Note to Elliott – 32

Dear Elliott,

As the British will say, BLIMEY! How overdue is this note! Well yes. My 32nd note to you almost didn’t happen because about a week from now, the 33rd note is due. I contemplated (horrors of horrors) combining note 32 and 33 but the OCD-ness in me cannot cope with that thought.

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At 32 months, you are a full on chatterbox. You say the darnest things. You tell us that you want to “go zoo see giraffe”. Or to the shopping centre to “buy car”. I wish I can video every little thing that you say but we know that’s impossible. Here’s a classic gem that you love to exclaim randomly:

Daddy has penis.
Air-yiot has penis.
Mummy no penis.
SO FUNNY!!!

I’m glad that you have’t been repeating this ditty of yours outside our home. We would be rather mortified, even though you’re telling the truth.

You seem to also be exhibiting the “Terrible Twos” by getting upset over the most random of things, i.e. you need to put on the car socks and cannot deal with the animal socks. I have since learnt to give you 2 choices so that it makes you feel like you are choosing and have a say over your sock colour.

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You are also resisting all sorts of shirt tags and insist that “Mummy cut”. Shirts with collars are also out of the equation. You scream blue murder if I even dare attempt to put on a nice shirt for you because you know, we are going for a nice family dinner at a fancy restaurant. I find myself wearing the same t-shirts for you over and ove again because the nice tees I buy, you stain them with food and after a maximum of 3 wears, they look like you’ve worn them for 10 years.

You have also develop this strange habit of picking at the skin around your fingers. You get obsessed with them and will also ask that I cut them. Is it a 32 month thing? I do hope you outgrow this obsession with your skin soon.

Speaking of obsessions, you are obsessed with Paw Patrol. The moment the theme song comes on, you hop and dance around the sofa like a crazed K-pop fan. That darn song is also in my head constantly because you sing it whenever you can. You know the names of all the characters and whenever the show is on, you barely blink! You completely ignore anyone talking to you and pay 100% attention to the show.

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I can see why you love it so much though. It’s about dogs with cool vehicles such as a bulldozer, firetruck, helicopter and police car. I know toddlers like you shouldn’t watch too much tv blah blah blah but I like that Paw Patrol teaches about teamwork and the pups are all rescue dogs. I also like that they speak proper English. You have picked up phrases like “Ryder needs us!”, and “Rubble….ON THE DOUBLE” from the show. You also love to ask me what’s “venture bay” (Adventure Bay – where the show is set)  every. single. time. the show comes on.

You love singing and would break out into songs randomly. I particularly love it when you sing songs that you’ve learnt in school. One of your current favourites is:

One little, two little, three little Indians
Four little, five little, six little Indians,
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians,
Ten little Indian boys.

Ooh aah, ooh aah, shooting arrows
Ooh aah, ooh aah, shooting arrows

I know I’m gushing but I love it when you sing the ooh ahh bit about the arrows. WHY SO CUTE.

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You’ve also been eating A LOT. You have a full dinner of rice, soup and fish at about 5pm+ and by 8pm, you’re asking for bread or biscuits. It scares us a little but I put it down to a growth spurt. Besides, better to have you eating than not eating, yes?

You have also discovered ice cream. You actually ask to have ice cream and usually, you get yogurt (not that you know – for now). You can gleefully finish a single scoop on your own (1) but when asked to share it with us, you do share one (tiny) bit.

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Happy 32 months, Elliott. Grow well, grow strong, and grow happy!

Love you always,
Mummy xoxo

Note to Elliott – 31

Dear Elliott,

I came across this article on Facebook and reading it made me bawl like a baby. It brought me right back to the days of us trying to get that bun in the oven. It’s been so many years but reading such challenging journeys never fail to strike a sharp chord in my heart. At 31 months, those days are far behind and feel like a lifetime ago. But we never, ever, for a minute, forget that you only became ours after what seemed like forever.

I am finding it hard to write these monthly notes to you these days because unlike your first year of birth, milestones were very visible. It was easy to write about when you first spoke your first word, or attempted your first flip. These days, you develop less physically (even though you are supposedly quite tall for your age, as many have told us) but more mentally and hopefully, emotionally.

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We do, however, have one major milestone that I’d like to document. You are now able to tell us when you need to pee. There was nothing special that we did and once again, it is true what they say about how you will be ready when you are. And one day, just like that, you were ok with peeing into the toilet bowl while standing on a stool. Hip hip hooray! I am glad that we are on the way to going diaper-less finally because my dear son, those diapers are expensive!

