"Literally our only job to keep them off the bench. The only thing we have to do, the only requirement is practice. That's it."
"Even though I am very intentional about, not projecting that. It still comes up."
"Something's up and we're going to have to, we would be better trying to work that out in practice, then trying to do it right now."
"Slowly going down that emotional ladder with her. She was slowly coming down. But in my mind, I was like, I'm tired as hell."
"We want to be reinforcing that belief that when you are in a storm, I'm going to be the safe harbor."
Hey there, I'm Alyssa blast. Kimball.
Welcome to our new limited series .
Hey everyone, welcome to our podcast series about this real-life respectful parenting. What it looks like outside of that Instagram perfect world and catching outside of your scroll here. I get to hang out today with Destini Davis. And first of all, if you're not following her over on Instagram, you need to be and we'll chat about that in this episode too, because she's remarkable and also makes me laugh and I like both of those. But Destini is a mom of two, a nine year old and a four year old. And we're going to do just as we been doing, have a real-life conversation about what this work looks like in the messy raw realness as Destini's a mom, and you know, I think so often especially folks, who are doing this work on like, I'm going to use the quote, the word influencer in quotes, but like on a on a bigger platform where you're sharing more of this journey and just the other day, you know what Destini, this might hit home for you. Somebody, I was having a DM conversation with someone over on Instagram and I said something about like having a hard moment with my kid and just like had to walk away from him and take some breaths and come back and the whole time he's crying, you know, like I it's not like he was like, yeah mom sure I'll be calm while you go take your deep breaths. He was crying the whole time. But I needed that space to regulate so that I could come back and show up with him and be like a steady human for him. And she was like, "Oh my God, that happens to you?" and I was like, yeah. Yeah babe, sure does. And I was like, struck again by this. I think so often. It looks like there's this end goal. We're going to get to a place where we're never dysregulated or our kids are never just regulated and that's not it. So let's dive into this jazz. How are you today?
I'm doing great. I went to the gym this morning, so I'm already off to a good start of this.
I haven't gone to the gym in years to be real with you.
It had been a while. It's been a while. I'm just getting back into the swing of it. It's one of those things that helps me be a better parent. So I'm trying to prioritize it.
Good for you, good for you. Well just before we hit record. We were having a conversation and I was like stop saying what you're saying because I really want people to hear this. And so I want you to like you were sharing this analogy that I think is rad. Can you share it again for us please?
Yeah, so I think a lot of the issues I see in my community is that people are starting out from this behavioral standpoint understanding, like we need to fix our kids behavior. And as you move into understanding that we need to allow space for the emotions and experiences and all of that, the idea of it "working" feels very heavy. And we start to personalize their behavior because you're like, oh no, my kid was fine before when I was using punitive measures, they were so well behaved. And now all the stuff is coming out and so and even I have those moments where I'm like, oh God, this, is this too much panic? Is this too much emotion? Or we've been practicing this, why isn't this working now? So I like to encourage my parents with this analogy that I think really reminds us that this is about teamwork. There's a certain level of responsibility that is ours and a certain level of just circumstance. And so the analogy I like to use is that our kids are a player in a game and we are literally our only job to keep them off the bench, the only thing we have to do. The only requirement is practice. That's it. That's where our scope of responsibility ends because we can't, you know, we can't manage what happens when they're at school or with the other parent or any of those things. My job is that regardless of what kind of day we're having, we're still going to practice this, you know, and practice may look different but are you practicing? That's it. If you're practicing your child is going to get better and they're going to be better at some skills than they are at others, but my job is to, I just got to keep you off the bench and in order to do that, we just have to practice and so in those moments where I'm like, is this working? My mind goes, are you practicing? Even if today's practice, doesn't necessarily look as good as yesterday's, your requirement is to practice. And in some tantrum moments, our practice looks like we're talking through it and we're breathing through it, and other tantrum moments that looks like we're doing nothing and another tantrum moments that looks like she's yelling and I get frustrated and then we have to come back and do repair, but we are conscious and intentionally practicing. And that's good enough. That is good enough. It really is. That's what they need. They need the practice of it.
