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Blog Posts

Gratitude - and Grumpy Moods - Will You Join Me?

By - 03/11/2010 - 08:36

Gratitude is on my mind. Not because I am feeling particularly grateful for one thing but because sometimes an appreciative state of mind can snap me out of a bad mood. I've read numerous times that we can improve our mental health and perhaps even our physical health simply by making a habit of noting all the things we're grateful for. And I believe it can make a difference. Most nights I ask our Mr 8 what he liked about his day so that he can also go to sleep with thoughts of gratitude and happiness. Read full post

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Giving and Receiving Gifts - Teenagers, It's Not a Negotiation

By - 04/11/2010 - 11:06

Gifts and their meaning have changed over the years. I’ve not done an anthropological study on the matter, but it appears to me that, to many people, they have become somewhat of an entitlement. And especially for teens, gifts are sometimes a point of negotiation, or even more alarming, of reward. Read full post

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My Judgemental Mind - Two Dads in the Supermarket

By - 06/11/2010 - 08:20

Last night I went shopping for groceries at 7.30 p.m. Not my favourite way to spend a Friday night. I felt a little guilty because that meant my husband had to cook the dinner for everyone at 7 pm when he got home and I knew Mr 8 would be starving too. On the other hand - why should I feel guilty? I had worked all day and driven children to activities and was now shopping for a dinner party on Saturday night - guilt trip over... But then I saw a dad - I'll call him Mr Cool. Read full post

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Parents - Are You Being Short Changed by 'Me Time' Myth?

By - 08/11/2010 - 10:31

Time – especially time by myself – is my passport to reclaiming some energy, clarity and sanity. I suspect I’m a bit of an introvert by nature: I enjoy being with friends and family, but I recharge my batteries best in solitude...How’s this for a radical idea, though: maybe we are ripping ourselves off with the whole idea of ‘me time’. Maybe it’s a construct of our Western mindset... Read full post

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Operation Enough - I Have Your Grandson. He's Drinking in a Park

By - 09/11/2010 - 09:53

The term 'Operation Enough' caught my eye as I scanned this morning's news. Police at the St Marys Local Area Command in NSW launched a campaign targeting young people involved in underage drinking and various criminal behaviour. But what really caught my eye was the media release and reports saying "In a new tactic by police, a parent of each and every child was 'phoned and asked to collect their children." ...This post includes ideas for parents of teenagers concerned about unsupervised drinking. Read full post

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Gratitude - Connections - Sydney Bloggers Festival

By - 10/11/2010 - 19:22

Just remembered - last week I committed to blogging about gratitude on a Wednesday. As it happens, I have a lot to be grateful for today. And that's in spite of a low-grade headache and a fast start to the day requiring 3 children and I and husband leaving the house by 7.30 without forgetting to feed the cat. I attended the Sydney Bloggers Festival today. Here's my gratitude list for the day: Read full post

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Yvette, Kerri and Lana: Mums Talk Nonsense

By - 11/11/2010 - 22:40

On 11 November 2010 I met two friends for the first time - Twitter friends, mums, bloggers who share their funny, moving, normal lives with their online audience. As a mother and online publisher, meeting these beautiful mumblogger people I've had a "virtual" relationship with was as much fun as I thought. This video is slightly mad but it's to share the fun with you. It's Yvette Vignando chatting and laughing with Kerri Sackville and Lana Hirschowitz. Read full post

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I Have a Sensitive Child - a Discipline Dilemma

By - 16/11/2010 - 07:50

My husband and I are pretty much chalk and cheese in many ways. Although we have similar values and priorities in life, it's safe to say we have some pretty different approaches when it comes to parenting. My husband is from a rules-based background where you know what the rules are ... I come from a laissez-faire, lead-by-example background where there was so much else going on for my single mother that rules didn't really enter the equation. Read full post

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Open Letter to Australian Prime Minister -Teach Emotional Intelligence in Schools

By - 16/11/2010 - 12:21

An open letter via video from parent of three boys, emotional intelligence expert and parenting publisher Yvette Vignando - asking for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Education Peter Garrett to take action on including a quality social and emotional learning program in the Australian National Curriculum. Read full post

