Plus Size Parenting

Discussion in 'Daily Living' started by happily_married, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. Jul 14, 2019 #1

    happily_married

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    A while back I shared an experience on another thread:

    Dealing with insensitive comments, looks or attitudes.

    I’ve noticed some developments in my daughter that make me wonder if this event was the catalyst. While I’m extremely open about my marriage here on Dims I am less so about my role as a father. But the reality is our kids are growing up in an acutely image conscious environment made even more so by so many social media platforms.

    We discuss a lot of weight related issues from everyday challenges to health issues to emotional and relationship issues. What you don’t see a lot of here in Dims is conversation about how weight affects us as parents and affects our kids. Kids can be brutal to each other and if a child has a mom or dad who is overweight it can really open them up for bullying and teasing. So much so that my wife is hesitant to be seen at our daughter’s school because she doesn’t want her weight to be the reason our girl gets teased.

    In this environment my daughter has recently become aggressively supportive of my wife’s weight. It’s extremely cute and endearing and it’s good for all of us I think.

    A couple weeks ago I had the kids at a beach boardwalk restaurant and we were sitting outside on a covered patio. Just a few feet from us there was a public shower for rinsing sand. I was sitting facing into the restaurant with my back to the beach. My daughter was across from me and her little brother was next to her. He smiled really big and pointed and said, “haha look at her butt!” I turned to see a pretty fit young lady in a pretty skimpy bikini rinsing sand off her feet. Her butt was on full display. Just as quickly as I looked my daughter said, “excuse me? Why are you looking?” I laughed and turned back around and she said, “Mom’s butt is way better and is almost too much for you to handle anyway old man!” Where does she get this stuff?

    Also recently she was helping my wife make dinner, and they were listening to “Low” by Flo Rida. When the song reached the part where she “turned around and gave that big booty a smack” my daughter smacked my wife on her big booty and they both laughed and laughed about it.

    She’s taken to sending her silly gifs and tiktoks whose themes are big butts on plus size women. Notably she sent one that included the phrase “thicker than a snicker” which has resulted in “snickers” becoming an emerging nick name for my wife.

    Not only is she not embarrassed by her mom’s weight but she seems to be openly embracing it.

    She is a pretty fit girl, but shows a lot of compassion toward girls in her class who are on the chubby side. Even though I’ve never directly told my daughter that I like plus size women, she sees me and her mom and has more or less figured it out. She has used this observation to encourage a few of her chubbier friends: that guys who think big girls are smoking hot do exist. (Keep in mind while these classmates of hers are all pretty young, in their minds they are old enough to begin exploring dating and relationships and when they encounter disappointment or rejection due to weight it can be devastating.)

    When school starts again I am going to encourage my wife not to keep her distance. I think my daughter has the ability to handle anything anyone says to her about her mom’s weight. And knowing her she’s likely to turn around and start giving it back. Meanwhile I don’t want to see my wife miss out on life with our daughter over fear of her weight leading to her being made fun of.

    We also have 2 boys but they are younger and less in tune with weight related issues. It’s coming though, and the dynamic with them will be different than it is with our daughter.

    Parenting is hard enough as it is. Doing it as a plus size parent or in a relationship with one adds an element other parents don’t have to navigate. It can be tough.

    I think it’s worth discussing how others have approached weight related issues with their kids. Our lifestyles as parents affect our kids. We’re kidding ourselves if we think otherwise. I’d love to hear the class’s thoughts on how to respond to this issues.
     
  2. Jul 14, 2019 #2

    sarahe543

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    This is awesome. I always teach my children acceptance. We all look different, use our bodies differently. But today my daughter told me get out of the way you're too big :/
    I dont know where that came from.
     
  3. Jul 15, 2019 #3

    Green Eyed Fairy

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    Your daughter has a special strength. I believe you are correct about your wife allowing the friends to see her. Don't need to set an example of "hiding" or accepting shaming. (don't take this to believe I think it's "easy' to overcome)
    Before the end of your post, I was also wondering about the demographics of how it will be with your son.
    My oldest daughter (now 27) has turned into a bbw herself. She's handled it much better than I did in my early adult years. I asked her about it once and she said it's because her father and myself never made a big deal about her weight and she realized the difference between Dad and myself was 'acceptable' because she knew he liked me at various sizes.
     
