Do you find your kids never hear you when you ask them to do something? yet they don’t have any diagnosed hearing problem.

I know unbelievable isn’t it!!

Selected Hearing

It’s a daily struggle in our house.  However, all is not lost, I have found ways of getting around these ‘hearing issues’.

I either:

start a conversation with their dad whereby hey presto one of them will appear interested to know what’s going on, and what it was I just said to Dad

or my favourite:

Unplug the broadband and wait.  1, 2…. when not one but all four kids will appear from nowhere.


There are times, usually 95% of the time where my kids are all prone to bouts of ‘forgetfulness’ (See ALSO HOMEWORK) and periods  of ‘temporary mess blindness’ TMP for short.

From wet towels on floors to used plates & cups balancing on any flat surface the kids with their TMP are able to successfully navigate their way around the ‘unseen’ mess to another room untouched by children’s mess; only kidding there is no such room.

Anyway, who am I to make a fuss.  If I get my “not having this shit” hat on & start cracking the whip I’m told to chill and not be so moody.  After all they were ‘just about to do it’ as I started firing off.

With all mess moved and lobbed elsewhere, they all disappear to their pit of doom, fondly known in a world without kids bedrooms.

Maybe I ask too much.  After all, expecting them to bend down & pick up what they dropped, even clear their mess up when there is no monetary benefit to them whatsoever,  is a biggie, maybe even a bloody cheek.

But hey who am I to complain.  After all, and I quote “you chose to have children” ball is batted at me every time.  I love a teenage smart arse.

We all know (excluding children) parenting is exhausting.  According to my kids, being a kid/teen is way more exhausting.  After all I have no idea how hard school is!

Poor things.  They have to get up so early, go to school for the WHOLE day and come home to do homework, and lots of…..err….em….lots of other exhausting things.  Its sooooooo frustrating when catchup is bieng slow!

Me tired? No, how can I be all I do is sit on my laptop all day.  My life is a breeze.

It struck me recently, when watching the new kids film ‘Sing’ (which I loved!) one of the characters, Rosita (a pig) is a married stay-at-home mum of twenty-five children.

When a local talent contest gives her the chance to showcase her singing, she is desperate to audition but, being a mother life is hectic and her needs are second to her children’s.

However, not to be deterred and unable to share her dream with her tired husband and kids who never listen (sound familiar!) she sets about setting up a vast assortment of contraptions to take care of her housework, meals, send her children off to school, put them to bed.

She has even has the foresight to record specific dialogue, recording a reminder to her husband where his keys are.

She records a bedtime story for her kids and her saying ‘goodbye’ for the morning.

It all goes well and they don’t even notice she has gone!

I thought of how many times I repeat things at home, or in my teenage son’s word ‘bloody nag’ on a daily basis.  I could easily record what I say and press play and just shove off somewhere.

Would they notice I wasn’t there? I wonder, after all,  most days are spent walking around with one eye shut, the other eye firmly placed on phone whilst arguing with siblings.

No I don’t think they would notice, well not until they wanted something.

As I started to write, I realised very quickly I say a lot!  This is just a mere snippet of some of the same ‘ole crap I  use, every day.

They are in no particular order of importance and are used in an unlimited capacity.

  1. Hurry up
  2. Just GET dressed
  3. Have you seen the time?
  4. We are going to be late
  5. Just eat it.
  6. Well you’re not getting anything else.
  7. Think of the poor starving children in Africa.
  8. Who’s everyone?
  9. I said NO.
  10. Because we can’t afford it.
  11. For Christ’s sake, stop arguing.
  12. Leave your brother alone
  13. I said BED!!!!!
  14. I hope you’re not still on that phone
  15. Have you got homework?
  16. Have you done your homework?
  17. Are you listening to me?
  18. Are you actually watching this?
  19. Make sure you tidy up.
  20. No, I haven’t seen it.
  21. No, you come here.
  22. Where’s your PE bag?
  23. Drop the attitude.
  24. There is no way I would have spoken to my Mum & Dad like that.
  25. This is not music!

So, in closing, how many, if any of the above do you use on a daily basis?

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Growing up in the ’80s was fun.  I loved it.  Ahhhh…..the era when I was a teen.

