The writer is a mother to a three-year-old son, whom she conceived "naturally." She and her husband wanted one more child, and after trying for over a year, began fertility treatments. Neither she nor her husband wanted multiples. They struggled with the responsibilities, time, and finances associated with raising their son, and they knew they could not handle more than one more child. Her husband's insurance policy covered IVF, which the couple wanted to use to transfer just one embryo and decrease the chance for multiples, but in order for the policy to cover IVF, they had to try IUI (intra-uterine insemination) first.
Her IUI resulted in a twin pregnancy. IUIs actually result in more multiples than IVF does, because the number of follicles released by the ovaries cannot be controlled. This is how Kate Gosselin got pregnant with sextuplets, and how most higher order multiples happen.
The writer agonized over her decision, but ultimately elected to travel to a different state where she found a doctor to reduce the pregnancy to a single fetus.
She says this about her decision, "I know it sounds selfish, but I wanted to protect the well-being of the people already in my life — my son, my husband, and, yes, myself."
The author of this piece has been vilified.
"She used fertility treatments, and everyone knows what happens when you do IUI or IVF. You get twins, triplets, or more. Deal with it."
"She went into it knowing the significant possibility for multiples."
"She asked for it"
"Twins are not high-risk. Selective reduction should not have been an option - anywhere."
Here's what I think.
I'm pro-choice. I believe every woman has the right to decide what happens to herself, her body, and her family. As a result, I support this woman's choice, even though it's one I would not have made for myself. Even thought it's one that many, even those who say they are pro-choice, disapprove of. Was her decision selfish? Maybe. But who's going to make the call as to what is or is not a "reason" to have an abortion? She knew she was not capable of raising twins + her older son in a healthy situation. And she made a really difficult decision because of it.Most women who undergo fertility treatments do not want multiples. We want the singleton our best friend, neighbor, co-worker, and cashier at the grocery store got pregnant with after a few months of trying, or no trying at all. While we may say, "hell, after two years of trying, I'll take however many I can get," we don't really mean this. We may be infertile, but that doesn't mean we're Michelle Duggar. Twins and triplets scare the shit out of us too.
But on an even more personal level, I give the writer a great deal of credit for taking into consideration her and her husband's limits, abilities, and their desire to grow their family the way they wanted to, and not the way most other people thought they should. She knew they could not handle twins, for myriad reasons. She knew that to bring two babies into her life would not be healthy for the babies, or for her three-year-old son, not to mention the housing, job, and financial considerations involved in raising three children.
Believe me, I know all too well what this is like. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know too.
I did not ever consider reducing my pregnancy to one fetus once I found out I was carrying twins, even though I spent the months prior to the pregnancy freaking out over the possibility of multiples. I had always wanted two children. I never wanted more than two. I did not want twins because I had Isabella already. I believe I felt this way because I knew I was not equipped to deal with three children under the age of three. Frankly, I'm not equipped to deal with a 4-year-old and two almost-two-year-olds. A preschooler + high-needs toddler twins is too much for me. Most days, I am on the brink. I feel like a customer service rep at a high-volume call center, meeting one need after another, all day every day.
What defines "too many children" is different for every family. For this woman, a toddler son + newborn twins was too much. For someone else, that kind of family is a breeze. She had every right to have the family that was the ideal one for her, just as women who get abortions because they're single, or in school, or unemployed and living at home with their parents do every day.In my opinion, to criticize the writer, as many have done, is unfair and it is wrong.
What do you think about her decision?
Most moms I know say that their kids' baby and toddler years passed in a blur, that they can barely remember the diaper blowout stage, the throwing food stage, or the biting stage.
I agree wholeheartedly, but my momnesia goes one step further. I literally cannot remember things that my kids have done or said yesterday. It is bad. Very bad. Which is why making time to write these monthly updates on my kids is a good thing, even when I have a Drafts folder full of more interesting topics I'm dying to write about. These posts help me remember.
We're all in the throes of adjusting to the new fall schedule. Most weekday mornings, I pack up the kids and head to the gym. Luci and Nicholas are still loving the daycare there (thank you, Jesus) and cannot wait to run through the doors and play. My work schedule is insane these days, and I may have to convert a couple of my workout days into partial work days - do a quick workout, and then whip out the laptop and take advantage of the quiet and free Wi-Fi in my gym's lounge.
