Letting a baby cry themselves to sleep

Alexis - posted on 12/09/2010 ( 186 moms have responded )

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Do you think it's ok? I personally don't. A kid yes, but a baby no.

186 Comments

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Katherine - posted on 12/11/2010

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I know people are having problems with posting, opening messages, sending messages, embedding, and a plethora of others. Mine is just not being able to get to the next page....





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Katherine - posted on 12/11/2010

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SORRY!!!!! CoM, sucks. I can't get to the next page without posting it's ridiculous!!!!!

Katherine - posted on 12/11/2010

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I don't think there is such a thing as "self soothing" IMO. They DON"T know how to soothe, that's why they cry. They wouldn't have the capacity to self soothe IMO. Maybe at 3 or 4 but not under 1.

Shauna - posted on 12/11/2010

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During my schooling in Early childhood ed they taught that you cant spoil a baby and that by not tending to a baby while he/she cries creates a insecure child in the future. Just what i was taught.

Krista - posted on 12/11/2010

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Exactly, Emma. With Ferber, you do go in to them. You always go in to them. You just don't go in right away.



And you know what? As they get older, it's not necessarily a bad thing for them to not expect you thatverysecond. Sometimes you CAN'T go in to soothe them right away. You might have another child to take care of, or you might just be mid-poop. Either way, I like knowing that my son knows that when he cries out, I DO show up, but I also like knowing that if I don't show up within the first 10 seconds, he's NOT going to freak out and think I'm never coming.

Ez - posted on 12/11/2010

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Ferberising is just one form of CIO. I agree that it seems to be the most 'gentle'. But it is still not for me.

Stifler's - posted on 12/11/2010

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The point of Feberising is that they know mum is coming, but not as soon as they start to cry. You do go in to them.

Ez - posted on 12/11/2010

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i think a lot of people don't realize that there are more options besides CIO. i'm not saying that all people who use CIO are uninformed but i know that for a long while i thought my 2 options were CIO, or rocking to sleep for the rest of my son's life. that seems terribly naive and dumb to me now, but CIO seems to be the most talked about

Exactly Jennifer!

Jennifer - posted on 12/11/2010

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Erin and Cassie, i am right there with you! that is a very sad thought.

i think a lot of people don't realize that there are more options besides CIO. i'm not saying that all people who use CIO are uninformed but i know that for a long while i thought my 2 options were CIO, or rocking to sleep for the rest of my son's life. that seems terribly naive and dumb to me now, but CIO seems to be the most talked about. everyone is always asking "does he sleep through the night yet? no??? oh you poor thing!" new moms are often made to feel like they are doing something wrong if their baby isn't made to learn self soothing at the earliest possible age.

Cassie - posted on 12/11/2010

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"realizes nobody is coming"

I hope that this is never something that my girls have to realize. I believe it is my job as their mother to always be there for them. Trust, right now Emma is teething horribly so last night I got sleep in 20 minute intervals. But no matter how many times she wakes, I will always be there to comfort her back to sleep.

It is a very sad thought that a baby would be crying long enough to just give up because no one is coming to them...

This is really not directed at you Liz. Just at the general idea of letting a baby cry until they give up...

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When he stops crying and turns on his aquarium and I can hear him babbling and giggling I assume he's okay.

Ez - posted on 12/11/2010

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No mother wants to hear her baby scream for an hour but most of the people I know and myself haven't had that problem because baby goes to sleep or realizes nobody is coming so they stop



This is precisely why I can't support CIO. I don't want my daughter to ever go to sleep thinking 'nobody is coming'. That just doesn't sit well with me.



Edited to add: 'go to sleep'.. I realised this sounded more extreme than I intended. If it is a tantrum, I certainly ignore that behaviour.

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I haven't read much for parenting books because I'm a firm believer in trusting my instinct. I think if someone tries the CIO method and it works no harm done. No mother wants to hear her baby scream for an hour but most of the people I know and myself haven't had that problem because baby goes to sleep or realizes nobody is coming so they stop.
I see no harm in letting a baby cry for 10-20 minutes.

Sarah - posted on 12/11/2010

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I think the thing with ALL these parenting guide books, is that you can either be sensible as use them as a rough guide and pick and choose what ideas or styles you think might work for you and your family. OR can use them as a bible and follow every instruction to the letter and do whatever it says even if it goes against your maternal instinct.