  4. Jul 15, 2019 #4

    happily_married

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    Given the context I’m guessing this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Is she old enough to understand how the importance of what she says? I recall a few short years ago, the same daughter who seems to think her overweight mom is definitively awesome very innocently called her fat and would comment on how much she’s eaten, how much bigger than other women she is, etc...

    It used to bother my wife but I urged her not to read too deeply into it: she was just a child. It takes time, and I think it’s important to understand with kids there simply may not be an understanding of how what she says may be hurtful.
     
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  5. Jul 15, 2019 #5

    happily_married

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    It’s a good question with my boys. Neither of them are big for their ages. My youngest (7 years old) is like a carbon copy of me. He likely won’t be that tall or big framed (I’m 5’7 on a light frame) but appears to be insanely athletic. He has defined abs and can do 6-7 pull-ups already. He’s absolutely fearless. My middle child (11 years old) doesn’t have a competitive bone in his body. He’s probably going to always be bigger than his younger brother but will never have the athleticism. He is active enough for now, but of the three of them has the least natural physical talent and by a long shot the least amount of drive to be good at anything that requires hard work and focus.

    Funny thing about him is he’s strikingly good looking but a bit on the dorky side. He seems to get attention from the girls until he starts talking! :oops:

    I think that’s awesome about your daughter. Seems you normalized it enough that she didn’t think twice: “some girls are skinny some aren’t and I happen to be one of the ones who’s not.” Love that.

    My kids are still too young for me to be dedicating too much time to the kind of person they eventually end up with. With that said, I won’t project my preferences onto them. For example my middle kid seems to have an eye for conventionally “hot” women. My youngest still thinks girls are something to be avoided at all cost. Ultimately I just want them to be happy and I won’t be disappointed if neither of them share my preference for bigger girls.

    But I do hope they always take with them a normalized view of relationships that involve bigger girls. They’re growing up in a house where plus size is upheld as a standard for beauty. I hope even if they never fully buy that for themselves that they never forget it either.
     
  6. Jul 15, 2019 #6

    Tad

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    This is a topic that has been on my mind for a long time, even as a kid I wondered how kids of fat parents felt about it. But it really got driven home in grade nine when after a skating party we went back to the home of one of the girls who had organized it. I vaguely noticed that no parents were to be seen, but assumed one or more were elsewhere in the townhouse. Then she announced that it was time go and we straggled out the door toward the bus stop, and met her SSBBW mom coming home. From the brief exchange it was clear that the Mom knew what the plan had been, and had been staying away. I assumed that it had been not to embarrass her fairly image conscious daughter. I could understand, but at the same time I felt sad for both of them.

    As a parent I was braced for such issues. Ait turned out, however, we ended up with just one boy who never seemed embarrassed by 'obese' parents in particular, just the whole general "Whatever you do don't fuss at me around my friends, actually could you pretend you don't exist?" sort of thing. But then again he is pretty much not interested in relationships (and probably asexual), so after years of preparing myself, it never came up for us.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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  7. Jul 15, 2019 #7

    BigElectricKat

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    First of all, I'd like to say that you have a real CHAMPION in your midst. It is very encouraging to hear that a young person chooses to stand up for their parent instead of trying to bending to peer pressure. That is awesome.
    But make no mistake: Us other parents do deal with things that affect our kids and sometimes in a negative manner. My daughter had a very rough time being biracial once she got into third grade. She moved from a school on an Air Force base to a school in another community and she had a hard time dealing with it. At first she didn't want me to come to the school and then a few years later, it switched to her mother. She flip-flopped back and forth all the way into high school. It sucks when you kid is embarrassed by the sight of you.
    But I commend you in how you've raised your daughter and how wonderfully she accepts the challenge that she probably deals with from other kids. :)
     
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  8. Jul 15, 2019 #8

    RVGleason

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    upload_2019-7-15_17-59-36.jpeg
    upload_2019-7-15_18-0-25.jpeg
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This thread reminded me of these drawings.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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  9. Jul 16, 2019 #9

    RVGleason

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  10. Jul 16, 2019 #10

    agouderia

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    RV Gleason - really cute illustrations. But they also illustrate a decisive point imo.
    A child is by far not as likely to get teased for a SS/BHM father than for a BBW, let alone SSBBW mother.

    If I remember my own school years - probably 2/3 of the fathers in middle/high school were some degree of BHM; at least half of the male teachers were. It was a total non-issue. That males are bigger simply is a much more accepted social stereotype - or at least was for a very long time.