When it seemed to take bloody ages to finally reach the ripe ‘ole age of 17 so I could start learning to drive (how I wish the years still went that slow!).

It was a time when ‘Apple’ was something you ate and ‘Windows’ were mainly for staring out of, a lot, especially in class at school!

Putting on my make-up and glad rags to the sounds of Whitney Houston, Spandau Ballet, Michael Jackson (even had his poster on my wall when he looked like he should) and my favourite, Rick Astley all on vinyl.

It was a time when hair, mine especially, would survive any hurricane, rock hard from a can of cheap extra hold hairspray practically gone in one sitting!

Hands up who loved Grange Hill and Neighbours? the unforgettable moment when Charlene aka Kylie Minogue married Scott aka Jason Donovan etched in your mind forever, along with their wedding song sung by Angry Anderson! I can hear it now.

On the weekends, it was Swap Shop or Tiswas, unlike today’s kids, we didn’t have the endless choice of kids programmes 24/7, although I’m not complaining when the it comes to the Teletubbies or other such dribble that I have endured over the years with my kids!

It was the decade of questionable fashion, who couldn’t resist a pair of satin leggings and neon leg warmers to finish the look! We had trends in schoolbags like the Plastic Jelly Bags, totally impractical, where you had to line them with a carrier bag or everything would fall out!

Fast forward to now and unwittingly I seem to have morphed, somewhat into my parents.  I can often be heard bellowing out to the kids how they “don’t know they are born”, “I would have loved that when I was your age”, and the unforgettable one liner about the Money Tree!

I have put together an insight of what some of the 80s for me had to offer along with how it compares to my kids today.

WALKING (What my kids avoid at all costs)

A large percentage of the 80s was spent walking.  We had no choice back then, anywhere we wanted to go, we walked.  We weren’t privy to the luxury of ‘Mums Taxi’ on standby waiting to ferry us all where we wanted to go, nope we walked.

Sometimes, we would jump on the bus always favouring the back seat just so we could puff our heads off (yes, we smoked…a lot, funded by saving our dinner money) on the way into town!


The luxury of tapping in a few key points and oodles of information appearing before your eyes in seconds was, unfortunately not available to us.  We had to trawl through large collections of enclyopedias or text books for hours before finally admitting defeat and writing any old shit.

There was no copying and pasting or the luxury of a delete button, had to write it all up with an in ink-pen and if you made a mistake the page was ripped out and you started again.

Tippex was a stable of the 80s pencil case.

With writer’s cramp and an offering of something, our homework would be complete.  And if we didn’t finish or even start it would be a quick ‘Sorry but ‘lazy arse’ was unable to do her homework because…….’ bullshit note would be written and signed by me on behalf of my parents!


We didn’t have them.  We had payphones, which we could never afford, so spent a lot of time talking to the operator asking to reverse the charges.

House phones were usually rooted in the hall, annoyingly as there was no privacy.  We would have to wait to ring our friends until after 6pm and then it would be accompanied with shouts of “hurry up on that phone”.  Mine don’t have that worry, they can sit anywhere talking on theirs for as long as they like all paid for my us.

And being able to bypass the phone lock by tapping the black buttons under the receiver.

To be sure of our friends answering and not their parents, we would always give 3 rings first put the phone now and ring again.  We had code words such as ‘polos’ for fags, aptly called as we would eat a dozen on the way home to rid ourselves of the smell, and any fag packets and lighters found in our coat pocket were always our friends, we were just minding it for them.

Our version of texting was passing each other notes throughout lessons or writing messages in each other workbooks trying not to be seen by the teacher.

There was no way of our parents getting hold of us or tracking us on any find my i-Phone.  The only ‘being’ regularly phoning home back then was E.T.


We didn’t have a phone to plug our headphones into and listen to 100s of songs, we had Sony Walkman’s.  We had the pain of having to rewind and fast forward to any particular song we wanted, fist pumping when we timed it right the first time!  And when the batteries started running out, well….!

To add insult to injury we also had to endure the bloody nuisance of the ribbon coming loose from the tapes.

I used to spend hours turning the little wheel with a pen, sometimes one bit too much with the bloody thing snapping.


Who doesn’t love a Movie night!  The difference between our movie nights now to the 80’s is the way it’s viewed!

