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Adults only and mothers don't understand that.

17 years ago

For the fifth year in a row we will be having our annual Christmas party next weekend. The invite always says "Cocktails" and cheer etc.,.

Last year a few friends with children asked if they could bring them. I had to tell the parents then when they said they didn't have a sitter that it was fine if they brought the babies as they could put them upstairs and let them sleep. BTW none of these mothers were breastfeeding at the time. If they were I definitely didn't have an issue. But I made it clear for the ones that were crawling that our house is not baby proof and this was an adults only party.

We have a metal and glass table that I have even cut myself on. I have poinsettas all over the house by then. Glass ornaments on the tree. Its not a barbecue. It's china, glass and silverware that dinner is served off of. So little fingers pulling glasses down (thought of) makes me cringe!

This year two of these same mothers now with toddlers that are into their 2nd and 3rd year said they would just stop by and see how long the kids last. I don't want to be mean but it's just not appropriate to have kids at this party. We have a bartender and it's a party where all our friends wait for it to come and enjoy it!

Now we don't have kids. But, when we do we will still continue with this party and I will be sending our kids to grandparents over night. We will not have our kids at this party b/c it's an adult party.

I am invisioning my ornaments broken. Furniture gooped with food from their kids. I'm not happy but at this point I don't want to be a bad person. Also it makes me feel bad then that so many of the other friends have actually gotten sitters.

Also, one of these women works so she sends her child to a daycare daily. Yet, she says that she just can't leave her child with a sitter. The other one says her in-laws are busy. My opinion is to find someone else.

I'm so aggravated.

Plus, If I have to confront them guess who is the bad guy. Me. Not my husband.

So put this on the list of people not knowing how to RSVP and not understanding what adult only means.

Comments (17)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I dont envy your situation. I do think it would be tacky to word your invitations "adult only"; cocktails noted on your invites does not in any way say this is an adult only party. Unfortunately, kids are at plenty of functions where adults are drinking. Have you thought of phoning these guests ahead of time and discuss your apprehensions, perhaps they will change their mind as to bringing the kids, or they will make sure every moment the kids are within reach/eyesight.

    As for the mother that sends her kid to daycare; thatÂs completely different than a party. Out of necessity this parent works and daycare is the available option. Your party takes place during her free/family time. As much as you donÂt want her bringing the kid, I can understand her need/want to be with her family. She probably looks at work as adult only time.

    IÂm sure it wouldn't sit well if you didn't invite the children bringers, especially if you do this annually and they are always on your guest list, because there will always be someone else that will bring their child.

    if you want these people to participate in the season traditions with you, you just have to go along with their imposing ways, which are really only for a few hours; however, I would make it a point to advise them of your misgivings, tell them that you will need them to keep an eye on the kids at all.

    I personally do not have a baby-proofed house. I never did even when my kid was young. He was taught not to touch. He didn't do it at home and he certainly didn't do it anywhere we visited. I cannot say that for people that visit my home - adults and children alike. Once, a young child crawled across my dining room table - his mother was not too far from him and said nothing. It was at the end of the party, so there were just minimal platters on the table. (i wasn't quiet about it) Another time, the kids were sitting on the floor coloring, in a not too convenient place while I was in and out of the kitchen, so I asked them to go color upstairs. It wasn't until two or three days later when my pastor stopped at the house and I was showing it (new home) that the coloring they did was in the bedroom on all of the walls. My heart stopped. Or the time a guest came with her dog or my niece, who never rsvpÂd showed up with her son, a man she was dating, his three kids and their friends - so his kids wouldnÂt get bored and a another couple who had nothing to do that day.

    My list goes on and on; however, I love to entertain, I love my friends and family and I just take my chances. I still use all my good china and glassware and there's usually something that happens. Some people go off my invite list, others come on. I am always changing the type of parties I have. I have also, and it works, have smaller, formal dinner parties, but I always speak to the adults first and ask "what are you and guest doing on the 11th, IÂm going to have an adult dinner party". That has worked perfectly.

    Put things up higher, put some type of decorative barricade around your tree so no one messes with the ornaments and take whatever precautions you need to for that one night. IÂm a little surprised that you think it is only kids that touch and break things - thatÂs a list I didnÂt even go into.

