While I do not live under a rock, I sometimes feel like I do when people talk about some famous people I have never even heard of. The same applies to Rachel Hollis. But after her recent TikTok rant that she also posted on her IG account (and just deleted today), pretty much everyone and their grandmother must have heard about her. 

Let me summarize real quick what I learned about her from some quick internet research:

Rachel Hollis is a mom of 4 kids who was married to businessman Dave Hollis until 2020. She is a mompreneur, author, MLM coach, motivational speaker, and influencer. She amassed a huge following on social media especially after posting a relatable picture of her postpartum body. In the past, she has been criticized for plagiarizing.

The infamous now-deleted rant:

The infamous non-deleted non-apology:

If you have read my article about Hilaria Baldwin, you already know I’m not a fan of the entire internet ganging up on a person after they did something wrong. I usually tend to feel like I have to defend these people because after all, we are all human. And humans make mistakes. Being in the public eye makes it even more difficult as everyone watches your every step. However, Rachel’s condescending video and followed-up non-apology left me scratching my head a bit. Her annoying delivery was not the only thing wrong with this video. Instead of owning up to her mistake, she made it worse by posting a terrible apology on her social media five days later.

Here are some of my issues with this:

  1. Housecleaners are hard workers and deserve respect

I do not take any issue at all with her having someone clean her house. As a matter of fact, we also have a wonderful woman coming to our house. We appreciate all her hard work so much and she has become like family. Why did Rachel Hollis feel the need to diminish her housekeeper’s work by repeatedly saying that “she cleans toilets?” It is just very condescending and in poor taste!

2. Don’t conflate income with hard work! They are not the same.

As mentioned above, she makes some statements that make it sound like she works much harder than most people, and that is why she is more successful than they are. Amongst other things, she mentions that she is one of the few people who wake up a 4 am every morning. Honey, I hate to break it to you but I know plenty of women who do that simply to make ends meet and without bragging about it. There are tons of single moms out there without any support who do this on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, my wonderful, above-mentioned cleaning lady is up and running at 5 a.m. every day hustling to take care of her family and send money back home to her family in her home country. All while having a smile on her face and never acting as if she works harder than others. Maybe it’s time to take a piece of that humble pie. You live a privileged life! Waking up at 4 a.m. to go to the gym does NOT make you the hardest worker in the room Which brings me to the next point.

3. PSA: Women who are with rich dudes, stop calling other women poor!

So, let’s address the elephant in the room. Rachel married a Disney executive at the age of 21! He helped her open her first business(es). From there on, she started her career as an author, motivational speaker, and blogger. It is much easier to start these types of careers when you have a husband paying for all the bills. Most women I know do it while working full-time at a company AND raising kids because they simply do not have the luxury. I have noticed this several times that women who are together with rich dudes tend to look down on less affluent women. Girl, you need to take a seat and chill. You would not be where you are without the financial support of your now-ex-husband.

4. Bragging about being unrelatable

Ok, her uncomfortable rambling on how she does not want to be relatable is cringe-worthy as is. But what makes it so hypocritical, is that her entire career on built on being relatable. Her breakthrough moment on social media was when she posted a picture of her “mom bod” including stretch marks. People liked that down-to-earth attitude and she gained a following that she was able to sell her books and MLM products to.

5. The comparison to great women in history

I think we can all agree that her caption was even worse than the video. She lists some of the greatest women in history such as Harriet Tubman, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Malala Yousafzai who were all “unrelatable AF” just like her. No! Simply no to an influencer comparing herself to an abolitionist who freed slaves. Simply the no-est No there ever was.

6. Late non-apology followed by a second attempt at an apology

She did not address the serious backlash she got after this video until 5 days after posting it. She issued what must have been the worst apology ever on her IG which read something to the extent: Sorry you guys felt that way but I still do not understand what was wrong about my video and it’s my team’s fault I let so much time pass. Obviously, this only made the crowds furious so she just issued another apology today and also finally deleting that horrific post. Scroll below to read it.

Since any apology is better than none, I’ll give her some credit for that. But words are very powerful and she has hurt a lot of people with what she said. Since I could not live with myself if I would end a post only bashing a person without saying anything positive, I want to add something. I do commend her for her career, her success, and raising four children which is not easy at all. But the way she talked about it in such an arrogant, condescending manner was just plain offensive. I hope she considers using her words more carefully in the future and using her platforms to lift others up instead of putting them down.

The other day when I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline, I couldn’t help but open an article from Parents Magazine called “Millennial Moms Choose Formula Feeding for Convenience.” The article was fairly short and it stayed very much on the surface not really touching on to any details. Here is a quick summary of its key points:

  • A formula brand surveyed moms in 2017 on their baby feeding habits
  • Formula feeding has increased a lot
  • While the vast majority of moms over 35 feels guilty about formula feeding, the majority of moms 34 and younger does not feel guilty about giving their baby formula
  • The nr. 1 reason that the moms stated for formula feeding is convenience 
  • Moms reported that they would breastfeed if their maternity leave was longer, and moms with multiple children were less likely to breastfeed
  • The article concludes by stating that breastfeeding is beneficial but that the world is not making it easy for moms to do so due to short maternity leaves (or the lack thereof), nursing shamers, and lack of provision for pumping moms
IMAGE SOURCE: WWW.NARASATTI.WORDPRESS.COM

 I felt like this article left a lot to be desired. Without a doubt, the real reason why so many women turn to formula is that society expects mothers to go back like nothing happened after they had a baby. The word “convenience” is completely misplaced in my opinion. Convenience is when you order food because you do not feel like cooking, or when you do not clean up because you rather want to chill. Modern society making it impossible for mothers to do it all can hardly be considered convenient. It boggles my mind that this article emphasizes how millennial moms do not feel guilty about formula feeding. It is the society that should feel guilty about the way moms are being treated nowadays. There are several reasons why moms may not breastfeed and there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty about it:

