Sunday, 31 October 2010

Y3 - 31/365: This is Halloween!

I told Matt this morning that although Ryan was too young to fully participate in pumpkin-carving, I still wanted him to have a chance to feel the insides of the pumpkin and the seeds.

He managed to grab some of the slippery pulp a couple of times and even got some briefly into his mouth before I quickly retrieved it. I'm no expert, but I don't think raw pumpkin pulp is exactly healthy on a still immature baby gut.

He really got a kick out of it though and even made quite the mess on his sleep-suit within the short five minutes. Good thing I waited until after our carving session to feed and dress him.

We only ended up carving two of our three pumpkins, sadly, because we ran out of time. Ryan's (top) even has five teeth -- just like him! I think next year a proper carving kit is in order as it's not so easy to carve with a paring knife. Also, next year we will know enough to avoid Tesco's 3 for £4.50 and go straight to Asda where they are much bigger and only cost £1/each.

What better way to end the weekend than a delicious and filling Sunday dinner and quality time with the family!!


Saturday, 30 October 2010

Y3 - 30/365: Mr. Fix-It

I see that someone has picked up his daddy's 'Mr. Fix-It' gene. This is our old TV that no longer turns on. Matt is going to have a look at it and see if it's something that he can fix. Ryan is doing a quick inventory for parts.

In other news, a confirmation letter came through the post today to let me know that UKBA have my paperwork/application for my ILR and that it has been passed on to a caseworker.

Let the waiting game begin!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Y3 - 29/365: Preppin the Punkins

I know this one looks a bit odd, but it was taken from outside looking into the front room (hence the reflection of ivy against the glass)...just before Mister Sticky Fingers rolled the pumpkin off the ledge and I was forced to scurry back inside to make sure the pumpkin didn't go 'splat.'

Oh yes...I scurried.

But the catastrophe was averted as the stuffed Andrex puppy broke its fall. Sorry, puppy.

I did get some pretty cute snaps for Ryan's 10-month photos though...albeit a week later than intended.

Can you tell I've been craving Candy Corn? I have yet to find any here in the UK and it's probably my favourite Halloween candy ever. (click photo for larger view)

We had to do the photos inside this time, though I was hoping for a pumpkin-shoot out in the coloured autumn leaves. Sadly it's been way too cold and windy...and damp. So yeah, not good things if you want a healthy bab.

I thought we'd get the chance to carve them tonight as well, but it looks like we'll have to wait until tomorrow.

I haven't yet decided how to involve Ryan in this event. I remember carving pumpkins when I was a kid, but I fear Ryan will try to devour the maybe this is an activity better saved for next year. I may still allow him a little feel of the squishy bits, closely supervised, since I like him to experience as many sensory things as possible, but I think 2011 will be the year he can start to get stuck in with the carving bit...quite literally!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Y3 - 28/365: Business As Usual

This is the look I get before he stumbles at me, full (Ryan) speed, and flops himself across my belly whist screaming and squealing his little baby lungs out. He's pretty hilarious, actually.

I checked my bank account today and noticed that exactly £840 has "mysteriously vanished" from the balance -- I suspect UK Border Agency have their money then. Greedy punks. At least my app is complete and mailed, they have received it (and my money) and I hope to possibly get a decision by mid-November at the latest.

I must say, the ILR application has by far been the easiest and most simple to fill out and submit along with evidence. For those not familiar with the tedious process of immigration to a foreign country, this is what we sent:

  1. Application - containing 2 passport photos of myself and 1 of Matt
  2. Both my own and Matt's actual passport (to prove identity and for me to get my new visa vignette in mine)
  3. Evidence of Finances (6 months of bank statements to show we have an income)
  4. Knowledge of Life in the UK (my pass certificate from taking the ridiculous test)
  5. Evidence of Cohabitation - this is supposed to be 6 things addressed jointly covering the past two years to prove we have lived together, and they have to be from at least 3 different sources (I sent 17 in total, some addressed to each of us separately, ranging from tenancy agreements, council tax bills, and Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, just to be safe).
And that's it. Previous applications, such as the Fiance visa, required things like phone records, photos together, and evidence of intervening devotion since we were in separate countries at the time. Then for my spousal visa, which was done in person, we had to include our marriage certificate and a budget.

