Sunday, July 25, 2004

Disneyland and the great escape

We were at Disneyland for several days and WELL--had a very RADish event take place...as we were walking into the park--BEFORE we were into the main gate out in the TRAM and bus way there is a rather long walkway to get to the main gates..Makala--was already a bit upset--we had returned to the Hotel to rest up for the late night ahead and we decided to skip swimming in the pool for a nap instead--needless to say Makala didn't like this very much and there was a bit of a tantrum...and a few hours later we were walking back in and she was angry for not swimming and DECIDED TO RUN --BOLT--INTO A CROWD OF PEOPLE, BUSSES AND TRAMS!

Daddy had the baby so I was left to deal with the sudden bolting and had to run after her--I haven't run in months since back surgery--and did my best to catch her it just was not the place to let her run...and so I got close and had my right hand on her shoulder--when I tried to get my left on her other shoulder she slipped away and there it was--2 FEET OF THINCK LONG BROWN HAIR HANGING DOWN HER BACK

So I grabbed it!

She Fell to the ground and rolled around like I was poking her with a stick Screaming and yelling and out of control........................and then it happened.....................a bystander approached and said, "I think that boarders on abuse."I got out my cell and offered to call the police myself and added that I was not going to allow my 6-year old to run into a crowed of thousands of people and moving buses and trams.....DH--was doubting me---thinking he may agree with the by stander...............and truthfully I questioned myself? Was there any better way to have stopped her....? Not sure....? Maybe I could have run longer and faster?.........maybe I could have let her run? Maybe?Thank goodness for the Therapist!DH went to this appointment and We told the story completely truthfully---and the therapist said, "Didn't I give you a stack of my cards to give to interfering people like that?"She didn't call the police on me!!!!! And suggested a harness for the flight to Illinois we take on August 16!!!!!

Friday, July 23, 2004

July 2004 Update

Vacation—A short trip to see Grandpa Jim and Grandma Kathy and Disneyland—there was no time to visit Uncle John and his kids were away—We did see Uncle Jamie and cousin Travis age two.

Inappropriate Behaviors—Makala decided that she wanted to sleep on one of the bunks in the boys room because Scott was at camp. The adults (My father, and Step mother and myself) got an ODD hit out of the reasons, and behaviors of Makala… and my fathers expressed that “all she needed was a willing partner….” So everyone watched VERY closely. On the second night when Daddy arrived Makaylah was moved and slept on the sofa because she would not stop playing in Sarah’s room.

Inappropriate Behaviors—At the Hotel by Disneyland the first evening was spent in a WAR with Makala because the ‘sleeping’ rule was girls in one bed—boys in the other. Makala argued that Jeremiah was getting something she was not getting and it was no fair. Triangulation went on constantly all evening and ended with a RAGE. Girls slept in one bed and boys in the other.

Running—The “New” trick of the game!
On our way into Disneyland on the second day Makala had been angry because instead of swimming we rested for the late night planned…She was having a fit in the area in front of the main gates—where the trams and busses stop. When suddenly she decided to dart and run away from us fast. I ran after her and managed to get her right shoulder and when I tried to get her left she slipped away so I grabbed her hair….and she fell to the ground and rolled around like I was poking her with a hot stick… It was a terrifying moment for me—I had a true feeling of panic run through me—it was an UNSAFE situation.

At a McDonalds on the drive home—there were some tables outside…Daddy asked Makala to stay back and help mommy carry everything to the table—Makala had eaten a Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich on the road and wasn’t hungry she wanted a Sundae and mom said, “ I will make a deal with you”………and Makala got angry and ran out the door of the McDonalds….

Summer--calm :)

Having fun on this journey! This week has been Church day camp and so far there have been no negative reports! Yippy! The next few weeks will be down time and relaxing and then we fly to Illinois for two weeks--which are not planned to be hectic just visiting grandma and catching fireflys. Then home and getting ready for first grade--which will be a whole nother story! After the issues of last year I am simply one problem away from homeschooling or some alternate idea.

