Thursday, July 30

Quote of the day (QOTD)

We have to fight them daily, like fleas, those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies."
– Etty Hillesum

Wednesday, July 29

The Science of Parenting: Sleep and bedtimes

Baby often looks the most angelic when she is asleep. New parents dream of having a baby who is able to sleep through the night as soon as possible. It is a great challenge taking care of a baby who is distressed and have difficulty in sleeping. The chapter on sleep and bedtime presents the latest scientific thinking on the subject of where and how your child should sleep and looks at current research into Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The most important thing that you need to remember is you need to make your baby/child feels that all is well in her world at bedtime. When you succeed, you will prevent stress chemicals from being activated in the brain. That will leave her feeling very safe and loved as she sleeps and you can sleep tight too.

Facts about baby/child and sleep

  • Babies are awful sleepers. Period. Accept this and you will stop seeing a wakeful baby as some kind of parental failure.
  • The following have been established in research:

    1. Babies are prone to wake far more than adults – average cycle for them is about 50 minutes versus 90 minutes for adults.
    2. Persistent or recurring infant sleep problems in the preschool years are very common
    3. Approximately 25% of children under 5 have some type of sleep problem.
    4. Up to 20% of parents report a problem with infant crying or irritability in the first 3 months of life.

Your task:Calming the brain at bedtime

  • Primary goal: Bring your child down from super alert state by activating the calming brain chemicals, oxytocin and melatonin (sleep hormone).
  • Most likely way of achieving this is by establishing a soothing routine.
  • Whatever you do stay calm. If you are uptight, you can't expect yourself to calm your child. Your tone is everything. Your stress and anger can activate the alarm systems in your child's brain, making her feel unsafe to go to sleep.
  • Snuggle up and read a story. Your body contact with your child will activate oxytocin in her brain, which can make her feel sleepy.
  • Try and set up the atmosphere – dim light, soothing music.
  • Avoid giving food that will keep the child awake such as protein food like meat or fish and chocolate (stimulant) 2 hours before bedtime. Offer carbohydrate food like banana as it activates serotonin which can help make her feel sleepy.
  • Avoid activating the FEAR system in the lower brain. Keep a nightlight, comfort and assure him, or pray together.
  • You may choose to lie down next to your child while he goes to sleep. No talking when you do it. Pretend to be asleep yourself. The skin-to-skin contact will regulate your child's bodily arousal system and strengthen the bond you share.
  • Allow your child to tell you what her fears are concerning sleeping.


  • Extensive research shows that safe co-sleeping can be a real investment for your child's future physical and emotional health.
  • It provides a baby with a sensory rich environment because of the touch, movement, smells and sounds.
  • Skin-to-skin contact throughout the night helps to regulate a baby's immature brain systems.
  • Thermal synchrony happens where the mother's body temperature regulates baby's temperature. For instance, if baby is too cold, the mother's temperature will rise 2 degrees to warm her. Conversely if the baby is too warm, the mother's temperature will lower by 1 degree to cool her. Pretty amazing huh?
  • Co-sleeping means hours of extra body contact. The more touch a child gets in childhood, the calmer and less fearful he is likely to be in adulthood. The physical contact helps to regulate the stress response system in the brain.
  • Some studies show that children who have never slept in their parents' bed are harder to control.

Risks of co-sleeping.

  • Research indicates that the fears about suffocating the baby is unfounded. In fact co-sleeping seems to bring a higher degree of maternal vigilance.
  • If you intend to co-sleep, it is important that you become aware of SIDS and what you can do to minimize the risks.
  • Research around the world shows very low rates of SIDS in countries where co-sleeping is common, for example in Asia. One study showed that only 4% of Asian babies sleep alone.
  • SIDS is caused mostly by unstable breathing and an immature cardiovascular system. Being in close bodily contact with the mother stabilizes a baby's heartbeat and breathing.
  • When do you stop co-sleeping? It's up to your discretion.
  • Studies show that the majority of preschoolers need an adult next to them until they fall asleep, and most come to the parents' bed regularly for comfort. Such is the power of the lower brain's fear and separation distress systems.