Then, it's home for lunch, and back in the car again to take Isabella to preschool. They come home for naps, which Monday-Thursday I usually have to cut short for Nicholas (but never for Luci), because Isabella has to be picked up at 3:30. I am still very, very thankful that these two sleep well at night-usually for 13 hours, from 7pm-8am.
Luci is chattering away these days, with "I got it!" and "Dude! Time Out!" as her favorite phrases. Yes, she enjoys monitoring her brother's behavior and enforcing punishment, when necessary. Her hair is a hot mess, and yet she will not keep barrettes or hairbands in it for very long.
Her Daddyitis (a beautiful thing, I might add) continues, and when her daddy is around, he's all she wants. Fortunately, she's a fickle beast, and when he's out of sight, she doesn't pine for him.
Her eating habits are deplorable, which I remember Isabella going through at this age. If it's not one of her stand-bys (homemade chicken soup, courtesy of my great aunt or my grandma), eggs, yogurt, or bread, she often refuses to eat. I'm still making zucchini muffins, so at least she eats those.
Dolls are her favorite playthings, as well as whatever her brother happens to be holding at any given time. She also loves to color with crayons, and keep a continuous dialogue going anytime she's in the car: "MommyLookMommyCar!Bird!MommyBook!Mommy!Shoes!Mommy?MOMMY?AHHHHHHH"
I wish she hadn't abandoned her binky at 3 months old.
This child of mine is all boy. He is a mere breath away from an untimely demise seemingly every second of the day-climbing on top of end tables and launching himself onto sofas, pushing chairs all over the dining room, standing on them, and attempting to turn light switches on and off, sticking his above-average-sized head into the small opening in the windmill obstacle on a miniature golf course and getting it stuck there.
He knows no fear.
Nicholas is also super strong. If I have him in my arms and he wants to walk, he will lunge downward, and sometimes he is very close to taking me to the ground with him.
The language edge is still his. He yammers up a storm all day: ("More egg please!" "I afraid!" "Grandma's here!") and unsurprisingly, his favorite word is still "no." Or "mine."
Luci has been telling me about her dirty diapers for a month or so now, and this past month, Nicholas is telling me too. We are nowhere near ready to try potty-training with these two, though, and are hoping that Isabella steps up to the plate and does it herself.
The theme of their birthday is Elmo and Abby. Interestingly, Sesame Street is about the only tv show they demonstrate the slightest interest in. Unlike Isabella, who at this age was all about tv during the limited amount of time we allowed her to watch it, the twins do not care about it at all.
I think tv would only distract them from continuing their path of destruction.
Likes: Control, bucking the system
Dislikes: Naps lasting longer than 1.5 hours, wearing her diaper
Likes: Wearing oven mitts and his sister's pink Elmo jacket, using his head as a weapon
Dislikes: Food delays
I have completed two of my three sessions of electrical stimulation and ART therapy with my chiropractor. Tomorrow is my last one, after which he told me he wants me to go for a run - he's that confident that I will feel good enough to do it. I am hesitant. He's a marathoner and an Iron Man finisher. He says calf strains are common and fixable. But I've had pain for over a month now, and I'm hesitant to believe him. We'll see.
Now it's time to talk preschool.
Yesterday was Isabella's first day back. It was just a half-day (her first full, three-hour day is today). She's attending preschool four afternoons a week, Monday-Thursday, from 12:30-3:30. She was so excited to go back.
It made me a little sad to see that her entire class, except for Isabella and one other boy, were together in the three-mornings-a-week program. Isabella's class last year was awesome. Great kids and wonderful parents. She loved her classmates, and one little boy in particular, with whom she shared her Thomas the Train magazines. She made a few comments about her former classmates, and asked whether they would be with her in her new program. Fortunately, one boy from her class last year is in her current afternoon program, which made it more comfortable for her.When I dropped her off (oh, how I love you, outside drop-off and pick-up, which means I no longer have to load the twins into the stroller and shove the thing through the winter's snow and slush to take Isabella inside the building - pick-up was always outside), she took off into the playground without even saying goodbye.
I am so happy she loves school. It is structure and time for herself that she really needs. The twins require so much of me, and the three of them are almost always together. This belongs completely to Isabella, and she just thrives in preschool, "where mothers who don't want to watch their children dump them off" (TM: My Grandma).