    I can remember only one SS/BBW mother in all my school years - all others were at most slightly chubby in the size 14/16 range. That one mother, who was borderline SSBBW, was sort of off limits though for teasing for other reasons. Granted , it was already in high school, when most kids had matured some. But it was mainly that she was already 64 when her son, the immensely popular school band technician, graduated - and the father was 83. It was a story of lost and late refound love with one child - and everybody had respect for that.
     
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  11. Jul 16, 2019 #11

    HUGEisElegant

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    Sorry, I've been meaning to join in on this for the last couple days, but I wanted to give myself the time to fully read the thread and delve into it. While I am not a parent, nor am I a plus size one at that, I think this is a great topic.

    I think it's wonderful that your daughter has become so supportive of your wife's size in the way she has. It shows that you have raised her well and shown her that size truly does not matter in regards to liking or determining the value in other people. Those are such important values to instil into children at a young age. You should be proud that you and your wife have shown her the way to become that kind of person. Whether directly or indirectly by example, you've created an environment that is conducive to her seeing and learning these things and you should be proud of yourself. This is not only good for the way she views, values and treats other people, but it will do wonders for her own self-worth if she ever becomes bigger herself. That kind of parenting is worth its own weight in gold.

    But you are right in that we live in such an incredibly image-conscious environment. It's always been bad enough, but the pressures all of us face today is worse than it's ever been, and it's affecting our children at an ever-younger and younger age as well. You are right in thinking it is going to be a very different dynamic with your boys as well.

    Not only will you have to instil within them the same sense of respect and appreciation for others as you have in your daughter, but you'll also have to instil what it is to be highly respectful of women, no matter their size, as well as how wrong it is to objectify women. Sadly, these days it is a bit of an uphill battle with the amount of stuff they'll be exposed to through social media and elsewhere on the internet. Whether they find a way to become exposed to it at home or through friends and/or peer pressure, they WILL be exposed to it. So it will be paramount to instil in them what it is to treat and respect a woman, and to respect her dignity and self-worth. At their relatively young age, that grooming starts now. Particularly with your 11 year-old. There never is an age too early to start. The earlier and the more frequent, the better.

    Boys are very much a different animal. With peer pressure and what's force-fed to them through social media, music and pop culture, the internet and media in general, their sense of what "is" and "isn't" beautiful, and what is and isn't "acceptable" is groomed into them, and can distort their perceptions from a very young age. This is not just a male phenomenon, but also very much a female one too. The pressures inflicted upon girls in women in today's culture is TRULY awful. However, in addition to these pressures for boys, they also can be infected with a sense of female objectification and entitlement, which can be VERY difficult to get rid of once they have learned these behaviours, and built their social strata around it. Which is why it is crucial to start grooming them to become respectful, appreciative and compassionate young men from a very young age. I can't stress that enough.

    I was very lucky in that I had two parents that instilled these things within me from a very young age. As much as me and my father never really got along, it was him who taught me a lot about what it is to treat women with respect and dignity. I still remember some of the conversations we had about these things. It is through these important conversations and by living by example that are what groom boys into becoming respectful men. It's not just a few conversations when they are younger either, but regular ones that are age-appropriate as they get older and as their dynamics change in regards to girls, friendships, attractions, dating, sex, etc. It will be important to have these conversations as they change, and to show them by example what it is to properly treat a woman in an age-appropriate way during each step of their development from a child into a young man. From that, they will not only learn how to treat girls and women, but they will also see the value and the merit in it, and in themselves to live and conduct themselves in that way. By learning these things, it will also cause them to surround themselves with more like-minded people as well, and will also keep them from getting sucked into the worst of what our culture can produce.

    But I think you should be proud of your daughter's progression and defence of your wife and of bigger people in general. That kind of love, respect and the compassion you spoke of about bigger girls in her class, etc. is something that is very difficult to instil, so you should be very proud of you and your wife's hard work to help form her into who she is.

