

I pray that God will heal both of us as soon as possible and protect Noah from this virus!

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Nursing Room Review: Changi Airport Terminal 2

Changi Airport has quite a number of nursing rooms, especially in its Transit areas. I visited the sole nursing room available in the public area of Terminal 2, located between check-in rows 7 and 8, next to Chomel.

Facilities: 4/5
I liked that there is a separate nursing area located within the room, providing more privacy for nursing mothers. This smaller room can be locked and is fitted very simply with a long cushioned bench. There is sufficient space in this separate room for a stroller to be parked inside, or even your luggage, if you need to nurse your baby before or after your flight. A bag hook and power socket are both conveniently located next to the bench as well.

The long cushioned bench

Bag hook and power socket

In the main area of the nursing room, there is a hot water dispenser, a diaper vending machine (stocked only with L-sized Drypers diapers at SGD1 each), hand dryer, sink, paper towel dispenser and changing station. There is also a wooden bench, allowing others to take a seat while waiting. I found the changing station a tad too high for my liking, as I had to stretch to reach my baby’s left diaper tab. The bin was located directly beneath the changing station, which is a plus as I didn’t have to walk away from my baby to throw his soiled diaper away. I also found the bag hook next to the changing station very useful, as I could hang my diaper bag there, instead of placing it on the counter or floor.

Hot water dispenser


Diaper vending machine and hand dryer 

Sink, paper towel dispenser and changing station (Note the entrance to the private nursing area in the reflection)

Wooden bench outside private nursing area

Cleanliness: 3/5 
I was a little appalled to realise that the headboard of the nursing bench was coated in a light layer of dust, as I expected the airport’s standard of cleanliness to be higher. The counter was a little wet, but that was probably caused by the parent who had just used it before me. While I was there, a cleaning lady came in to refill the paper towels but left it open for some reason.

Conclusion 
The nursing room is pretty functional and has everything you’ll need for a diaper change or to nurse your baby. I would appreciate it if it looked a little more welcoming and cozy though! It looks too much like a normal toilet to me and I didn’t feel very comfortable nursing my baby there. Also, there was a constant stream of staff coming in to fill up their bottles at the hot water dispenser, which may make parents who are changing their children’s diapers feel a little uncomfortable too.

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Yakety-yak

Noah has started ‘talking’ quite a bit more recently and boy, is he a chatterbox like his mum. Yesterday, I plonked him in his bouncer, next to C, and he just kept cooing and ‘talking’ non-stop to C. C said he was presenting his PhD thesis. Haha. When our friends visited in the afternoon, Noah kept up his chatter while the adults talked to each other. I think he thought we were talking to him, but hey, he seemed happy to just have us seated around him and talking, so I try not to don’t feel guilty about not engaging him more.

This morning, we were woken up by his endless coos, which is something new. He usually wakes up and stares into space at his cot mobile, waiting patiently for us to wake up and notice that he’s awake too. Yes, I know, he’s a sweetheart! 🙂 I just lay in bed, savouring the sound of his voice, until he got a bit upset that he was left unattended for so long and started to whine a little. Can you blame me? It’s so nice to wake up to the sound of his voice! I love that he doesn’t cry when he wakes up, although I wouldn’t mind if he woke up a little later so that I can get more sleep.

I’m really enjoying this new development, and it’s such a joy hearing him laugh too. He chuckles when we talk to him, when I sing old Sunday School songs like ‘With Christ in the Vessel’ with him, complete with hand actions. His eyes light up when I raise his arms above his head/shoulders and that is usually what gets him laughing. Sometimes, he even laughs when we remove his romper before his bath! Of course, he starts wailing once we step into the bathroom with him, but that’s a different story.

Noah hasn’t been putting on as much weight as he’s supposed to, doesn’t enjoy tummy time and shows no sign of being able to flip over any time soon, and has become a little attention-seeking, whining if we leave him alone for too long. He also seems to be having a severe case of hair loss, has cradle cap again and somehow manages to get his mittens off to scratch his head till he draws blood every night. But all these don’t seem to matter right now, because what truly matters is that he is a very cheerful baby, and I thank God for that. 🙂

Mr Yakety-yak

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With All My Love… #6

Dearest Noah,

We just got home from the airport after sending daddy off on his business trip. You were a very good boy while we were out and fell asleep in your carrier just before we left the airport. When we got home, I wasn’t in the best of moods, knowing that we have to wait till Friday to see daddy again, but you were extra cheerful and that made things a little better for me.

You’ve been laughing on and off over the past few days, but each time, it would only be a chuckle or two. It’s such a joy hearing you laugh! Just now, as I was praying with you and singing to you, you were so tickled that you laughed for quite some time. I don’t know what was so funny about my prayer but I just couldn’t help but laugh along with you, because you looked so happy and amused. My heart ached though, wishing that daddy were here at home with us to witness it. He loves you so very much, darling, and I know he’ll be upset that he missed it. You’ll laugh again for daddy when he comes back, right?