Totally. I love that analogy so much because I think it does take the pressure off of that and destination, right? Like, if we're always in practice mode, then we're always moving forward, right? Like we're always, there isn't a space where it's like, okay, we're done practicing now. We're always going to be coming back to practice. That's rad. I just the other day. We were out for like a little sled ride. I'm in Vermont. So it's just cold for, you know, I don't know. 12 months of the year and we a friend came over and we had our babies out on little sleds we're pulling them and my little guy was over it and we said, oh, we were not at home yet. We were on our way back home, but we were not there and he is it starts like arching his back in the sled. He's gonna like fall out of the sled in the pile of snow. And I in this moment was like, you know, we like drop-down, I emotion coached him for a little bit. And then I was like, we're going to keep going, we're not going to live here in this snowy path. Like we're going to get back to home and he's going to have hard feelings on the way there and it's gonna be okay. Like I had to allow myself because in those moments I can feel I can feel that pressure of, Okay. We're in a group setting, like, we're all trying to get someplace. I've already stopped us once to like emotion coach him and slow the pack down and now like what's this going to look like how, ultimately I ended up holding it in my arms and dragging the sled behind me because he was going to fall out of the sled into the snow through his tantrum and then we like got back home and after they had left and we it was probably like actually two hours later. He and I were just playing and I was like "Bud, when we were on that side ride home. You seem really frustrated." And he squeezed his fists which is what we do for frustrated. And I was like, "Yeah, you seemed really frustrated that we were still going and you felt all done" and he just kept doing this and I was like, okay, that's it like that for me is the practice. Did he access that in the moment as a ten-month-old? No, not in that moment. You know what I mean? Like in the moment he was body backwards off the sled and but then when we got back to like that regulated state, we could revisit that and he could start to practice, like this is what I do when I'm frustrated. And now, as we do it more and more like, every once in a while, I see this glimpse of like, he's frustrated and he squeezes his fists and grunts. I'm like great, like we're going to see glimmers of it and still we're going to have the sled tantrum, you know, and like what when you're looking at your kids here at 4 and 9, are there different ways that this shows up for them both of the different ages, but just in terms of like who they are as humans.
Yeah. Heck. Yeah, so the four year olds, I guess her, not issue, but her challenge right now is really just being dysregulated like a four-year-old. Just okay, let's calm it down. It's time to do this or just extremely over stimulated. She is the epitome of a four-year-old. And then the nine-year-old is very much emotional. She's in a very emotional stage right now, and gets very frustrated. Very angry sometimes aggressive. And both of them. What you just said is the way that we practice sometimes, I use my tools in the moment to try to move the moment along and sometimes it does work sometimes rationalizing or, you know, regulating breaths and you know, transitions and redirecting those kind of discipline tools work in the moment, right? Sometimes they don't, sometimes the best thing that I can do is regulate myself so that can be present because this too shall pass, right? But we both will, with both of my kids I come back and do that, that recap that's one of the most powerful tools for practice, right? Because you don't practice during the game you practice, it's about maintenance. And so we always come back especially at the end of the day. So with the nine-year-old, for instance yesterday, she was having a really hard time for good reason because we didn't get to spend a lot of time yesterday. She's gone on the weekends. Mondays are always very difficult and very intentional about connecting, reconnecting on Mondays, and we didn't have that yesterday. So, So I knew that when it was bedtime, the fury was coming. So I was already prepped and prepared for it and she had like a maybe like a 10-minute tantrum. And when she finally, she just like balls and lets it out. And I'm just like yes whew God, soften, like we've gone from anger to sadness. We're going up the scale. This is great.
00:11:30 Speaker 1
And so after she eased from that space and we were in a regulated space, we just recapped what happened. And I think that's that integration of, you know, left brain, and right brain that whole brain where were talking about the experience in a very rational way, black and white, you didn't get spend time. You got angry. You started yelling at me. You said these things and you, then that emotional piece, like, you felt this and validating those emotions and those feelings and bringing it together and saying, "You know, you were angry, you were upset, you felt hurt, and then you got, you know, you got your feelings out and it wasn't in the most productive way, but mommy was still there to support you and I was still there to hold you through that. And here we are now." And we're feeling better. We're connecting and, you know, talking through the experience in that way. It's so powerful because like you said, even if it's not in a moment, she still practicing it, she's still practicing being able to say this is what's happening. This is what I'm feeling. This is what I need and that's really what integration is. And that's really what regulation in the moment is. So she's practicing it with me then, then eventually when you know, she didn't get what she wanted. We didn't get to connect. She can she can articulate that as you know, as she gets older. I'm frustrated because I didn't get to spend time with you and I need a little bit more time. I know my bedtimes usually, or my bedtimes usually 9:30. Could I stay up 15 more minutes? And so we can watch some Tik Toks or so we can color or something like that. That's, that's what the, you know, goal eventually is. But I can't just expect her to practice that when it's really hard. We have to practice outside of the moment so that they can eventually get better at recalling it in the moment.