Her program this year is modeled after pre-K (my district, and most suburban districts in my area do not have pre-K), and all the parents that I've spoken to whose children have been through Isabella's current program have told me that their children are so well prepared for Kindergarten after "graduating."
Considering that last week, Isabella told me that I should sell Nicholas in a garage sale, it was no surprise that her goodbye to her brother and sister was heavy on the short and light on the sweet.T-minus 365 days until the hellcats start three-mornings-a-week preschool. It will be an expense we cannot really afford, but by God, I don't care if I have to sell platelets or a vital organ to pay tuition. They're going.
And one year from now, this one's headed to Kindergarten.
The half-marathon for which I've been training for the last six months will go on without me.
The calf injury has taken me out of the running. Literally.
I wrote about some of my feelings, the specifics of my injury, and the electrical stimulation and Active Release Technique therapy my chiropractor is giving me over on my health and wellness blog. You can check out that post here.
I kept that post fairly light. The personal details and the deeper emotions I'm experiencing because of not running, I've left for this blog, where I feel safer, and where many of you know exactly what my training and what this race meant to me.
The past six months have been difficult. Really, really difficult. Training for a big event like a marathon, half-marathon, or a triathlon is more than physically challenging. There is a huge mental game that's played as well.
Anyone in training has to put aside certain parts of their "normal" lives in order to train. Sleep is lost. Family time shrinks. Friendships are put on the back burner. Budgets are blown on gear.
In that respect, I am not much different than anyone else.
But to all of this, I added the primary responsibility of childcare for three kids under the age of 4.
To this, I added what amounts to a part-time (and often more) work schedule, beginning when the kids go to bed at 7pm and ending at midnight.
In these respects, training was more challenging for me. Most days, it took every last ounce of energy, every last spare second of the day, every last bit of mental and physical strength I had.
And while I know in my mind it isn't, my heart feels like it was all for nothing.
I always ran on less than six hours of sleep. I ran after getting three kids up, fed, dressed, packed up with snacks and cups, strapped into car seats, and dropped off at my gym's daycare, and said silent prayers while getting in my miles on the treadmill that one of the twins wouldn't need a diaper change while I was mid-run.
Sometimes I ran in the pre-dawn hours of hot summer Saturdays, trying to beat the heat and humidity. I ran while the kids got up, ate breakfast, and began the day.
Sometimes I ran while closing the door on two screaming toddlers, who wondered where mommy was going and when she would be back. I returned to toddlers still screaming, swirling around my feet, begging to be picked up, whose needs allowed no time for recovery from 10+ mile runs completed at an 8:20 pace.
Their needs and mine were never compatible.
I trained minus support, in most cases. My sister is training for a half-marathon too, on the other side of the country. We shared running stories. Isabella expressed concern over my disappearing toenails, and always asked me when I returned, "How many miles did you run today, mommy?" And the people who work at my gym, all of them athletes, would ask me how training was going, offering encouragement and advice.
But everyone else in my family regarded my training with feelings ranging from indifference to disdain. No one got it. They thought I was selfish, stupid, and over-extending myself for no reason. There was resentment and anger and very little empathy when I got injured. I can count on one hand the number of people in my immediate circle who get what I'm going through right now.
It's hard to go through this level of disappointment alone.
My training was not easy, physically or emotionally.
I wanted to cross that finish line on Sunday with a time around 1hour, 50 minutes. I wanted to cross that finish line knowing I accomplished something many aren't able to. That I, with the utter insanity of my life, was able to run my race and meet my goal time in spite of everything that threatened to hold me back every single day.
I wanted to cross that finish line because running has always been the one thing I could control, in a life that spirals out of it daily.
Now this goal, this dream of the half-marathon, like so many others, has to be shelved too.
I know there are many races ahead of me. I know I will have another chance in seven months, when my city has its next half-marathon.
But right now it's hard for me to accept that it's over. I've fallen short. And while I accept that what happened to me was beyond my control, it does not make the pain lessen.
And there's not a damn thing I can do about it.
We'll need to have this conversation soon, which is why I found this article interesting. It outlines six strategies parents can use to educate their children about stranger awareness without scaring them.
It was posted on Facebook by the dad of one of Isabella's two best buddies. #6 offended him.