Daddy’s been pretty much working from home since he got back from his last business trip, and I’m very thankful that we got to spend some quality time together as a family. We’ve gone on short walks downstairs, brought you out for car rides, read books to you, watched tv while you watched us… It’s so nice watching you interact with daddy. I love seeing how your face lights up when you see him, how you track him with your eyes as he walks around and how you grin that toothless, adorable smile when he talks to you. Daddy won’t be able to spend as much time with you after this trip, and he’ll go on more business trips now and then too, but I know he will do his best to spend time with us whenever possible.

Well, it’s going to be just you and me, baby, for a few days, so be good for mummy, okay?

With all my love,
Mummy

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Product Review – Niz Home Breast Pads from Thelittleonesinmylife

One of the items that I find useful but relatively underrated is breast pads. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I really needed breast pads, as like most mothers-to-be, I didn’t even know if I would have enough milk to breastfeed. The idea that I would ‘leak’ and require breast pads was quite foreign to me. However, it was on the list of things to buy, so I asked around, found that the most common brand was P, and bought a few boxes of it just in case.

At that time, I didn’t know what to look out for and to be honest, I didn’t think it was all that important, so I didn’t bother to do much research. Cost was my primary concern, and although I try to be environmentally friendly in some ways, using washable breast pads wasn’t one of them, as I didn’t want to waste time washing them and waiting for them to dry.

I used the P breast pads for the first few weeks but felt that they didn’t cover enough surface area, which means that my bras, and sometimes even my tops, would still get wet. I also became quite conscious about the cost factor, as I had to change my breast pads quite regularly due to my relatively good supply. I began looking around for cheaper and hopefully better alternatives, and discovered the Niz Home Premium Breast Pads which are made in Korea. At that time, Thelittleonesinmylife was giving away free samples and being a typical Singaporean, I quickly requested for some.

In all honesty, when I received the samples, I wasn’t very impressed. They looked too thin to be able to do the trick but I figured there was no harm in trying them out, since I already had them. I’m glad I did as I prefer them a lot more to the P brand ones! Here’s why…

Ratings Guide
♥ Hmmm…     ♥♥ So-so     ♥♥♥  Not bad     ♥♥♥♥ Like it     ♥♥♥♥♥ Love it!

Niz Home Premium Breast Pads

1. Size: ♥♥♥♥♥ The Niz Home Premium Breast Pads are bigger than the P brand ones, fitting well around my breast and in my bra. After using them for about a month, I haven’t had any leakages at all, whereas previously, when I was using the P brand ones, I had a few ‘accidents’, especially at night when Noah sleeps for slightly longer stretches and my boobs become fuller. I actually woke up on a couple of occasions because my pyjama tops were wet from the milk! Perhaps the pads shifted when I moved around or slept on my side, but I don’t think it’s a good excuse, as nobody is able to sleep in one fixed position through the night, much less exhausted breastfeeding mothers!

P brand’s size

Niz Home’s size

2. Quality: ♥♥♥♥ As I mentioned earlier, the Niz Home Premium Breast Pads are thinner than those from P brand, but I feel that they are equally, if not more, absorbent. I don’t even realise that they are full until I change them and when I first used them, I was quite amazed at how heavy they were, because I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all.

I also like that the breast pads from Niz Home are sealed all round, as compared to P brand’s, which for some reason, are unsealed at the top and bottom.

P brand’s thickness

P brand’s shape and edges

Niz Home’s thickness

Niz Home’s shape and edges

3. Ease of use: ♥♥♥♥♥ Each breast pad comes individually packaged for hygiene purposes in clear plastic bags which are easy to open. This may sound like a silly point, but trust me, when you step out of the bathroom and hear your baby crying, you need to do everything quickly and wasting time struggling to open the plastic bags isn’t something you really want to do.

The same goes for sticking the breast pad to your bra. P brand has two adhesive stickers, which I thought would be useful in ensuring that the pad doesn’t move around. Nope! As I mentioned earlier, they still do move around and what’s worse is that the two halves tend to get stuck together when you fold your bra cup down. This can be quite annoying especially when you’re nursing in public and can’t really re-adjust the bra pad properly after nursing. Niz Home only has one adhesive, which saves time when you’re pasting it in your bra, and also prevents the problem of having two halves stuck together.

Niz Home’s packaging

4. Cost ♥♥♥♥ I enjoy buying things online as I can usually get better deals, and this is definitely one such instance. I save even more when I buy in bulk! Here’s the price list:

Retail Price:
30pc – $15.90
90pc – $35.90

Online Price excluding postage fee:
30pc – $10
60pc – $15
90pc – $20
1 x 90pc FREE when you buy 5 x 90pc at $100 with free courier service

Postage Fee (Absorbed for orders above $30):
30pc box – $1
60pc (2 x 30pc) – $1.50
90pc (3 x 30pc) – $2.55

SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR READERS OF GROWINGWITHTHETANS! 