Yeah. I love it. My dad, I grew up in a basketball household. I have four brothers, and we all played and my dad coached. And my dad is like, he often wears a Hawaiian shirt, he would be like sitting and he's the calmest dude on the sidelines. And I remember being young and at one point, like observing like a coach, like yelling and screaming during the game running up down sidelines and it was just so opposite of my dad and I asked him about it and he was like, yeah, I don't have to, most of my coaching happens in practice. Like when we're at the game, these guys know what to do and we'll adjust things and we'll call timeouts and we'll chat, but they know what they're doing because we practice it. And this is just like I was like, my dad is going to love this analogy. Can't wait to have them tune into this one. But yeah, I dig it so so much and I think, you know, when we're, when we're looking at that like she feels disconnected, or she doesn't feel like she has had time to connect and so her nervous system feels disconnected. It makes sense to have the big feelings and the nervous system reaction to that. And then, She comes back together to connect with you and throughout all of that. She knows that you're there for her hard stuff that you're not just sitting on the sidelines when she's hitting threes. Right? Like, you're there when she gets teed up, and you're there for her hard stuff and that's so much more powerful. I mean, it even as adults, when we think about, like, they're people that show up when there's something to celebrate. And those aren't the people that I think of as Brené Brown calls them are marble jar folks, who are the folks, who are adding marbles to your jar. And these are people that like, yeah, when it's, when it's down and dirty and you're in a hard space. Those are the ones that show up. That's what you're doing for your kid. It's easy to be there when she's having a good time.
But somebody to help you like integrate those experiences. And just a note. That's why I feel like even if your child is not in crisis. I think just having a counselor or therapist is so beneficial because it shows your children that you can access the space in more than one way that I don't have to be the only person that, you know, you can integrate your experiences with that you can talk about your experiences with, that's why I think that that's so important because I'm glad that my child has that in me. But at the same time I want her to have that in as many people as possible and I teach her communication skills. So that way that can be a friend, you know, you can talk to your friend and she tells me conversations she has at school and I'm just like I was not having those conversations, and she'll say. Yeah. Like this happened and I told her how I felt about it and that and I'm like, teaching them not just that they have that in me, but that they're also able to cultivate those spaces in the way that they just communicate about their needs. And their feelings is really important to me.
Totally that self-advocacy. Yeah, man. I wish I had those skills as a kid.
Oh God. It's so good. The idea of I need I feel or like I'm feeling. I need that. I didn't have that language and I'm like it, literally cuts through, so, much of the communication problems and of needs not getting met. And it's really the way that we practice articulating ourselves. I always come back to that one. I'm seeing like that attitude, like, rising up. I'm just like, hey, I'm here. Like, what are you feeling? What do you need? What do you need? I constantly come back to that again because that's when we do the work in practice.
Yeah. Oh I dig it. So much. I think that we can get, we can get so focused on that behavior and you brought up a really good point in the beginning of like when you're moving away, from may be punitive styles, or even if it's just a part of you from your childhood that like comes up. And it's like, oh, should I be like the reality is we can get short-term result may be faster with punishment or fear, or even reward systems. We can get short-term results way faster and someone in our village membership, the other day was talking about short-term versus long-term goal. Sometimes living in a term goal of like, you know, I was talking about how my little guy was sick and all of a sudden, like, the way we were navigating sleep was different because usually I would put him down, he has a little sloth stuff, animal rolls around plays with it chats goes down to sleep, and then he was sick and stuffy, and couldn't fall asleep was having a hard time you company, so I was holding him and helping him fall asleep and waiting till he was pretty asleep. And then putting him down so that he could get into that sleep. And I was chatting about this in our membership and we're talking about how like that's a short-term goal for me. Right? Like I don't, I am not my most regulated self when I'm spending 15 minutes putting him down for bedtime every time like that for me doesn't work and we had this other system in place when he's healthy, but when he's sick, I'm going back to my short term goal. However, when he's not, we're looking at long-term goals, right? I'm looking at like, What is our, what are we looking at, down the road? What skills do I want them to have? And for me? I think so often when we're doing that punishment, fear, punitive or reward system, approach. We are losing things like that self-advocacy. We're losing that opportunity for them to say. I feel and I need when we're just trying to get the behavior to stop.