Kindergarten was a joke. so much in fact I have to crack up because for the whole last quarter we did not do the kindergarten homework--Yet Makala got a STAR for homework on her report card? That is really being in tune with a student if you ask me.... I had even sent a letter to the teacher Re: the problems I was having in helping Makala get her homework done....and never heard a word?I have written the district and asked for an IEP and also asked that Makala be placed in a classroom with a teacher who has some interest in learning and working with me reguarding the attachment issues--I said I am sure there must be a teacher in the school who at least has a passing interest in these issues...

I have been told by many sources that our district is just about the least co-opetive with foster care and adopted families... We had to fight like crazy for them to even stop using her birth last name until the adoption was final--the district has a policy which required them to use it---they would not budge until I called the state education department! I could have cared less but, everytime Makala had a notice it upset her and she worried the caseworkers were going to move her again--or that we were lying to her and she wasn't really going to be adopted.

Thank Goodness the Judge was so wonderful at the adoption ceremony and that is all behind us now!We have considered private school, however--the behavior policies are ones I cannot guarentee Makala will follow at this point and I dread the idea of being kicked out!Anyway--I look forward to the end of summer and getting down to bizz on the therapy. Our next appointment is the 27th!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

No Ice Cream

Early on I did talk to her about how I felt she was treated in the Foster-home.... It was pretty difficult for me on the last night when the family had a good-bye party and because Makala had not eaten her veggies she didn't get any ice cream! On her last night there.... Even when all sorts of people came to the home and everyone else had ice cream.... and Foster mom made a big deal about the baby being good and he could have ice cream! Personally, at a good bye party it should have been all about Makala---it ended up being all about an 11-month old baby who really didn't even know what was actually going on.....

We noticed some real issue in transition...to be honest....such as one activity the family had us join in on was ice skating and Makala was only four and had never done it before???? It seemed like the strangest choice of things to do with a baby and a four year old? We also noticed that Makala was the ONLY person in the household who slept in a room all alone? There were 8 children in the house and she had her own room....

It just didn't seem right. Foster mom would not allow Makala to touch the baby or his toys and when we got home she kept taking his toys to her room....and all over him all the time.... I just figured she was catching up on lost time with him....Foster mom also had mentioned that she 'thought' Makala was RAD or at least had some attachment issues and then went on to talk about a class she had taken about building attachment but that she never worked any of the ideas because she knew Makala would be moving on and she didn't want her to be attached to her when she did....I sure wish that there could be a little better understanding about attachment issues and Foster care it breaks my heart that so many Foster families seem to feel that allowing the child to attach will hurt them---NO IT WILL NOT--it will help them so much if they can start building the skills with even one caregiver then the next move will actually be better for the child and the skills learned can be transfered to the new caregiver....It makes me so mad to think that just because a child will not stay in the home that attachment is avoided! This thinking is wrong and actually hurtful...

For awhile after Makala was placed my feelings were mostly that Foster mom had a personality conflict with her....which I can actually understand being one of those girls that tends to have more male friends then female I have often found other females to be petty and irritating so I chalked it up to that kind of issue--and the fact that Makala is just about the most beautiful little girl I can remember ever seeing.... We were told that when she was placed in the home she would scream every time the Foster dad got near her and he even advised my husband to not be upset if she was stand offish.... She wasn't at all...and he was actually rather surprised. Now a year and a half later Makala talks about how nice it was to sit next to him and watch football games, and her greatest memories are about the Foster dad... He is a kind soul and I really liked him very much I think she found him to be much easier to deal with then the Foster-mom.


Makala has told me many stories about being there and usually I try to respond with a defensive answer--she has said the Foster mom would pour water on her when she had a tantrum and that one time she had to take a nap with a diaper on because she was acting like a baby---My reaction was to say I didn't think that was very nice and that those things wouldn't happen here. It is also very very clear the birthmom was abusive and stories have been told about birthmom breaking all her birthday toys and getting in a fight with the boy friend and biting him. I think the famales in her past have been domenerring and cotrolling which I do not think has helped with our relationship. And then there is the whole wanting to be loved by the Foster Family issue.... She was talking to baby brother a few weeks ago and starting asking if he missed the Foster family.