I think if you use them the 2nd way I mentioned......then you're going to set yourself up for a lot of trouble when your baby doesn't follow that set pattern or hit those exact milestones. You're going to end up pushing for your baby to be sleeping through (or eating solids or whatever) just because "the book says to".

Sensible people will realise it's just a guideline, and not something set in stone.

Ez - posted on 12/11/2010

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I guess it depends on your parenting style. For me, as an attachment parent, the What to Expect books are far too clinical and harsh. And yeah, it may have been 6mths (I said in the earlier post I wasn't 100% sure), but I seem to remember reading the 4 month recommendation and being shocked because most other CIO advocates say 6 months. I could search for it, but it doesn't really matter to my point, which is that this popular series of parenting books is just another way to overwhelm and pressure parents when their babies aren't measuring up to sleeping standards.

C. - posted on 12/11/2010

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I've read the What to Expect books, and I found them very helpful, actually. And I never saw anything about using CIO at 4 months, either. The ones that I read, all said 6 months or older.

Ez - posted on 12/11/2010

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Erin, if the What to Expect books advocate crying techniques at 4 months, what's so bad about using CIO (a crying technique) at 6 months??



Christina, my point was that the What to Expect books are crap! I was using the fact that they recommend CIO at such a young age as an example of why I disagree with them.



Nikki, as I eluded to in my PP, I see that sometimes, and for some people, CIO is a last ditch attempt to solve some pretty major sleeping problems. I would never throw you under the bus for that.



But this pervasive idea that a baby 'should' be self-soothing and then sleeping X hrs a night by Y months, and if they're not they need to be trained, is what does my head in.

Nikki - posted on 12/11/2010

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My worst fear is that we would have issues with attachment if I tried CIO, hasn't been a problem, she is still mummy's little girl ♥

Nikki - posted on 12/11/2010

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6 months ago, I would have had the same ideals as you Erin, basically I felt the same way, but now I can really see both sides of the argument, while I will never be a advocate for leaving your baby to scream themselves to sleep for hours on end, I have a better understanding as to why parents use methods like CIO in an appropriate way.



I have never read a parenting book, I have read crap on the net about that wanker from babywise, but I certainly don't agree with it. I have had no expectations for Isobel when it came to sleeping, I was happy with whatever made her happy, the problem is NOTHING made her happy to go to sleep in the end, rocking, patting co sleeping, massages, sitting next to her bed, music, star lights, teddy bears, no stimulation a little stimulation, dark room, light room, in the pram, in the ergo wrap, the list was endless. She just fights sleep. I am the same, I hate going to sleep, always have apparently.



I agree that some mother's have unreal expectations, but I can also see that other mother's have difficult experiences which lead them to try strategies like CIO for the sake of their own sanity and for the belief it is in the best interest of their child.



I got to the point where I couldn't handle it any more, it was impacting Isobel in a negative way, she was so grumpy all the time, she needed more sleep.



So I had the choice, she could scream in my arms for two hours then sleep for 30 minutes if I was lucky or I could try a modified gentle version of CIO. (by modified I mean I went in more often and I picked her up and cuddled her until she was settled again, never let her cry for more than 5 mins) It has worked really well for us, I don't regret my decision at all, I feel it has to be healthier for her. Now instead of screaming for hours, she cries for 5 - 10 minutes in total a day, if she wakes half way through a nap, she settles herself back down, instead of sleeping maybe 8 hours a day she sleeps 14-15, she is happy, I am happy. Worked for us.

C. - posted on 12/11/2010

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"(which - if my memory serves me correct - says babies should be STTN at 4mths old and advocates crying techniques at this age)"



Erin, if the What to Expect books advocate crying techniques at 4 months, what's so bad about using CIO (a crying technique) at 6 months??



@Sarah M.. I think that's an excellent observation. Sometimes it does matter if it's your first or second baby. First time parents are usually a little bit paranoid and they learn as they go (like they say, the first one teaches you, the second one you raise). Second time parents and so forth, have learned how to differentiate the type of cry a little more quickly since they've been through it at least once before. I'd have to say that your theory holds a lot of truth to it :)

Sarah - posted on 12/11/2010

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I was blessed with a naturally good sleeper with Shia (youngest) I mean REALLY blessed, by 3 weeks she was sleeping through the night, and before that she only woke up once maybe twice a night.

