Category Archives: Raising Teenagers

Shock and Awe: Pregnant Teen Sues Parents

Every since last week, I’ve been going OFF about this pregnant 16-year-old who had the audacity to sue her parents.
So is that what they’re doing now? Teens are rewarding their parents by bringing lawsuits against them, eh?
In case you haven’t heard about this foolery, let me give you some background in what I’ll be ranting and raving about.
Parents of the pregnant teen were unhappy to learn that she was with child and so, they were pressuring her to have an abortion. parents and teen girl They supposedly issued threats (that her life was going to be ruined; she was flushing her future down the drain; she wasn’t going to amount to nothing; they were going to make her life miserable, etc) in hopes of steering her to abort the fetus.
Turns out her parents were indeed making her life a living hell. Plus they must have taken away the vehicle that they purchased for her.
This child got the bright idea to solicit the help of some group (obviously pro-lifers) to support and represent her in suing her parents.
To shorten the story, she won the case against her parents. They couldn’t force her to have an abortion (which we all already know. No clinic would ever perform an abortion on an unwilling patient) the parents can no longer go around making her life a living hell or uncomfortable. The parents agreed to let her use the car that they purchased, in order for her to get back-and-forth to school and work. She will be allowed to marry her 16-year-old boyfriend. The parents will also pay her cell phone bill and half of her health insurance.
This is what our country has boiled down to. Teens are being rewarded for their bad decisions and choices, while the parents are being punished. What responsibility are these two irresponsible “children” being taught when they’re being rewarded the “gifts” they seek in a court of law?
I agree. No one should be threatened with physical force when it comes to an unexpected pregnancy, but why would the parents have to be responsible for half of her medical expenses? Why do they have to allow her to enjoy the privilege of driving around in a car that they purchased? Why on God’s green earth do they have pay for her to have the luxury of a cell phone?
I’ve always been under the assumption that grown people take care of themselves. Grown folks don’t “need: anyone to pay their cell phone bills; they don’t “need” to use the car they someone else bought; they don’t “need” some to pay for half their medical expenses.
The mere fact that this child “needs” her parents for these minute things is a testament that she doesn’t “need” a child because she can’t even take care of the basic things that she needs (wants) to survive.
If she and her boyfriend want to make grown-up decisions, then why wouldn’t they be ordered to endure the grown-up consequences?

All-in-all there was definitely a better way for this unfortunate situation to be handled, besides this child dragging her parents to court.
If you found yourself in this situation what would your reaction be? How would you handle such a court ruling?

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Had it been me:

Chances are extremely high that I’d be held in contempt of court and ordered to jail for an extensive amount of time.
First, I would have taken my SUV and ran over the car that I was told to let her drive. I would have driven back and forth over the heap of rubble until it was obliterated! While in the midst destroying that vehicle I would have called the insurance company to cancelled my coverage before calling the cell phone company and breaking whatever contract I had remaining on the account.
The nerve of that child, the judicial system and whatever idiots represented her in court!
I know my reaction would be extreme, but I’m an extreme kind of gal. I firmly believe that when there are no consequences, these are the messes that you end up with!

Food for thought:

Did it not cross anyone’s mind that maybe it was the privilege of having access to a car and the luxury of a cell that got her into her pregnancy fiasco to begin with? Hmm.

She has all of these people in her corner now, but where will they be once this child is born? What help will they (especially the little loud mouth 16-year-old boy who helped to get her in this mess) provide when it’s 2-years-old? 5-years-old? 13-years-old? Matter of fact, where will any of them be when this child winds up pregnant (or has someone pregnant) at 16?
We all know how this fairy tale will end.
I’m so certain that it’ll end with a big fat, “I told you so!”

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Open Letter to the NRA

Dear NRA Leaders,

Hello! My name is Mariann and I am the mother of four children, whom I LOVE more than anything. My love for them is what brings me to write this letter.
Midway through the year of 2011, I packed my four children up and moved across the country. I left behind my parents, my sibling, nieces, nephews, aunts, cousins, friends and neighbors, many of whom I’ve known for the last thirty years of my life.

Our drive down to Texas!