All about Sleep training

  • Sleep training is often done because parents and their child are in need of sleep. It is vital for physical growth of the baby as the growth hormone is only released during sleep.
  • When you decide to sleep train, make sure you don't use a method that involves prolonged crying, even for a few nights.
  • Eventually children will grow out of separation distress and until them it is crucial that you meet their distressed states with reassurance and comfort.
  • Why the “cry it out” technique is not good? It may achieved the goal of the baby sleeping but it is at a high cost.
  • Because she went to sleep stressed from the desperate crying, she may wake up frequently in the middle of the might.
  • Baby sleeps eventually more because of the exhaustion, which also means that she sleeps with elevated stress levels. Studies show that after being left to cry, babies move into a primitive defense mode and this results in an irregularity in breathing and heart rate and a high level of cortisol.

Kind sleep training – the safe and no-cry options

  • If your child follows you out of the room, reassure him that he is safe and that you will see him in the morning. Don't ignore and leave him to cry. Repeat the assurance as often as needed.
  • Avoid sleep training that is based on a deal to leave the door open. This activates fear of the door being shut. Repeated activation of this system in childhood leads to anxiety disorders in later life.
  • Use science to inform your methods when it's time for your child to sleep on his own.
  • When it time, it's been shown that acoustic presence of the mother can effectively bring down the stress chemical levels. Give your child a tape recording of your voice, or favourite story.
  • Your smell can also trigger powerful positive feelings. Give her something to hold in the night that smells of you. With baby, place near her a soft piece of cloth with the smell of our breast milk can be highly effective in settling her.
  • Make your child's bedroom a special sanctuary where she loves to be.
  • Encourage your child to have a cuddly toy which also activates comforting brain chemicals.

After reading a few chapters of the book I find that there is a main theme running through - that is your baby/child behaves in a certain way because her brain is still developing. As such, it is crucial that parents do not blame themselves or be frustrated with the baby when he/she seems to "not cooperate". Patience and knowledge of what is going on helps to activate the frontal part of parents' brains so that we do not trigger our own reptilian and mammalian brains!

Next up: Dealing with challenging behaviours.

If you miss the previous summaries on Science of Parenting click here and here.

P.S. Your discretion is advised.

Tuesday, July 28

Is clutter running your life?

Enough Already! Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You is not just about decluttering the space around you. Instead in the book, Peter Walsh takes the readers beyond the physical clutter in the home. He believes that the homes, our heads, our hearts and our hips are intimately interconnected. The book sets to tackle the clutter that fills the head and impedes the different areas of one's life namely relationships, work, family, money, health and our sense of well-being.

In all the different areas, the first step to declutter is always to ask yourself the important question - what is the vision you have for the life you want? With that as a starting point, it sets the direction for your effort in decluttering in different areas of your life. To ensure that your change is long-lasting you need to put in 3 key ingredients - clarity, self-awareness and commitment to change.

Whether it is relationship or work or money, there are similarities in the process. Always start with the vision. Then clear the clutter of unreal expectations and watch out for obstacles. He always ends the chapter with a summary and how you can deal with the actual stuff that occupies the space and provide tips on them. On the whole, the book is informative, useful and well-organized (we shouldn't expect less for Mr Organization himself!).

I took away lots of learning points and the following is the most important of all:
Do the best you can with what you have, accept weaknesses and find ways to work around them. Give your love in all its imperfection.

Thursday, July 23

2 questions

Something to ponder on:
Question 1: Have you experienced joy in your life?
Question 2: Have you brought joy to others?


the movie - The Bucket List

You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you. ~Carter Chambers

Wednesday, July 22

The Science of Parenting: Crying and separation

It is one of the hardest things - to see the baby cries especially when it is our own. It often makes the parent feels helpless and that is an awful secondary feeling. Not only is prolonged crying is hard to bear, it is also bad for the baby. The chapter on crying and separation in this book shows how stress from prolonged crying and separations can affect baby's developing brain. If you forget everything else, please do remember that crying is your baby's intense bid for you to help her with her overwhelming feelings and frightening bodily sensations. This is because her brain in not yet developed enough for her to manage them on her own.

Why do babies cry??!!