Breastfeeding is extremely challenging for working moms

A lot of families nowadays depend on both parents’ income. Hence, many mothers nowadays do not have the luxury of staying home with the child/children even if they would want to. The U.S. is the only developed country that does not offer paid maternity leave and the allowed amount of non-paid leave is only a meager three months. Most European countries offer paid maternity leaves ranging from anywhere between 6 months and 2 years. Before 2020, working from home was not a common thing. So, if moms who breastfeed go back to work 3 months or less after giving birth that means they will rely heavily on pumping. Needless to say that it is a huge sacrifice moms make by leaving their little baby with someone else to go back to work while being sleep deprived (most babies do not sleep through the night at that age and getting ready in the morning with a newborn takes extra time which means less zzz’s for mom). But pumping is a huge ordeal. Having to pack the pump every day with its gazillion pieces in order to take it to work makes you waste a lot of precious time in the morning. But not only that, it is very uncomfortable and time-consuming to take a break from work every 2-3 hours to pump for at least 20 minutes and then wash the individual pump parts every single time. I would not even consider my situation the worst since my office was able to provide me a private room with a connected bathroom where I was able to wash my pump. I would take storing bags (which are pricy by the way) and ice-packs to keep the extracted milk as well as a microwavable sterilizing bag. However, I still found it extremely challenging and exhausting. So I cannot even imagine what these poor women have to go through who work in shared offices with worse conditions. Hence, the word “convenience” is very out of place. It is almost impossible to perform at work while doing the excruciating pumping at the same time. This is why I believe a lot of working moms resort to formula. Additionally, breast milk production is a supply and demand kind of thing. Since babies extract the milk most efficiently, pumping also lowers the milk supply which brings me to the next point. 

http://IMAGE SOURCE: IMGFLIP.COM

Milk supply issues

Exclusively breastfeeding is very difficult for a lot of reasons. Society puts a lot of pressure on moms regarding nursing. Before I was a mom, I vowed that I would exclusively breastfeed given that breastmilk has so many benefits. But when I gave birth my son was born coombs positive with low bilirubin levels so I was encouraged to give him formula to get the bilirubin out of his system. Then at home, after not having slept for days, I took my husband up on the offer to take some of the nightshifts. Skipping several nursing sessions at night also led to a decrease in my supply. When I was researching methods on how to increase your milk supply, I was surprised how many women there are who have serious issues with their milk supply. I would have never thought that after seeing women bragging on Instagram about their freezers full of pumped milk, that there are so many women with a low milk supply.

Hence, it is safe to say that exclusively nursing, as much as moms would want to, is not the easiest thing to do. I did actually feel guilty about not being able to exclusively nurse. But looking back, I realize I did what I could. Now, I have a healthy and smart 2.5-year-old and I do not feel that nursing him exclusively would have changed anything. I encourage every young mom to not feel guilty about her choices. Motherhood is tough and we do the best we can.

If you are a new or expecting mom, I highly recommend you check out Baby and Sunshine and their wonderful, high-quality products for mom and baby. Whether you decide to nurse, they offer a variety of beautiful and useful items. But if you do nurse or pump, you will find their amazing nursing bras and clothes as well as pumping bras in their collection. Baby and Sunshine empowers and supports other moms by collaborating with other small mom-owned businesses. They even have a Facebook group where Mompreneurs get to connect and support each other. Thank you, Baby and Sunshine, for sponsoring this post.

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When bringing a child to this world, parents naturally develop the instinct to protect them. While there is nothing more peaceful than a sleeping baby, it is heartbreaking to see a small child waking himself or herself up from coughing and crying. But the dreaded moment when your baby develops his or her first cold will eventually come. And once they go to school, they will be getting sick all the time. You must call your pediatrician right away when your baby has any symptoms of a cold.


If your child has no fever and you have made sure with your pediatrician that it is a common cold, there are not a lot of things you can do. Pediatricians do not recommend any type of medicine for very young children. However, there a few tips that you can apply to help your little one get through the cold quicker and with lighter symptoms:

1) Natural Remedies
Honey is an effective natural remedy to alleviate cough. Just make sure you give it in small doses as the high sugar level can be detrimental to the baby’s teeth. Also, giving lots of liquids is crucial to the baby’s speedy recovery. Make sure your baby stays hydrated by either nursing a lot or giving lots of fluids in bottles. Moreover, the more your baby gets to sleep, the better it will be for his or her recovery. Zarbees has developed organic medicine for babies with a cold which basically consists of honey and vitamins. 

2) Steam to clear the sinuses
A humidifier in the room helps. You can buy one at almost any supermarket, pharmacy, or order online on Amazon. They have some cute ones that look like an elephant. Refill the water every night and turn the humidifier on while your little one sleeps. Make sure you clean the machine regularly to avoid the creation of any mold. Also, you can take your baby inside the bathroom only dressed in a diaper and let hot shower water running. This creates a natural steam sauna which helps clear the sinuses. Obviously, do not actually put your child in that water as that can burn his skin.

 

3) Get that snot out!
One of the main issues about small children getting sick is that they cannot blow their noses so the mucus travels down creating a cough. One of the best inventions ever for parents is the Nose Frida. It is a small device that helps you suck out all the liquid yuckiness out of your child’s nose. Before having kids I used to be so disgusted by this but now that I am a parent, I can say that it is truly a lifesaver. You hold a small syringe-like apparatus that is connected to a bendable straw against your child’s nostril and suck out all the mucus. Don’t worry there is a filter so you can’t get any snot into your mouth! My son hates this device and so do most kids. But it is very helpful to get over a cold and to decrease coughing. Ensure to follow the cleaning instructions after every use and keep this device hygienic to avoid any further spread of bacteria. The Nose Frida also comes with a baby-friendly saline nasal spray which helps to soothe your child as well. There are also electric version of the device like the Nosiboo which makes the progress more convenient and less gross for parents.

4) Soothing chest rubs
Ok so this one might be more of a Miami superstition but the Cuban people here swear that Vicks Vapor Rub is the cure to a lot of ailments. And I can confirm I had positive results with it as well. There are some soothing chest rubs particularly made for babies. Make sure you pick one with good ingredients such a Eucalyptus, lavender, and/or beeswax which are petroleum and menthol-free. Tip: rub it into the baby’s feet, put socks on overnight, and see how much better your little one feels the next morning.

5) Preventative Measures

Last but not least, it is always best to prevent your little one from getting sick altogether. You can get over-the-counter vitamins for babies that you give them every morning. Moreover, it is important to practice good hygiene. Make sure you thoroughly wash your child’s hands with soap and warm water and bathe them once they get home to wash off the germs. Consider getting your child clothes and bed sheet made out of quality organic materials. These are farmed without the use of pesticides. Pesticides can cause allergic reactions and lower the immune system. 

