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We have hit the tantrum stage in our house. Actually, we didn’t so much hit it, as it hit us. We were lucky to escape this phase with my older son, but my boys are about as different as can be, and number two has other plans for us. At not quite four, he’s making sure his voice is heard.


Case in point: the other day we were at preschool drop off. He and his brother tumbled out of the car as usual, like baby giraffes tripping over their own feet. We walked the 100 yards from the car to the door, and then the younger realized I was carrying his big brother’s jacket.

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The injustice.

“I want you to carry my jacket!” he stomped.

“Will you please carry my jacket, mama?” I prompted.

“Please! Please carry my jacket!” he stomped again.

I took the jacket and opened the door to school. My five-year-old walked in and headed for his classroom. His little brother did not.

“NOOOOO. Carry my jacket all the way from the car! Why did you not carry MY jacket all the way from the car?!” He was flailing his arms now and shrieking.

The other moms gave me the sympathy smile as they skirted past.

Mr. Hyde had arrived. He grabbed the jacket and ran back to the car, where he planted himself firmly on the ground. He writhed in the mud as he told the whole world about the unfair favoritism I had just displayed.

“You CARRY my JACKET all the WAY FROM THE CAR!!” he demanded, as his face turned seven shades of purple and his head spun 360 degrees.

I dug deep within my parenting well and tried every trick I knew. I knelt next to him and spoke calmly. I named his emotions and listed why he felt that way. I tried to hug him. I tried to ignore him. But there would be no magic parenting today.

My heart pounded in my ears. My fists clenched and trembled. I wanted to scoop him up, carry him under one arm, and deliver him unceremoniously to his teacher.

Instead, I took some deep breaths and popped a piece of gum into my mouth. Did you know that’s just what science tells you to do? Soon, this temper tantrum ended the same as every other. After a while, he just fizzled out.

“I’m feeling better now, Mama,” he sniffled as he scooped himself up and shuffled into school (carrying his own jacket, I might add).

I felt my back clenching. He felt better, but I would carry the stress of this moment with me for the rest of the morning. While we love our little humans with all our hearts, we worry about them just as much.

I went home and googled tantrums and behavioral disorders. I had listened to his teacher tell me how wonderful he is at school, and I wondered if I was doing something wrong at home. Eventually, I took a long walk and gave him a big hug when I picked him up for lunch. The stress had melted away, but you can bet there’s more where that came from.

In today’s political climate, it seems we’re given something new to worry about every time we turn on the TV or listen to the radio. A February 2017 poll by the American Psychological Association revealed that two-thirds of Americans report being stressed about the future of our nation, regardless of political affiliation. This represents the first statistically significant increase in American stress levels since the annual survey was first conducted in 2007.

Those reporting the highest levels of stress? The parent-aged Millenials (aged 18 to 37) and Gen-Xers (aged 37 to 51).

Stress manifests itself as more than simply an emotion. Eighty percent of Americans reported experiencing at least one physical or emotional symptom of stress, with the most common being headaches, as reported by 34 percent of those surveyed. Other physical symptoms of stress include muscle tension, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, and fatigue.

If you’ve never experienced the wave of tension that washes over you when your child spirals out of control, you are most certainly the minority. And if parenting alone isn’t enough to push you over the edge, doing so in a chaotic world could make even the best of parents boil over.

So how can we take it down a notch when we’re about to reach our boiling point?

The good news is there are plenty of statistically-proven, simple ways to reduce stress. Here are my 10 favorites:

1 | Work out

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that exercise supports strong mental health. Exercise and other physical activities produce endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. These improve our ability to sleep well and reduce overall stress. Exercising regularly is shown to decrease tension, elevate and stabilize mood, and improve self-esteem.

How to implement it at home: Try to walk, jog, bike, dance, or swim for 30 minutes, five times per week. If you can’t fit it all in, don’t worry. Even a 10-minute walk has been shown to reduce stress.

2 | Get outside

A 2015 study by researchers from Stanford University concluded that a walk in nature significantly decreased rumination, or the tendency to focus repetitively on negative thoughts that spiral into increased stress and depression.

A 2012 study also supported these findings, indicating that children who were exposed to nature regularly had decreased stress levels and bolstered resilience for coping with stress.

How to implement it at home: Try to spend at least half an hour outdoors each day; the more natural the environment the better. If you can’t get outside, indoor plants have been proven to reduce feelings of stress, as has exposure to the sounds of nature.