You are now very capable of telling us exactly what you want, or don’t want. It’s always “Air-yiot do“, “Air-yiot eat“, “Air-yiot (whatever you want at that moment)“. Perhaps this ability to articulate what you want has lessened the need for you to throw tantrums. When you turned 2, I was bracing myself for the onset of the infamous Terrible Twos and I’m probably jinxing it but so far, you haven’t been too…terrible. Of course, you get upset when you don’t get your way but we have noticed that if we try and explain things to you, or reason it out, you get it and move on.

Just the other day, you surprised me when it was time for shower. As expected, you were reluctant to leave your toys but instead of screaming/crying, you coolly answered me: “Later. Later, mummy. Later“. I was gobsmacked, and amused at the same time. We have now also learnt that if we want you to do something, we have to give you a fair amount of (time) warning.

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You are still very much into your vehicles. Diggers, dump trucks, concrete mixers, ambulance, and your two favourites? Tow trucks and car transporters. We don’t get to see many car transporters in Singapore so imagine how thrilled you were when we spotted 2 of them across the causeway recently. Every night, you are still picking out the vehicles-related books to read before bed. I am starting to wonder if this obsession with vehicles will last forever…!

You are also getting the hang of the bedtime routine. You know that after Mummy takes her shower, it is time for your milk, and for Daddy to read bedtime stories. Once that all is done and dusted, we turn off the lights and you curl up facing me and whisper: “Mummy sing 小宝宝 and do like this“. You sometimes also say Elliott tired” which is really quite adorable. 小宝宝 is a song that Daddy made up when you were much younger and it goes like this, sung to the tune of Brahm’s Lullabye:

小宝宝,快睡觉
明天起来才玩了 (repeat 2x)

Do like this” is me giving you a gentle back massage. I do notice that you enjoy massages and would usually drift off to sleep after a while. It’s also funny how sometimes, I end up falling asleep and stop singing. You’d then command ask “Mummy sing” and I’d have to sing again. I don’t deny that it is tiring sometimes because all I want to do is to sleep after a long work day but I remind myself that you will not remain this little for long and I am positive that one day, you will no longer need Mummy to sing you a lullabye to fall asleep.

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You enjoy playing with Duplo and will use the pieces to fix (what else) different types of vehicles. I love how you get creative and play on your own, complete with running commentary. You are also a very lucky boy because you have so. many. toys! Check out that 2 huge boxes of Duplo that you own. Pffffft. I need to get down to sorting out the toys that you have outgrown (or barely touch) so that someone else can enjoy them.

Another milestone we clocked this month was watching a movie! Daddy’s company organised a movie screening for “The Secret Life of Pets” and we took you along. You hated the booster seat (and flung it to the floor) so you watched on our laps. We were apprehensive as to whether or not you’d survive the 90-minute show but you did! Well ok, you did get restless at the one hour mark and at one point, decided to sing at the top of your voice (!) but other than that, we survived your first movie experience! No more movies until you’re older and can appreciate the experience, my child.

Last but not least, I am happy to say that finally, FINALLY, after almost 7 months, you have FINALLY STOPPED CRYING at school drop off. These days, you give me a big hug (ok, it’s more like me giving you engulfing you in a huge bear hug), we kiss goodbye, say our “I love you!” (my heart still melts whenever you go “I love you Mummy“) and you walk in happily on your own. Sometimes, you’d even turn around and chirp: “Bye bye Mummy!

Oh how far we have come from the early days of screaming, kicking and crying. These days, you actually tell us that you want to go to school and see your friends which is such a huge difference from the early days of “Air-yiot no go school” (insert sad face here). Your teacher also tells us that you love to kay poh help by keeping a lookout for your younger classmates. My heart beams whenever I hear that you’ve been a helpful boy that listens and follows instructions.

You are also starting to use “Thank you” and “Sorry” at the appropriate moments. Of course, at times, you still get them mixed up but I think it is a very good start! It is very important that we mind our “Ps and Qs” and I am glad that at 31 months, you use them as part of your everyday language.

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Happy 31 months, my 小宝贝. We love you so very much.

Big fat hugs,
Mummy xoxo

Note to Elliott – 30

Dear Elliott,

30 months. That makes you exactly 2 and a half years old. That’s definitely easier than saying 30 months old! At 2.5 years old, you’re a little chatterbox. You talk about anything and everything and sometimes, I wish I can record everything that you say in that cute babyish voice because one day, that voice will no longer be the same. You point out vehicles on the road or you tell me about the moon in the sky. I shared this conversation on the blog’s Facebook page so that I can remember to add it into this entry:

Me: Oh where is the moon?
Elliott: There! In the sky!

As we drove along, the moon will disappear behind buildings.