I told her that he might not remember them when he learns to talk well and that made her very angry.....She thinks he needs to remember everything she does... I know this issue will come up a lot in the future because she is dedicated to making sure brother remembers birthmom and everything she does---most of the time I let it all go and hope that with time she sorts all this stuff out and lets go of the need that he remember the things she does....There are so many unresolved grief issues which was part of the reason I believed that we might not be dealing with attachment. The therapists and some of the literature I have found recently has given me a little better understanding about childhood greif and the fact that some of these issues will not be overcome untill the attahcment issues are dealt with.... .....every once in awhile Makala will tell me I am acting just like the Foster mom so, for the most part, I have tried to stop making any judgement calls about the Foster mom with Makala because they tend to come back and bite me in the rear.....

She does know that we were really sad when we learned the family wanted a sibling split and to keep the baby.... I have told her a few times that the truth was we wanted a little girl just like her and the baby was a bonus to us because we didn't expect a baby brother too! Which is true because we did want a little girl and we didn't expect to have a baby placed with us at our ages.... I have to be careful here though because I don't want her getting the idea we just took him to get her anymore then the other way around....

There are some dynamics with siblings that had not crossed my mind before the placement which have made this all very interesting.... I do not think I have set unrealistic expectations I want and understand that Makala will most likely always keep memories of her life before becoming our daughter and I think she should have this.... I have always been a mom who keeps in mind the fact that I am NOT raising children I am raising Adults....

For me it is the adult relationship I develop with my children that matters more then anything else... I actually hope my Adult relationships with my children is FAR longer then the time I spent as their childhood mom...so in many ways that is the carrot I run after.... Having raised two children I KNOW how fast childhood goes by and I know how important it is to have the foundation with my children for their adult years more then for age 6 and 10 and 12..... I think this kind of thinking relieves a lot of stress for a parent. My grandmother told me the phrase of raising adults when my oldest was first born and I really liked her view on it...

When I interact with my children I often wonder what they will remember about me and their childhood when they are 30? Do I want to be the parent my child remembers as controlling and domineering or do I want to be the parent my child remembers as open-minded and supportive...even when I do not like the choices they make.

Tori and I have become closer this year then ever and I think it has a lot to do with her growing to understand that while I may not like or approve of her adult choices I love her and am here to be as supportive as possible.... Tori had some issues with her father this year and his threats to cut her off from child support for college due to her 'moral' decisions.... I told her that I agree with her fathers feelings but that I would not be dragged into the child support matter---and that we had agreed to provide a certain amount of support too and that we had decided that even though we do not approve of her moral choices either we would continue to provide the support so long as she was doing well at school.....

Tori siad she was surprised with me because she knows I am disspaointed in her choices but at least I am not judgemental and mean about it.... I guess I have accomplished what I wanted to....we have to wait and see....This is the kind of mom I wanted to be one who could express my feelings without judging and making distance between myself and my adult children.... Tori was a long road to raise too so hopefully I will see the same results with Makala--a young woman who can respect the efforts I made but become the woman she strives to be in her own heart...... someone who is not in fear of my reaction even if she knows I won't like the situation.... I don't want my adult children to cut me out of their lives because they follow the beat of a different drummer.... Now lets just hope I live long enough to be around for a long time after these two are grown.....

"They didn't love me."

Some of the literature I have been reading also leads me to believe she is stuck in some of her grieving stages and mostly about the Foster Family and the fact they didn't fall in love with her and want to keep her.... No amount of rational talking will change her feeling that she 'did her best to make them love her.'

There might also be some sibling issues here. She was only with Birthmom for 6-weeks after the baby was born and the removal happened the same day that birthmom blammed her for covering the baby up with blankets on the bed.... she has spoken about her feelings there....Then in Foster care she was isolated from much contact with the baby....so many of her sibling issues are being addressed now...It can be hard to be the big sister (I know because I have 2-little brothers). Makala has made some remarks in the past about us only wanting her brother and being stuck with her too.... But those feelings I am sure mostly came from the Foster home because they wanted to adopt him and not her....It has been a little while since she has made this remark but I am learning that Makala goes in circles with some of this stuff--I would not be surprised if this remark comes up again soon.I have been amazed at her memory of the past--it seems to remain so clear to her.