3 | Pump up the jams

Music has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease stress hormones, and slow the pulse and heart rate. While many studies confirm that classical music is the best for beating stress, ultimately it may be a matter of personal preference. One study even confirmed that for regular listeners of heavy metal, the sometimes loud and chaotic music can actually regulate sadness and enhance positive emotions.

How to implement it at home: Make a playlist that you love and keep it handy. Turn it on anytime you need a soothing soundtrack.

4 | Take a deep breath

As reported by Harvard Health Publications, breath control is a well-documented stress reliever. Deep breaths through your nose that fully fill your lungs, such that your lower belly rises, can actually slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure. When you focus mentally on deep breathing, the results are even more remarkable, since it helps you to disengage from negative thought processes.

How to implement it at home: Focus on deep breathing for about 10 minutes each day, preferably in a comfortable, quiet setting. Then, if you’re on the go and experiencing a stressful event, you can elicit a relaxation response by using the same deep breathing that you’ve trained your body to respond to at home.

5 | Chew gum

A 2009 study published in the Physiology and Behavior Journal revealed that chewing gum alleviated bad moods and reduced the stress hormone cortisol in study participants. Chewing gum was also associated with increased alertness.

While this technique may not be recommended for those whose stress manifests in jaw clenching, it is a simple, useful stress management technique for many others.

How to implement it at home: Keep a pack of gum handy in your purse or car. When you experience stress or anticipate a stressor, break out a piece and chomp away.

6 | Unplug

There is so direct a correlation between stress and screen time that the American Psychological Association included a Technology and Social Media supplement to its 2017 Stress in America report. It reported that those who check their email or social media accounts frequently throughout the day report higher levels of stress than those who do not.

Not surprisingly, these same frequent users also reported increased exposure to stressors in the form of political and cultural discussions on social media. Similarly, a 2015 study positively linked duration of screen time with the severity of depression and anxiety in children.

How to implement it at home: Limit screen time and social media use. If you really want to tackle the issue, delete social media apps from your phone and restrict your use to specific times of day.

7 | Hug it out

Physical affection is a natural oxytocin producer, and oxytocin is the hormone linked with good moods and love. At the same time, physical intimacy is linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Additionally, the effects are long lasting. Elevated moods extend to the next day as well.

How to implement it at home: Express your affection physically for your loved ones. You can’t spoil a child with too many hugs, and the benefits go two ways. Make an effort to hug your partner frequently, too. In our busy world, it’s too easy to pass like ships in the night.

8 | Hang with your dog

Dogs and other pets offer the type of unconditional loving companionship associated with improvements in mental, social, and physical health. Elite colleges such as Harvard and Yale now provide therapy dogs in their libraries to help students manage stress related to studying. One study by the CDC revealed that while 12 percent of children with dogs screened positive for signs of anxiety, that number jumped to 21 percent for children who did not have dogs.

How to implement it at home: If you have a pet at home, set aside a few minutes each day to show your affection for it. Even if you don’t have a pet, you might be able to volunteer at a local animal shelter once a month. Some animal shelters or community organizations even offer pet time. Our local library now provides students with the chance to read with dogs.

9 | Lend a hand

A 2013 study out of Carnegie Mellon University examined the association between volunteer work and reduced blood pressure. The study found that people who volunteered more than 200 hours per year had significantly lower risk of hypertension than those who did not. Another study out of Yale showed that small acts of kindness led to increased positive emotions and less pronounced reactions to stressful events.

How to implement it at home: You don’t need to make any grandiose acts of altruism. Something as simple as holding the door for someone, paying for someone else’s coffee, or collecting donations for an important cause can increase your mood. Reflect on your actions though. The studies only held true when participants genuinely cared about their causes.

10 | Watch what you drink

While the evidence linking hydration with mood in young adults is inconclusive, there is conclusive evidence that links hydration to mood and cognition in older adults and children. Staying well hydrated has been associated with increased alertness and elevated mood.

In addition, both caffeine and alcohol are known to contribute to dehydration, and both are linked with increased anxiety. Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine while upping your water intake can be a powerful combination to cut stress.

How to implement it at home: Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Replace your second cup of coffee or glass of wine with a glass of water. It might not be as fun, but you’ll thank yourself later.

Of course, there’s no magic cure for stress, and everyone will respond differently to different stress management techniques. The most important thing is to recognize when you’re feeling stressed and find management tools that work for you.

Our children will model our behavior. If we allow our stress to control us and lash out at those we love or withdraw from others completely, our kids will follow suit. But if we can find effective, healthy ways to take control of our anxiety, they will see that there is a healthier way.

 

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

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Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

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This article was sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara
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Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"

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And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.

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When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."

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She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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