    I wish you luck.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There is nothing at all worng with having an adults only party. I entertain a lot and most of my parties/dinners are open to the kids but once a year I have an "adults only" cocktail party.

    Some people don't like to get babysitters for all kinds of reasons, that's OK but that might mean having to decline the odd invitation...which is OK too.

    Most people realize that children don't belong at evening coctail parties, but in defense of your friend if you didn't object to the kids the last two years then she may not think you mind. I would be straight up with them and tell them that you really love the kids and it was OK to bring them as infants, but it's an adult party and you would appreciate it if they would make arrangements for the kids. Honesty is the best policy and to just let it go is going to spoil your evening and likely that of your guests. Two and three year olds need a lot of attention.

    It's probably too late for this year but next year I would definitely add something to the invitation. "Adults Only " is a bit brash I would send a casual invitation and say something like " Looking forward to spending the evening with you. So book your babysitter and join us......... " or add a note at the bottom saying " as much as we love the children the evening is "big kids" only.

    Most people will be thrilled for a night out without the darlin's! LOL

    Good luck , hope the party is wonderful.

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  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think chase has it right. These people aren't boors; they just know you said it was okay in the past, so they felt comfortable asking if they could bring the kidz again.

    But I certainly agree that there is nothing wrong with an adults-only party. You can say politely, "Oh, I'm sorry, but we're not having kids at this party. I hope you'll be able to arrange a sitter and come. And we'd love to get together with you and little Jessica some other time." [So they know it's about the kind of party you want to have, not about their child.]

    What I would NOT do:

    -I would not get into a discussion about your reasons. If it's a close friend and you don't mind discussing it, you can quite reasonably say, "Well, we've tried it before, and it's not a disaster, but there's no question that the presence of babies just changes the atmosphere of a cocktail party. It was one thing when it was one or two infants sleeping in the next room, but now that so many of our friends have kidz, and they are getting older, we just decided that for this one party each year we're going to have it be just grown-ups." I would definitely NOT get into some argument about whether children "belong" at cocktail parties or whether someone who puts her child in daycare should balk at getting a sitter in the evening (Earthlydelights made a good point about that) - we often feel like citing some "objective" rule is less offensive, but actually it is more so. No one wants to hear that they or their children are less important than some (probably nonexistent anyway) "rule."

    -I wouldn't put "adults only" on the invitation. Maybe it's because I no longer have little kidz, but I wouldn't realize immediately why you did that -- rather, I would wonder what exactly was going to go on at this party that you gave it an X rating! "Cocktails" prominently on the invitation gives the message well enough -- it doesn't sound like people just showed up with kidz, but rather that they called in advance and asked if it would be okay.

    - I would NOT give them a hard time if they decline, or lecture them about needing to get out without their kidz once in a while. Parents always have to choose to attend some events and skip others. They like to be with their kidz, the kidz might need some extra attention for reasons you don't know about, or sitter money might be getting tight. Just tell them you'll miss them and try to arrange a different time to get together.

    Like earthlydelights, we never babyproofed our home, even when our own kidz were babies (I mean, it was safe for them -- no drain cleaner accessible or anything -- but we didn't remove all breakables or valuables). It's not really a big deal. If I anticipate too much action, I might move a few items to higher ground and remind the kidz to ROLL, not throw, the ball for the dog.

    As you and your friends advance through stages of life, you might want to consider changing how you entertain, or at least adding child-friendly get-togethers (at a restaurant or park if you don't want kidz in your home) with your friends who are parents, so that you maintain the relationship and so that they know not to take the adults-only event personally. People can be VERY touchy about their kidz.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I feel your pain. Are these people dense or what? Are they friends, acquaintances, business associates?

    I have seen so many people do the same at adults only cocktail parties. You would think they would enjoy a couple of hours of adult time. I don't know why this happens. When the invitation says Mr. and Mrs. so and so it means adults only. If you wanted kids at your party, you would address the invitation to the entire family.