    As far as your wife being concerned about being the source of teasing for her children, that can be a tough one, but my inclination is for her to be there for them. If she decides to keep her distance, there may be a time when she might regret not being more a part of her kids' school life. She won't want to miss those moments and she's going to want those memories. I think it's important for her to be there, because it also shows love and support for her kids through her involvement and engagement in their school lives too. It's a tough call and who knows, there may be instances where you'll have to play it by ear, but my natural inclination is that it would be best for her to be a part of it all in the long run. Because as you implied, if you manage to instil those things within your kids, they are going to know better, even if there is any negativity from other kids. From that they are going to have the self-confidence and enough perspective to not let that get to them in any sort of meaningful way. Love always prevails, and besides, it's only a few relatively short-lived years where those scenarios may even be a possibility, so it would be a shame to miss out and not be a part of some of those things. Life's too short to allow other people to dictate how you want to be for your kids. I say to encourage her to be there for them in all ways possible, because that is also showing them love and no "shame" of her size by example too. ;)

    Anyway, great topic and a good read. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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  12. Jul 16, 2019 #12

    HUGEisElegant

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    Again, while I don't have kids, if I did, you can be sure I'd be teaching them acceptance and what it is to value other people, not based on their size or their looks, but on the content of their heart and soul as a person. That THAT is what is most important. But also to teach them them big is most certainly beautiful too, and to treat people with respect and dignity, regardless of their size or appearance, what their background is, what the colour of their skin is, etc. Because we're ALL people and we're ALL beautiful in our own ways. Variety is what makes the world a more interesting and beautiful place and it is up to us as parents (theoretical in my case) to instil these positive traits into them for them to reciprocate and treat/affect others in a positive way in their own lives. It's SO important. Especially in today's sick and twisted culture of vanity insanity.

    That's unfortunate about your daughter's comment though. :/ As mentioned, I'm not sure of the full context, but it didn't sound good. Particularly in how it made you feel. :( But maybe she said that because she hasn't had enough of that instilled in her. It is important though. Not only for how she views and treats you, but other people as well. It's never too late to have those conversations to instil those things within her still-forming, still-malleable character as a young person. :) I would perhaps let her know how her comment made you feel and that it is not nice to be rude or dismissive of someone because of their size. Her comment could have also be brought on by the fact that your body is changing, and that she is not used to it yet. Your changing body is not a negative thing at all, but you have to assure that she doesn't see it (or other people) in a negative light. Because there is nothing wrong with your you are, your appearance, or who you want to be in any way, shape or form. But it is up to you to show her that beauty and acceptance comes in all forms, and that size does not, and should not be allowed to form our opinions of other people. Just be a positive example and talk with her about it to perhaps help her see another way. :)

    Yep, I agree. As I mentioned in my initial post, I think this is important. As much as we can do to instil all the positive things in our kids to become better people, they also learn from the other things we do through example as well. Some of which can be very good and others can be unintended. I believe you are right in implying that a sense of hiding and "shame" can unintentionally instil that same sense within kids as well. If her size is seen as something to shy away from or be "shameful" about, that can also be passed down to them as well. Like you said though, I don't want to make it seem like these situations are in no way "easy" to live or overcome, but I also believe that they can be opportunities for them to see and learn by example that her size is not something to hide or be ashamed of. Because that is also showing them by example that being big is not something to be "ashamed" of at all. :)

    That's assuring to hear about your daughter. :) I think that is a very important factor into determining their view of others, and even what their own sense of self-esteem can be by having two parents that never make a big deal about weight in general. Because as she clearly showed, it allowed her to feel like it (she) was acceptable to just be herself. No matter what her weight or appearance was. It is SO important to have that growing up. For the most part, I had that growing up too, but my father did make a few comments that were hurtful when I was bigger as a teen. It's those sort of comments that can be so damaging to a child's sense of self-esteem and self-worth. For the most part I was free from that at home, but some of the few things that were said hurt and affected my self-esteem at the time. I don't mention that in regards to the OP at all, but just in general. But it's great to see you daughter was raised in a loving, accepting home where she could be herself. :)

    Haha. Well, he's still young and I'm sure he'll grow out of that quick enough. We're all googly, awkward and goofy in our own way at that age. That's an age where we're still just a little kid, but are beginning to transition into becoming something else. It wasn't until I was 12 or 13 where I started to break out of that awkward "googliness" and began to form as a person. So I can empathize with being sort of a "dork" at that age. lol :rolleyes:

    For what I can gather of you in the short time we've known each other, I don't think I would have assumed anything less from you, but that's good to see. That's pretty much the way I was raised in all aspects of life too. Anything from girls, sports, politics, religion, etc., me and my brother were never "expected" to be anything other than what WE wanted to be. As long as we were happy with our own life choices, that is what was nurtured in our household. Good to see that's the same case with you and your kids as well. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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  13. Jul 16, 2019 #13

    HUGEisElegant

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    That's really sad about your story about that party and her SSBBW mom. :( It saddens my heart that we live in a society where that has become "acceptable" and normalized. It just goes to show the pressures we all live in to "be" what parts of our culture tells us to be, according to the doctrines of the very culture we live in. It angers me sometimes just to think about how narrow and obtuse the culture we live in can be. We have a long way to go to get where we want to be, but it all starts with us living by example to show people another way.