I have told Matt once we get this one back in the post, I want to celebrate by shredding all of our documents we've saved the past two years solely for this application. I'll be so happy once I'm no longer under the thumb of immigration control!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Y3 - 27/365: Two Steps Forward...

Boy oh boy is our boy on the move or what?! All day he has been perfecting his new-found skill and it's amazing to watch! He doesn't get discouraged when he falls, although he just may very well give me a heart attack when he does, and he's forever trying to push himself just a little bit further. I hope this determination is a permanent trait.

For example, I now give him free reign of the front room...the fireplace is padded around the marble base with cushions, the telly is blocked off with the footstool, and the door into the hallway and the rest of the house now stays closed (ever since he figured out how to stand to one side and pull it open when we left it cracked before). Well, because he can roam as he pleases, he has developed a lot more independence and spends a great deal of his day playing in the bay window, where we have many of his toys displayed on the ledge, like his sensory bottles, books and assortment of colourful blocks and plushies. He enjoys cruising the entire length of the window playing with his things and even ventures around the room batting his cloth sensory cubes.

Tonight, he was playing at the base of the settee where I was sitting and pulling himself up on my leg where he would then put both hands in the air and wave them while shrieking in pure delight. He did this several times in a row so I grabbed my camera, low on batteries and all, and prepared to catch him in the act the next time he popped up in front of me like a cute little weasel.

Then he did it.

He turned his back to me and just started walking away. Okay...maybe not walk...more like stumble like a little, tiny drunken sailor -- but the point is he wasn't walking towards ANYONE! He took about six staggered steps towards the fireplace (so immediately I leaped off the couch to 'shadow' him in case he got too close). When he noticed I was behind him a bit he stopped, re-gained his balance, still standing and then continued to walk away from me towards the TV -- about four more steps. He started to wobble a bit so I called his name and told him "now walk to Mommy," and he turned yet again, hands in the air and mouth wide open, like he was on a thrill ride at the amusement park and walked a further 4-5 steps to me!

I was in such shock!

He's by no means walking steady on his own, but he has such an eagerness to try as much as he can! I immediately scooped him up and ran upstairs to tell Matt. Of course, Daddy was chuffed with the news of what a clever little man we have -- as always. Neither of us like to assume that Ryan will reach any specific milestone by any certain age, but we can't help but suspect that given Ryan's willpower, he will be full-on walking in no time!

Do they make bubble wrap wallpaper, carpet and furniture?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Y3 - 26/365: What Nap Time?

Occasionally on an afternoon when Ryan falls asleep, I will place him on a couple of pillows on the floor and cover him with his blanket. I do this because too often I will place him into his cot and within minutes (usually long enough for me to go downstairs and make myself a sandwich) he will wake up crying and I have to go back up and collect him.

Today he went down for his morning nap beautifully. I put him in his cot with my own pillow (so he has my scent) and he stayed down for a full baby sleep cycle of 45 minutes exactly.

Good enough for me.

This afternoon was a different story. He fell asleep, but I could tell it wasn't a very deep one so I made his pillow "bed" on the floor and gently placed him down. Not even five minutes passed and his little head was up as his baby-dar (baby-radar) went off that he was no longer against Mommy's chest. So I immediately switch to plan B...some Norah Jones on YouTube and 3 songs later he is spark out.

I rock him for a bit to make sure he is out before placing him back onto the pillows. This time curtains drawn and TV on an 'off air' channel. Before I have time to even get off the floor myself, he rolls over as if he was faking sleep and this is the look I get.

Hmm...plenty of time tomorrow for a nap, I suppose.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Y3 - 25/365: Sign & Date Here

Now that he's getting older, I'm going to start trusting Ryan with a little more responsibility. So, today he started off well and got some banking done.

We had to drop by Lloyds TSB to get some statements printed out so I could finally send off for my Indefinite Leave to Remain. Thankfully the banking manager was more than happy to help and Ryan chose to oversee the transaction from the comfort of his push-chair and matching foot muff.