    I like kids, I have one. I would never take her to an adult function, 1 mo. 1 yr. 16 yrs. It is rude. I don't think you should have to cordon off your tree and put things up. And as for the breastfeeding moms. That's why they make the pump. So you can freeze and store milk for this exact circumstance.

    If they respond that they have to bring the kids, say, that's a shame, since it is an adults only party, I hope we'll see you next year - end of story. No explantions needed.

    Do these people just show up with the kids in tow? What do the kids do at the party besides play with things that you have collected, break your china, spill their food, etc. Don't get me wrong, I love kids, just not at an adult function.

    I have noticed also that when a mom has the nerve to bring her kids to an adult party, most don't keep a proper eye on what the kid's doing. It suddenly becomes your responsiblity to protect your things? Why is that?

    A different scenario, but still the same, in that the mom doesn't watch her own kids. I have an inground swimming pool and like to use it on the weekends in the summer. I have a very good friend who came every weekend with her 3 kids under the age of 5 and just plopped herself in the chair and never watched the kids at all. She works a full time job and considers the weekend her down time? Well, I want my down time too. I was trying to share the pool on hot days, but it just didn't work out that well. I was suddenly the self-appointed lifeguard because I don't want any injuries or drownings in my pool. I finally stopped inviting. My DH asks, why? Because I have one child, that's how many I want to keep track of unless I am throwing a children's party.

    Your post struck a nerve since I will be attending a cocktail reception on Sunday afternoon at a country club - adults only and I already know of one person who is bringing their kid, not a baby, a teen. Explanation has been made, of course. I don't care what your explanation is. If you can't get a sitter, or you want your time with your kids, then please stay at home with them.

    Okay, I will come down off the soap box now before I fall...

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Your party is for adults only and you know what happens when you allow some people to bring their kids, exactly the problem you're having. Plus, your other guests may be wondering why their kids were not invited,or why they have to fork out money for a babysitter when others don't. Be fair to your guests...either invite entire families or don't.

    I would tell these people the party is only for adults..."Sorry, but if I make one exception, I have to make more and then everyone will want to bring their kids".

    No babysitter..."Oh, sorry we won't be seeing you. Maybe next year".

    Or, simply don't invite these people again.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Since there are mutual friends on the guest list that have yet to rsvp I think I may send an email with a reminder of "hope to see you."

    I am going to word it

    "Hi everyone. We hope you have booked your sitters and are going to be joining everyone on Sat. Feel free to book one of our guest rooms if needed. We have plenty of room! Hope to see you all this weekend." Then our home phone and address.

    That is the best I can do at this point.

    Yes, last year I did say feel free to bring the baby b/c at the time it was a tiny baby in a seat and I made it clear they could put the baby upstairs away from the party.

    To a friend last year I told her no to her toddler b/c my house was not baby proof and it was an adults only party.

    I told this to a close friend yesterday the predictment and she was adamant to put a stop to this now b/c otherwise this will an issue for years to come.

    Again I don't see the problem with adults only. I also can't believe people don't read the outside of an invite to see who it is addressed to.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Certainly having an adult-only party is your right. And it is a safety issue if you don't have children of your own, and your home isn't appropriate for young children.

    But, it's probably difficult for you to put yourself in the place of the couples you're inviting. Most people who have children don't WANT to be separated from them at the holidays. Many don't feel comfortable leaving them with sitters (and just because someone has a daytime sitter, doesn't mean that sitter is willing to do 24 hour duty). Sometimes people book a sitter and something happens at the last minute--the sitter's children are sick, for instance.

    I'm not saying you should necessarily have to have children running around when you're trying to serve dinner on your best dishes. However, you might want to consider a very practical alternative--why not hire 2-4 responsible high school students, set aside one room of your house that is safe, fill it with appropriate games, activities and videos, kid-friendly snacks and let parents bring their children. That way, you'll have the best of both worlds. Your friends will feel comfortable coming to your home. You can have your adult party in the living room while the children are properly supervised in a guest or family room. And your guests will be able to look in on their children as often as they wish. You might even encourage the kids to bring their favorite pillow and quilt so they can curl up on the floor watching Christmas videos as the hour gets late. Keep in mind, though, that you will need probably 4 students to make this work (more if there will be more than 6-8 children)--one student to run the activities, one to help watch and control the kids, one for bathroom runs, one to fill in as needed (extra help for games, or serving food, or cleaning up as the party progresses).