Our drive down to Texas!

Mainly, I did this because I wanted save my teenage son. You see, Detroit has become the belly of the beast, as it pertains to crime and violence. Crime has soared beyond the perimeter of the clouds and gun violence is amongst the highest in the nation. The homicide rate for black males is astronomical.
As I already stated, I love my teenage son. He’s my firstborn and I didn’t want to lose him to a bullet. So it was best for me to relocate somewhere completely foreign to us. Even if it meant leaving behind everything and everyone with which I was familiar.
When we’d safely moved away I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. I was amazed that we’d successfully escaped. We’d escaped the vicious threat of unnecessary, untimely, senseless violence and/or a tragic death,  which would’ve  likely brought itself, unsolicited, to my front doorstep. Just as it had to so many of my fellow Detroit parents, attempting to raise their children within city limits.
I can’t help but feel that the life of a black teenage boy isn’t respected. Not by his peers, not by the law, not the gun lobbyist, the NRA, Washington and especially not by the urban law enforcement; seeing that no one has ever taken any measures to curtail the threat to their existence.
I called myself moving from that lack-a-daisy inner city attitude (as it pertained to my son) and into an area where he’d have a better chance at surviving his childhood and teenage years.
In my mind, the suburbs had to be better than the urban cement jungle. Right?
Well, I was partially right.
This last year and a half, I got the best sleep ever.  I haven’t slept so soundly, since becoming a mother nearly sixteen years ago. I was able to sleep comfortably because my child, my children were safe.  Not only were they safe, but they were also free.
No longer was I hesitant to let them walk to the neighborhood store. Now they could go outside and play, as children ought to be, without the constant threat of gunshots ringing out!
For the first time, in a really long time, I’ve been able to let my mommy guard down, rest and exist in peace.
Now what I’d like you to do is imagine how pissed I was when that peace was unexpectedly  interrupted and that protective mommy guard had to go back up!
July 2012 is when that maniac walked into that Colorado movie theater, in suburban Aurora, and opened fire on audience members waiting to view a movie.
Imagine the terror that infringed upon my person when I learned of that tragedy. Especially since my teens are at the movie theatre every free chance that they get.
With that horrific incident I was back in full mommy protection mode.
But wait Mr. NRA leader and other NRA people. It gets even worse! Just when enough time had passed, I started thinking, “that was an isolated incident, not likely that it’ll happen again.”
I, along with the rest of the nation, receive another punch in the gut, this pass December.
It goes without saying, our schools are suppose to be one of the safest places for our children, next to our own homes. It’s suppose to be that lone place, outside of home, where you can let your guard down and know without a shadow of a doubt, that your child is protected.
Never once did any of those Newtown parents think that they were sending their children into the direct line of fire. Never did it cross any of their minds that, “Today! A mad gunman could shoot his way into my child’s school and commit a heinous crime against them!” Never once did any one of them consent to sending their beautiful and innocent children onto a battlefield that December morning.
Those are NOT the thoughts that we, as parents,  have when we send our babies off to school! It’s not what we think about when we purchase tickets to watch a movie or when we pull into the parking lot of the local mall to go shopping.
When did going on about our daily lives, begin to mean that a little bit of deadly gun violence can be inserted in there, at any moment? When did our beautiful nation become an open battlefield? When did the American people become moving targets?

As that mother of four who fled to a suburban Texas city to flee the inner city gun violence, in order to save my oldest son, I want you to know I’m back to being filled with constant worry. My thoughts, days and nights are back to being consumed with being their protector.
Understand this, not only am I back to being concerned for the safety of my teenage son, but now I’m just as concerned for the safety of his siblings! I’m concerned times four now. Way more than before!