Yeah, that's so, so true. That's so true and honestly, we still come up in those moments, especially if you aren't regulating, you're tired those moments where like you are like, I need the behavior to stop , like, you feel that. Like, I need her to stop yelling, or I need him to like, just brush your teeth, so we can go to bed because I've been up since 4:00 in the morning and we I definitely still have those moments and I think for me is about finding the best way to articulate that, but also just finding the best way to like lean into, this is what it is. Like, last night when she was having that moment, I was so tired and I wanted to go to bed and I was just like she needs me. If I go in my room. She's not going to go to bed. Like she's literally so dysregulated. She's not gonna go to bed and I was like, I mean, I could like scare her into going to bed, I could force her into going to bed or I can just let, all I have is I sit here and I just literally was sitting. I like she we're not leaving the room. We're not going to leave the room we'll stay in this space. And I just sat on a door and I was just like, I'm here, whenever you're ready. Like, I'm totally here. I hear everything that you're saying and she like just laid on her bed and I went and sat on her bed and I was like, can I touch your foot? Like, just slowly going down that emotional ladder with her, she was slowly coming down. But in my mind, I was like, I'm tired as hell. But so, I don't have a lot of energy to put into this, but I got enough energy to sit on this bed.
That's all I got right now is enough energy to sit on this bed, and I think that the more we resist in those moments, the harder it is for us to actually get past them. I feel like the minute I lean into like this is what my child is experiencing right now and she needs my help. That's what it is. It's like we don't need to fix the behavior or like your Dad said. Like they know, she knows, she totally knows I don't need to fix this is obviously she's having a hard time accessing what she knows.
Totally totally. Yeah. Yeah you could be the best three-point shooter and have an off game.
Exactly. Exactly. And it's a matter how much I yelled at you to, you know, sink it.
Something's up. And we're going to have to, we would be better trying to work that out in practice.
Then trying to do it right now.
Totally. Yeah, and you know, we recently in our membership we have guest Q&A's sometimes we had someone come on recently. It was an occupational therapist and she was sharing about like safety posture. And you know, when we look at nature, we see or like an animal is dysregulated we'll see that cortisol pump in, they're like they're in a fear fight place and another animal comes up in like postures and gets big and get scary. And then you just have this cortisol loop, right? Like it's fear against fear, its fight against fight. And that, when we're in that space, and we have our kids that are in that fear space they're dysregulated. They're not in their whole brain, whether it's their freezing, they're fleeing they're fighting, whatever. They're in, especially in that fight space though. I think we see this that we then get big a lot of the time, right? Like we're like, I'm gonna I'm gonna overpower and control. Yep. And that instead really, what makes that nervous system calm down is doing exactly what you did, where you're going to sit down. I'm going to be at their eye level. My shoulders are relaxing and opening up my body saying I'm not a threat.
I'm not a threat to you. And in that from the emotional side, we're saying I can handle your hard stuff. Right? Like I'm not afraid of your big things. I'm here and can be here with you and sometimes it's deflecting hits and kicks and stuff in the moment too, but really like signaling totally but signaling like, I'm a safe spot for you. And that's exactly what you did. And it's sometimes for us. It's like this is all the energy I have is to sit but really like that can be enough.
Yeah, and I don't want to create the conflict because like we said earlier when we do those recaps within the recap, they need to understand and I'm still going to have you I still got your back. We move through the moment together. And so I don't want to do anything that contradicts that belief for her. I want to be reinforcing that belief that when you are in a storm. I'm going to be a safe harbor. And so anytime she's frustrated and I feel myself like about to power over. That's when I'm like I tell my parents all the time when it if you don't know what to do to just don't do anything. Don't do anything until you get back into the rational part of your brain, you know, and just be that safety because we they do mirror us. They really do. They do mirror us. And every tool is not going to work in every moment. But I find that we have better access to those tools when we first just regulate and calm down.