All being well, Matt will be dropping all the documents into the post on his dinner break tomorrow and within 3-6 weeks (the fewer, the better) I will have a shiny new visa in hand for a mere £840, rather than £900 (when the price goes up next Monday).


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Y3 - 24/365: It's Tired Out...

Ash, one of my sister-in-law's two cats has a magnetic collar for getting in and out of the cat flap. After dinner tonight I noticed something odd hanging off his neck.

Turns out it was the tape measure!

Ryan slept straight through last night until half-seven this morning! Here he is winding down with his favourite Auntie Emma after our Sunday dinner. Let's hope all his new found movement recently will wear him down again!

Sorry for the lack of substance in tonight's entry...I'm tired and off to bed.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Y3 - 23/365: Yabba-Dabba-Do!

I spent most of the morning sifting through the paperwork I have been saving up over the past two years to submit for my ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) application. I had fully intended on sending it off at the beginning of the month, 28 days before my current visa was due to expire, but life happened so here we are with the app still in our hands, but nearly complete and ready to go out before Tuesday next week. I even downloaded a passport photo app for my phone as Matt and I have to submit photos of ourselves along with our current passports so a visa vignette can be made.

I loathe the passport photo booths here and I'm pretty certain I can take a much clearer picture on my own at a fraction of the cost.

Once we had that sorted it was business as usual with our little cruiser.

He is on fire! His Nan and Grandad had stopped by only briefly this afternoon to pick up something left behind when they looked after him on Thursday, and Ryan was more than happy to show off his new moves. He's really taking care now to take proper flat steps instead of his Flintstones-twinkle-toes move he was doing before.

The best part was he did his first steps TO Daddy...AND I captured the moment with a photo!! He really is so proud of himself, and so are we!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Y3 - 22/365: Ain't Nothin Gonna Break My Stride...Nobody Gonna Slow Me Down...

Look out! Two days in a row without a photo of Ryan. We had some books to return to the library and I took the photo and thought how much I'm going to love when the new library is completed in Blackheath Town Centre!

To be fair, if I would have included any of the photos of Ryan I took today, all you would see would be a baby blur because boy was my boy a'movin! He just could not be stopped...full stop. In fact, today led to yet another milestone jotted into his Beatrix Potter First Year Baby Book...

Our baby boy, Ryan, took his first steps!

He's been working his way up to this moment as he used to just do his version of a "trust fall" into our bodies when propped or pulling himself up to the sofa. But today, no least not intentionally. I was on the phone with Matt early this morning and sitting on the floor while Ryan beat his hands against the settee. Next thing I know, I see Ryan turn towards me like he sometimes does, and this time he took 4-5 proper steady steps toward me.

I shouted down the phone, "Oh my God...he just walked!" to Matt, who I know was a bit bummed that he missed it. But I made sure to get plenty of videos and I let him practice till his heart was content for the rest of the day. A few times he would steady himself and turn and walk AWAY from me and I would have to chase after him to make sure he didn't face-plant. Then again, a few times...he did. But he'd just get back up and crawl to the sofa and start again.

He was loving it!

Once Matt was home Ryan was able to show off his skills for Daddy as well. We both nearly cried at the clever cookie before us!

He still needs quite some work on his balance, but he's taking chances and having loads of fun doing it -- so for now, that's all that matters!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Y3 - 21/365: A Night Out

There isn't a photo of dear son tonight as we were out for a meal at a Cantonese restaurant in Lye. One of the men who works in the warehouse with Matt has served the company for 25 years, so they had a surprise dinner for him and the other employees and their partners. This means, I...the wifey...reaped the benefits of a free scrummy meal -- complete with wine, courtesy Nicholas Packaging.

Don't mind if I do.

Ryan was looked after by his Nan and Grandad, so definitely in good hands. Although, he had a bit of a rough day as I noticed his fifth tooth has broken through. He didn't nap all morning or afternoon and had been super-clingy, so I knew he may have a tough time once we left.

We ended up gone four hours and when we returned he was spark out on Josie...bless! Don't know what we'd do without my in-laws.