Cadence didn't sleep through the night AT ALL until she was about 7 months old. I was shattered!!

I do wonder though if that is because when Shia arrived, I didn't jump and every sound she made, I didn't sit there for hours rocking her and stroking her head until she fell asleep. Not that I ever left her to cry, but I just put her down and that was that. She either went straight to sleep or whimpered for a few minutes (not cry) and then went to sleep.

With Cadence I didn't know what I was doing (hahaha) so I think maybe I made things worse for myself by never letting her try to settle on her own.

Just a theory, maybe it wouldn't have made any difference at all.......she's always been a pain that one ;)

Ez - posted on 12/11/2010

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lol Cathy I know. I acknowledge the fact that having a good sleeper (apart from teething.. that shit was HELL) has allowed me to stick to my philosophical objection to CIO. I admit I don't know the desperation of having a baby only sleep 1/2hr at a time, which is why I don't condemn parents for resorting to CIO with older babies who have chronic sleep problems.

And I completely agree with you about night-time noises. Lots of babies, my own included, cry out very briefly in their sleep and are simply between sleep cycles.

Ez - posted on 12/11/2010

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@ Erin but what if they don't? what if you have tried everything you possibly can?

But they do. It just may not be in the time frame we have come to expect and require of them. There is so much pressure on parents to have their babies STTN and self soothing, and it is simply unrealistic. It is perpetuated by lunatics like Ezzo, and even the What to Expect books (which - if my memory serves me correct - says babies should be STTN at 4mths old and advocates crying techniques at this age).

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With my oldest that was my only option and I couldn't even go into the room to comfort her or it would start over and take an hour sometimes 2. So she went to bed and cried for 15-20 minutes and then go to sleep. I kept the monitor low so I could hear her and when she got quiet I'd crank up the volume and be able to hear her breathing.
I don't like it but with her it worked better then anything else I tried.

Sherri - posted on 12/10/2010

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Depends how old baby is. Past the 5-6 month mark yes I think it is perfectly fine.

Karla - posted on 12/10/2010

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I used the Ferber Method when my son was 6 months. It was heart wrenching, but it was also one of the BEST parenting decisions I have made, right up there with EBF'ing. I understand that it isn't for everyone, but I think it is comical when other moms say CIO is abusive and will cause serious long term implications.

Nikki - posted on 12/10/2010

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"I think a lot of CIO mums think if they don't sleep train, they will be rocking their child to sleep until they're 5. This is simply not the case. Learning to self settle and go to sleep by themselves is a skill babies develop over time. It can be encouraged with natural no-cry sleep training methods if necessary (although it wasn't for me)."

@ Erin but what if they don't? what if you have tried everything you possibly can?

I never thought I would ever have to use CIO, personally it is against all of my parenting beliefs. However there came a point where I had no option. At almost 12 months there was no sign of self soothing, things were going downhill fast, when you spend months rocking your baby to sleep for up to 6 hours a day and then they wake after 30 minutes and constantly throughout the night, something has to give. Now in saying that I don't let her scream, she has never cried/ whinged more than 5 minutes before I go back in to pick her up and settle her with a cuddle. Before I went though all of this myself I was very against any form of sleep training or letting your baby cry at all, I never thought CIO was as a good way to encourage positive sleeping habits. However I am now more open minded about the whole thing, I am still not a fan of hardcore CIO,but I can understand why some people use it.

Stifler's - posted on 12/10/2010

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I think Feberising and other actual methods of sleep training are okay. Screaming for half an hour until they eventually go to sleep isn't.

Jodi - posted on 12/10/2010

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As with anything, parents need to research and educate themselves on what they're doing to/with their children. I do not personally agree with strictly CIO, not just because the idea of leaving my daughter to cry and cry and wonder why mommy isn't listening at all breaks my heart, but because of research I have done that shows some nasty effects it can have.