Keep in mind that I am not giving any medical advice as here as I am not a doctor. I am giving you tips based on my experience. However, I have done extensive research and received most of these tips from pediatricians so I am confident in sharing these.

You can find an overview of the items I recommend for sick babies and young children here: https://amzn.to/3wan0iV

 

 

I know I’m a little bit late to the party but today I’d like to comment on the controversy around Hilaria Baldwin. For those of you who don’t know, Hilaria Baldwin is actor Alec Baldwin’s second wife. Together they have 5 children. It all started when she posted a picture of herself a few weeks after giving birth to her youngest son. In this picture, she is holding him while she is wearing what appears to be underwear. And she looks absolutely fantastic! Definitely not like a mom of 5 who just gave birth.

Comedian Amy Schumer then took to her own Instagram jokingly reposting that picture pretending it was her. That picture ended up getting a lot of negative comments directed at Hilaria calling her attention-seeking and accusing her to have posted the picture with the intention to show off her flawless body. Due to the negative response, Schumer decided to take that picture down. However, since Hilaria had gotten so much attention with this post, people started investigating especially focusing on her cultural heritage and her past. Moreover, some old friends came out claiming that Hilaria has pretended to be from Spain but that her real name is Hillary Lynn Hayward-Thomas and that she is from Boston. It turns out that while Hilaria has appeared to be Spanish in the media, she is American born with no Spanish roots at all. Nonetheless, she did visit Spain a lot and grew up bilingually. Her parents currently reside in Spain as well. Hilaria’s deep admiration for the language also shows in the fact that her five kids all have Spanish names. For the longest time, her Wikipedia article and other sources have stated that she was born in Spain and she has been featured on the Spanish language magazine Hola! The general public has criticized Alec and Hilaria Baldwin harshly for fabricating that false image of her being Spanish.

Evidence Nr. 1: Alec Baldwin make a joke in David Letterman’s late-night talk show about his wife being Spanish

Evidence Nr. 2: Hilaria asking how to say “cucumber” in English

Evidence Nr. 3: Hilaria talking in a Spanish accent:

Evidence Nr.4: Hilaria avoiding the question of where her parents are from by saying that they lived in Spain

This whole story hit close to home for me because there are some parallels. So I wanted to dig a little deeper to make up my mind on how I feel about the accusations of her creating a false narrative and her intentions on this.

 A little bit about me

I was born and raised in Germany to a German mom and an Iraqi father. However, German culture was the only culture that I grew up with and German was all I spoke until I learned foreign languages in school. As a matter of fact, I never met anyone from my Dad’s side of the family, nor did I know the language and barely anything about his culture. So even though it was such a big part of my heritage, I was completely disconnected from Iraqi culture. Nonetheless, my distinct looks made me stand out and I faced discrimination because of my ethnicity. German people never made me feel like I am part of theirs and always treated me like I am a foreigner. I was treated pejoratively by teachers and bullied by other children. But even as an adult, people would pester me with accusations of not being German because I “do not look German” and my last name isn’t. Needless to say, I never felt quite at home there and do not have a lot of very fond memories growing up there. My parents tried to protect me from racism but telling me to not disclose my heritage to people or lie about it. Being a parent myself now, I see why they did it but I do not necessarily agree with that as growing up that way contributed to the identity crisis I had as an adolescent. I moved to Miami, FL almost nine years ago and have never looked back. If you have not been here, you may not know that Hispanic culture and the Spanish language are very dominant in Miami. Hispanics or Latinos make up 70% of the population with most of them being fully bilingual and some of them only speaking Spanish. People often assume that I am Hispanic from the way I look I like and from my first name Isabella. And by often, I mean all the time. I have never felt so much at home like I feel in Miami. Everyone here thinks I am part of them. Some actually question it when I tell them that I am not Hispanic. Even my YouTube and Facebook think I am Latina and always display ads in Spanish. This is the opposite that what I have lived through in Germany. Additionally, I need to point out that I love Latin culture, music, and the Spanish language. . Hence, I feel like I can sympathize with Hilaria while not fully condoning what she did. Here are my two cents on the issue

What could have motivated Hilaria to act like she is Spanish – and did she even act or was it all a misunderstanding?

1) Did people just assume that she is Spanish or did she create that image?

My native Spanish speaking husband has confirmed that Hilaria’s Spanish skills are on point. To speak a foreign language without an accent, she must have spent a lot of time in the country with native speakers. In any of the evidence presented above, it does not seem like she flat out lied about her heritage. She just seems to evade the question and beat around the bush. Hence, I assume that she probably likes the fact that people assume she is Spanish so she felt no need to correct them. From my own experience, I can say that there has been such a plethora of people thinking I am Latin American. It really does not bother me at all and I cannot control what people think. I never said I am Latin but since I am a blogger, I have people following me on my social media accounts who I do not know personally. Lots of these people believe I am of Hispanic descent even though they have been following me for years on these platforms. Part of it could be that I sometimes do posts in Spanish or add Spanish music. Like I mentioned above, in Miami the Spanish language is spoken as much as English if not more. So I am just going with the program and assimilating by communicating in this language as well. I do not ever see Hilaria say that she is in fact Spanish but it seems like she has created that image as she finds it flattering. However, her husband did say in a late-night show that his wife was Spanish. So I do believe that they were certainly working on creating a certain image in the media even though Hilaria herself never flat out lied.

Pic from instagram.com/hilariabaldwin

2) Being Multilingual

One of the criticisms towards Hilaria is that she acts like she had a Spanish accent. There is even an instance on a TV show where she asks how to say the word “cucumber” in English. Obviously, since I do not live in her head, I cannot 100% know if this is an act. However, being trilingual I can confirm that it does happen that I mix up languages. It even happens with German, my native tongue, that I sometimes cannot think of a word right away. And about the accent, I have also seen that happen that people adopt an accent. In Miami, it is a very common phenomenon that a lot of people who are not Hispanic develop a Spanish accent because many people around them have one. She probably imitates the accent on purpose but since we do not know 100%, I give her the benefit of the doubt on this one.