I did honestly miss him after a bit and even brought him up several times throughout the night to Matt. Eventually we were able to excuse ourselves to get home and relieve Matt's parents. It was then that I got my long-awaited Ryan-cuddle after I gave him a dreamfeed and now he's up in his cot, comfortably sleeping.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Y3 - 20/365: A Christmas Halloween? Story

Remember the little boy, Flick, from 'A Christmas Story' who got his tongue stuck to a flagpole in the winter? Yeah...looks like I'll need to worry about my son a little more than previously thought after our visit to the park today...see for yourself.

Matt was mortified when I showed him the pictures...and I'm sure felt a bit surprised that I even cared enough to stop and take several photos as evidence as Ryan mouthed the germy chain, but this is our son. The boy who doesn't discriminate and apparently puts ANYTHING in his mouth! (See photo-exhibits A, B, and C.)

It didn't make a difference how many times I told him "Yuck!" or "No!" He just carried on each and every time I'd pull him away. And I know deep down it's only because he is a curious baby like any other and he doesn't know better, but it still doesn't mean I won't be canvassing the grounds of the first school he attends to note either the absence or the location of their flagpole.

::double checks number for the Fire Brigade::

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Y3 - 19/365: You Are What You Eat

I realise I posted Ryan's 'Mr. Potato Head' photos in last night's blog, but tonight he was absolutely CAKED within seconds of offering him a bowl again and I couldn't resist. I had to get Matt's attention at one point as he was slapping himself in the head on both sides with mashed-potato hands! So, although Ryan gets his hair washed typically on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays...we had to make an exception tonight.

Can't believe our little man isn't so little and has officially hit double digits today -- TEN MONTHS!! Wow!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Y3 - 18/365: Train Spotting With Mr. Potato Head

Ryan took his very first train ride today. Actually, he took his very first, second, third, and fourth train ride since both legs had a stop at Smethwick Galton Bridge.

I had completed an application for a teaching position with a Church of England school in Tipton and needed to get it back before the deadline today. Since the train station is quite literally a stone's throw from the school, it was much easier for me to take the application back on my own than for Matt to take time off work just to drive us. So, this morning, with Ryan in the Moby, we caught the 10:40 London Midland train to Smethwick, and then from there the 11:16 train to Wolverhampton and got off at the Tipton stop.

I was initially worried how Ryan would react since most loud noises startle him, but he seemed to quite enjoy watching the trains whizz past the platforms.

I was able to collapse down the pushchair at the first stop and hoist him into the Moby wrap until we arrived in Tipton. As I was exiting that train, he put his head against my chest and closed his eyes, so I pulled the back of the wrap up enough to support his neck and I let him have a nice little nap as I walked across the car park to the school to drop off the application.

When we returned to the platform to catch the return to Rowley Regis he was still spark out so I ducked inside a covered shelter where another woman was also waiting.

I think I must have had a sign on me that said 'tell me everything you know' because I learned more than I wanted to about her in the 10 minute wait.

I learned that she had a baby and gave her up for adoption because the dad left her when she was pregnant. She had a difficult pregnancy because she carried her daughter mostly in her back due to a tilted uterus and because the dad left her she eventually gave the daughter up. But she recently got back in touch with the girl, who is now 14 and lives in London. Her father was Jamaican and the woman's second, and only other partner was Australian...but she's been single now for about 4 years. Since her daughter she had the coil put in but had to have it removed because she bled too much and eventually had herself sterilised so she wouldn't have any more children. She's originally from Litchfield but has lived in the Black Country for some time now, although she doesn't feel she sounds like she is from the Black Country. She's going to Vegas for her 40th birthday in January, which is on a Saturday, but only for a long weekend. I'm pretty sure she told me her name at some point, but my short-term memory was a bit overloaded with all the other useless information she provided me.

Oh, and she likes Americans and doesn't think they're all big-headed.

Whew! Thank goodness for that!

Anyway, I was back at the cottage shortly before 1pm and Ryan was fully awake by the time we left the second train. I'm actually looking forward to our next little adventure!

Later tonight I started dinner off and Matt dished up. I decided to give Ryan a chance to try his mashed potato on his own to see how he would handle the mushy treat. From this photo...looks like so far so good...

In fact, he really got into it and didn't want me to take the bowl away! Matt thought for sure it would be thrown to the side or across the room at one point, but I think there was too much yummy motivation inside to let it get beyond his reach.