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White Ribbon Day - Sticks, Stones, Words and Children

By - 25/11/2010 - 14:44

November 25th is White Ribbon Day. I just wanted to add my small voice to this campaign. I read on the White Ribbon Day site that "In Australia, one in three women will be assaulted or abused in her lifetime. These women are our mothers, our girlfriends, our wives, our daughters, our colleagues and our friends." I read that and I can hardly imagine it is true, yet I know it is. And I also think of the children that are witnessing physical and verbal abuse in their homes every day. And I think of the effect of children bearing witness to this. Read full post

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Friday Happiness - Can You Keep a Secret?

By - 26/11/2010 - 14:01

Video: 2 Minutes with Yvette Vignando excitedly sharing a sneak preview of Mr 8's (soon to be Mr 9) birthday present. Only watch this video if you can keep a secret - because it's not his birthday yet and news travels fast online! Share some happiness and take 2 minutes to watch it. Read full post

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A Christmas Present for Your Child That Lasts All Year

By - 29/11/2010 - 10:04

Possibly the best gift you could give your children this Christmas is to teach them the value of giving...The truth is people consistently over-estimate the impact on their wellbeing of acquiring things and underestimate the impact of giving, especially to those to whom they have an emotional connection. But this can be overcome by encouraging our children to experience the joy of giving directly. A good way to do this is to give them a gift voucher to microcredit charity Kiva. Read full post

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Happiness for Kids Includes a Well Cut Mango Cheek

By - 30/11/2010 - 09:13

In this quick video post Yvette Vignando demonstrates the art of cutting a mango cheek (with a sharp knife) for a child, and comes dangerously close to cutting her own cheek. Yvette loves mangos and uploaded this video to help a friend who claims not to know how to "score" a mango. Enjoy. Read full post

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Do We Have a Blinkered View of Our Children?

By - 01/11/2011 - 12:00

Sometimes I think all children have double identities. There’s the ‘at home’ child, the one the parents know and love, and there’s the ‘out in the world’ child, the one that the rest of us see. Here’s what I mean ... Read full post

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Listen to Kids - React to Australian Bullying Video

By - 02/11/2011 - 12:38

Earlier this year, very disturbing video was shown of a boy being buWnatllied in an Australian school - the boy fought back - the video was shown all around the world. In a new and powerful video, children in the United States talk about their reactions to this video, how they feel about bullying, what they think adults should do about it. The end of the video sent shivers down my spine - listening to what these children would say to a bully if they could. Read full post

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How Happy are You Compared with Your Country Average? A Test.

By - 03/11/2011 - 08:01

I had to share this - it's very quick and a bit interesting to compare your results with the rest of your country. A happiness test on Scientific American called "How Happy Are You?" with a table for you to see how your happiness compares with other people in your country and the rest of the world.Positive and negative feelings are measured. I share my results with you too. How did you go and what country are you from? Read full post

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Australian Family Does Halloween - Wonderful Haunting Memories

By - 03/11/2011 - 10:20

Halloween - and the excitement levels in our house were reaching fever pitch. My oldest child had waited seven long years to again experience the wonder that is an American Halloween. And on October 31st 2011, any feeling of homesickness was swept aside because on this particular day there was nowhere else in the world we would rather be ... The absolute highlight of the night was the Haunted House ... Read full post

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OMG I am Good - Look, I am Parenting

By - 04/11/2011 - 09:43

There's a new family at our school. They're Australian and they have 5 children. When I told my husband about them, he feigned devastation. "You know what that means. We're no longer the Australians with the 4 kids, we've just become the Australians with the 4 kids who didn't try hard enough". I have often joked that 4 children in 6 years was an exercise in extreme parenting. It was also an exercise I wore with an indulgent and oversized badge of honor. Read full post

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Beautiful - the Song, the Voice - Stop Bullying

By - 04/11/2011 - 17:02

A 12 year old girl videos herself singing Beautiful, and before that, messages from kids about being bullied. Her voice is angelic - enjoy! Read full post

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Moving with Children - a Child's Squeaky Voice Reaction