E: Oh! The moon no more! It’s hiding!
Me: Where is it hiding?
E: Behind the tree! Over there!

When we moved, the moon would (of course) appear again.

E: Mummy look! Moon! Again! Moon follow Air-yiot go home.

And when it disappears yet again:

E: Oh, no more moon.
Me: Where did the moon go?
E: Moon go shopping. Buy cars.

Somehow, you have come to associate “going out” to be “buy cars“. I try and tell you that we are only going to “look at cars” and not buy them but you’d have none of it. When you hold onto yet another new toy and utter in the smallest voice “Mummy buy“, and I answer: “Sorry, Mummy has no money“. You immediately say, without skipping a beat: “Daddy buy“.

Aiyooooo.

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I’ve been trying to teach you that you are a very lucky boy with WAY TOO MANY TOYS and that we cannot be buying you a new toy whenever we are out. I also try and tell you that other than shopping, we go to parks, to the playground, or to the beach! But they all fall no death ears. Your selective memory only remembers “shopping” and “buy cars”.

Gulp.

I guess it does not help that whenever I drop you off at your Ah Ma’s house, your Ah Ma will say excitedly: “Ah Ma 买 new toy!” The sheer number of toys you have at your Ah Ma’s house is astounding.

The past month also saw a first for us – you were turned away at playschool! At the usual health check, an ulcer was discovered growing inside your mouth. Eeeeks! I had a 9am class that morning so it was a mad scramble to send you to Ah Ma’s house instead. We are forever thankful that your caregivers are always ready for you, regardless of time and day. As it turns out, it was just an ulcer and wasn’t the dreaded HFMD. You cannot imagine the relief I felt when our family doctor certified you HFMD-free.

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I would also like to put down on record right here that on 22 August, you had a MASSIVE meltdown at school drop off. Popo bought you a new tow truck (yet another new toy) and you insisted to take it with you to school. I said no. You went into meltdown mode, and promptly decided to remove your shoes from the cabinet and flung them across the corridor. I was mortified, to say the least. But at the same time, I knew that you were acting up because of that tow truck. I had to literally extract myself from your death-like grip on my legs (you managed to wrap yourself around my left leg like a koala) and walked out with a very heavy heart.

These crying sessions break my heart, son. You will never know it but it truly does. I go into the office feeling crest-fallen and it takes me a while to feel balanced again. Thankfully, I think I might have discovered the trick to prevent these meltdowns. I used to let you sleep all the way to school in your car seat, only waking you up when we get to school. This almost guarantees a meltdown because you have just woken up. These days, I wake you up at home and chat with you all the way to school. Our conversations usually go like this:

Me: Today is (insert day of week). Mummy has to go work and Elliott has to go to…..?
Elliott: SCHOOL!

Me: That’s right. Elliott goes to school and Mummy and Daddy go to work, right? Can you cry when you get to school?
E: Noooooo (said in a “Of course not!” tone)

Me: That’s right. We cannot cry when we get to school. Mummy will see you later when you are done with school, right?
E: Yes! Mummy come!

And I am pleased to say that once we get to school, you run in happily (!), and allow the teachers to do the health check readily (!!). On really good days, we’d do the usual hug-and-kiss routine and when I say “See you later!“, you say the same back to me. And those, my child, are Very Good Days for me.

I was also pleasantly surprised when your Ah Ma showed me a drawing that you did. According to you, it was a balloon. And it sure did look like one! And yes, your Ah Ma is using an old calendar diary from…1998. Phwah.
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People say that parenting is a learning journey and I have learnt that you much prefer the soft approach. One recent incident at your gym class saw you insisting to bring your milk bottle into the gym (food and drinks are not allowed). Daddy tried to get you to give it to him which led to you screaming “Noooooooo!“. Remembering the soft approach that you prefer, we allowed you to take the bottle of milk in and after a deep breath, I stooped down to your eye level to start my reasoning.
I held your hands, and talked about how exciting the monkey bars are (which you love) and that you will not be able to swing from them if your hands are holding onto the bottle. Thankfully, most of your friends started to enter the gym by then and seeing them having fun, you quickly ditched the bottles for the monkey bar.
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Meltdown crisis averted. Big phews all round. I have to add that it does not work all the time though. It is (still) a learning journey for all of us. For now, it is still a work-in-progress whenever you want to buy (yet another) toy car/vehicle whenever we are out.
Next up: Potty training. I have mentioned in my previous note that you already know how to tell us when you need to do a #2 but somehow, whenever we offer the use of a potty or a training seat, you simply get agitated and run off to hide behind the door (see picture example below). I guess we can’t rush such things and we will go diaper-free one day. School has also taught you how to remove your own diapers so sometimes, you decide that you need to diaper-less and I’d find you bottom-less with a used diaper in your hands.