He wanted to make sure every last morsel made it to his lips...

...and his cheeks...

...and his nose and eyebrows...

...and forehead... get the point.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Y3 - 17/365: Where's The Beef?

Well, we'll start with the Yorkie first...such a chore to eat this delicious treat, I know.

We had to take a rain-check on visiting Auntie Emma, Uncle Daz and cousin Amy this weekend since both Ryan and myself were still a bit congested. However, this did not mean that we were without a Sunday dinner...oh no! In fact, this one was extra special because it was prepared by Uncle Daz himself. Nom, nom, nom.

Matt brought a plate home after he went on his own today and Ryan and I quickly tucked in.

As usual, Ryan devoured his carrots (as we boiled a few extra out of our steroid-carrot collection...seriously, they're HUGE). Then I handed over a piece of my beef and he began by airing it out first.

Don't ask...I don't get it either.

Once he felt it had sufficient air-time, he began munching away. Boy, does this boy love beef! Just like his Auntie Anna in America who I believe once replied, "I like MEAT!" when asked in school what her favourite food was.

Oh, and just when you think the ritual is over...nope. Now we have to tenderize it and flop it around on the changing mat. Thank goodness we started putting this under him when he's eating in the Bumbo, otherwise he risks picking up random carpet fluff and Myst's "kittens."

It's about this time that he just begins flinging all of his food off the tray and that's how I know he's we do the sign for 'finished' or 'all done' and I begin cleaning up the mess from the F3 that just hit that part of the living room.

You may think it's over by now, but is not. Now we have to determine if he has swallowed all of his dinner. This can be done by making him laugh. Sure enough, there is still a bit that he is working on so I leave him to it.

Finally we finish with the blue sippy to wash everything down the hatch and make sure he's not storing anything in his cheeks for winter.

And that's essentially it for this post, although I had to throw in just ONE more picture because it was too funny not to.

After we ate and Ryan played on the floor with his toys a bit, Matt put him in his walker. He kept bouncing in the walker to eventually Matt switched him over to his Jumperoo thinking he might want a bit of jumping before we headed up to get him ready for bed.

It wasn't long before we saw the familiar eye-flicker and head rolling forward as Ryan once again fell asleep in the Jumperoo.

This just happens to be one of the photos I snapped as he "woke up" to carry on jumping, whilst really still asleep.

I guess that beef went down well for him to be so satisfied.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Y3 - 16/365: Introducing...The Lip

I have noticied in looking through today's photos that Ryan is learning some new facial expressions involving his bottom lip. Most of them occur when being given a stern "NO" for things like pulling open the oven door, playing with power leads, or trying to get into the rubbish bag...all things I deem dangerous or otherwise unsafe, basically. But he is starting to test my willpower and consistency by pulling this little trump card, and let me tell's not working.

But it's funny.

Take this one, for example. He looks like he's going to straight-up knock someone out. This must have been when I told him the pizza crusts were "all gone" and he wasn't keen on that answer.

And then THIS one! Oh my, this one...this is his side-eye. He's judging me here. This is what I like to think of as his Gary Coleman "What'chu talkin 'bout, Willis" face. I mean COME ON!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Y3 - 15/365: I've Got to Break Free

My clever Houdini has now sussed how to escape the confines of the walker. He has started resisting it at times when I go to place him inside if I need to pop out of the room, but I never expected he would develop the ingenuity with which to formulate a plan to actually break free.

I should point out that the photo isn't as dangerous as it looks -- no babies were harmed in the reenacting of this stunt. I watched him manoeuvre himself over the tray of the walker with stealth precision. He figured that if he pulls the push-walker close enough, he can use the handle to hoist himself out of the seat and onto the tray of the push-walker.

Then he gets a bit of a bewildered look and peers up at me as if to say, "Okay what?"

My only saving grace at the moment is the Jumperoo and it will take some serious skill to figure out how to get out of that one!

Feeling a bit better today although bunged-up-baby-boy has returned. He was quite stuffy this morning and had a bit of yellow snot (mommies have licence to discuss this subject without judgment), so we got an appointment at the doctor's surgery to have his ears/throat checked and chest listened to. No surprise he tried to eat the doctor's stethoscope! But in the end she said there's no concern for infection and just carry on torturing him with saline drops and the bulb decongester.