Totally totally, what roadblocks come up for you personally, in this work. What are your biggest, I guess, or what's your biggest challenge in doing this? Even when, you know, all the things in the practical real-life application.
I think, for me, sometimes when my daughter is tantruming and I've had this conversation recently is that I wasn't allowed to have anger, I wasn't allowed to have big emotions. They were either shut down or like shamed. And so sometimes my daughter is having big emotions. I feel like my inner child is like, that's not fair. Like that. Isn't, that's not fair. Or you're a kid, like kids are not allowed to have those kind of emotions, like you can be sad, you can be upset but like your pissed? Like, no, you are not allowed to be pissed. And so it, even though I am very intentional about not projecting that. It still comes up, of course, so I have to do so much more regulation of myself when she's having those moments. And I really do have to like coach myself through those moments where other times. It just happens naturally. Her anger, me holding space for anger, does not happen as naturally as holding space for like her sadness or frustration.
Totally. That makes sense. Is there any fear their society of how she'll be perceived as a black girl? Who's angry?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I don't want that perception. I can say that. I like I don't want that perception, but at the same time, the perception itself is wrong and everybody else is allowed to be mad, so I'm allowed to be mad. My daughter is going to grow up and be a black woman. She's allowed to be mad. And in order for me to teach her effective ways to communicate that anger. I have to first hold space for the anger. Like she has to have to let her rage and roar in order to teach her how to dial it back. Because I don't want it to scare her. I want her to be familiar with that feeling. And so I say that when we do our recap and that's with the validation piece of it is but I still have to model. Hold on. While she's having her anger. I have to model like you know, and when we do our recaps, I think it's very important that I'm validating my feelings in those recaps as well. And so letting her know, because I want her to be able to see like, yeah, I was angry during that. I was, I was mad during that, you know, so she can see. Okay, you can be angry and still, you know, regulate yourself and express that in an effective way because I don't want her to think that Mommy is just like this calm person that never has feelings. I don't want to think that because I don't want her to grow up and be like, okay, there's something wrong with me because Mom doesn't get mad. Mom, doesn't get pissed. Yes, Mom does but mom makes requests, need requests or set boundaries or whatever. So that's definitely one of the most difficult things for me. Another one is like and it happened yesterday to is knowing when to back off of tool when it's not working. Hmm. Because as effective as these respectful parenting tools can be, they can actually move into like a hurtful space if we try to push too much, like, for instance, with my four-year-old, if I'm trying to validate her feelings and talk through it. Like I know, I know you mad, it pisses her off like in she's like, "Stop saying, I know. You don't know. Shut up." And so it's like back off. But yesterday I was like, rationalizing, with my daughter, which is something that used to work. So well, like, I'd be like, well, I'm like, well, look, this is for her responsibilities working as a team. Remember, I'm helping you get more responsible like let's just work it out and she was not responding. I just kept going on this conversation of trying to make it make sense for her, instead of, like, she's literally not in the rational part of your brain.
She can't hear me.
Yeah, exactly. I literally use that analogy all the time. Like, it doesn't matter how well you're articulating yourself. Somebody's in the next room. They can't hear you and she was in the next room. And so I think that's also something that I struggle with with having the the like being able to be outside of the situation. See it and being like this is not effective Destiny.
Totally. Yeah, I think that's huge and I think that's so many of us fall into that. We're like no I'm gonna bring these tools in and whatever and yeah, sometimes we're just getting through the moment and the works happening in repair and we're going to try something else again next time or maybe even that same thing next time. But yeah, I hear that. It's interesting. I have a hard time holding space for anger with boys more than girls. I think like there's this part of me that's like no girls need to feel angry. We haven't been allowed to feel angry, and so where you can feel all your anger and with, boys, I'm like mmm. Listen, there's so many more feelings, other than anger. What you're showing, is anger on the surface, but I want to know what's actually happening below the surface, right? Like this, like, this is societal acceptance of anger in boys. And we, and so for me, I'm like, I it's almost like this part of me that's like, no, we're going to rewrite this ship and but it's like swinging the pendulum right, really mindful of that of like, nope, boys are also allowed to be angry, but that comes up for me where it's like, the opposite where girls can, but boys can't.