By - 07/11/2011 - 12:06

The high-pitched, talking started a few months ago. Our three-year-old, who is known for her husky tones, began communicating in a squeaky voice. Aside from being incredibly annoying, it was also a little strange. We just put it down to her being three ... And then it dawned on me ... Read full post

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I Wasn't Going to Write About This

By - 07/11/2011 - 19:32

Last week, a Twitter contact shared one of the most horrific videos I have seen in a long time. It was so traumatic that I couldn't watch much more than a few minutes. I didn't retweet it because the vision was so violent that I thought it required a warning. I was also unsure about its origin because the video was dated 2004 yet seemed to have just hit the internet that day. Since then, the video has gone viral. Read full post

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I'm Happy I Held Our Son Back from Starting School

By - 08/11/2011 - 16:08

This time last year I was in a quandary. I was trying to decide whether or not to send our then-four-year-old son to school this year. My initial feeling was that he would be ready to go – he had a large vocabulary for his age, and was very curious and eager to learn. He was also very tall for his age, got along well with older peers, and had good fine motor skills. His preschool teachers agreed that he would be fine ... I started to do some research about readiness for school. Read full post

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Is Pocket Money and Cable Television a Key to Your Child's Happiness? Research.

By - 10/11/2011 - 11:12

It will sound like a pun but I just don't "buy" this - well not all of it. I love to read research about children's wellbeing and think about its practical application. So headlines about this new UK research caught my eye. For example this one: "Must-have possessions that make a child happy: Why the best things in life aren't always free" ... Researchers for the Children's Society in the UK* surveyed 5500 children about their levels of happiness (also called 'subjective wellbeing') and their access to material goods ... Read full post

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Our Daughter is Living 2000 Kilometres Away - For Now

By - 14/11/2011 - 09:33

We are a family of five, yet when we relocated from the Gold Coast to Melbourne three weeks ago, we arrived as a family of four. Wait, nothing terrible happened to the fifth one; we just decided to leave her behind. Actually, wait, that does sound kind of terrible ... Read full post

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Raising Barry - an Unconventional Parent Raises a President

By - 15/11/2011 - 12:53

Ann Dunham (Soetoro) Sutoro’s life is changing the course of history, yet most people have never heard of this remarkable woman. When I first met Ann in Jakarta in March 1981, I had no idea how great an impact she would have on world history and politics ... We had an immediate rapport. Ann saw me as a young person who shared her idealism and passion for solving the problems of poverty in Indonesia. Perhaps I reminded her of her son Barry, born in Hawaii in 1961, a few years younger than me, and then studying and working in the United States. Read full post

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Parenting Headlines that are Simply Wrong - Want Better Children?

By - 16/11/2011 - 09:59

It was only last night that I was talking to a trusted friend about the inaccuracy and sensationalism in online and offline publications - especially their headlines. As a publisher myself I confess I do find the whole headline 'thing' a challenge. I can laugh at the silly and sensational and even salacious sometimes, even though I hope I will never 'go there' myself. But using headlines that misinform people about research simply for the eye-catching impact - please stop it. Take this one from today as an example: "Revealed - Marriage Breeds Better Children" ... Read full post

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The Impact of Media - Yes, Somebody Should Think of the Children

By - 18/11/2011 - 10:36

This morning I had an article about media content classification published on a website.* The article discusses some proposed deregulatory changes to the Australian classification system and points out that these do not appear to serve the review’s guiding principle that "children should be protected from material that is likely to harm or disturb them." The first comment out of the blocks was: "Somebody think of the children!" Read full post

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What's Wrong with Our Food System? Inspiration from an 11 Year Old

By - 18/11/2011 - 11:26

We had to share this one: Birke Baehr is 11 years old and speaks with passion and humour about local and organic food farming - at a TedX event. a great video to show your children - not just because of the worthy content - but because he's a great example of an accomplished public speaker, and because he seems to have found a passion at an early age. Read full post

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Children Saying Sorry - It's a Life Skill

By - 21/11/2011 - 07:44

According to Ali Macgraw’s character in the the 80s cult movie Love Story, ”love means never having to say you’re sorry”. Perhaps that’s because, according to Elton John, “sorry seems to be the hardest word”. I agree with the latter but not the former. While it can be hard to say, in our family, love means being willing to admit when you’re wrong. I apologise to our children ... Read full post