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At 30  months old, you have strong opinions of what clothes, socks and shoes to wear. It’s always the “aeroplane” socks and shirts must not have a tag because you will then say that it’s “itchy” or “painful” and get all upset. I have since learnt to give you TWO choices so that you get to pick. Sometimes, you also decide that there is sand inside your shoes and insist on removing them. I guess this is all part and parcel of growing up, or what some term as the “Terrible Twos”.

To be honest, you haven’t exactly been terrible. You do, however, say NO a lot.

Elliott, can we go shower?
No!

Elliott, shall we pack away the toys?
No!

Elliott, time to go to bed.
No no no nooooooooooooooooooo! Mummy NO!!!

I’ve tried to reason with you, or pre-empt you of what’s to come and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe one day, we can cut down on these daily negotiations.

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You interact a lot more with Moon these days. You try and play “fetch” and will attempt to plant a sloppy kiss on her head to wish her good nite. You are also fascinated with her tail and we’ve had to constantly remind you NOT to tug at it. Moon has been an absolute darling around you. She’s patient and allows you to pretty much do anything to her. It is also hilarious to watch you try and give her commands (“Moon! Sit! Moon Go!“).

On the eating front, you have suddenly decided that you like kiwis again and can easily polish off one on your own. You are still loving the carbohydrate diet and noodles+soup are still your most FAVOURITE FOOD EVER. Whenever we ask if you’d like to have rice or noodles, it is always “NOODLES!“. You are getting tired of eating porridge and I don’t blame you, to be honest. I just hope that you’d get more adventurous with your food so that we don’t end up at Chinese/Japanese restaurants all the time. You have also discovered this amazing thing called ICE CREAM and CAKE and would ask for more if you are given some. As I’ve always said – Everything in moderation, my child.

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2.5 years old is such a cute age. You say the darnest things that make us laugh, and you surprise us almost everyday. You are an affectionate little boy who dishes out hugs and kisses to your nearest and dearest, i.e. Daddy and Mummy. You also love waving and saying “Bye bye! See you LATER!” with gusto to random strangers in the lift. Please stay this way for a long long time.

Happy 30 months, my cutie patootie!

Lots of love,
Mummy xoxo

Note to Elliott – 29

Dear Elliott,

One of the major things I’ve noticed is how your vocabulary is expanding so quickly, I am finding it hard to keep track. The other day, we were in the lift on the way home when you surprised us by saying: “Mummy carry many things“. And you were right – I was carrying many things. You also like saying “Mummy so nice!” when I put on a work dress in the mornings. It is funny when I ask if Daddy is nice and you go: “Daddy not nice“. Alamak.

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You’re still loving your swim classes. Sometimes, you take a little time to warm up but once you get into the groove, you’re unstoppable. You leap into the water without much regard for your own safety and I’ve had my heart in my mouth on too many occasions.

That one time, you were holding hands with your BFF to leap into the water but he made a premature leap and pulled you in. You plunged headlong into the water and in that one instance, my heart froze. So many things could have gone wrong – you could have hit your chin, or your face against the concrete. URGH.

Thankfully, you managed to surface quickly but that sudden unexpected move must have given you quite a shock. You burst into tears and looked for me for comfort. As I held you, I repeatedly said that it’s ok, and that it was an accident. My heart was soon filled with pride as you stopped crying after that quick burst and was happy to get back to your swim class. To see you pick yourself up so quickly after, made me a proud Mummy.

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You have, in recent months, discovered the joys of pandan cake. To be more precise, pandan cake made by your Daddy. You LOVE them so much, you ask for them constantly. “Elliott eat pandan cake?“, you’d ask, whenever you spy a slice on the dining table. I have a hilarious video of you STEALING pandan cake off the dining table before stuffing said pandan cake into your mouth really quickly, all because I asked that you share a tiny bit of it with me. Pfffft.

At 29 months, you can now interact with Moon a lot better. You seem rather protective of Moon and would always include Moon as part of your family whenever we ask. Or we’d ask if you’d like to go for a walk and you’d always chime: “Walk with Daddy and Mummy AND MOON!“. It’s really sweet to watch you interact with her. You try and pat her head, and attempt to kiss her between the eyes. I have to state for the record that Moon is extremely patient with you and would allow you to do it even though she’s clearly quite comfortable.

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You are getting pretty tall and I’ve been told on a couple of occasions that you are ‘tall’ for your age. We haven’t really checked, nor marked your growth on a  wall chart (we really should eh?) but I do know that these days, you’re all lean arms and legs.