It's ironic though, because I'm, I don't get triggered like that. When she's angry about anything except me my goodness, like if she comes home and she's like, yeah, and she had the nerve to take my piece of popcorn. I'm like, what's up here? Like I'm yeah, let's express this, but like what? It's like, Mom. I hate you, you're thee worst. I'm just like, okay, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. It's so funny that in it. That's probably some of my trauma as well coming up where it's like I grew up in a very like not chaotic household, but our emotions were so extreme, when we were happy. It was like Ahh! And when we were mad it was like the same thing and so it really goes from 0 to 100 internally and I have to coach myself through that which I'm glad I have that experience because I for the parents in my community that are still feeling very real things, when their parenting. I want them to know, like, you can regulate those things and you can get better with practice, you know.
Yeah, totally. And again, you're going to drop the ball. That's part of practicing.
What do you just as my final question? What do you think is often missing in the respectful parenting community like discussion and tools and resources? Blah blah blah, like what's what's one piece of the puzzle that you wish was more talked about.
One piece of the puzzle the respectful parenting puzzle that I wish was more talked about definitely kind of what we've been talking about, which is what I think I bring to this space is that it's difficult a lot. It's difficult a lot and it's challenging in some way every single day. And I think that idea of whether or not it's working, feels a lot heavier for us because we take so much of the intention in the responsibilities. And so I think that that's definitely missing in the space because we is, there's this like, oh, yeah, you're doing a good job and there's Grace but I don't think that parents really understand that everybody in this space is having a Hard time. Like it's not, it's not an easy thing. And I think that sometimes we think it's supposed to be easy, just because we're teaching our kids, these wonderful things that do help you become a whole healthy adult. But they're practicing.
Yeah, they're not there yet. And we're not there yet.
And practice is messy, and we are practicing because a lot of us were not raised like this. And a lot of us, literally spent a lot of our adult lives operating without boundaries, without empathy and compassion and all of the things that make up respectful parenting. And so if you have two beings that are literally in practice mode, yeah. Like this is beta. Okay. This is the beta version of our relationship. And so we're are ironing out the kinks and the fact that we're actually doing the work is why it's so hard.
Totally, and again, to bring it back to sports for a minute because I've loved this practice analogy. This hits home for me, it like you would never, it would be outrageous to look at anyone that is an athlete and be like, yeah, 100% of the time, they win every game, they hit every shot. They get every board. They whatever it like, that's outrageous. You know, the Olympics are on right now and like there's not one Olympic athlete that 100% of the time nails, all the things, you know, and like so I think like this idea that any of us us are going to 100% the time, I have never in my life left a day with kids and been like I was perfect today. I nailed it never and it's I think like that as an expectation is bonkers, right? Like it just is not. I think I think you do bring this to the space in such a beautiful way and I think it's something that is really lacking. One thing that I feel like I struggle to share is how to share like my challenge without sharing my child's challenge. Like it's something I feel like you do it very well. It's something that like when I comes to that, I just end up going quiet because I, in an effort to try and respect him. I don't know how to share it well, and I think that you do this really well, and I think that it is really important to be sharing like yeah, just like I said, that person DM's. It was like that happens to you. Is like yeah, that happens to all of us that like all of us are are having the kid throwing the tantrum on the sled on the way home, you know, and like carrying him in our arms and dragging a slide behind us. And in that moment. I'm not like this is exactly how I want this to go. This is perfect. No, we're getting through that. And yeah, I think you do a really good job of sharing, both the challenge and the like, and it's for something in the long run, like, they are building skills and it's going to be messy on the way there. It's going to be messy when you get there. Like, I have an adult relationship, like my partner and I have both been doing this work for a long time. We have beautiful communication, and often will drop the ball and we'll have to come back. And just the other day. He was like, "You okay?" and I hate that phrase, because what it really means is I'm sensing something from you.
I'm sensing something, right, exactly.
And I just turned and snapped and said, "Is there another way you want to ask that?" But like, that's real, you know what I mean? And like, I, I think that you're absolutely right. I think that the more we see people sharing the mess, the more it could normalize the mess.
Yeah, for sure.
So thank you Destiny, Destiny where can folks connect with you? If they are somehow living under a rock. They're not following you yet...
Awesome. Thank you so much.
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