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Taming the Tantrums - It Starts with Parenting Skills

By - 24/11/2011 - 14:07

Yale University Parenting Center is recognised for its invaluable research and support for parents and has recently been spreading the word about some basic parenting skills that will help you to deal with your child's tantrums, and over time, reduce them. Yvette Vignando spoke on The Morning Show on Channel 7 and shared this information - based on over 30 years of research. Read full post

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Birthday Happiness for Our Ten Year Old, and For Us

By - 28/11/2011 - 13:12

This post is filed under "Love:" Last year, perhaps on this very day, I wrote about a surprise birthday present for Mr 8, soon to be Mr 9. We so enjoyed surprising him with his present – and his delight has continued throughout the year so it was absolutely the gift-that-keeps-on-giving. On Friday when we took him out for an advance 10 year old celebration, he told us he is keeping last year’s gift forever, “for the memories”. Read full post

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Internet Addiction in Children - Is the Blame Game Helpful?

By - 30/11/2011 - 11:45

This week there have been several articles in the media about the Network for Internet Investigation and Research in Australia . The team of experts behind the website are hoping to use it to provide information and support relating to internet addiction and obsessive behaviour associated with the use of computers and computer games ... Sadly, when I read the comments following the articles, the discussion was not centred on ways to develop positive computer habits and to diagnose and help those with harmful behaviours linked to internet usage. Read full post

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Why Do Teens Take More Risks? Do They?

By - 01/11/2012 - 10:59

A study by researchers at New York University, Yale’s School of Medicine, and Fordham University suggests that one reason why adolescents tolerate situations where the outcome is uncertain is that they have a higher level of comfort with “the ambiguous”. And this result could help in suggesting new ways for parents and teachers to talk to teenagers about risk. What do you think? Read full post

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How to Silence the Parent's Inner Critic

By - 05/11/2012 - 15:03

Is your inner critic getting you down? You know: that little voice in the back of your head constantly telling you what a lousy parent you are. Every parent has one. It’s a stream of thoughts making up an endless real-time commentary on what you are thinking and doing, continuously pointing out and cataloging you deficiencies and weaknesses...So what do you do if your inner critic is getting out of hand? Read full post

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Why Do So Many Teenagers Get Into Trouble?

By - 13/11/2012 - 10:08

Whether it be managing the unexpected behaviours of teenagers, a chronic disability, an acute illness, or mental health issues, Benison O'Reilly explores why teenagers get into trouble even with supportive parenting. Read full post

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How to Give Good at Christmas - my Personal Recommendation

By - 15/11/2012 - 10:29

It's my absolute pleasure to recommend you consider a UNICEF gift this Christmas. A gift that helps a vulnerable child seems a beautiful way to celebrate families getting together during the Chirstmas holiday season. And I love the name for this initiative: Give Good gifts. UNICEF gifts are delivered to the children who need it most. The gifts include polio vaccines, nutritional health supplements, educational tools, baby weigh scales, water pumps, bicycles for UNICEF field and community workers, emergency shelter and vital community infrastructure. Read full post

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Babysitter and Nanny Directory Built by a Nanny

By - 19/11/2012 - 10:32

This is a sponsored blog post. After over ten years working as a nanny, Rebecca DeLuca founded her own nanny and babysitter directory, recognising the need for a new model for Australian parents and nannies. Rebecca saw the opportunity to create a unique service that allows both parents and nanny agencies to list jobs alongside each other and the result is babysittersearch.com.au. Rebecca answered some questions about her new business. Read full post

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A Forum on Australia's Child Rights on World Human Rights Day

By - 20/11/2012 - 10:01

A panel of inspiring change makers is meeting for a forum on Australia's child rights this World Human Rights Day, December 10, in Sydney. A forum for youth advocates and the next generation of change makers. Read full post

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My Mothering Heart Needs More Lion, Less Rabbit

By - 20/11/2012 - 10:42

Life is often an endurance test. Sure, there are bright moments when joy fills your heart, when you can re-charge. But often it is a relentless quest. At present, my patience as a mother is tested daily by an irrepressible toddler who is now more wilful and dastardly than I thought possible. I need to rapidly acquire new skills. Read full post

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Children Have Rights – Why Does that Make Some People Angry?