The writer, who is female, does not allow her daughter in any situation alone with a man who is not her father. No playdates at friends' houses unless mom is around, no camps unless female counselors are there, no swimming lessons with male instructors.
Here's what the writer says:
"Make it easier on your children to be safe by eliminating as many exceptions as you can ahead of time. For example, we don't want our daughter to be fearful of men or have to assess the risk potential of every man she encounters, so we have a simple rule: She is not allowed in any situation alone with a man or men (except Daddy.)... When she asks why she can't play at So and So's house, we say that So and So's mother won't be home and it's not appropriate for her to be there with only the Dad home. It's a simple rule that increases her personal safety without frightening her."
I'm offended by this as well.
To follow this train of thought is to infer that all men are potential child molesters. It's fear tactics like this one that make some believe that all gays and Catholic priests abuse little boys, that all Muslims are terrorists, that all black men are going to rob you.
And I find it ironic that the writer says she doesn't want her daughter to be afraid of men, but then sends her daughter the message than being in the company of men who are not her dad is dangerous and inappropriate.
We're not at the drop-off playdate stage yet, but in another year or so when we are, I would have absolutely no problem sending Isabella over to her friend's house to play if just her friend's dad was there, assuming that I am on good terms with the friend's parents (I would want to know the parents fairly well whether mom or dad-or both-would be present). There were male swimming instructors at my gym where Isabella took lessons this year. She happened to have all female instructors for her lessons, but I would not have cared if her teacher was male. And her camps at the science museum this summer were staffed by male and female counselors.
She's also about to start tennis lessons at my gym, where the tennis instructor, and director of children's tennis, is male.
None of these circumstances have raised a red flag for me.
This writer is using faulty logic. Who's to say mom isn't an alcoholic and is drinking while the kids are playing, or that Big Sister or Big Brother isn't sitting in the next room smoking pot?
Are male family members on the writer's persona non grata list? Is her daughter unable to go for ice cream with Uncle Steve?
Is she allowed to play soccer if her coach is male?
And what about single fathers, those with joint or full custody of their kids, and gay dads? Does the writer not allow her daughter to have playdates with friends in this type of family situation?
Would her rules be the same if she had a son instead of a daughter?
I haven't been at this parenting gig long, and Lord knows I've made plenty of mistakes along the way, but wouldn't it be better to teach stranger awareness that does not target just one gender?
What's your stranger danger teaching method? And what do you think of the writer's policy to ban playdates, lessons, and camps where men other than dad are present?
As mom to two high-needs 22-month-olds and once just-turned-four-year-old, I am mommy guilt personified. The twins are the recipients of most of my time and energy, simply because they demand it, and because if they don't receive it, they are much more likely to hurl themselves into traffic or draw blood than is the four-year-old. Isabella gets the short end of the stick. A lot. But there's only one of me and three of them for the majority of the day, and so her needs and wants often have to take a back seat to theirs.
For her birthday, we decided to take her (and us) away from the madness, insanity, and non-stop screaming of our house. Her gift this year was a trip to Sesame Place, outside of Philadelphia, and to The Crayola Factory, in Easton, PA.
I love the fact that at four years old, Isabella still enjoys Sesame Street. This has been one of her favorite shows since she was a toddler herself (and the only one she was allowed to watch for quite awhile, since we limit tv). I know many little girls her age who are into Hannah Montana and other programs meant for older children, and in my quest to keep her young as long as possible, I like the fact that Sesame Street is age-appropriate, educational, and fun for both of us, and for the twins. (Adrian Grenier and Paul Rudd were guests stars this past season. Fun for the kids AND for mommy!)
And so we packed up for the six-hour drive, equipped with a borrowed DVD player for the car. Given that Isabella's longest car trip to date was to see Thomas the Train back in May, and that she flipped her shit after a mere 30 minutes, demanding to get out of the car, and whyyyyyy was is taking so looooong to get there, I figured she would be watching it all the way down and all the way back home. I wanted to avoid this, of course, so I backed a huge bag of books, Color Wonder books and markers, crayons, stickers, and books on CD-including Olivia, her current favorites, and, of course, Charlie her bear, to keep her occupied.
Imagine my surprise when one hour into the trip, I glanced back and saw this:
We spent over 12 hours in the car over the span of three days. She watched her new Thomas the Train DVD that she received for her birthday exactly twice for an hour each time. She also slept both on the way there and on the way back home. To say I was stunned at these two events does not even cover it.