  • Babies are sensitive, raw and vulnerable to stress.
  • They cry for various reasons - tiredness, hunger, over- or under-stimulated, fear of threats or shocks, the environment is not conducive - too bright, too harsh, too cold, too hot, too sudden and so on.
  • Amygdala, which is important alarm system in the lower brain, is perfectly on line at birth. Its main function is to work out the emotional meaning of everything that happens. When it senses that something threatening is happening, it communicates to hypothalamus, which then control the release of stress hormones which can then prepare the body for fight or flight.
  • Babies need help in managing this awful feeling. If they are left to manage this on their own, the higher brain may not develop the necessary wiring to be able to perform these stress managing functions. As a result, they may stay feeling stressed for hours or even longer. Without intervention from the caregivers, the brain's key response systems are in danger of being permanently wired as "over-active". The consequence of this is that they grow up having trouble turning off the over-sensitive alarm systems of the lower brain.

The most important thing you can do

  • Calm down a crying baby and avoid prolonged crying.
  • You also need to have the mental and emotional space in your mind to really hear and take her panic and pain seriously.
  • Older babies are awash with new feelings especially when they experience panicky separation distress and when they are increasingly clear about likes and dislikes, what frightens or displeases them. Since they are not able to communicate in language yet, they cry to express their needs.

What happens in the brain when babies cry?
    When babies cry, the stress hormone - cortisol- is released by adrenal glands. If the baby is soothed and comforted, the level goes down. If not, it remains high.
  • For prolonged period of time, cortisol can reach toxic levels that may damage key structures and systems in a developing brain; as mentioned earlier it would be permanently wired for over-sensitivity.
  • Early stress can cause cell death in hippocampus, which is a very important structure in the brain. It shrinks because of cell death within its tissues.
  • This could result in chemical imbalances in the brain. Chemicals that are essential for emotional systems are opioids, noradrenaline, dopamine, serotonin and they are still being established in an immature brain.

The science of comforting.

  • There are 2 autonomic systems - sympathetic (Aroused) and parasympathetic (Calm & Centered)
  • With prolonged crying sympathetic becomes overactive while parasympathetic – VAGUS nerve- becomes under active.
  • The more responsive you are, the greater your regulation of her body arousal system will be and the more long-lasting the effects. Many parents are not aware that a child's bodily arousal system is still developing after birth and that it is super sensitive to stressful experiences such as being left to cry on her own.

How to soothe your baby?
Do things that will stimulate the anti-stress chemical system in the brain.

  1. Touch & Massage
  2. Sucking is comforting. Help her to find her fist or thumb to suck.
  3. Only use pacifier when she is utterly inconsolable. Main reason is because mouth is vital for communication and forming of sounds pre-speech. Also vital for oral exploration.
  4. Use movement & rocking – rhythmical movement resembles the security of the womb
  5. Low sound eg from washing machine or spin dryer resembles the security of the womb.
  6. Provide novelty – toys.
  7. Avoid over stimulation. When baby is over-stimulated bring him to a quiet, low lit room.

Separations and time apart.

  • When you need to be separated and the baby cries, you have to take her intense feelings seriously. Do remember that you are her world, her everything, you represent her very safety!
  • The separation distress system in a baby is genetically programmed to be hypersensitive. Hence, your baby is NOT being “needy” or “clingy” or difficult or manipulative.
  • Because the verbal centres are not online yet, you are not able to tell her that you will be back. Hence, she will not know that you have not gone FOREVER.
  • Separation hurts small humans in much the same way as a physical pain. Thus, avoid pushing your children to independence long before they are ready.
  • Stress is NOT good for baby. Period.

Childcare issue

  • It is important to get a nanny/child minder who adores little children and is great at responding to both joy and distress when you consider childcare.
  • Your child needs to be held in familiar arms when you are not there.
  • There are evidence to suggest early separations and depression may be linked.

The NEED to cling. Why?

  • It is to bring down his bodily arousal level and high levels of stress chemicals.
  • Baby is trying to change the emotion chemical imbalance in his brain to a calmer and more positive state.
  • This is what research reveals. Mothers who had attended promptly to their crying babies had children who cried much less than those whose mothers had left them to cry. Prolonged clinging is far more likely when a parent has not handled the child's dependency needs well.
  • As the child grows, the separation distress in his lower brain naturally become far less sensitive. This is because of the development of the higher brain which inhibits this system.
  • Beware of false independence. It is extremely shame-inducing for a child to be in a state of desperate need and he is met with rebuff or criticism or to be told to be a big boy.
  • It is tough job. Bear in mind the long term investment that you're making – the long-term anti-stress effects of repeated activation of oxytocin in the brain from all that physical affection. Infants with more loving touch were better able to handle stress and were psychologically stronger.