Special Price with FREE postage:
30pc – $9
60pc – $14
90pc – $19
1 x 90pc FREE when you buy 5 x 90pc at $95 with free courier service 

To purchase the Niz Home Premium Breast Pads, follow these simple steps:

1. ‘Like’ Thelittleonesinmylife on Facebook.

2. Send Audrey, the very friendly and efficient owner, a Direct Message to place your order.

3. Include this discount code: GWTT to get your breast pads at the special price* listed in red.

*Valid till the end of October 2012, or while stocks last.

Happy shopping! 🙂

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Preparing for Baby (Part 5)

Since the Baby Fair 2012 starts tomorrow, I thought I should finish this shopping series, to help those of you who are trying to come up with your shopping lists.

Baby Wear
Please note that the quantity listed does not include the hand-me-downs nor gifts we received. I came up with the numbers based on how often I planned to do the laundry.

– Short-sleeved rompers x 20
I use these the most, as they are convenient. I bought a few of those with buttons down the front, as they are easier to put onto a newborn. I also prefer rompers to tops as I have this mental image of the baby’s diaper falling off and pee/poo spilling out.

– Long-sleeved rompers x 10
These are handy when we sleep with the air-conditioner on at night. However, Noah perspires quite a bit, so these days, we put him in short-sleeved ones and he does just fine.

– Sleeveless rompers x 10
Initially, I didn’t buy many of these as I thought the short-sleeved ones would suffice. The heat these days has become quite unbearable and I think it has caused Noah’s skin to break out into a heat rash. I just bought a pack of five from Mothercare and I think Noah seems quite comfy in them. His rash is also much better now after I applied the California Baby Calendula Cream on him.

– Short-sleeved tops x 5
Not my favourite item, so I didn’t buy too many of them.

– Long-sleeved tops x 5
I found some really nice ones from Joy Luck Club Parenting . I actually bought them from one of the expo fairs before realising that they can be found online too.

– Shorts x 5
I bought some from Joy Luck Club Parenting at the expo fair. They are still a little too big for Noah so he has hardly worn them.

– Pants x 5
These are still too long for him and I’m patiently waiting for him to grow into them.

– Leg warmers x 3
These can double up as arm warmers too. I bought some at the Taka Baby Fair and some online. Noah’s legs have become quite chubby and the smaller ones seem quite tight now, although the bigger ones are still too baggy. Sigh.

– Mittens x 10
Personally, I think you can never have too many mittens and booties. Choose those that don’t have too wide openings as they might fall off quite easily. I am suggesting that you get more booties than mittens though, as the mittens don’t have to be worn during the day once your baby turns a month old, according to our PD. Some may prefer keeping them on for a longer time to prevent the baby from scratching himself, so do whatever you’re comfortable with.

– Booties x 20
Get a variety of sizes if possible as I’ve noticed that his feet do grow quite quickly. Also, do remove his booties before you change his diaper, as he may decide to step in the diaper before you whisk it away. Trust me, it really does happen.

– Hats x 3
I haven’t used any of the hats yet, so I don’t consider them essential.

– Bibs x 5
These will probably only be used much later, so there’s no real need to get them until baby begins drooling a lot.

Phew! I think that’s all! Happy shopping!

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Thrills and Spills

Being a parent has been a real adventure. You don’t have to go on a roller-coaster ride anymore, really. All you need to do is to be the designated diaper-changer and you’ve got all the thrills you’d ever want.

Take today for example. Noah had his first ever puke and I thought that was enough excitement for the day for me. But no… He puked while I was nursing him in the car on the way back from lunch too. Think that’s all? Ha.

After his nap, I took off his diaper, cleaned him up, put a new diaper NEAR his butt while I applied some Desitin on him. Once I was done, but before I could properly slide the diaper under him, he peed. AND pooed. I usually put the diaper under him before applying the Desitin, but he was doing his leg curls again and the diaper got shifted in the process. Anyway, I threw away the new diaper, cleaned up the mess on the changing table, cleaned him up with plenty of wet wipes and tissue paper, turned to take a new diaper, and hey look, more poo! I looked at the little boy in exasperation and he grins at me. Sigh. Repeat the entire process. This time round, I made sure that the new diaper was under his bum while I spread the desitin on him, and in the middle of it all, he peed again. With a broad smile. Arrrrrgh. I messaged C, who was at work, informing him that he will be on diaper duty when he gets home tonight.

Each diaper change is filled with plenty of excitement and action. Will he or won’t he pee and/or poo on me? C and I have learnt to dodge the pee shower and sometimes, we even manage to catch it with a diaper. *Achievement unlocked. Once in a while, I can even tell when he’s about to pee and act accordingly to protect myself. The poo however, is more difficult to predict and manage. But hey, I’m thankful that his poo is now yellow, instead of the horrible dark green/black stuff we were getting two weeks ago!

In the spirit of being positive, I’m also thankful that at least he pees and poos quite a bit, which means his system is working well and that he’s getting enough to drink. What I’m most grateful for is the bright smile he gives me, not just when he pees and poos on me, but frequently through the day. He’s such a cheerful and smiley little boy, and for that, I’ll always be thankful. 🙂

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