    If you look around, I bet you notice what I have in my neighborhood. The young marrieds have the kind of adult parties you want to have, but when the kids start coming, those parties change--they become family-friendly events where everyone and their children are welcome. It's just the way things work. I know it's difficult for you since you're not yet in the child-raising stage, but you may want to give some thought in the future to how you can make your guests feel more welcome--a lot of parents can be very offended when they're invited somewhere and told their children aren't welcome. You and I know it's just one option--but parents tend to take that very personally. In some cases, you might even lose friends over it. Again--not saying you should be pressured into doing something that's not right for you. But I do think that sometimes it's worth looking for a reasonable alternative.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I couldn't disagree with you more, azzalea.

    This is not a night time mandatory work meeting; it's a party, they can choose to say no. If ilovepink looses friends over this, I would probably say good riddance to those "friends".

    My friends and I all have kids and babies, etc. and we still understand what an adult party means. I could give you many reasons why the babysitter idea will probably still not work; have you tried it? Plus, the parents are still not spending quality time with their kids, right? And, what about the kid with strep or stomach flu that gives it to everyone right before Christmas (I find that people that advantage of this kind of thing are the same type of parents that will bring sick kids to party).

    Bottom line, no one is telling people how to spend their time or that they have to come. If they want and can go to an adult party, they go; if not, they don't and I'm sure the host will accept that.

    I just don't get why people think they are so special that people should be catering to them. --Part of that over spoiling "me generation" thing, I guess.... Just so disrespectful to think that you are so important that the host should give you and your kids such special consideration, IMHO (Is she expected to provide kid's food and drinks for them too?).

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Another thought on children at cocktail parties. I think it's inappropriate for children to be at cocktail parties from the childs perspective. Adults having cocktails induldge in adult conversation which may not be meant for childrens ears,everything from politics, to sex to just plain gossip!

    Cocktail parties are also normally evening events. What on earth is a 2 or 3 year old, or even older child, doing up at 8:30, 9 and even later? They should be home in their little beds, warm and snug not at a party!

    Children don't belong at cocktail parties for their own sake, the sake of guests who may be looking forward to a kidless night and for the sake of the hostess who has to worry about it all. IMHO

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree totally with labmomma and carla - very well put. An adult party is just that! I don't take my kids to my husband's company party - why would that be different than an adult house party? I am so fortunate to have friends and relatives that understand this concept. There are so many opportunities during the holidays for family time and gatherings, and having an adult affair should be the host's choice. I truly don't think people would be insulted if told it's adults only, and if so maybe they should be the ones hosting the parties so everyone else can bring their kids!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I also would make it clear that it is an "adults only" cocktail party. Young children shouldn't be at that type of party, period. Nor would I want the kids in the car when the parents are driving home after an evening of merry making. There are enough times during the holidays for family type events. No need to drag the children to an adult party.
    Having baby sitters for the children in a different room is impractical and doesn't work imo. The kids know the parents are there. They will want to be with mommy and daddy and cause a fuss. Nor should the host have to provide baby sitters in the first place. They aren't their children. It's the parents responsiblity to arrange for such things, with a sitter they know and trust whom isn't a stranger to the children. If the parents don't want to arrange for a sitter then they can decline the invitation and stay home. Or if the sitter gets sick at the last minute then they stay home if a sub can't be found. I can't think of a reason why children should be at an adult party. Once in a while it is good to be away from the children and be with adults. The children won't be scarred for live because they spent an evening away from mommy and daddy, and it will probably do the parents some good too. NancyLouise

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh boy, I have very strong feelings on this topic. First of all, let me preface this by saying that I have two kids, age 16 & 19, so I can speak to this from the viewpoint of the mother of children from infancy to teen.

    There is nothing wrong with having an adults only party. Let me say that again. There is nothing wrong with having an adults only party.