By - 21/11/2012 - 08:57

When someone publishes a piece in mainstream media using the term ‘children’s rights’ or something similar, there’s often a stream of angry and defensive comments from adults who flip the argument to questions like “what about the rights of parents?” – usually those comments also express annoyance at the focus on a child’s rights...My question is – what are adults scared of? Why does the term “children’s rights” make some adults uncomfortable? Read full post

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Trigger - a Short Film about Food Allergy in Children

By - 21/11/2012 - 09:20

Trigger is a short film about children and allergy. Despite statistics showing increased cases of severe food allergies each year – nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish allergies there remains a real lack of public awareness about the potentially lethal consequences these allergies carry. 'Trigger’ was created by Australian journalist and mother Grace Farah, whose six year old daughter suffers from severe food allergies. Read full post

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My Son Doesn't Want Surprise Gifts This Christmas

By - 27/11/2012 - 12:04

This year, there will be no surprises at Christmas time for my six year old son. No, he hasn’t been a ‘naughty boy’ and therefore undeserving of Santa’s generosity. The reason my son will have no surprises is that he will choose all of his presents and be with us when we buy them, in November. They will then be wrapped and put under the Christmas tree. Read full post

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Will Our Kids Be Better 'Technology Parents'?

By - 28/11/2012 - 10:04

So this morning I saw the headline “Our web-addict kids miss out on meals and sleep”.And I thought, somewhat judgementally - surely their parents can do something about that? And at the same time I acknowledged, from my own personal experience, how hard it is to get teens to stop using a computer and do something else. Read full post

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University Seeks Parents' Views on LGBT Education

By - 05/11/2013 - 08:05

Researchers at the University of Western Sydney seek parents/guardians of school-aged children from the Northwest of Sydney to participate in a study examining their views about the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) education in schools. Parents of children from kindergarten to year 12 are invited to local focus group sessions to discuss views on LGBT and anti-homophobia education in school education. Read full post

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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock performing Katy Perry's 'Roar'

By - 06/11/2013 - 09:18

An uplifting and optimistic take on Katy Perry's hit song, 'Roar', performed by patients and staff of the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, New Hampshire, USA. Get well soon, courageous kids! Read full post

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Radical Action is Needed to Stop the Bullying

By - 12/11/2013 - 10:32

My friend has a problem. A heart-breaking problem. After rebuilding her life following a tough marriage breakup, her daughter is now being bullied at school. Her beautiful, smart, gentle, wise and talented daughter. Bullied so badly my friend feels she has no choice but to move her to another school. Now this friend of mine is a tough cookie. She has a strong and principled mind – the type of mind that can take on and deal with the toughest of challenges. But sadly, not this challenge. She's told me she can't win this fight. Read full post

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To Create Change, We Must First Believe it is Possible

By - 20/11/2013 - 11:13

A social experiment, asking adults how they envision the future of the world, followed by asking their children how they view their future. The parents are left with an important question to answer, and a final message: There is still time. Read full post

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My Mum is a Cleaner...A Doctor...An Angel

By - 21/11/2013 - 07:45

Children observe their mums and after watching everything she does all day, Mum is called an angel and wished sweet dreams. The sweetest 2-minute video you will see today. Read full post

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Michelle's Top Internet Finds

By - 27/11/2013 - 09:17

Welcome to my new weekly column where I present an eclectic mix of articles from around the globe on all things related to children and parenting. This week, topics include pregnancy and childbirth, media effects on children, special needs, and education. Read full post

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How Parents Can Meet the Social and Emotional Needs of Their Baby

By - 28/11/2013 - 09:26

Apart from having necessary physical needs to be met, human babies have social and emotional needs, that when fulfilled, teach them how to interact with people, connect, form trusting relationships with others and understand their own emotions. This video offers simple guidance for parents on how to lay the foundation for social and emotional learning. Read full post

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