The therapists has also pointed out to me that children with RAD tend to notice every little detail and we have sure seen this....I have also learned that many children who were abused have a hyper-sensitive memory. My Father was very abused as the 4th of 8 children and talks about the fact that even at 60 years old he has vivid memories of early childhood before he was out of the crib. Makala talks about remembering diapers and very very early baby things as if she actually remembers it all and in some ways I believe she must because these stories do not change over time....Where as some of her other stories do change and she forgets details but there are some that are etched into her mind....

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Shopping RIGHT!

The Non-controlled snack choices I have been keeping in the house since before school got out should be fairly good stuff... I really do feel it is the amount of food she is consuming.RasinsApple ChipsFruit Snack (however I am deleting these because they are very high in natural sugars..)Cherrios (I guess these could be a real carbo jolt)Graham Crackers (I am going to have to read the lable closer)Granola Bars--again these could be a problem with higher fats so I have been getting the lower fat ones.There is usually a box of fish crackers or Cheese It's The kids are allowed to have as many apples, oranges, grapes and banana's as they want...and there is often melon, pears, and other kinds of berries here.Carrots and celery however Makala will only eat them with Ranch dressing so I am getting the lite dressing now.Seeds, and nuts dry roasted and when I can find them salt free--I know these can be high in fats for kids not allergic.

The whole house has switched off white breads, and several other carb loaded cereals. Except the Cherrios. And on most days I have been actually cooking eggs or oat meal more and more often. The only soda pop I have been getting is sugar free sprite...which still beats Kool Aid or juice. I have been getting Crystal Ligh OJ (New here) and no one has even noticed the lack of sugar. There is also some fruit flavored sparkling waters that have been very popular in the house. 1% milk for everyone except I do slip some 2% and/or whole in for the baby who actually has not been growing very well. I have been spending the extra $$$ on sugar free ice cream since it is one of the big issues around here and I got some sugar free pop-cycles for summer....


As for activity I would feel this was a real issue in the winter when it rains day in and out here--but, truthfully I don't know how I could offer much more then we have been doing this summer. We have a 2 foot deep 12 foot diamater pool for Makala to swim in, she has learned to ride her bike without training wheels, has roller blades, and we are lucky to have a great neighborhood where she can run around within my sight for hours, climbing trees, and she has a full play structure in the back yard.... She has been going to the Y to swim lessons, and we walk the zoo every week at least once...

I lost 5 pounds on vacation and she gained???? Maybe she is about to grow taller soon?.... (I did see one of my bios gain dramatic weight right before a spurt)....and she has not changed clothes sizes really since she got here almost 18 months ago... She could also be an early bloomer.... It seems odd but I actually think there are some signs of development--Tori was only 9 when she got her 'that time of the month'.....so I wonder here?


I found it odd that I was told to band aide the picked boo-boo's too.... I had the same reaction when it became an issue--I didn't feel like I wanted her to pick for attention and refused to make a big deal out of it all.... she usually does this at bedtime when she wants to stay up.... all of a sudden she is bleeding... So I was telling her to go get toilet paper and hold it on the spots she picked...

But amazingly in only a few weeks she has stopped picking and spends time taking the band aide off instead which is great because she has an olive complextion and the scars show really clear.... I can't wait to get into therapy full gear where I can focus directly on it and not deal with the activity of summer.... Here in Oregon when it is summer you have to make the best of it or you miss it completely.... And having the older kids in and out is not as helpful as one might think.I have been reacting differently to her tantrums which has not appeared to be helping us that much.

Last night she was ticked off because I changed the channel on the TV when she went outside and she demanded I change it back she was instantly into a tantrum and this time was right in my face about it---she then sat right next to me and started pushing her elbow into my side as hard as she could---when I told her not to hurt me again she got real hateful and then when daddy tried to back me up she attempted to hit him....which she has recently been doing and at that point I escorted her by her arm upstairs and had her get ready for bed.... as soon as she was done she wanted to look at the family book given to her before we started transition...????

This morning she was rather defiant toward me on the way to day camp. And for about the tenth time she made the remark--"Why did you even pick me?" Until today I have always told her because we loved you the moment we knew about you---today I told her that parents don't really know what they are getting when they have a child and that I didn't get to pick my oldest son and Tori and there wasn't anyplace I could send them back to....and that it was the same for her now... I am just stuck with what God gave me and it was his idea that I got my oldest son, Tori, Makala and Jeremiah and there really isn't anything I can do about it...."I get what I get and I can't throw a fit...."