    I've done it multiple times. Including after my kids were born. And I put on the invitation "Adults only". Tacky or not I don't care. It's my party and I get to decide whom to invite.

    For some reason our society has begun to believe that kids belong everywhere adults do. They don't! They don't belong in fancy expensive restaurants, they don't belong at theatre (movie or live) until they have enough self-control to sit through the entire production with no disruption, the same way an adult is expected to. And they don't belong at an adult cocktail party.

    My theory is that since most families have both parents working, there is a lot of guilt about leaving the kids behind when the parents are not working. Thus the philosophy that kids should be taken everywhere the adults go. But this is so unfair both to other adults and to the kids themselves. It's no fun being a kid at an adult themed party. It's boring and uncomfortable and children who are exposed to this will inevitably make that clear to the parents. The kids are miserable, the parents are miserable and the other guests have to suffer too.

    The baby sitter in the other room idea simply doesn't work. To add to what carla35 pointed out, this set up usually ends up with the kids coming into the adult area to find their parents, the baby sitters seeking out parents for any minor crisis, or the parents spending their time in the kids room to make sure all is going well, or all of the above. Again, NONE of this makes for a fun adult party.

    I have an annual ADULT FEMALES only party where I make it crystal clear that kids are not welcome. And still, one year, I had an invited guest call me to ask if she could bring her son (he was maybe 18 months old at the time) because it was the only way she could come. Against my principals, for her sake, I said, ok, but ONLY if he could be put in a bedroom and would stay there without wondering out at all. Fortunately she said, no, he'd want to be where everyone else was, so I said I'm sorry. This is an adult party. If you bring him, he'll become the center of attention and will totally change the dynamic of the party. It won't be the same party and I just can't allow it. She understood and in fact, managed to find a babysitter after all!!

    When my kids were little, there were many times when I missed out something I would have liked to do and would have been able to do had I not had kids. That is a part of how it is to raise kids. You make sacrifices for them. You miss out on some things. That's life. Whoever can't make it to the party because they can't or won't get a babysitter, that's unfortuate but that's the way it goes.

    Thoughout by kids' lives, I've made the choice to do many things with them, but also to have a social life which did not include them. My older son once said to me that he really liked the fact that I had a life outside of my kids. Too many of his friends' moms were so wrapped up in their kids lives, it seemed to him, they had no life of their own. He felt that his mom was a person in her own right, and that enriched his life since I wasn't dependent on him for my whole personality. It also allowed him to grow up and eased the process of him gaining his independence from me.

    Bottom line, make it as clear as you can that adults only are welcome, that children of any age are not, and that you hope to see them without their kids, if not this year then next. As was noted above, if someone doesn't understand this and you lose a friendship over it, well, that's unfortunate but unavoidable, and in the long run, probably for the best.

    Good luck with your party!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It is completely OK to have an adults only party. I have a young child and if I find a sitter and go out for an adults only evening, I would be less than thrilled to find other peoples children there. I dont think these people are socially inept though. You set the precedent last year when you allowed children.

    I think you have to accept the fact that some of the people with children may not be able to make this party. It is not easy to find a trusted sitter for events like these, even if you have daycare. A lot of times the people you trust with your children, family and friends, are going to the same event that you want to and are unavailable to watch the kids. Please dont remove them from the invite list, because of this. If you do, you will create a very awkward situation that is unnecessary.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Although I certainly agree that there is nothing wrong with adults-only parties (see my previous post), I wonder at the vehemence in some of these posts. It's one thing if people just show up with their uninvited kidz (or uninvited anyone else, for that matter) to a party. But for them to call in advance and ask if it would be all right doesn't seem like such a big deal to me, especially where children have been in attendance at the same party in previous years, or where it may not be crystal clear that no children will be there (I wouldn't want to knock myself out hiring a sitter only to arrive at the party and discover that others' kidz were there).

    I appreciate that ilovepink doesn't want to feel like "the bad guy." But it seems to me that if everyone, guest and host alike, acts with tact, this doesn't need to be a big deal.