3) Identity Crisis

I have noticed that recently a lot of Caucasian people feel the urge to be part of a minority. I cannot pinpoint exactly why but I can guess that they want the feeling of belonging somewhere special. Also with white supremacy on the rise, they might want to distinguish themselves from those kinds of people. A few years ago when it was the latest fashion to take DNA tests from 23andme or Ancestry. I have seen many friends being overly excited about having some percentage, even though a very low percentage, of Ashkenazi Jewish or Native American heritage. You may also remember the infamous story where Elizabeth Warren claimed she was Native American due to a very low percentage in her test results. Subsequently, she was wildly ridiculed. I believe Hilaria felt that “just being white” was not special enough and her fascination with the Spanish culture might have led to her act. She probably thought it was more exotic and felt the need to be part of it.

4) Cultural appropriation?

After the Hilaria scandal emerged, many people compared her to Rachel Dolezal. Rachel Dolezal was a white woman who acted like she was a black woman. Not only did she make herself look like she was of African American heritage but she was also the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). I do not necessarily agree with this comparison. Whites portraying Blacks has been historically very problematic as “Blackface” is a racist act that has been used to ridicule Black people. Hilaria is not acting like she has a different race, I believe that she has a deep admiration for that Spanish culture combined with low self-esteem about her real identity. 

5) Name Change

I guess in the bigger picture, one can say that changing her name from Hillary to Hilaria was part of the plot to create her Spanish persona. But I can also say that in Miami, it is very common that people who are called Jorge commonly go by George. This is not to hide their heritage or to act like they are White American, it is more to make it easier. So I do not think that this slight change is that much of a big deal especially if people have called her that for a long time.

After analyzing the situation, I can clearly state that I do not agree with what the Baldwins have done by creating an image of Hilaria having a Spanish identity. However, I do not believe that the media witch hunt on her is merited. She appears to have a strong admiration for Spanish culture to the point that she really wants to be part of it. However, I hope that people will move on to being confident about their own heritage and identity. It is not ok to pose like a different color or race. A lot of people have suffered from racism due to their ethnicity. Hence, putting on another race like clothes because it seems more exotic and more interesting is inappropriate and resulting. I hope that the Baldwin family can recover from that scandal soon. They are a beautiful family the way they are. Clearly, her motives were not racist but deep admiration for Spain and its rich culture.

If you have a few more minutes to spare, here is a video I made on the topic:

The end of the year 2020 is nearing and at this point, it would be redundant to point out what a crazy year it has been. Clearly, a lot of people are hopeful that things will change for the better in 2021. It is very common for people to have New Year’s resolutions to improve their personal life. While there is nothing wrong with setting some goals for yourself, there are a few resolutions I would recommend for all moms to implement in 2021. If you do not have them in place yet, these goals will surely make mom’s life easier.

  1. Set an early bedtime for your kids…and stick to it

Maybe you don’t see yourself as the type of mom who is into routines and strict rules. Or, to quote the movie Mean Girls, you are not a regular mom but a cool mom. But studies have shown that putting kids to bed early means better mental health for mom as well. An early bedtime is considered before 8.30 pm. Evidently, an early bedtime has positive effects on the child such as overall better-quality sleep and even long-term effects such as learning abilities and reduced likeliness of obesity. But recent studies have proven what we already knew: it also increases mom’s quality of life when the children go to bed early. Getting a well-deserved break, some me-time or couple time, and more sleep for mom makes her happier and her life more balanced. If you do not have a set bedtime in place yet, you can check out this article for more tips.

2. Ask for help

This sub-headline is pretty self-explanatory but somehow most of us moms think we have to do it all by ourselves and have such a difficult time asking others for help. But in all honesty, not only is it ok to reach out to others, it is something you definitely should start doing in 2021. There is a reason that the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” exists. But you got to pick up the phone and call your “village” aka your family and friends and ask them to come over and babysit, or whatever else you need help with. More likely than not, you have helped people in the past or done favors for them. You can also pay it forward by helping out your friends or family members with their kids. 

3. Get healthy without buying into toxic diet culture

A lot of women set the resolutions to lose weight every.single.year. Somehow they believe that 2021 might be the year when they will finally get into vegetables and CrossFit even though none of this has happened in previous years. I do believe that it is important to become the healthiest and strongest version of yourself for your kids – but probably not in the way you are thinking. Mental health and a good balance are extremely important for all women. Moreover, it is important to point out that physically healthy is not the same as being skinny. Keep in mind that the fitness and diet industries are a billion-dollar business so not every article you read or every ad you see may have your best interest in mind. The best thing that I started doing in my life was to ditch any diet or “lifestyle change” including categorizing foods as good and bad which is extremely toxic. I started listening to my body and doing portion control. It made me enjoy life more and stress less about food. Before, my whole life pretty much revolved around food. I was so obsessed with making sure that all my meal options are healthy and that I eat before 6 pm to the point that it would affect my personal life. Being more flexible with food has made me a more relaxed and easy-going mom. I don’t pick places or activities anymore based on how healthy the food is they offer, I pick family-friendly activities that are fun for my son. If this means that we will have to eat some chicken tenders every once in a while, so be it. I do not adhere to a strict dinner time schedule either when we’re out having fun. Past-me would have probably put her child on some organic-only healthy diet. But now I let my son have cake and juice at birthday parties without a problem.

4. Spend quality time with the kids

When I talk to people whose kids are already grown up or to parents who lost their kids, they all have one thing in common. They all tell me that they wish they could still carry their kids, play with them, and how much they miss the time when they were babies. Clearly, I have never met any parent who tells me that they wished they would have spent more time doing the dishes or working. Try to enjoy the little moments when they want to play with you or hug it even it means you won’t have the cleanest house that day or you have to take a break from work. This does not mean that you have to be completely irresponsible but taking an extra 5 minutes here or there to hug your kids and be in the here and now cannot possibly throw off your schedule that much. Furthermore, these little precious moments of joy also give you the energy and love you need in your life.

5. Me-Time 

“You cannot pour from an empty cup” so make sure to fill up your cup every once in a while. Make sure you find a little time for yourself to do things that you enjoy doing and recharge your batteries. As already mentioned above, thanks to modern technology there are so many services nowadays that make your life easier and help you save your precious time. Not only that, they actually help you save money. When I order groceries online, I see what everything adds up to and it is easier to stick to my set budget as opposed to just going to the supermarket and adding everything that looks great. 