Watching a newly released movie in the 80s meant, renting a video from the local video shop.  Making yourself up to look older for the 15+ films, rehearsing your date of birth en route just in case, which would often be all in vain as the film would already be on loan by the time you got there.

Today it’s much simpler.  Movies are streamed onto your computer, tablet and television right from the comforts of your own home.   There is no problem with it being out on loan or having to make yourself up to look older, its just a press of a few buttons to confirm they are old enough, having worked their way around any parental control, smart kids of today!


A selfie back then was holding a throwaway camera as far as your arm would let you, at a certain height hoping you were all in the shot.  The disappointment when having waited 2 weeks, picking up your photos from the developers, to find photos of half heads or blurry ones!

Instant ‘selfies’ were only available with a Polaroid camera, and only if you or a mate were lucky enough to own one.

We didnt have the freedom of deleting and trying again, you were stuck with what came sliding out.


We pretty much lived outside.  From morning to night, we would be out and our parents would have no way of knowing where we were or being able to contact us.

No phones with trackers to find out where we were.  Home time would usually be either when the street lamps were coming on or you were hungry.

We literally have to prise our kids out of the house nowadays, preferring to keep in touch with their friends by gaming, texting or face time, and that’s usually when in the same room as them!


Walking, again, we would go into town where we would scour the classics, C&A, Chelsea Girl (always way out of my budget) Tammy Girl and testing out the make up in Miss Selfridge.

Today, my 2 teenage kids prefer shopping online.  All from the comfort of an armchair, with bank card at the ready…my bank card!

Back in the 80s, town was full of punks, large stereos blasting out and a crowd of people, us included, watching kids breakdancing.

How we would spend hours in the shop Athena flicking through poster after poster, I mean what 80s teen didnt have at least one Syd Brak design on their walls at home?

Then before heading home, it would be off to the pub for a quick drink and a fag age 14!


How I wished I was the one having the ‘time of my life’ with Patrick Swayze!


Although a lot has changed over the years a lot still remains the same, its just jazzed up with fancier names.

The end of school disco is now a more lavish affair called a ‘Prom’ costing anything upwards of £300 and a massive parade of all attire in front of proud parents before disappearing into some expensive venue.

I look back on my teenage years with great fondness, a time when we laughed, a lot, and worries were few and far between.

i often think if the technology today, had been around when I was a teen, I don’t think I would have got away with half of what I did.

Not that anything I did was bad, it was just all teenage stuff!

I wonder what my kids will grow up remembering from their teen years?

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stranger 1

“and don’t be talking to any strangers” I would hear my mum shout everytime I went out.   “Yes I know” I would yell back at her, exhausted at forever being told the same thing.

Yet here I am today, repeating the same to my kids – the single difference being they aren’t leaving the house when I tell them!

Todays stranger is right here in our house, more so in our children’s bedrooms – in the form of the internet and social media platforms.

As a parent it’s difficult to know if all the nagging (my kid’s words) and repetitive talks on internet safety ever really sink in.  Groans of “yes we know Mum”, “you don’t need to keep telling me” are often heard, when I am, as the kids say, on one!

Would they tell us if anything untoward happened?  It’s a worry.  Fortunately as we found out our eldest daughter did tell us when something happened to her.

While there are positives to social media, there are also negatives.   When speaking to my kids about the dangers, I don’t sugar coat any of it.  Awareness is better than ignorance.

Knowing the majority of their online chats will be with their friends, there is always the chance that someone, somewhere might try and creep in un-invited.

Explaining to my younger kids that the ’11-year old Jacqueline Wilson fan Jane’, online trying to speak to them might actually be a 40-year-old paedophile John, can be difficult for them to grasp.

They only have words to go on so could potentially believe what is being fed to them (unlike the stranger on the street, where they can physically see).

stranger 1

Any time there is a story about the perils of the internet, such as the scenario above,  I show mine.  It doesn’t give them sleepless nights; it gives them an insight of the real, potential dangers out there.

Unable to have eyes and ears on the kids 24/7 any prolonged monitoring of their online activity is just not possible.   As parents we are bringing our kids up to be both sensible and savvy. To know right from wrong and to notice when online, the difference between safe and worrying.

A few rules that work for us as a family are below.  As with any rule I explain my reasoning behind it, that way it’s not open to misinterpretation!