She wanted to argue and say that she knew the Foster Family had told me she was naughty and had tantrums.... I said "so what Tori and her brother were naughty and had tantrums too whats your point?" It is almost as if she wants me to say I was lied to and tricked into adopting her and that boy do I regret it---(sometimes ) Or that I cannot take it any more and now she needs to move on.... I am so glad she found a family that come hell or high water would not disrupt I think that would have really hurt her....

She also sometimes talks about the fact that we could send her to boarding school and I have no clue where she got that one?It was interesting because after a few therapy appointments she THOUGHT the therapist was a Caseworker...

I told her NOPE there are not and will not be any more caseworkers again...that stuff is over and she is ours even more so then my oldest son and Tori all I did with them is have a baby--with her and Jeremiah I signed a contract that makes her more my child -- I didin't make a contract with my oldest son and Tori! The way her mind thinks! Anyway--I plan to use this journal to dump all this stuff out there I hope others get something out of it and I love getting feedback on things we are dealing with..... It is going to be an interesting journey.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Food Thing!!!!!

The food thing!Hummmm, we weighed Makala just a few weeks ago to see if we needed to take her car seat on the air plane next months and she weighed 59 pounds.... (the law is 6 and 60lbs)Then we went to therapy and got the advice on the snack box and have let that be the case---while I have noticed the constant issue about food has lessened--I weighed Makala yesterday and nearly died! She is up to 67 pounds and I think this is WAY to much to gain in such a short time!!!!!I have a call into the therapists because I think that this amount of weight in such a short time is more damaging then my controlling the food intake issues.... I do not think this is healthy weight gain it is all in her tummy she looks pregnant! We may have to reconsider this issue for sure.

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Other things we are working on....Boo-Boos, just before we left on vacation we had therapy and the issues of picking scabs came up. The therapists advised me to buy boxes of band-aides and to nurture every little scrape or bump even the picked ones! (Kinda hard to do I have low tolerance of picking) But I have been doing it....and it has been oddly bonding to clean and band aid all those boo-boos every day three or four times... Maybe it is better she removes the Band-Aids all the time instead of picking them?

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Taping the Tantrums--We are video tapping tantrums and have been asked to bring the tapes to therapy next time...Gee I hope this helps!

Friday, July 02, 2004

You Forgot to make me lunch --and other Food Issues

HappyMomAnna
07-02-2004 09:51 AM

You forgot to make me lunch--and other food issues. It has been talked about here on the forum in the past that many of our children have food related and eating disorders. For the whole time Makala has been here we have actually been very rigid with the food issues.

We really do not want and will not allow eating all over the house, and we have not allowed 'self helping' by the younger children. I have been fixing meals and serving plates pre-fixed by me with what I expect to be the portions and the selections that will be eaten...Makala has had many issues around food. She nearly drives me crazy everyday. When I serve breakfast she wants to know when and what snack will be. Almost every other word out of her mouth is about food or eating. We cannot walk past a vending machine without a tantrum.

She sneaks into the food when no one is in the kitchen. She sneaks food into her room and hides it is odd places. She accuses me of 'forgetting' to feed her meals. She is all about food.

Sometimes one night she will LOVE what I make for dinner and the next week I make it again only to hear her proclaim that she no longer likes it. Some of her food issues are still all about controlling me--some of it is clearly about being defiant to what I want. But, the therapists brought up some interesting facts and I am trying a few new things in this area.

I was advised that sometimes anxiety makes a child's tummy feel funny and that many children feel anxiety as HUNGER. By eliminating the feeling in the tummy being about hunger Makala will have to learn other ways to deal with the feelings she gets in her tummy when she is anxious.... So...... I was advised to allow Makala to have a snack box in her bedroom and to not control food anymore.

To be consistent with the choices she has--not adding too many interesting or new items to the selection. But, to allow Makala to eat when she thinks she needs to eat. The box of food in the bedroom will NOT work in our home because of the rule about eating only at the table. NO one breaks this rule and we are not going to start with food in the bedroom under any circumstance.