    "Hi, this is Petunia. We got your invitation four weeks ago for your party tomorrow, and we're coming, and of course we'll be bringing little Cedric, too, so don't forget to babyproof the house and have kid-friendly food."
    "Can't you read? The invitation was for you and Cuthbert only, and it clearly says that this is a cocktail party. That means NO CHILDREN -- everyone knows that children do not belong at cocktail parties. What happens to you people once you have a baby? Cedric will destroy my house and ruin my party. You have daycare every day; why suddenly can't you stand to be parted from your little darling for one evening? You must be feeling a lot of guilt, and frankly, I think that you and Cuthbert ought to spend a little more time alone together if you value your marriage."
    "Well! I never knew you were such a child-hater. Children are the future, you know, and little Cedric is an angel, and you are the first person ever to force us to exclude him. Maybe you'll understand someday if you ever have children, although you obviously don't understand or like them. I suppose our friendship will just have to be put on hold until then. Have a merry freakin' Christmas -- not that you even understand what Christmas is all about."

    "Hi, this is Petunia. We just got your invitation, and we're so excited about your cocktail party. You always give such fun parties. Is there anything I can do to help?"
    "No, not a thing. I'm so glad you and Cuthbert can come!"
    "We are, too. I do have one question, and I hope you won't mind my asking: are we supposed to bring Cedric along or not? I only ask because I remember last year there was a baby or two sleeping in the other room, and his regular sitter will be on vacation that week, so I'll need time to find a sitter if you'd rather not have any babies at the party this year."
    "Thanks for asking, Petunia, and unfortunately I have to tell you that this year Gaylord and I have decided that we just aren't going to be able to accommodate any kidz. Of course I know Cedric would be no trouble, but there are starting to be more kidz in the crowd, and we can't say yes to him and no to all the others. I do hope you'll be able to find a sitter and come; we'd sure miss you."
    "No problem at all -- I was just checking before I started phoning sitters. I'll get on it right away, because I don't want to miss the best party of the year!" [OR: "I completely understand. A cocktail party just isn't the same with kidz around, even in the other room. But Cedric has been very fretful with teething lately, so Cuthbert and I have decided not to leave him in the evenings for the next few weeks. Darn! I sure hate to miss your party, but I guess we'll just have to this year. Maybe we can all get together for supper in January. Thanks again for inviting us, and please keep us on your list for next year."]

    Does that make sense?

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Of course that makes sense. No one wants to offend anyone unnecessarily.

    The problem is, as maybe others can attest to, some people just really lack manners. Often the people who can't or don't read the envelope (and who it is addressed to) are the same people that won't take no for an answer or will try to make you feel guilty about it.

    People either get it or they don't. Well mannered people are not usually going to ask to bring kids even if a couple others did last year; while illmannered people are probably not going to be so gracious when told (however nicely) that they can't bring their kids. That's just my experience with it.

    Sadly, lack of manners usually isn't just about not being able to read an inviation or not RSVPing on time, it is often an all encompassing type of thing that is present in many forms of disrespect.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have NEVER had children at this party.


    In years past when there was a baby just born and a mother was breastfeeding I allowed a baby to go upstairs to a bedroom and sleep. never have I had a child, teen, baby, etc.,. mingling at this party. BUT I say I allowed but they never came. So it's not as if anyone has even seen a baby come into the house the night of this party.

    I see your point above. But, again when an invite is addressed to a couple I don't see why someone would even wonder "does this mean I can bring my child or not?" It's clearly saying cocktails too.

    I have been more than polite to my guests about this topic. I had my husband send an email with a reminder of our address and home phone and we can't wait to see them along with the "hope you booked a sitter" and feel free to leave your car over night if you need to take a taxi home.

    We'll see what happens.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There was a time when we had three small children with our parents 1500 miles away so a night out required a sitter which in those days meant an expenditure of $15-$20. Since this was an issue, we were not always able to attend various parties, etc., as $15-20 a pop was an issue for us in those days. (Kids now are 43,41,37.) It never ever occurred to us to ask a host if we could bring three kids under 10. On the other hand, our friends also had growing families and many of us planned outdoor kid friendly parties. I am of an age that as a child, kids were seated away from adults at family dinners and adults were served first. It was a big deal for us cousins to have our own table.

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