I have, on the other hand use the Ferber method, with some gentle sleep training as well. Started with staying in her room, by her bed stroking her hair, then to not touching her, then to moving away, then leaving the room. By the time we got to the Ferber method, she cried for like 5 minutes, gave up and crawled into bed. It was an angry cry too, "goddamit mom! You KNOW I want you here!!!" lol



*edit to add: my daughter was 18 or 19 months at the time...under 9 or 10 months, I don't see the need for this kind of sleep training at all...but that's just me, to each their own.

Krista - posted on 12/10/2010

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They're talking any type of method in which the baby cries to go to sleep, Emma.

Krista - posted on 12/10/2010

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Well, I let my son cry it out. I had tried EVERYTHING I could possibly do. I rocked him, I nursed him, I patted, I walked. The minute I would stop doing all the above, he would wake up. I was exhausted. My husband was working in a different province and I couldn't cope. For a few weeks, my son slept in his bouncing, vibrating chair just so that I could sleep.
I allowed him to interval cry. It took 3 days, with each consequent day getting better. He only EVER cried for half an hour before I picked him up, cuddled him and then tried again. Before long, he realized that I WAS still there and that it was perfectly okay to go to sleep.

On the flip side, my daughter has learned to self soothe and she's 4 months old. She never cried and I soon learned that if she did, she was still hungry.

The difference between the two, however, is that my son was bottle fed (health issues) and my daughter is breastfed. I knew my son was not hungry because I could actually see what he was eating.

Do I wish that I didn't have to sleep train my son? Yeah, I do. Was it necessary for me? Yeah, it truly was.

Stifler's - posted on 12/10/2010

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I'm guilty of not knowing what people are talking about when they say CIO. Are you talking about Feberising being wrong or people letting their kids scream themselves to sleep being wrong?

Ez - posted on 12/10/2010

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Ok I actually got to read the thread (didn't think that would happen haha).

I think a lot of CIO mums think if they don't sleep train, they will be rocking their child to sleep until they're 5. This is simply not the case. Learning to self settle and go to sleep by themselves is a skill babies develop over time. It can be encouraged with natural no-cry sleep training methods if necessary (although it wasn't for me). My daughter was rocked/cuddled/pat to sleep until she was 10 months old, at which point she made it very clear she did not want me involved in her bedtime anymore. Ever since, she happily goes in to her cot, says 'nini Mumma' and goes to sleep (unless sick obviously). It is a misconception that the only way to encourage good sleeping habits is through CIO.

Also, when I talk of CIO, I don't mean hearing the baby fuss or whinge (see Tara, Aussies use whinge too lol) and leaving them a minute to see if they resettle. Just because I am opposed to CIO sleep training, doesn't mean I jump and run like grease lightning at the faintest sound. Putting a baby in their cot with the intention of having them cry themselves to sleep (intervals or not) is what I have issues with. Not hearing a little squawk through the night.

C. - posted on 12/10/2010

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I think it depends on the situation.. Definitely not for babies younger than 6 months old, but older than that, maybe 5 or ten minutes (unless it's a distressed cry, then you go in immediately). I used CIO with my son. When you use it right, it's not what many people say it is (ie: it's not like you're just ignoring your baby. You have to listen to their cry. If it's a 'dirty diaper cry', change them, if it's a 'hungry cry', feed them and if you can hear a 'scared cry', go in and comfort them immediately).

When you use CIO properly, you're NOT leaving your baby alone if they're scared or in pain. I think that if a person does their research on it, sticks to the guidelines and doesn't neglect their baby, it's fine.

Ez - posted on 12/10/2010

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Posting without reading but here goes...



No I absolutely do not think it is ok. My daughter is almost 2 and I have never used CIO with her. It goes against every maternal instinct I possess, and discounts a baby's emotions. Just because they are fed, dry and warm does not mean they are ok.

Cassie - posted on 12/10/2010

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I never did any form of CIO with Kiera. I would hold and rock her to sleep. When she was about a year and a half, I was 7 months pregnant and was no longer able to hold her to bed. I didn't feel comfortable just letting her CIO, even the ferber method, so I would sit with her with my hand on her chest until she fell asleep. It is what we still do to this day. I do regret not teaching her to go to sleep on her own now that I have two babies.