HOWEVER---there has always been a box in the pantry filled with DADDY snacks and now Makala is permitted to get anything out of that box and eat it anytime.....as long as she sits at the table and picks up her trash. The first day she made herself sick. The second day she thought the permission ran over into getting out the ice cream from the freezer and I told Makala NO it is only for the food in the snack box you still cannot get food out of the freezer or fridge....

The third day I found she had mixed Seans Ocean Spray Grapefruit and the iced tea....in the fridge..... Because she decided that she was permitted to get drinks too..... Now only water and other drinks mom has to serve---and no more touching the other things...no one wants grapefruit and tea...except the baby who seems to really like it?By the fourth day Makala was asking me for other things all day long. and I have to just tell her that if she is hungry then she can eat anything in the snack box.... She has lost a great deal of interest in those things--granola bars, fish crackers, raisins, pretzels, apple chips, crackers, and a few other odds and ends that are always here.... So I also allowed the fruit bowl to be open game--it is on the counter and there are apples, bananas and peanuts in it all the time.....

I have to say that it has been nice to not hear the constant issues about food day in and day out. I am still not completely crazy about this idea...Jeremiah has been in toddler joy land because when he sees sissy eat he wants some too....so for the past several days he has had a baggy of fish crackers at his side day in and out....It is not as easy to convince him that he must stay at the table..... He has clearly been eating more too....I wonder now if I was feeding them enough? I am sure I have been but I cannot help but wonder when I see just how much they want to ram down their faces...Of course neither of them has eaten a good dinner all week....

But, it has been nice to have FOOD be a non-issue with Makala if for no other reason then to eliminate one more battle from our relationship. I am planning to make Food a NON issue for the remainder of the summer....Not sure how gong back to school will go in this area....Last time I checked most children didn't sit around ramming food down all day long..... I guess I will have to hope she is able to manage....and after school snack will likely ruin dinner for the whole year?Or food could just become not an issue.... Hears for trying something NEW.....

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I give up! I am a RAD MOM.

Okay, after 17 months from placement and four other types of therapy Our State has finally graduated the First certified Attachment Therapists from a two year post Graduate program! And we have been very lucky to find a well trained highly experienced therapist.

From the information I am getting it was not possible for a therapist to offer Adoption Attachment therapy until they completed the two year program. Even if they had been practicing before they could not until this certification was earned!......................So I think I understand why we could NEVER seem to find the 'right' kind of therapy!Long story short--I made a commitment at the first of the year to spend some time just getting to know Makala. We arranged to have two full mornings together while baby brother was at preschool.

And I pulled Makala out of all extra activities except Kindergarten which was two full days and one half day a week. And......I got to know her...... or not......We started therapy with the new doctor three weeks ago. For those three weeks we went twice a week as between our family vacation and the therapists we will miss the next month!I have decided to put a journal of our road through therapy here for others and maybe it will help. I also hope other parents can add their stories.

After all the efforts to have someone verify what appeared to be true we do now have diagnosis of several issues. And I have learned considerable information about why some issues cannot even start to be addressed until attachment happens. Makala is diagnosed with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) . She is clearly stuck in Grief stages. She has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and very likely ODD (Oppositional/Defiant Disorder).

The first week of therapy my assignment was to casually make a comment here and there about how Makala got certain wonderful traits or attributes from her birth mother..... It became very clear with many of the things that Makala has experienced that she knows a great deal of the reasons she was removed from birth mom and placed into care. Makala has said that she is 'bad' because her birth mother did drugs and her brain is messed up....

The therapists pointed out to me that it is very important for Makala to have good feelings too.... and so we made an effort to reinforce the positive things Makala got from her birth mother. I told Makala that she has beautiful and lovely eyes from her birth mom..... We were driving in the car from the therapy session. A few miles down the road Makala said, "I thought I got my eyes from God....?" So I explained that God gives us everything but he takes parts of the mom and dad and gives them to the baby..... and that she will always have parts of her birth mom that are special and nice.

Actually, I think only a few remarks were even made. Big brother said something about her really nice long legs and how he is sad that even though he is really tall he got stuck with moms short legs and long body--but also real glad he got moms nose and not his dads....Of course that kind of talk started the whole birth father discussion....and Makala has for the time decided that she didn't have a father--under the circumstance we are going to let this issues ride for a while.

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