We're on our own for a bit tonight as Daddy is popping down to visit Uncle Daz. Someone (in my arms) is looking a bit sleepy now so I think we may head up for a bath and PJ's now and see if sleep isn't far behind.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Y3 - 14/365: Noise Maker

I had a pretty rough night of sleep and I'm still not feeling well. In fact, probably feeling a bit worse today and I felt so guilty for all the time Ryan spent in the walker since I physically had no energy. He still found creative ways to occupy himself, using his bottle of pasta twirls to make noise sounds on the window.

I hope my tissue mountain decreases by nose can't take any more.

::llama face::

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Y3 - 13/365: Bookworm

Busy in his "office" ignoring Mommy as well as the telly and catching up on the latest about Wooly the Sheep.

Woke up with a dry, itchy throat this morning and now my nose is all drippy. Turning in early and having a short-blog night.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Y3 - 12/365: Porridge...FAIL

I think we have found the first thing that Ryan is not a big fan of...and that is chocolate flavoured Ready Brek. Morrison's was out of the original and honey flavoured, so Matt and I thought we'd give chocolate a try even though we weren't keen ourselves on the idea. I gave it to Ryan this morning and with each bite he put his fingers into his mouth and then followed up by rubbing his face with his chocolaty-porridge hands.

Then he stopped long enough to be the poster child for miserable and pitiful for this photo.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Y3 - 11/365: Autumn Has Come!

It was evident on our walk today that Autumn is definitely here! We've been watching the leaves slowly yellow and fall from the damson and apple trees in our garden, and now it is finally taking over at Brittania Park -- and it's absolutely gorgeous to me!

This morning we played with the newest sensory bottle...a little water and Fairy washing up liquid and PRESTO! Bubbles! Just like in the bath.

What do you mean you want to SEE if they TASTE like the ones in the bath, too?

Do you blame me if I'm hesitant to start with the finger-painting?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Y3 - 10/365: Trend Setter

One sock on. One sock off. Don't you know it's all the rage in baby fashion? In fact, they would be smart to just market outfits containing one sock. Or perhaps they are already and the other is just a spare?

Also on the legging or trouser-leg up.

It's a hip hop thing, you probably wouldn't understand.

Another popular trend that is growing and gaining much respect in our house...early to bed and sleeping through the night! We're quickly realising that a few songs sung just before sleep whilst cuddling on Mommy's shoulder are really doing the trick for a nice, sound sleep.

Tonight his gums were troubling him -- more teeth, we suspect -- so we kept him downstairs with us a bit longer and close enough for a quick cuddle should he wake. This won't be a long-term habit, but it's working for us at the moment and he's a much happier bunny the following day for a better night's sleep.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Y3 - 9/365: Hello, You!

Any description of how excited Ryan gets over his weekend visits with cousin Amy would be an understatement. He squeals in absolute delight at first sight of her and it's game over once he is set loose to go catch her.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we hope they keep a close relationship all of their lives.

Bless them!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Y3 - 8/365: Daddy Taught Him Well!

Always important to check the tire pressure of your mode of transport before setting out on your journey.

Shortly after Cbeebies Bedtime Hour ended and the channel went off air, Ryan and I spent the next 30 or so minutes making circuits of the front room with the walker. I moved the shorter settee so it covers the radiator -- keeping little hands away -- and also making a nice long stretch of unobstructed floor path.

He would stop every so often towards the end and take a small break by sitting down next to the walker, and pulling out some blocks to bash together. Then he'd scrape them across the carpet and then the box to see if it would make a different sound. He's so curious!

And apparently a show-off as well?

This is the latest...he tries to walk between two objects. Whether it's Mommy and the sofa or the sofa and the walker...he's determined to give it a go, even if it means a small fall.

By half-seven he was showing signs of tiredness so he went up for his bath and by 8pm, he was spark out next to me downstairs. I kept him with me until Matt got home from Em & Daz's and then up to his cot he went.

Hope the end result is another full night's sleep, because I could get used to this!