The open and constant threat of gun violence is no longer reserved primarily for the young black males that roam through the inner city. It has broken rank and has penetrated the beautiful folds of suburbia.
It has presented itself in the workplace, shopping centers, college campuses, high school campuses, and sadly elementary school campuses. So yes! I’m back. I’m back to worrying each and every single time I or my four children leave the safety of our home.
It’s clear that gun violence will rear its ugly head whenever and wherever. Gun violence is no longer reserved for certain areas, times, days or people. The threat is constant for everyone and can present itself anywhere and at anytime!
NRA Leaders, this doesn’t have to be. The American people don’t have to live under the constant threat of gun violence. The American people shouldn’t have to live in fear. They shouldn’t have to wonder nor anticipate when and where the next shocking and tragic act of gun violence will occur. Why does this have to be America’s new normal?
It’s no secret that the current president and his administration are not friends of yours. But if only, for the sake of the American people and being an American and loving this nation, as you so loudly proclaim, can the common sense measures that everyone agrees upon be taken? Can we agree to implement those laws? Can those be the first steps taken?
Mothers and fathers, such as myself, would like nothing more than to get back to our old normal?
For the sake of our children and our sanity, shed the labels and erase the party lines. Let’s stop the finger-pointing and find solutions. Let’s get back using common sense. Let’s get back to the times where people meant more than the right to possess guns. Let’s get back to being caring Americans. More importantly, let’s get back to being human.

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I want to successfully usher each of my children into adulthood. I want to experience high school and college graduations. I want to witness the big weddings. I want to see my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren! Those are the things that I, and a whole lot of other parents want. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for.
We just want to live.
We want to get back to the way things use to be.

Sincerely,

Mariann

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Mama help me, don’t hinder me

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No parent wants to believe or be told that there’s something “wrong” with one of their children. Every parent wants each of their children to be as “normal” as possible. Whatever normal is, that’s what we’re always aiming for.
In my culture and race it’s sort of deemed as “taboo” if your child “needs” medicine just to function and carry out day-to-day activities. If your child is unable to control themselves then you (as the parent) are looked at, as if it’s all your fault.

“You had to do something wrong!”
“Oh! You ain’t raised ’em right!”
“What she/he needs is a good ol’ fashion ass kickin’!”

Growing up I heard over and over again, that “black women” can handle their kids. They don’t need to put them on medicine.
Putting your children on medicine is something that white people did because they don’t know how to raise their kids. They’d rather their kids function like zombies, than to deal with them.
That’s exactly what I grew up believing.
We DON’T put our kids on medicine, period!
From what I could see, it was true.
None of my friends, cousins or any one that I knew needed medicine to behave or function. We all were “normal”.  I didn’t have a clue what a kid needing medication even looked like.
This all held true for me, until I became a mother for the second time.
My oldest daughter was born seven weeks before her due date. In spite of being born early, I still expected her to progress normally, just as her older brother did.
Niave me never considered that she’d be delayed in any way. I was shocked when she didn’t sit-up on her own until she was five months. I was really shocked when she started crawling and walking late.
It wasn’t until she started first grade when I knew for certain, there was definitely an issue (of some sorts) going on with her.
In first grade she wasn’t able to catch on and memorize addition or subtraction facts. She would become overwhelmed then anxiety would be the victor. She’d get frustrated, cry, then eventually she’d shut down.
My solution?
I withdrew her and my son from their Catholic school and opted to home schooled them. I figured, she could learn at her own pace and at the same time, I was hoping that my son’s ability to learn effortlessly would rub off on her. We successfully did the homeschool thing. I was happy with the results.
When I re-enrolled them back into the traditional school setting (a year later), to my surprise the same problems still existed with my daughter. She was still learning at a much slower pace than her peers. She was having great difficulty retaining information,  likely because she preferred to daydream and her attention span was extremely short.
Luckily for me, she was now in a school where each student had their own individual plan for success.
Not only was my daughter given a slower paced plan, but the educators were so patient and extremely supportive of her. We stayed with that school district for five years and for five years my daughter was academically successful.
During those years, I’d managed to successfully smother the “issues” that plagued her.