I learn best when I reproduce what I have read so this serves my need. I don't mind sharing the information but again if you can afford the time it is best that you pick up the book.

Science of parenting part one is here

P.S. Your discretion is advised.

Quote of the day (QOTD)

"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be."
– Groucho Marx

Saturday, July 18

18th July 2009

Another anniversary is here since that fateful day when I decided to go ahead with the first of 2 surgeries to treat a rare illness. 2 years on and I am pleased to share that I am doing very well, I've been asymptomatic and my quality of life has improved tremendously :)

I was reading the journal that I kept during those difficult period and I am impressed with what I wrote in there. The conviction and faith that I had in God was astounding. I almost don't recognize that person. Truly, it was through God's grace that I was able to go through all that I had to - pre and post surgeries.

An excerpt of what I wrote:
I want to remember the feeling - being at peace, cheerful and hopeful. There are lots of things for me to worry about and I could potentially be immobilized by fear. I'm going to take a different strategy- I'd stare fear in the eye. I will deal with it with faith. It's tough but I know I can do it with God's blessing and support from all round. 18 June 07

Who is that person??

I am truly blessed because grace, courage and wisdom came to me when I needed them most. That's the only explanation I can offer as to how I was able to cope with everything. As I have shared earlier I suffered a stroke after my second op on 17 September 07. As a result I lost the ability to read, write, recall, text, tell the time, use the mobile phone and other simple functions that I took for granted. I could only write or type simple sentences and even then it took me a great deal of effort and time.

Samples of my handwriting at different stages of recovery - 5-days, 12-days and 7.5 months post-op.

It may not be the politically-correct thing to say but I am grateful that I had the chance to go through what I did. In many ways my illness has shaped and molded me into a better and more mature person. I discovered my own strength- what I am made of. Never in my life did I expect myself to be calm and cheerful in the face of trials and tribulations. Through the experience I was/am reminded that I must not take my life and health for granted. Being ill allowed me to appreciate being cared for. I had lots of people praying and rallying for me and in some ways it was a testimony to the kind of person that I am. I was validated as many people wanted only the best for me and they came in full force to tell me that. That was a great feeling - knowing that you are loved. I believe after being through a recovery process myself it will make me a better (and more credible) clinician and listener.

I am really grateful to my wonderful surgeon and his team - staff who went the extra mile to make me feel more comfortable when I felt most vulnerable. My husband who stood by me every step of the way and being my pillar of strength; my sister and mom who took great care of me; good friends who showed their kindness and generosity; acquaintances and strangers who prayed for the success of the surgeries and speedy recovery. I will always remember the kindness shown to me. Thank you!

My hope is that my story will inspire you to live your life courageously and know that you are stronger and more resilient than you think. Seemingly "bad" situations can turn out to be opportunities for growth and learning if you choose to let go. Somehow when we feel like we have reached the limits we will discover that we can still extend the limits. And grace will find us and give us the special boost to get through life. Trust the process.

Grace expands our intellect by endowing us with intuitive wisdom. Grace expands our will by giving us strength or courage we did not have before.

I'm happy to share more of my experiences so feel free to email me if you want to know more :)

Friday, July 17

Picture of the Week (POTW)

A dog that we saw at one of the beaches along 17-Mile Drive, CA.

Kinda made me miss Casper, our Maltese who is back in Singapore.

Tip of the day

A simple way to start your day on a positive note is to make your bed! There is no faster way to inspire an immediate change in attitude than with an uncluttered, neat and clean bed. A made bed anchors a room, sets the tone for the day, says,"I respect my space," and shows a commitment to routine and organization.

If you haven't have a made bed in a while do give this a try and see for yourself if it works.

Here's to a good start to your day!

Picture is from Bedzine

Idea is from Peter Walsh's book Enough Already!

Wednesday, July 15

The Science of Parenting (Part 1)

People often make the remarks that they wish there is a manual that comes along with the baby. That would be ideal but I suppose that's not how nature wants it to be. There is great satisfaction that comes with learning and growing, along with the baby.