The goal for this trip was to do it as cheaply as possible. We packed a lunch and ate it on the way down. We stayed two nights at a hotel in Princeton, and saved over $100 by choosing a hotel that was about a 15-minute drive from Sesame Place. The hotel included continental breakfast, so that meal was taken care of for both mornings. The park tickets themselves were pricey, but we cut enough corners to make the trip affordable. Saving money is an embarrassingly big thrill for me.
If you go to Sesame Place, do not pay for parking. The park is in a suburban area and just down the road is a mall. The hubs dropped off Isabella and me at the gates, and he parked in the mall, a short walk away, for free.
Also, if you're taking a toddler or preschooler, bring a stroller, even if you child no longer rides in one. Sesame Place is not super-big, but she did get tired from all the walking, and we used the stroller a lot. Everyone there uses one, if not for their kids then for hauling their gear around.
Once the show was over, it was still raining, but it had lessened. We decided to hit some water rides.
Isabella was fearless, and went on a bunch of waterslides and tube slides. It was still raining, but we were wet anyway, so it didn't really matter.
Surprisingly, Isabella's first nights in a hotel went very well. We had one large room with a queen-sized bed and a pull-out couch. Isabella went right to sleep (she was exhausted) both night, without issue.
The next day, we were back at the park when it opened. We did the rides, and Isabella had a blast.
The Sesame Street friends wander around the park, and then you generally have to stand in a line to have your photos taken with them. A photographer accompanies the characters, and after your photo is taken (you can also take your own), they give you a bracelet with a barcode that you can have scanned at different kiosks. You can buy the photo if you want.
We saw most of the friends out in the park over the two days we were there, although sometimes we didn't stand in line for photos with all of them.
Isabella wanted to meet all the friends, of course, but the reason we didn't was because as part of the package we purchased, we had tickets to "Lunch with Big Bird and Friends" on the second day.
They advertise a "kids menu" and an "adults menu," but fortunately, all the food is on one big buffet line, and anyone can eat anything, which was great, because the food for adults was actually really good: roasted chicken, pasta marinara, roasted vegetables, etc. The kids food, none of which Isabella eats, was standard kiddie fare (hot dogs, mac and cheese, chicken fingers), so she just ate off the adults menu.
Isabella is all about Big Bird, so her meeting with the big yellow bird was the highlight of the entire trip for her.
After lunch, it was off to the parade. We got an inside tip about the best place to stand to see the characters. In case you ever go, stand where the blue street switches to black. All the characters stop and sing and dance at this spot.
We rode a few more rides, and did some shopping after that. Of course, Isabella wanted to take home Big Bird.
And then she wanted me to take a photo with her new friend, whom, incidentally, she now carries around the house with her (along with Charlie) and who now sleeps with her and Charlie at night too.
Sesame Place was awesome. It's definitely a place I would love to visit again, when the twins are Isabella's age. Taking them with us would not have made the trip enjoyable, and while they probably would have had fun for a short amount of time, it's really a park for the 3+ set.
On the way home, we stopped at The Crayola Factory. Since Isabella could do art projects from morning until night if I let her, I knew she would adore this place. And she did.
Colored Model Magic with markers and then sculpted it into flowers and the letter "I"...
Then, we ate our "free lunch" (I swiped wheat bread, peanut butter, fruit, and yogurt) from the continental breakfast buffet at the hotel that morning) outside the factory, and Isabella watched a cute puppet show while eating.
We went back in to tour the National Canal Museum (who knew there was such a place?) which was on the two floors above The Crayola Factory, and whose admission was included in the price.
The name makes it sound incredibly dull, but it was actually a great hands-on museum for kids. Isabella had a blast driving her boat through the canal locks.
About 3pm, we headed for home.
Someday if you read this, I hope you will not hold it against me that your monthly updates are always late, when the updates I wrote for your sister when she was your age were pretty much posted on the date she was born, each month. Also, please forgive me that I have approximately one-half of the photos of the two of you as babies and toddlers that I have of your sister, that I haven't written in your baby book (yes, that's book, you share one-don't hate me for that either) since you were four months old, and that most of the time, we're more of a Lord of the Flies family than a Dr. Sears one.