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Dear Mom,

We are getting close to the holidays and nearing the end of the year. This year has certainly been very different from every other year before. While this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, it truly has left some scars for a lot of people. Some people may not be able this year to buy a lot of toys or any toys at all. But I am here to say that things will be better. What kids remember the most are experiences. So despite any hardships you have encountered this year, I encourage you to make this a memorable holiday time with your loved ones. After all, you made it through one of the toughest years of our lifetime. That alone makes you a warrior and is proof that you can accomplish anything that life throws at you. Here is my open holiday letter to all the moms out there.

To the working mom:

You above all would know what it means to make sacrifices. In order to help contribute to the household income, you have sacrificed spending precious time with your babies and woken up tired to drive to work to spend hours there to drive back in traffic. You may have left your baby with someone else since they were a few months old and may have experienced the tremendous inconvenience of pumping at work. This year, you had an almost impossible task. You had to work from home while taking care of your kids and possibly even homeschooling them. This just shows what a true badass you are at multi-tasking. We all know that you had too much on your plate this year and commend you for accomplishing the impossible. Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones! You truly deserve it!

To the stay-at-home mom:

You dedicated your life to your children being there for them 24/7, educating them, teaching them right from wrong. You never get an hour lunch break, paid time off, or a bonus for excellent work. Often, people try to dismiss your job as being easy but I see you and appreciate you. You have managed to guide your family through an emotionally draining time and were there for them more than ever without any breaks. I really hope you have the most joyous holidays with the home you created for your family!

To the involuntary SAHM:

If you have been laid off this year even though you really liked your job and wanted to keep it, rest assured that you have done your very best and it is not your fault. COVID-19 closures have been financially challenging for a lot of businesses which forced them to restructure which oftentimes means laying off people. I know there are a lot of you out there who had to somehow manage to support your family without getting any income. Your time will come! The economy will recover and you will get back in the workforce. Maybe this is a good time to reflect or where you want your life to go career-wise. Do you even want to stay in the corporate world? Is there a skill you want to learn to further advance in your career? I hope that for now you can put the worries aside and enjoy the holidays with your family. Remember: the sky is the limit and you can achieve anything you want!

To the expecting mom:

Congratulations on your new addition to your family! A baby is such a blessing no matter what the circumstances are. You certainly got pregnant in quite a crazy year! Due to COVID-19, most hospitals and OB/GYNs changed their policy to not even allowing the baby’s Dad to be part of the ultrasound, one of the most amazing experiences for a pregnant mom. You are probably quite sad about the fact that you cannot share the joy of your new baby with your significant other and have to go through all of this in isolation. But if there is one thing to know about motherhood is that moms are extremely strong and so are you! You will have plenty of time to share the joy of having a baby with your loved ones once you have given birth and things have gone back to normal. To be quite frank, there is not such a thing as the perfect time to have a baby so just enjoy the ride. If you want to plan a virtual baby shower, here are some tips in this article. But for now, just enjoy your holidays with that beautiful growing belly of yours!

To the mompreneur:

If you have your own business and you’re a mom, you are basically a wonder woman. It is very admirable and takes a lot of guts for a woman to follow her dream and start her company to support her family. This year might have been a disappointing year for your business. Many people lost their jobs this year and had to keep their money together which means sales may have plummeted. Or maybe you had just reached momentum before the pandemic and now it went all down the drain. But don’t worry, mama! You will find the same willpower you had when first opening your business to get yourself back on track. Maybe you will have to tweak your business model and change up some things but one bad year does not mean you have to give up your dreams! I wish you the most amazing holidays with your family. And don’t forget: you’re a Rockstar!

To the mom who had the best year of her life:

You may be one of those unicorns who cannot relate to any of the above. Your company’s sales may have skyrocketed this year. Or you may have kicked ass at work and gotten a raise. Or you may have had a serious quarantine glow-up and gotten in the best shape of your life! If you feel like 2020 has been YOUR year, you may not want to openly celebrate it out of empathy for all the losses and hardships others have experienced this year! But I am here to tell you that you did an amazing job! You managed to turn a negative situation into something positive which is a true gift to have. I hope you get to celebrate during these holidays and end this year 2020 with a bang!

As you can tell, no matter what everyone’s individual situation was, most moms had some challenges this year to deal with. If you know a mom and would like to cheer her up for the holidays, check out Baby and Sunshine’s holiday boxes that are still available until 31/12/2020. In order to give back, Baby and Sunshine will give a mini box to a family in need. Head over to their Instagram to nominate a mom/dad in need who is currently pregnant or has a new baby.

I hope you enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful time with their family!

Lots of Love,

Bella – The Miami Mami

If you have gotten pregnant during the craziest of all years 2020, let me first start by saying: Congratulations, mama! A baby is such a blessing and brings so much joy no matter the conditions. However, this year might be a particularly tough year to get pregnant if you are someone who loves to celebrate pregnancy and the expansion of your family with the other people around you. If you are like me, then you are someone who has been having a Pinterest board with baby shower ideas for a long time. You might be afraid that the outbreak of COVID-19 has just thrown out your whole vision of a picture-perfect baby shower (and the gifts that come with it), out of the window, but don’t worry, I got some alternative ideas on how to throw a virtual baby shower and share the joy with your loved ones.

Let’s Get Started

Mama, you deserve to be celebrated and so does your new baby! So, let’s make this virtual baby shower happen! There are actually a lot of advantages to hosting a baby shower online. To name a few: people from out of town or people who are sick with a cold still get to attend. As a matter of fact, my sister-in-law who did all my party favors and was supposed to MC my shower had a fever in the week of my event and was highly advised by my other SIL who is a doctor to not attend to avoid getting me sick so close before giving birth. Moreover, it is generally really not a great idea for pregnant women to be exposed to a lot of people as pregnant women have weakened immune systems and cannot take any cold or flu medicine. Your first step should be to make sure to download Zoom and then send out virtual invites on your baby shower, e.g. from Evite or you can create a Facebook group as well. Just to make sure that older family members who are not too tech-savvy still get their invite. You might want to opt for a text message, email, or good ole’ traditional snail mail for these people. Hopefully, you have someone who can help you with all of this. And don’t worry about not getting any gifts! Nowadays, it is super easy to have an online registry where the items get sent directly to your home. But there is an even better gift idea tip I would like to share with you that I wished would have been around when I was pregnant for the first time. Baby and Sunshine has amazing subscription boxes with everything a new mom needs for herself and her baby. Your friends and family can also opt to send you a one-time box. The boxes have different sizes and are priced accordingly which means this can be the perfect gift for everyone – for those on a budget and for those who want to give a very generous gift. There are so many things I love about these boxes but let me list a few:

  1. All items are made out of premium quality such as organic cotton, bamboo, and cashmere. Not only are these materials very comfortable but also gentle to your baby’s skin making rashes a lot less likely. Their sleep sacks, baby clothes, and baby clothes are a lot nicer and softer than the ones you find at other baby stores.
  2. They can pack the contents of your hospital bag in one box. How awesome is that! So many moms are so stressed about what to put in their bag. I would have loved to just delegate that task and just move all the contents of the box in my bag to avoid that headache.
  3. You actually get to personalize your boxes. Thankfully, most of my friends and family have great taste. But there were a few baby gifts that I may or may not have returned. Here, you get to actually let Baby and Sunshine know what you are looking for.
  4. You get some awesome mom items as well. People tend to forget about moms and only buy stuff for the baby but moms need to be taken care of too in the postpartum stage. They even have awesome postpartum belly binders that will help you bounce back quicker and comfy clothing that you will need after giving birth
  5. They collaborate with other mom-owned small businesses giving you plenty of options to choose from. Recently, they even added skincare products by Baby Bear Naturals to their repertoire. I was so excited to hear about that as a woman’s skin usually suffers after giving birth due to the changes in the hormonal levels. This will give moms to chance to practice some self-care after giving birth. 

It can still be a Pinterest-Worthy Baby Shower

In order for you to feel like this is a special event, I would highly recommend you still dress up and get dolled up like you would for an in-person baby shower. Make this a day to remember and decorate the house so you have a nice backdrop. A balloon arch looks super cute and maybe add some letter balloons or some baby balloons. Again, you should not be doing all of this alone and have someone help you. Another reason to make sure you are dressed for the occasion is so you get to take some nice pictures to keep as a memory of this joyous celebration. In all honesty, I do not think that you need to hire a professional photographer as most modern phones take amazing pictures but that is obviously up to you. You can also use the picture to send out a sweet Thank You card to everyone who attended later. Little Pickle Memories offers beautiful cards and other paper items for you to memorize your pregnancy and child’s first months in this world. 

Have a host

As mentioned before, do not do this alone! Baby showers are meant to be organized FOR moms so they do not have to worry about anything and they get celebrated while being gifted items that they need for the baby. The last thing you need is to add extra stress to your last trimester. Additionally, “preggo brain” is a real thing and you may or may not forget half of the things you had planned. Have someone be the host of the entire event who guides attendees throughout the baby shower. Thankfully, Zoom has mute buttons for every participant that the host can control so things do not get too chaotic. Additionally, Zoom has a feature where questions pop-up on everyone’s screen allowing for some baby shower games even though it is a virtual event. Questions can include: what advice do you have for the new parents? What were your pregnancy cravings? Or you could even play some of the traditional baby shower games such as “Guess the belly size.” If you wanted to you could send the winner a virtual gift card from Starbucks or someone similar. The host could also coordinate for key people to hold a short speech like the grandparents-to-be giving well wishes to the expecting couple. If you are willing to ship out prizes, scented candles are always a hit. You can check out the online store Happy Momma Merch for some of their hand-made candles. If you wanted to go all out, you could even create some cute gift bags that the attendees could either pick up before the event or you could ship to them if your budget allows it. These could be bougie little bags with a piccolo bottle of sparkling wine so there could be a virtual toast for the mom-to-be. To give it the typical brunch feel, you could also include a cupcake, some non-perishable snacks, and a party favor of your choice. 

I hope these tips can help you create the baby shower of your dreams even if 2020 put a damper on your plans. But even if you are not planning a baby shower, if you are currently pregnant and know someone who is, please check out Baby and Sunshine. They currently have an amazing offer where they will donate a mini box to a mom or mom-to-be in need for every box purchase. You can also check them out on Instagram or Cratejoy .

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One day, my husband I decided we are tired of having a clean house, sleeping in, and doing whatever we want, so we had a child. But in all seriousness, what a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth goes against everything that is usually recommended for a healthy lifestyle. You gain a lot of weight, you experience a lot of stress, and getting eight hours of sleep will seem like a foreign concept. Unless you mean getting those 8 hours of sleep in three nights in a row – that sounds a lot more likely with a newborn. Now, I LOVE sleep! Actually, not only do I love it but I consider getting the right amount of sleep per night essential to my well-being. I feel like my whole day gets thrown out of whack when I am sleep-deprived, I cannot focus and somehow eat a lot more in order to get energy from somewhere. According to a study from UC Davis, “sleep deprivation stimulates the brain to increase overeating of sweet and fatty foods, which turns binge-watching into binge eating. The theory is that people consume more calories when sleep deprived in order to give the body more energy to stay awake.” So you can imagine how eager I was to get my little one to sleep through the night. I visited a sleep training class when he was born and successfully had my little one sleeping through the night since he was 2 months old. Here a few tips and tricks on how your baby and you can get in those zzz’s.

No napping after 5 pm

Newborns sleep up to 18 hours in a 24 hour period which means they pretty much sleep all the time. They usually wake every 2-3 hours for a feeding and diaper change. In the beginning, we were inclined to just have him wake up and fall asleep whenever mainly because we didn’t know better. It was almost like time did not exist and it did not matter if it was day or night since we were always up. After my husband and I started getting dark circles so big that we looked like pandas, I decided we need to get back to normalcy. My baby needed to start understanding the difference between day and night even if that meant that he would still wake up for feeding at night. Hands-down the best advice I received is to keep him up after 5 pm. I would not even let him have a little cat nap. It made him so tired that he would be in bed by his 8 pm bedtime. He is 3 years old and I still stick to the no-nap-after-5 rule and the same bedtime. 