Once in a while I find books that pique my interest and curiousity especially if they are related to developmental psychology. I have always been fascinated especially with a baby whose growth is so rapid in the first few years of his life. The changes that I see are so incredible. I'm always thrilled when the child starts to speak and how the personality begins to emerge when just a year ago he was just looking so cute and not uttering a single word. To me, that's miracle.

I came across the book The Science of Parenting in the library a few years ago. My first reaction was "there is a science to parenting? Wow!" After browsing through I was so impressed that I bought the book because that is the kind of book that I like to own. What this book offers essentially is to illuminate the impact of different ways of parenting on a child's brain based on evidence that the author has gathered. She has done extensive research into neuroscience of parent-child interactions and her conclusions have been drawn from more than 800 studies around the world. Isn't that impressive?

I have enjoyed reading this book because it has given me much to think about and there are lots of useful information especially on why baby behaves the way they do like crying, and clinging to the mom for his dear life and so on. I shall attempt to summarize the key points from the first 2 chapters.

Understanding the child's brain.

  • The brains are made up of 3 parts - the core reptilian brain, lower mammalian brain and higher human brain. These are interconnected by a massive network of nerves yet each has its own special functions.
  • Sometimes the 3 brains work together in a beautifully coordinated way and with the activation of some positive chemicals they bring out the best in humans. Other times, particular parts of the brain or chemicals are in the driving seat. This make people act in ways which cause misery to self and others.
  • The good news is, as a parent you can influence the activation of key functions and systems in your child's brain and the way in which the 3 brains interact. It can have an impact on the child's brain so that his higher brain will be able to manage these primitive lower brain reactions effectively.
  • Our rational brain can be easily hijacked by these lower regions. When we feel a threat, impulses from the reptilian and mammalian parts of our brain can hijack our higher human functions and we can behave like a threatened animal.

Infant is born with unfinished brain

  • The brain continues to develop after birth thus it is open to being sculpted by both negative and positive parent-child interactions especially during critical periods of brain growth in the first years of life. Everything baby experiences with you as his parent will forge connections between the cells in his higher brain.
  • Designed this way so that it can be wired up to adapt to the particular environment in which it finds itself. This adaptability works for or against the well-being of a child.
  • Hence, the way you listen to your child, play with him, cuddle, comfort and treat him when he is being naughty are of real significance.
  • With emotionally responsive parenting, vital connections will form in his brain, enabling him to cope well with stress in later life, form fulfilling relationships, manage emotions well, be kind and compassionate, have the will and motivation to follow his ambitions and his dream, experience the deepest calm and be able to love intimately and in peace.

The mammalian and reptilian parts of the a child's brain.

  • In the early years, his lower brain will be in the driving seat because the higher brain is unfinished.
  • What this means is the emotional systems and primitive impulses in his lower brain will all too easily overwhelm him at times. Hence, his intense burst of rage, distress, screaming, rolling around on the the floor in a desperate state.
  • He is NOT being naughty. It's just a fact about the immaturity of the human infant brain. His higher brain is simply NOT developed enough to be able to calm these massive feeling storms naturally.
  • Genetically ingrained emotional systems deep in the lower brain are rage, fear, separation distress, seeking, care, play and lust. These are set up at birth to support a baby's survival. Infants keep getting overwhelmed by the triggering of these brain systems because there is so little higher rational brain functioning “online” yet, to help them think, reason and calm themselves down.
  • It is important to understand this when faces with a genuinely distressed screaming baby/child. He needs YOUR HELP to calm down.
  • With consistently emotionally responsive parenting, your child's frontal lobes will start to develop essential pathways that will over time enable him to calm these alarm states in his lower brain.

Chemicals that are important in good parent-child relationships

  • Oxytocin - released at birth and helps mother and baby to bond.
  • Opiods -hormones that give a sense of well-being.
  • These chemicals are produced when a child is lovingly touched or held.
  • Warm parenting will repeatedly activate the release of these hormones, creating a secure bond with their child.

What science can tell us about stress.