You are co-sleeping on our bed, wedged between us. Growing up so quickly means that sometimes, your legs end up on my back, or you end up smacking my face with your palm as you rotate yourself 360 degrees throughout the night. I always wonder when you will be old (and brave enough) to sleep in your own bed and/or in your own room? On one hand, I love having you so close to me yet on the other, I do miss having our own space back.

Our bedtime routine has pretty remained the same where you take your last bottle of milk and we’d read you a couple of books. Some of your current favourites are “Lost and Found” where you’d squeal really excitedly whenever the penguin is found (so cute to watch). In fact, you enjoy the book so much, we headed to the bookstore to get you “How to Catch a Star” by the same author. You also enjoy “I Spy With My Little Eye (First Colours)” and we’d spend a considerable amount of time pointing out the different colourful creatures.

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Speaking of colours, you are good with recognising colours at 29 months. You can also recognise all sorts of vehicles on the road and on our journey home each day, you’d point out all the vehicles excitedly and go: “Mummy look! Excavator” I guess we are lucky that in Singapore, these heavy vehicles ply our roads really often so it’s pretty easy to spot them on a daily basis.

The other day, Popo told me excitedly that she taught you how to spell your name and I was rather impressed that you can now spell your name. Well, kind of. You spell it with an extra “L” sometimes or forget the second “T” at the end but that’s ok. You’ve got lots of time to learn how to spell your name correctly, my child.

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People talk about toddlers having irrational fears and recently, you suddenly fear going down the playground slide the ‘normal’ way. For the longer (and scarier) slides, you prefer to slide with your tummy down. I never quite found out why though! Maybe one day, you’d gain the confidence to slide ‘normally’ again.

You enjoy playing with sand and water, and can play quietly on your own for a bit. The downside is, you end up putting all of your favourite toys into the sand table which means that I end up having to wash out sand from a lot of toys that really should not get sand in them. Eeeeeks. We have also caught you, on a few rare occasions, trying to eat sand.

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Happy 29 months, my little superhero. If only I can bottle you up and keep you small for just that little bit longer…

With all my love,
Mummy xoxo

Moon goes to the dentist

The last time we tried to get Moon’s teeth cleaned, it wasn’t very successful. Her breath still stank despite all the teeth brushing we did because of the plaque and tartar that has accumulated on her teeth. I was also concerned that the bad breath may be a sign of something more serious, health-wise. After she turned 9 years old, I decided that it was a good time to send her in for tooth scaling at the vet. Dr Lee at Gentle Oak Veterinary Clinic came highly recommended and we managed to fix an appointment on the same day that we were taking Elliott to the clinic. How cute that both babies got their teeth cleaned on the same day. Hehe.

Their dental appointments were 1 hour apart with one being at Ghim Moh and the other at Novena. As Murphy’s Law would dictate, there was a torrential rain that morning which led to heavy traffic everywhere. Pfffft.

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We finally made it to the vet and as you can see from her face, Moon wasn’t particularly looking forward to her dental appointment – not that she knows it.

We have been to quite a few vets and I must say that Gentle Oak has a lovely vibe to it. The nurses are friendly and smiley, and the entire waiting area was very pleasant and clean. I noted an unlit tea-light at a corner of the waiting area and there was a note that said that if the candle was lit, it meant that someone was saying goodbye to their pet and one should keep voice low. It struck me that it didn’t cost much to put up a sign with a tea-light but the level of empathy is high at this vet. This made me very pleased.

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We did not have to wait long before it was our turn to speak to Dr Lee who was chirpy and upbeat. I could tell that she genuinely loved dogs (animals) as she cradled Moon and gave her kisses and hugs while telling her that all is ok. As it was our first visit, Dr Lee suggested that a blood test be done to ensure that her health is in order before putting her under GA for the tooth scaling procedure. We agreed and left her at the clinic at about 10.30am while we rushed off to make Elliott’s appointment at Novena.

At about 3ish, we received a call to say that Moon was done and we can pick her up between 4 to 5pm. I could also hear her howling/whining in the background – oops. We got to speak with Dr Lee who jokingly told us that Moon’s whining gave her a headache – hur hur. She also added that she is in good health and that all her vital organs are in perfect working order. Hip hip hooray!

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The actual dental scaling costs $120 which is the norm but throw in the blood test and other miscellaneous, the total damage was close to $500 – OUCH. I console myself that this is a one-off procedure that will not be done anytime soon.

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This girl now has nice shiny plaque and tartar-teeth. And thankfully, no more bad breath. Woohoo.

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