  1. 100% not allowed too give out any personal details, i.e. name, age, where they live.

The kids groan when I reiterate this to them from time to time.  The replies of  “we know, you don’t have to keep telling us”,  are often heard.  But they have to be mindful of unwittingly slipping up.  Who’s to say after a long comfortable conversation they haven’t, unwittingly just given out some personal detail.  It pays to always be that little bit on guard.

  1. You don’t accept friend request from complete strangers.

If a person approached you on the street and asked to be your friend, would you accept it? No. So why would you accept a friendship from someone you don’t know online & who doesn’t know you, especially one with no mutual friends!

  1. If it doesn’t look right or you are not sure, don’t click on it.

Like an email that appears to be legit but contains a link in it.   Or any pop ups or ‘click here to win’ boxes.  Clicking on these can lead to unwanted viruses or worse.

  1. Bullying

Reminding the kids if they feel this is happening to them, let us know. Also, enforcing we don’t expect them to participate or become involved in any form of bullying online.  Once its said and sent it cannot be undone, even with good intentions some message can be misconstrued.

When it happened to us

When I mentioned to Ciara I was thinking of writing this post, she was like “Mum, what’s the point of writing about Internet safety, everybody knows the dangers”.

Rewind to the midpoint of 2015 when Ciara, then 15, received a notification showing she and a couple of friends had been tagged in a post on FB.

When she viewed the post, she was shocked to see a photo of her Christmas presents (along with around 8 other various photos from her account) had been posted, with a piece underneath telling her what he would like to do to her, sexually.

This post, was public on her wall for all to see.    This was only half of it, there were 8 more photos.  She chose not to read further and immediately blocked him.  Fortunately, she screenshot the posting which proved invaluable as he later removed the post from her wall.

post pic

The ‘offender’ in this case was a lad at her school, in the year above. She knew him, but he wasn’t someone she spoke to or spent any time with.

Shaken and troubled by this, she spoke to her Head of Year at school about it.   In turn, the school liaised with me and informed the police

Her friends, who had also been tagged in this post, were less willing to discuss it with anyone.   They didn’t want to report it.  One friend didn’t see it as any big deal, while the other did not want her mum to know or have her phone taken from her.

Undeterred, Ciara was happy to take it further and speak to the police.  She felt what he had done was wrong, and she wanted him, in her words ‘told off’.

She was also concerned about how it might have been perceived by anyone who may have seen the post when it was live.  They might, wrongly assume that she was in some sort of relationship with this boy, and was ok with this type of sexualised messaging!

With the police on board and dealing with the lad in question, Ciara carried on as normal.  However, a little while later, he sent Ciara a photo on FB.

Again, it was posted publicly on her FB wall and was an image of his erect penis along with some scribblings on what he would like to do to her.

Shaken, she again screenshot it.  Like before, he took the image down some 30 minutes later

She reported it accordingly, and this time was invited down to the police station to make a -statement.  She spent around 30 minutes in a room describing in detail, to a male police officer, the sequence of events and a description of what the photo showed.

I for one, at that age would have found that to be an excurationally embarrassing situation, if not an incredibly scary thing to do.  She handled it with great maturity, and I was so proud of her.

She later heard, when interviewed, he denied the charge but on further pressing admitted he had sent the image.

He was given a conditional caution and to undergo a process of Restorative Justice:

“restorative justice whereby the system of criminal justice which focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large”

A youth intervention officer was assigned to Ciara.  She was there as a mediator, giving Ciara the opportunity to talk about how she felt, how it made her feel and what outcome she would like to see happen.  In this case, she replied she simply wanted him to acknowledge he had done wrong and be punished.

One of the biggest things Ciara struggled with was why he had done it, and more importantly why her?  This was a question she put to him, he was unable to answer it.

These meetings proved to be a great help to Ciara, keeping her up to date on how things were progressing.  It was something she felt was important to her.   I often wonder how she would have felt if there had been no such intervention.

It was suggested she write a letter to him, whereby she could ask any questions she would like answered.   Then if agreeable to both parties, they could be brought together for a meeting where she would have the opportunity to speak to him about why/what he did.