Last year it all came to a head.
Our move from Michigan, forced me to finally admit that my daughter had some attention/comprehension issues….and they’re much bigger than me!
She was in eighth grade and the new school she was attending was pretty rigorous in their academics. It wasn’t long before she was failing every class.
I tried to devise a learning plan and studying methods for her, but none of them worked. I meet with the counselor and all of her teachers hoping that they’d have a solution, but to no avail. They weren’t the most helpful and they didn’t have any real resources.
I was now backed up against a wall and I didn’t know what to do next.
I called a cousin and sobbed about the entire situation from beginning to end: I couldn’t have a child who wasn’t “normal”. I didn’t want to be the mother who did something “wrong”. I couldn’t be the first in the family to fail at being a mother. I’d come from a long line of strong women, and I didn’t want to be the first weak one.

Calling my cousin was just what I needed. It was just what my daughter needed!
My cousin had just gone through something very similar with one of her daughters. Her daughter is the same age as my daughter. Not only that, they look and act JUST alike.
She, too, was failing all of her tests, quizzes, state exams, etc. She was easily distracted and was always all over the place– unfocused. Her daughter’s confidence had waned, as well. Long story short, she’d gotten her daughter an IEP. Immediately there was a complete turnaround in her academics. She’d become academically successful and her confidence soared through the clouds.
Music to my ears!

No sooner than I’d heard this story, it was like a five ton fourteen year old weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I actually exhaled the deepest of breaths ever.
Everything that I’d ever learned about needing special accommodations for your children had gone out the window. I was no longer being held hostage by any stigmas or stereotypes.

For the first time (nine months ago) I was finally able to verbalize that my child is unable to be academically successful and socially accepted without the assistance of medication. On her own, she’s unable to focus and concentrate. She’s easily distracted and will completely lose control of herself.

Whew! There! I said it again.

After thirteen years, I’d finally come all the way clean about my daughter’s shortcomings. It took the doctor and psychiatrist several more months to properly diagnose and order a treatment plan for her.
Needless to say, a big change has taken place in all of our lives since treatment began.
First and foremost, “the girl” received an 87 percent and a 92 percent on two major tests. She’d only been undergoing treatment for about a week when she received her first passing test grades. I was so AMAZED! I couldn’t believe that it was working so quickly!

Not only has treatment had a positive affect on her academics, but it’s also been positively affecting her social relationships. She’s much calmer. She’s less stressed and more in control of herself. She’s able to ignore her little brother when he’s being a pest. She’s no longer socially awkward around her peers. She exudes confidence now. This is everything that  I’ve being wanting for her, all of her life!

TheBiggest Gal and I at one of many appointments

The Biggest Gal and I at one of many appointments

I feel so badly for cheating my daughter out of her current way of life for so long. If ever I could get a do-over, this would be it. It’s pretty much my only life regret. When I think,  she could’ve been in this  happy space ten years ago, I’m overcome with guilt.
I’ve been told, “Stop blaming yourself! You only did what you were raised up to do.”
I’ve even heard, “Be glad that you realized the error of your ways and corrected it, before it got too late.”
I am grateful for all of that, still it will be quite some time before I no longer feel ‘as’ guilty as I do today.

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Our Children and the HPV Vaccine

Guarding Against HPV Is A Very Big Deal For Our Daughters And Our Sons!

image photo : Couple shadow

In June 2006, the FDA approved the first HPV vaccine for girls and women. The human papillomavirus, widely known as HPV is the virus that’s associated with causing cervical cancer. It most commonly affects the genital area of males and females, in the form of warts, but it can also affect the mouth and throat areas, as well.  HPV is passed through sexual intercourse and is therefore classified as a sexual transmitted infection (STI). HPV is the most common STI in the United States. According to the CDC, at least 50% of sexual active people will contract HPV at some time in their life. HPV transmission and contraction was teetering on becoming an epidemic! The CDC wanted to cut this borderline epidemic off at the source, which is why the FDA approved a vaccination against HPV for boys and men, in 2009.

Due to the alarming statistical rates of HPV contraction, many women’s groups immediately became advocates for the vaccinations. They began pressing hard for the series of vaccinations to become mandatory and they fought to have it added to the list of required vaccines for children.  These groups believed that by making the HPV vaccine mandatory, the cancer causing virus would become isolated, cervical cancer rates will decline, thus saving a lot of lives. According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, more than 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and 4,000 of those women will die as a result of the disease.