Create a bedtime routine

Another important piece of advice I got was to create a bedtime routine. Babies are creatures of habit and will quickly get used to their bedtime if you practice the same routine every single night. It is best to do soothing activities before they go to sleep. I would usually bathe my son closer to bedtime because the warm water would calm him down and make him sleepy. I would massage him with baby lotion and put him into snuggly pajamas. Right before he would go to sleep at around 7.50 pm, I would either give him a warm bottle or nurse him. The warm milk makes babies very sleepy and a full tummy makes them sleep for longer periods of time. However, here a few things to avoid: make sure they are not dependent on tools to fall asleep. The goal is to have them fall asleep on their own. They should NOT NEED a bottle, nursing boob, pacifier, soothing machines to fall asleep. As a matter of fact, you should make sure that they don’t fall asleep with milk in their mouth as this can cause teeth decay and other dental problems. Once your child has its first tooth, it is important to brush their teeth before going to bed. But you do not need to wait until they have a tooth, there are finger brushes that you can use from 3 months on which is recommended so your baby can grow some healthy pearly whites. Moreover, you should try to phase out the pacifier as soon as possible. A lot of babies have the habit of needing a paci for falling asleep which is detrimental to the teeth as well. Once you put your baby down in his or her crib, it is a nice bedtime routine finisher to read them a good night story. Not only will this make them sleepier but it will also have a positive effect on their brain and speech development. It is super important that you actually put them in their bassinet at your chosen bedtime not only to get them used to sleeping in there but also because it is the safest way for them to sleep. Even if you would love to snuggle with the little one on the couch and have them fall asleep on her shoulder, you should refrain from doing so. Not only is it safer for them but also gives you the chance to enjoy a movie or dinner at home with your partner or to have some me-time if you are a single parent.

Comfortable PJs and sleep sacks

Last but not least, in order for your little one to fall asleep comfortably and stay like that throughout the night is that you make sure he or she only comes in contact with soft materials that are gentle to the skin. You want to make sure to not use any rough or coarse materials that could irritate their skin. Moreover, use pajamas that have zippers and not buttons to save yourself the hassle of having to unbutton a bazillions buttons in the middle of the night which could wake your baby even more and interfere with his sleep. Avoid using blankets for newborns to avoid choking accidents or SIDS. A great alternative to blankets that will keep your baby just as warm as sleep sacks. My absolute favorite sleep sack of all time is the one from Baby and Sunshine. This ultra-soft 3-layer bamboo baby sleep sack is a lot softer and higher quality than the regular sleep sacks you can buy. My son used this sleep sack until he was 2.5 years old. What’s another super cool feature is that you can zip it open at the bottom so that you can do a diaper change at night without having to take the entire sleep sack off. In addition to that, I highly recommend Baby and Sunshine’s Baby PJs as they only use high-quality products like bamboo or organic cotton making the material extra snuggly and soft.

These tips and tricks might work for your baby or they may not as every baby is different. I found it very helpful to visit a sleep training class that was offered complimentary at my son’s pediatrician. Afterward, I implemented the above steps, and ever since my son is two months old, he sleeps through the night. I am also sure the healthy South Florida ocean air attributes positively to is sleep as well. After a beach day, I see him sleeping extra well and early. Try out what works for your baby and use your motherly instinct for intuition. I also avoided listening to advice from other moms as each child is different, e.g. I was often given that old-school advice to add cereal to my son’s night-time milk in order to get him to sleep through the night. I found that completely unnecessary given that it just adds extra empty calories. So I decided to be patient instead and shortly after he slept through the night. So go by your gut feeling and professional advice instead of some old wives’ tale. I know you got this, mama, and will soon go back to a great night’s sleep every night!

You can find some of the above-mentioned products that I recommend here: https://amzn.to/3hodkvY

Before I had a child, I would have never fathomed what science in itself your baby’s bath time is especially if you have a newborn. My husband and I spent hours watching videos online researching the most appropriate baby bathtub and being fascinated at how organized some of these YouTube moms kept their baby bath caddies. I was very grateful that these moms shared their experience and expertise because – let’s be honest – no new parent has any idea what they’re really doing. Now that I have bathed my son every single night for the last two-and-a-half years, I learned a thing or two. So hopefully,  these tips below will help some new and expecting moms.

  1. Have an appropriate bathtub for the baby’s stage

Keep in mind that babies develop in different stages. So obviously, don’t throw your newborn who can’t even sit up yet in the adult bathtub. Since babies can only lay on their back at the beginning, I’d highly suggest getting an infant tub that they can lay in. We loved our tub since it would display the temperature and display when it would get too warm (super important since you do not want to burn those little feet) and you would be able to drain the accumulated water and refill it (because no one wants to lay in poopy water). It is important to not wet the belly button of a newborn until the umbilical cord comes off. So until it comes off, it is best to give them a sponge bath. If you are delivering at a hospital, you or your partner can watch how the nurses do it at the nursery. My son had to stay an extra day in the nursery for some phototherapy so I saw plenty of newborns coming in being bathed with a sponge by the nurses which helped me learn a lot. Once we were home we would set up our infant bathtub in the kitchen sink every night which brings me to the next super important point: read on to see how to efficiently and effortlessly set up your bath time caddie. 

 2. Organize your diaper caddy

Like I mentioned before, we would set up the infant tub in the kitchen so we had to take all the needed items as well. Even if you’re bathing your child in the bathroom, I highly recommend having an organized diaper caddie with all of the baby’s items ready in one place so you don’t have to look for them. Trust me on that, as a mom you want to make sure you are organized and don’t waste your time looking for things, and also since mom-brain is totally real you do not want to add an extra headache to your life. Here are the must-haves for my baby’s bath time caddy:

  • Baby shampoo and body wash
  • Baby conditioner
  • Washcloths
  • Vaseline (always worked the best for my baby but if you use butt cream, rash cream, or anything else, you should add that to the caddie too. You should avoid baby powder as it can cause breathing issues and choke.)
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Toys (be careful with the squeeze toys that have a hole. Even if you squeeze out all the water after each use, there will still be some moistness in there. Given that they are wet and dark inside, these toys quickly develop black mold and other bacteria which are extremely detrimental to your child‘s health. I personally would recommend buying bathing toys that do not allow water to enter)
  • Baby brush
  • Baby towel 
  • Optional: baby nail file/clippers and a baby toothbrush 

3. Make sure to dry baby off right away

To ensure that your little one does not catch a cold, make sure to dry them off with a warm towel immediately after the bath. I love hooded towels as they cover their hair. If your baby‘s hair is still very short, rubbing it dry with the hood might be all you need. I love animal hooded towels: they look super cute and make sure your baby stays warm. If your child’s hair is a bit longer, you may want to blow dry them after towel drying them. Just make sure the temperate is not too hot and that your baby can’t touch the outlet. I like to blow dry my son’s hair in front of a mirror to do some speech exercises at the same time, e.g. asking him for different parts of his face and have him point at them in front of the mirror.