She agreed and wrote a letter.  In turn, he responded and the YIO duly brought it around.  Feeling, nervous Ciara read it.  In it, he said he didn’t really know why he had done what he had, but he was willing to meet with her too discuss.

Unfortunately, a couple of days before their scheduled meeting, he again sent an inappropriate picture, this time to a different girl.

Consequently, the meeting was cancelled.  Ciara was not interested in meeting with him anymore.  She was shocked, and said it was like re-living the whole experience again.  She could not believe, after all his weeks of ‘therapy’ he was still acting in this manner, with no show of regret and willingness to stop.

Throughout all this, she still had to see this lad every day in school.  She spent her days, always mindful that she could at any time bump into him.  It was a situation that made her uneasy for a number of months.

Fortunately, he is no longer in school and Ciara is able to continue her education without feeling nervous about seeing him.

As a mother, I found it incredibly difficult, especially at the meetings whereby he would be discussed.  I struggled with how he could, after being involved with the police, go on to repeat the same offence.  I imagined being his mother, and what I would do if it was one of my children.  But like all situations, its easy to say and much harder to do.  Hopefully, with all the best will in the world I will never have to know.

To date, Ciara has never heard anything more from him.  I could not be any more proud of Ciara than I am.  Throughout this difficult period, she handled it with a level of maturity beyond her years and was completely non- judgemental.

So in fact, by continuing to parent our kids the best way we can, we must also look on the plus side of the internet. It brings a lot of positives: endless information, possibilities and opportunities for us all, blogging being one major one!

And a favourite of mine, connecting us to loved ones far and wide, bringing the ones we love and know into our living rooms.

UPDATE:  Unfortunately this boy went on to re-offend he, it would seems has not yet learned from any intervention or help received.

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Was that really me?

One thing I never envisaged when I became my mum a mum 16 years ago was the sudden loss of all common sense & rational thinking.

As soon as this little dote of  a human being was placed into my arms, the old me disappeared and the new havent a bloody clue mummy appeared.  From that moment forward I would never again be the same person, I was now a total worry wart 24/7.

I spent hours just staring at her hardly believing she was mine. Who would have thought 16 years later I would be telling her to get out of my sight…a lot!

A good nights sleep and lay in’s became a distant memory.  I spent my nights mainly crawling up the stairs to bed, not becauseI was pissed, I was exhausted.

I literally slept with one ear open, every night, listening waiting for any sudden change in breathing.

Some nights I would convince myself I couldnt hear her breathing so would get up and check, unsure I would poke her, instantly regretting it when she cried; only to repeat it all again later.

And on the rare occassion when I woke up after the sun had risen, my blood would run cold believing something awful must have happened to her as she hadn’t woke me up.

Looking back I can see how the phrase ‘helicopter parenting’ was coined, that was me morning, noon and night, unable to let go, always hovering just in case.

Every rash had me carrying out the ‘glass test’ never quite sure if it actually disappeared or not, so to be sure would head off to the Doctors.  It was no different if she coughed, sneezed, had a cold that seemed prolonged, it would all have me in a state of fearing it was something more sinister. (see NEUROTIC).

Everything had to be right.  I lived by the book of new motherhood chapter by chapter.  Focusing on the ‘NEVER EVER DO THIS’ list such as;

  • NEVER re-heat bottles (especially in the microwave).
  • If dummy/toy/book hit the floor you MUST sterilise before giving back.
  • You must not take any notice of this shit book (see REALITY CHECK).

That was me; first time neurotic mummy wasting endless hours sterilising dummies and any toys that hit the ground.  I would gasp in horror if another mum suggested I cut corners, fearing this would somehow damage her in the process.

Even my parents stories of their survival as babies with no parenting books or sterilising kits!!  (See BINNED THE BOOK & TOOK PARENTS ADVICE with second child).

However, visits to the Doctors surgery were regular.  The routine baby checks were my favourite.  It gave me a chance to ‘show her off’ swelling with pride at her development and seeing my shiny red book fill up nicely.

All other questions such as,  is she talking – err yeah of course, can she count from 1-10? not quite but we are working on it, is she toilet trained? were plentiful… hang on, sorry scrap that bit, those were the Nursery Gate questions, wrong story!