Need I say, I am a proponent of the HPV vaccine. I am also a proponent of completing the entire HPV vaccine process (it’s given in three parts). Studies are finding that more parents are having their children vaccinated for HPV, but they aren’t always completing the 3-part series. Completing the entire series of vaccines ensures full protection from the virus. Missing any part of the vaccine leaves the individual vulnerable to contracting the virus, which causes so many unnecessary cancers.

image photo : Vaccination

My soon-to-be 14-year-old daughter completed the entire series last Fall, while my son 15-year-old son is just on his first dose of the vaccine. When I learned that there was a vaccine entering the market, which would protect my daughters from developing cervical cancer, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that they were getting it. Being armed with that type of protection is priceless in my mind! To know that none of my children will ever have to be concerned with contracting HPV, and neither of my daughters will ever have to worry about the threat of cervical cancer allows me to breathe a bit easier.

Be certain to give your children the gift of forever being HPV and/or cervical cancer FREE! Contact your pediatrician today before it’s too late!

 

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Porn and Your Child

This child has not been found guilty of any pornography watching. He has yet to reach the statistical age of 11. Whew! (wipes forehead)

Does anyone find it alarming that the average age at which a child, is thought to,  view pornography for the first time is age 11?  To me, it’s startling, alarming and upsetting, particularly since I have four children of my own. On top of that, two of my four children have yet to reach the age of 11. I have one boy and one girl child left, under that statistical age, and those statistics really make me nervous. I don’t want my pre-adolescent children viewing porn, and I don’t want them thinking that it’s okay, if they do. That leads me to the reason that I wrote this post. Have my older two children, who have surpassed the previously mentioned statistical age,  ever surfed the web for pornography? Have they watched XXX movies or looked in the adult magazines?

Before talking to my children, I first decided to talk to several of my friends to get their perspective on children/teens and porn. After speaking to them, admittedly I was rather surprised at their responses. No one was as shocked and dismayed as I was. In fact, they made me feel as if I was totally overreacting and going overboard. Basically, everyone was taking it all in stride. I heard a lot of, “Their boys. What do you expect?” “It’s natural, that’s what boys do.” “Oh, girl! That’s nothing!” I seem to be the only mother/parent/person bothered by the fact that their teenage child and their friends may enjoy looking at pornographic images of women. Am I overreacting? Am I not well within my rights to be flabbergasted?

Seriously, I feel so lost. When did this become the societal norm? When did kids and porn, or teens and porn become socially acceptable? I swear, I feel so behind in the times. I completely missed the memo, in regards to this!

Back in the day, I remember the boys sneaking to look at their dad’s, uncle’s, older brother’s and cousin’s Playboy and Hustler magazines. I remember when they would cleverly watch the XXX rated video tape that was left in the VCR. Once they finished watching, they’d rewind the tape back to the exact spot where they initially found it. Point is, the kids got their hands on the porn back in the day too,  but it was accessed sneakily.

Upon speaking with my oldest boy, I nearly went into a series of convulsions, when I learned that he and his friends have adopted the same lack-a-daisy mindset, that it is normal to look at porn. They also think that it’s okay to exchange sexual images by way of their cellular phones and email accounts (which is another topic, to be discussed at a later date). They said, “Everyone does it! It’s no big deal.”

In my opinion, teens are going beyond pushing the envelope, while adults are just so carefree. I previously read an article written by another concerned mom, in regards to her teenage son watching porn on his laptop, and the comments she received were pretty nasty. She was completely villainized by the readers. For the most part, they felt like she was out of line for looking through his laptop. They said she completely embarrassed him and violated his trust. They also said that he wasn’t engaging in anything abnormally. The comments went on for days.  Although I didn’t leave a comment, I was totally on the side of the mother. I, too, feel like some things are to be reserved for adults and your adult years. I don’t think that it’s okay or acceptable for my teenage son or daughter to seek out pornographic images on the computer, their cellular phones or any other technological device. I refuse to believe that I’m the only mother/adult who feels this way. Whatever your opinion, I’d love to hear it. What’s your perspective on the matter? Have you had to deal with it? If so, how did you handle it?

All perspectives are respected.

 

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You’re Grown, Huh?