  • Child's developing brain is very sensitive and highly vulnerable to stress.
  • When a child is not helped enough with his intense feelings, the alarm systems in his lower brain can be over-active in later life.
  • May over-react to minor stresses, become anxious and/or be angry or short-tempered.
  • Important to help child develop effective stress regulating systems and anti-anxiety chemical systems in the brain.

Helping children with their big feelings.
This is to develop top-down brain pathways. Over times, these networks will naturally start to control those primitive impulses, enabling him to think about his feelings rather than just discharging them in primitive action.

  1. Take your child's distress seriously.
  2. Recognize how your child is experiencing an event even if it's very different from how you are experiencing it
  3. Find age-appropriate words for his distress. Even young child will benefit from this kind of understanding. He will calm down because of the parent's tone even if the child doesn't understand the words.
  4. Meet your child's feelings with the right voice and energy. Match them.
  5. Be calm and offer clear boundaries. Offer clear boundaries by saying No firmly yet calmly when appropriate. He needs to feel that you are emotionally strong parent who is clearly in charge.
  6. A key factor in your ability to manage your child's intense arousal states is managing your own. Seek support.
  7. Use physical soothing.

Long-term effects of not helping children

  • It makes life such a constant struggle if we are unable to manage stress well, and there are many people who can't just do it.
  • Suffer all sorts of mental problems such as depression, persistent state of anxiety, phobias or obsession, physical illness, being cut-off emotionally, lethargy and lacking get-up-and-go

If you find this helpful, i do urge you to get the book.
Next up: Crying and Separation. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 13

Quote of the day (QOTD)

“Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has.”

Tuesday, July 7

A good place to start

Are you thinking about being in the family way? If yes, this is THE book to read before you start.

It is super comprehensive and provides plenty of information that you may not have considered. The book is divided into 4 parts:
1. Getting ready to make baby
2. Making a baby
3. Bumps on the road to baby.
4. Keeping track

The last chapter is mainly a fertility planner where you have samples of different charts. Comes in really handy if you're the type who needs to keep records of everything!

In short, it's a really good guide especially if you're a first timer. There are tips for father-to-be as well.

There is also an accompanying website where you can join a community and get even more resources.

Thursday, July 2


When i think of ark i think of Noah and the ark. Not too long ago a friend told me that ARK also stands for Act of Random Kindness. Here is my attempt at ARK and a story about a young fighter.

Being ill is difficult. When your child is ill, it is so much harder because the feeling of helplessness is so overwhelming.

I read with sadness the story of Feisty Princess Charmaine. A 4-year-old who is suffering from neuroblastoma stage 4.

When I had to go through my treatment for Moya-Moya Disease, I was 31 years old. It was slightly easier for me to go through the various investigations and eventually 2 brain bypasses because I understood the situation I was in. I was also really blessed because there was a neurosurgeon in Singapore who was confident to perform the delicate operations. I was covered by medical insurance so I didn't have to worry about finances. I had strong support from family and friends. I also had people whom I don't know praying for me. I was deeply moved that they cared enough to do so and I was encouraged to keep fighting.

I am so much luckier compared to Cynthia, Charmaine's mom. I can only imagine the pain she is going through to see her precious daughter suffering, not knowing if she will have the chance to go through the necessary treatment in the U.S. Charmaine is just a child who has been given a huge trial and she needs our help. I don't know Charmaine personally. I don't have a child of my own. I do have nieces and nephews and friends with kids around Charmaine's age. This is the age where they are full of curiosity and joy and they show great promise. Looking at Charmaine's pictures, i can tell how much joy she brings to those around her.

Have a look at this precious girl

Do give Charmaine, her family and supporters a chance to surmount this huge trial.

More info on how to donate here.

Feisty Char needs bullets to fight!

Wednesday, July 1

Quote of the day (QOTD)

From the recovering community such as AA I learn that slogans and quotes are helpful to keep them focus. I love keeping quotes that speak to me and when I go through challenging situations, I draw inspiration from them.

Here is a quote that spoke loudly to me when I had to go through the treatments for Moya-Moya Disease 2 years ago.

A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.
~Helen Keller

I read the memoir of Helen Keller- The story of my life - and was totally impressed. She had more challenges and obstacles than an average person and yet she was determined to pursue her education and contribute to society.

When one hears stories like that it is hard to feel sorry for oneself when one's life is not half as difficult.