4. Transition to the bathtub 

Once your child can sit up by themselves, you can start transitioning them to the adult tub. Just be sure to be very careful with the water temperature.  If your child already stands up, I would recommend getting a non-slip mat that sticks to the floor of the bathtub. For yourself, I’d advise you to buy a mat for outside the tub so you can kneel down more comfortably. Last but not least, I need to point out that it is super important to never ever leave your child unattended during bath time. Not even for a few seconds! I hate to be a fear-monger and Negative Nancy but I personally know parents who lost their baby in a drowning accident. And these are not negligent parents but these incidents can, unfortunately, happen in a heartbeat.

I hope these tips were helpful for your little one’s safe and fun bath time. I hyperlinked some of the recommended products but you can also find them here.

While having a baby is the most beautiful thing in the world, a woman’s body goes through a lot during pregnancy and childbirth. There is a lot of emotional and physical stress on new moms and one very common worry for these moms is weight gain. A lot of women don’t like to openly admit that they are worried about their weight out of fear to be considered superficial. Clearly, women should be proud of their post-partum body as their body just created a human life; however, there is nothing shameful about trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be your best self even as a mom. Here are some tips and tricks to help you bounce back.

Me 2 months post-partum (left) and me 2 years post-partum (right) @themiamimami_

 

  1. Start doing exercises that are appropriate for your post-partum stage

First, I should start off by saying that it is very important to check with your OB/GYN when it is the right time to exercise again. The standard for vaginal births is 6 weeks after giving birth and eight weeks for C-sections. But it depends on the individual. My doctor had told me to wait six weeks because the body needs to get rid of the retained water first but told me I could get for walks. So I started taking my baby and my dog for walks that gradually got longer from time to time. Walking is a great way to keep your metabolism going and strengthen your immune system. If you live in a very hot or very cold area, make sure you have dressed appropriately for the weather conditions. Also, make sure to stay hydrated and keep a bottle of water with you. I live in Miami, Florida, and had my baby in the summer so needless to say it was extremely hot in the first six weeks after giving birth. So I would usually take my son for a walk in the stroller in the evening when temperatures were a lot more moderate. In general, I would also try to keep him from direct sun exposure as babies cannot wear any sunscreens before they are six months old. Fortunately, I would kill two birds with one stone with my evening walks as my baby would fall asleep.

2. Make sure you do not have diastasis recti

You have probably seen pictures of famous moms sporting a super-duper flat tummy right after giving birth in a tabloid magazine or while scrolling through Instagram. You may have admired the celebrity’s body or even felt disappointed in yourself for not looking like that. But don’t worry, mama!. I can guarantee you that these pictures have been photoshopped. It is not realistic to expect your belly to be super slim after childbirth and anatomically almost impossible as your uterus which was holding your growing baby for nine months will first have to shrink back. Thus, it will actually take a while for the belly to shrink back, too. Even though I lost my pregnancy weight in a few months, it took me a lot longer to get my flat pre-pregnancy belly back. A lot of moms will actually see some lower belly pouch, often called the mommy tummy, even a long time after the baby’s birth. But this is not necessarily excess fat, it could be a condition called diastasis recti which is an abdominal separation. As your belly expands, your abdominal muscles open up. The left and right sides of the abdominal muscles separate to make space for the baby. Therefore, this separation of your abdominal muscles is very common.  Once your baby is 12 weeks old this gap should have closed by itself but sometimes it doesn’t. Here’s how you can check if you have diastasis recti:

Step 1: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor as if you were about to perform a crunch

Step 2: Place your three middle fingers of one hand above your belly button

Step 3: Tuck your chin in and lift up your head

Step 4: If you feel a gap that is wider than two fingers, you might have diastasis recti

But don’t worry. You are able to heal this gap by doing the proper exercises. Some beneficial exercises for closing the gap are bird dogs, cat-cow pose, and Kegels. Any exercises where you bulge your belly can increase the gap and should be avoided. Some of these exercises are crunches, twisting and rotating moves, any type of plank, and sit-ups.

3. Breastfeeding – fat burner for some, fat retainer for others

While I know many women who attribute their rapid post-partum weight loss to breastfeeding, there are others who claim that the opposite is the case. It is true that through breastfeeding you can burn up to 500 to 700 calories per day which is a quick weight loss method for many women. Personally, I had the opposite experience. I felt like my body was holding on to the extra fat as a preservation method given that I am burning all these extra calories. I was holding on to an extra 10 pounds that came off quickly once I stopped breastfeeding after 6 months. 

Pumping Bra from Baby and Sunshine

 

4. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition

You may have heard the saying “You can’t out-exercise a poor diet” or “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Proper nutrition is even more important than ever during pregnancy and after childbirth. First of all, your body is healing so it is important that you nourish yourself well for a quick recovery. But even more importantly, if you are breastfeeding, your baby is getting all the nutrients through you. So, it is important to have a lot of vitamins and healthy proteins in your diet and less sugar and fatty foods. Even my post-natal Yoga instructor told me that she mainly got her body back through nutrition and that a healthy diet was the most important factor – a lot more important than exercise.

5. Shapewear and waist trainers

Last but not least, post-partum belly binders help a lot to shrink the body back. Some people may see it as a fad but belly binding is actually a very ancient tradition in Malaysian culture. A postpartum belly binder can be used to help support your abdominal muscles directly in the first few weeks after you give birth when those muscles are very weak.  Just make sure to follow the directions for healthy healing. Once your uterus has shrunk back to normal, you can go over to a waist trainer for that sexy petite waist.

 

Three-piece postpartum belly binder from Baby and Sunshine

I hope these tips are helpful. Also, make sure to check out all the awesome nursing and belly binding items Baby and Sunshine offers. Clearly, you need to consult with your doctor before performing any exercises after pregnancy. Also, it is important to emphasize that women’s bodies come in different forms and shapes and that is not necessary to stress yourself out about bouncing back right after giving birth. Your body just created a human being and did amazing things!

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