Emma is not quite to the age that I would feel comfortable with the Ferber method for her but it is something that I will be using. She is a very different baby than Kiera ever was so I think it will work for her. I think it is important to know your child. I would not have been able to use CIO with Kiera. We tried it two nights and after much longer than I am comfortable with, we stopped. Emma is already able to put herself to sleep most nights so I don't think we will have too much difficulty with it.

As long as parents are using it responsibly and following the recommended guidelines for using CIO, I have no issue with an older baby being taught to fall asleep on their own.

Gina - posted on 12/10/2010

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Not too young and only if you know that all of their needs are taken care of. Establishing a bedtime routine helps too. That way the child gets used to it.

Rosie - posted on 12/10/2010

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just crying and crying?? hells no. however i did use the ferber method which i would like to point out is COMPLETELY different than just leaving your child to cry unattended. it involves leaving for short periods of time, and ALWAYS coming back. i can guarantee the amount of crying done by my children with the ferber method is far less than the amount of crying they would've done if i would've just continued to wake, rock, and try to calm them. 10-15 min. time periods of crying (which lessened with each day) for MAYBE a week, compared to the uncontrollable wailing they did before??

i am a huge fan of the ferber method, and i see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Amanda - posted on 12/10/2010

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I didn't let my 4 kids cry themselves to sleep until they were a yr or so. By than they knew that they were supposed to sleep in their beds, and go to sleep at bedtime. None of them really cried though. But personally I don't think infants should cry themselves to sleep. They need the attatchment to mom or dad to feel safe, and know that if they are upset someone will try to make them feel better. That's just my opinion.

Fiona - posted on 12/10/2010

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I have to say that there is nothing wrong with a crying baby. Yes sometimes there may be "something wrong" nappy, hungry, hurt, thirsty etc etc etc, but sometimes...just sometimes a baby needs to cry. It is was of the few sounds that a baby can make early on.

Would I let a baby scream for 20 mins no...would I let a baby scream for 10mins+ because it did not want to go to bed at bed time...yes!

And yes I do mean full blown screaming. The way I judge it and the way I have always judged it with my two is that if the most bloodcurdling screaming is punctuated with silence (crafty little buggers waiting to hear me on the stairs) then I will let it ride out a little longer.
If it is not punctuated by these silences then OF course I would go in.

I am not recommending a crying technique but I do stand by my opinion that babies are clever little bundles of loveliness and sometimes they learn the best way to get attention is to cry.

I too use whinge...I use both - but I tend to use whine for high pitched moaning and groaning and whinge for going on and on and on and on and on and on and on...

Krista - posted on 12/10/2010

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@April: and if that works for your family, then that is absolutely awesome. But it definitely wouldn't work for mine. Don't get me wrong, I LOOOOOVE putting my little man to bed. It's so nice to sit there with him in the rocking chair and kiss his sweet-smelling little head and tell him I love him, while he sits there in his little footie pyjamas, drinking his water and looking at a book. It's the nicest part of my day, and I'm miserable when I have to be away and miss it. But, my job DOES sometimes require that I be away overnight. There's no getting around that one. So this way, because Sam manages to get to sleep pretty readily without needing to be rocked or patted or nursed, then when I AM away, it's a lot less stressful for him, for me, and for whoever is putting him to bed.

Tara - posted on 12/10/2010

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hee hee Cathy,
I wasn't correcting it, I was simply saying that I didn't know that whine was spelled differently in England than in Canada. We share most of our spellings with England so I was simply surprised to learn of this correct spelling of the word. And now I know that they are also pronounced differently.
So.... do people in England also use Whine pronounced wine as well as Whinge pronounced Win'J.??

April - posted on 12/10/2010

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@Krista..I can certainly relate to being the only one that can put my son to bed. He is nursed to sleep and has been going to sleep that way for the last 2 years. Truly no one can put him to sleep but me unless hubby spontaneously starts lactating...

It works for our family...

Jennifer - posted on 12/10/2010

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but Sarah, didn't you know that crying is good for lungs?



idiots, i tell you! idiots!

Sarah - posted on 12/10/2010

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Yep, makes me cross when people say dumb things like "Just let them cry, they'll give up eventually!"
It's NOT good advice, and it just perpetuates the myth that CIO is just leaving your child to scream blue murder all night.
*shakes cross fist*
;)

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