Oh, where to begin with these two this past month.
Let's start with the good. They were apparently angels for my mother when the hubs, Isabella, and I were at Sesame Place and The Crayola Factory. My mom said there was no screaming, no throwing food, no continual and sound-barrier-breaking temper tantrums, etc. In other words, they were completely different children.
Of course, she often arranged to have two-to-three of my other relatives here from the minute they woke up until bedtime, which makes me believe she was scared of managing them on her own. I can't say I blame her. These two are cute, but they also bring caretakers to their knees.
Luci's top two teeth finally came all the way in, bringing her grand total to four. Her hair is crazy curly in the back, and a hot mess on humid days.
She has started stringing sentences together, and has started telling me when she's pooped. Nicholas, however, is perfectly content to wear a dirty diaper. For the record, I am once again offloading potty training responsibilities to the hubs.
Both babies are high-needs, but Luci has left Nicholas in the dust in that respect. She has raging Daddyitis, and will scream and scream for him when he's not holding her or carrying her around. Of course, her screaming is not reserved only for attention from Daddy lately. It's fairly non-stop, whenever she does not get her way. And there is no calming her.
Luci is defiant, loves to say No! (emphatically, I might add), and is a struggle to feed at dinnertime. The hubs, who is basically Patience Personified, has begun to unravel where the twins' (and most especially, Luci's) behavior is concerned, and this is strangely gratifying to me.
But Luci is also so sweet when she wants to be. She will kiss me multiple times when I'm rocking her before nap or bedtime. She likes to kiss her brother, whom she calls "Dude" more than she calls him "Nico,"and she says, "Hi, Mommy!" all the time, with such enthusiasm.
Luci is currently wearing 18 month clothes, and some 24 months. We just bought her new sneakers, and her feet are size 5.5.
Nicholas is mellowing (slightly), and at least for this past month. He's talking up a storm, and likes to say, among other things, "I afraid!" (fear of the moment is a talking train track), "Go Bye-Bye Car," and "See Bella" (or Goose-Luci).
He loves this Dora lunch bag, which belongs to Isabella. He fills it up each morning with toy kitchen cups, and carries this bag around all day long. He's also a big fan of trying on shoes, as is Luci.
Nicholas loves music. He sings the first verse of the Sesame Street theme song ("Sunny Days, sweeping the clouds away...") and can count to 14. He has specific tracks on Isabella's CDs that he enjoys and asks for by name, and cuts a rug at a moment's notice.
In general, he's a good eater. When I ask him what he wants for breakfast, he'll say, "Pancakes!" "Nanas!" (bananas), and "Egg!" For lunch, it's always, "Soup!" and for dinner, "Pizza!" He is a mama's boy personified, only wants me, and screams whenever I leave the house without him.
And he's still biting. Thankfully, he only bites his sisters, me, and the hubs. No teeth are barred at the gym daycare or during playdates, thankfully.
His feet measure as a size 6, and he's wearing size 24 month clothing, and a few 18 months.
I love them dearly, even though I know it often sounds like I'm ready to list them on Craig's List.
But one or the other of them is screaming or crying literally every 60 seconds, and if they're not, and the house is oddly silent, I know they're either climbing chairs, in the first-floor bathroom and playing in the toilet (having broken through the lock we had to install on the outside), or milliseconds away from inflicting bodily harm on each other.
So, I'm on edge constantly. I can't relax or even allow my mind to wander for a second, because I know the quiet will be broken instantly. I know they're high-needs, but I think some of the problem is me. I require a lot of alone time. Probably more than most. I also require quiet in which to work. Writing is my job, and is not compatible with the cacophony of noise that is always present in my house, until 7pm bedtime. Neither of these is exactly compatible with parenting three small children.
I'm clinging to the fact that things were noticeably easier with Isabella once she turned 3. The twins turn two in another six week.
One more year of insanity to go.
Current Likes: Being barefoot, naked, and out of control
Current Dislikes: Sleep and foods that are not macaroni and Cheerios
Current Likes: Sleeping with no fewer than four binkies, cars
Current Dislikes: Trains that talk, climbing restrictions
My latest post on my health and wellness blog for my gym has to do with Spanx. Women have worn them for years, and now? There are Spanx for Men. Would you (or your boyfriend or partner) wear them? Check out the post and let me know what you think.