It’s not to often that my biggest girl does anything shocking or anything that’ll cause my jaw to drop. For the most part, she wants to stay on my good side and off of my blog and social media rants. She treads very lightly. She knows exactly how far to go before the wrath of momma comes in and takes over. So, imagine my surprise when my “conscientious” child took it upon herself to make a decision without being totally certain that she had my 100% guaranteed approval.  Needless to say, the biggest girl has made finally made her “it’s all about you…and not in a good way” blog post debut!

Well, about a month back my soon-to-be 14 year old,  made a decision unbeknownst to me. It was a choice that left me at a complete lost for words. I was so shocked that my jaw did actually drop. I was so shocked that I’m only now able to write a post about it!

This is how the oldest gal has looked for the last two years. This is who we’re all used to seeing on a daily basis. Okay? And like this:

One night while I was sitting out at the fire pit enjoying the company of a few friends and spirits, she and the littlest boy came over to reveal that she now looks like this!

(eye bulges practically out of my head!)

Here’s another view!

Oh! And, here’s a black and white view. Yeah, she’s taking black and white photos, too! 0_O

Although cutting her hair was something that we’d briefly discussed. I was shocked that she went and did it without me. I also felt like she did it sneakily because she waited until I was outside of the house and fully engaged with friends. Then she came strutting over to the fire pit area where we were sitting with a hoodie on, let me remind you that it was 80+ degrees outside. When I questioned her about the hoodie that’s when she  revealed her “haircut”.

Smart girl, huh? To do her big reveal while I was surrounded by people who would downplay the situation and keep me calm? She had it all well planned out, if I must say so.

I guess more than anything this hair cutting situation made me realize that my biggest gal is closer to be grown up, than she is to being a baby. She’s branching out more, becoming her own person, liking her own things and using her voice…..(respectfully, of course!)

So, I am learning to loosen up and let go a little bit. I always thought I’d welcome stages like this, but I’m more sad than I am happy.

It’s not about her cutting her hair, its way bigger than that.

She’s not my little four pound, twelve ounce preemie anymore. She’s growing up.

It was bound to happen!

 

 

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Piercings and Tattoos? My Boy? NO WAY!

It’s no surprise that the oldest boy has increased the amount of pressure and stepped up his daily harassment, hoping desperately to sway me into saying, “Yes. You can go get a tattoo, son!”

See, he thinks it was his tactic of never-ending harassment  that worked in his favor several weeks ago, when I finally allowed him to get his ears pierced (after three years of nonstop asking). He hasn’t figured out that it wasn’t because of his begging, constant pleading and nagging which caused him to receive my blessing with the piercing of the ears. I only said yes because I felt that he’d put enough time and thought into “why” he really wanted his ears pierced.

I have an extremely huge problem when it comes to fads and that “going along with the crowd” mentality. I don’t participate in trends and I refuse to let my child be part of a trend. I wanted to be absolutely certain that he wasn’t doing something because it’s popular or because all of his buddies are doing it, which is why it took me several years before saying yes. For me, his reason for wanting his ears pierced had to be something that he deeply desired to do with no outside influences. He doesn’t know it, but the same thing applies to getting a tattoo. I wouldn’t care if he got tattoo after tattoo after tattoo. Heck! My mom took me to get my first tattoo when I just sixteen years old, so of course I don’t have a problem with them. My only concern was, his reason behind wanting tattoos and ear piercings.

It’s been close to the two-year mark of his just having to “have a tattoo”. He’s thought it through and through. He’s even constructed what he wants to get and he’s explained the significance behind it. I must admit that it’s quite unique and I’ve never seen anyone with anything like it before. I’m pretty proud of him. Everything that I’ve instilled in him about being different, standing out, individuality and embracing his unique identity, he’s gotten it! Through both of these incidences I finally see that all of my efforts haven’t been in vain afterall.

I think it’s safe to say, the time has come for me to grant my oldest boy my blessing yet again. Tattoo numero uno soon to come!

 

My first tattoo (it’s now 19 years old). My youngest boy took this pic. Thank him for the flash and time stamp! #dontblameme

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