    As far as your son, that's good to see he's never been embarrassed. But I'm sure that could hurt or at least be a little uncomfortable to have him not want to acknowledge you around his friends. Although, that kind of thing is typical for any teen, regardless of the size of their parents. Heck, even I went through that stage as a teen. There was the odd time where I would get a ride into school and I'd ask my mom to drop me off a block or so away from school...and NO KISS GOODBYE!!! lol :rolleyes: But no matter the circumstance, they all eventually grow out of it. :)

    Great artwork! I like the message they portray. Not only in what fatherhood can be as a big dad, but particularly in what it means to be a father in general. They're heartwarming. Thanks for sharing. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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  14. Jul 16, 2019 #14

    HUGEisElegant

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    ^^^ I think in addition to my point above, I feel it's also important to mention that being there with/for her kids at school, this will also do wonders for her own sense of self-esteem too. By being there, she wouldn't have to feel "ashamed" to be there, which if that becomes the case, that will begin wear on her mind quite a bit and gnaw away at her over time. Which will only cause her to feel bad about herself and as her role as a parent for her kids. I think for those reasons as well it is important for her to be there with them and for them. Not only to be a positive and reassuring example for them, but to be a positive and reassuring example for herself in regards to maintaining a healthy sense of self-esteem, and as a parent. :)
     
  15. Jul 16, 2019 #15

    Tad

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    There can be practicalities to consider too, aside from shame being an example, and all that. We squeezed into kid sized chairs and desks at a lot of meet the teacher nights and parent/teacher interviews. Bigger folk flat outwould not havefit in some of those, so would have been standing the whole time unless they made arrangements first. Or were up and down two high flights of stairs. Some days that may be a battle more than one is up to.
     
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  16. Jul 17, 2019 #16

    Ncmomof4

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    Awesomely said! And completley agree. Being a mom of 4 girls any self consciousness I feel getting ready to go into their school for things is nothing in comparison to the guilt I would feel if I had the ability to be there and chose not to because I was ashamed or scared for what people or kids might say about me. My kids deserve a mom that can suck in her own insecurities and teach them how to be a strong woman. There is nothing a kid could ever say to their daughter that would ever dull the feelings of happiness that her mom was there for her and was proud of her.
     
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  17. Jul 17, 2019 #17

    Emmy

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    Thick and body positivity are pretty "in" things right now too! Its awsome to watch acceptance become cool :p Even more that you can watch closely as your kids take part in it.
     
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  18. Jul 31, 2019 #18

    happily_married

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    Had a proud father moment yesterday when I took my 7 year old to a playground. Shortly after we arrived a couple ladies showed up and with them a collection of small children, the oldest of which were probably close tony son’s age. The oldest ones were all girls but my son joined them like they’d known each other all along. I got the impression these kids were all siblings and cousins.

    One girl was a little chunky and so was her mom. My son was on a 4-way see-saw with two other girls when they called over to the chunky girl to come join them. She jump off the swing and as she was running over one of the girls said, “she weighs at least 100 pounds.”

    My son is probably more in tune than most kids his age regarding how much kids his size weigh. This is because he competes in judo and the have weight classes. He looked at the girl who was joining them and said, “There’s no way she is 100 pounds you’re just being mean!”

    The chunky girl’s mom was also nearby and said to the first girl, “Yeah, (girl’s name), that was really not a nice thing to say. You shouldn’t talk about how much she weighs.”

    Then as her daughter joined the others she told me she was impressed with how my son reacted and appreciated what he said. Short conversation ensued where she admitted she was worried about her daughter’s weight, almost as much for the psychological impact of being a chubby girl growing up as for the actual physical health. I think she has a good point because kids are just brutal to each other and chubby girls are easy targets.
     
  19. Jul 31, 2019 #19

    Tad

    Tad

    Tad

    mostly harmless

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    Proud parent moment indeed! That "You are just being mean" was such a good touch. To have a stranger reinforce that such comments are just 'being mean' is likely something she will remember for a long time.
     
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  20. Aug 1, 2019 #20

    RVGleason

    RVGleason

    RVGleason

    Well-Known Member

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    I hope this is ok to post here, I found it very sweet.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Green Eyed Fairy and Aqw like this.

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