On one routine visit, my Doctor asked me how much Ciara weighed at birth; it would be worth noting I was shite at maths (see NEVER LISTENED AT SCHOOL).

I proudly informed him she had weighed 350kg.  Waiting for the unexpected laughter to die down,  he composed himself before asking if I was sure, feeling the pressure, clearly this figure was wrong, I hastily changed it to 35kg,

whaaa…t why you laughing” I asked puzzled.  With it glaringly obvious maths was not my strongest subject, especially weight, he suggested maybe it was 3.5kg, I went with that, after all he was the Doctor he understood kilos better than I did.

It wasn’t until I recited this account later to my brother, it become apparent what had been funny, I had given the weight off something more in line with a baby elephant! (see SECOND BABY).


I am fully aware of how this might look, ‘how stupid could someone be’ but hey, that was me, first time mum and all that, the kind of mum who wanted everything right for my first, along with buying anything gadget based.

I remember buying a Motion Swing intended to rock baby gently, saving on any un-needed arm-ache giving you time to have a sit down and cuppa.

Walking through town box in tow with his nibs moaning about the price.  I was delighted when a woman approached us to champion how good the swings were, and how we would just love it they were, apparently brilliant.

Feeling smug and repeating this to his nibs several times over, the smug table turned the day we put her in it, she hated it, cried solidly.

Consequently the swing ended up in the loft along with all the other waste of time purchases & parenting manuals, along with his nibs muttering “told you it was a waste of money”.

“No Doctor, you don’t understand she isn’t like any other baby” I would tell him as I graced his room once again with Ciara sneezing, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t important” blah blah blah.

Imagine my horror, when one morning after just feeding Ciara, I noticed she began to roll her eyes, a lot.

Only slightly at first, but then moving on to real back of the head rolling.  Watching her I could feel the panic rise, as I battled with how to reset her eyes to the front position.

Deciding to try the just stare really, hard and long I let out a mighty roar to his nibs

“quick, come here, something’s wrong with Ciara”.

“Christ, now what?” he asked.

“I think she might be blind” with a loud sigh and some mumbling of ridiculous and stupid I carried on undeterred

“seriously, she’s rolling her eyes, it’s not right, I’m ringing the Doctors”.

Pressing redial calling the surgery I waited until the threatening tone of the Doctors bouncer answered.  Answering the compulsory questions knicker size, what I had for breakfast, is it life threatening, do I think its acceptable to waste Doctors time?

Look my child might be blind I said  “ooooooooookkkkkkay and what makes you think that?” she

“she’s rolling her eyes back in her head and they aren’t refocusing”,  with a reassuring “oooh I’ve never heard of that before you best bring her in…….” I scooped Ciara up.

Throwing her in the mumobile (not literally for any anti-throwing kid’s campaigners out there) we raced off tyres screeching.

Parking in our ‘spot’ I rushed in wearing my slippers, this was urgent.  Ignoring all the staring faces I hoped we wouldn’t be waiting long.

Several scenarios started playing through my mind, what type of dog would we get? were there any braille classes locally?

The crackle of the speaker came on, holding my breath so I could hear,  a voice said “Sharon, Room No. 4 please”, detecting a hint of ‘what now’ in his tone, I carried on regardless.  It sounded like we were now first name terms, I kinda liked this personal touch!

“She’s blind” I announced flinging the door open and walking in.

“Take a seat Sharon”.

sitting down I braced myself as he took, after a long, long time, okay maybe a few seconds he asked  “what makes you think she could be blind”?

Could be! Are you kidding, she’s rolling her eyes right into the back of head so much so I expect her to start chanting lines from the exorcist, her iris literally disappears!

“Ah right, ok I’ll have a look”.

Turning his back a tad, I sat boring my eyes into his head.  Was he shielding me from some upcoming doom?

After an eternity he asked “Sharon, have you ever thought she might have wind”?

“Wind!” errr no I hadn’t.  Apparently it was very common for some babies to roll their eyes when full of wind.  That was a new one on me I didn’t recall every reading that in any of my shit mummy manuals.

Looking back I have great admiration for my Doctor.  If it wasn’t for the fact that he left some ago, not long after we took to visiting him (just coincidental)  I would thank him in person for putting up with the ‘then me‘.

Anyone else have similar stories?……, really?! just me then eh?

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