Baby

The Gilmore Girl’s Relationship

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When I was in college my roommates watched “Gilmore Girls”. They knew all the episodes, characters, plots and even the inside jokes. I didn’t know it very well, but would watch bits and pieces.

I started watching Gilmore Girls the day I heard the phrase, “It’s a girl!”

We came home for the doctors, I got in my sweats, cozied in on the couch and turned on Netflix. What was the very first show to pop up but Gilmore Girls. I thought to myself, “This must be a sign”, and from there my addiction began. I finished the entire series before my daughter was even born.

I was so intrigued with the relationship between Lorelei and Rory Gilmore, as well as Lorelei’s relationship with her mother. The relationships were very different. One was more strict and formal while the other was very open and silly. I wondered what kind of relationship I would eventually have with my daughter.

One night I saw a video that a YouTube mom put on Facebook talking about how mothers and daughters should not be friends. From there it led me to a different YouTube video of another mom arguing the opposite point. Thus began the debate of the “mother daughter friendships”.

The first woman felt that mothers and daughters should not be friends, but have a strict mother daughter relationship as matriarch and child. She argued that you should not be friends with your daughter because your child will not respect you as much if you are put on “their level”.

The second woman stated how important it is to become close friends with your children. Their argument was that if you do not become friends with your child how will they ever learn to trust you, and feel like you are on their side?

After watching both videos I thought about what my stance in the matter was. Did I want a Gilmore Girls relationship with my daughter, or not? Then I realized my thoughts were the same as every other parenting debate I’ve ever come across.

Every single mother is different.

Every single child is different.

Every single parent/child relationship is different.

Some mother daughter relationship’s work better as friends. Some work better in a more strict environment. Some moms choose to breastfeed, some don’t. Some mother’s choose to stay at home with their kids, some don’t. Some parents spank their kids, some don’t. People need to understand that we all make choices, and we should not judge others for making choices that are different than ours.

My daughter is only one, and I have no idea what type of relationship we will have yet. All I know is that it will be a relationship we are both happy and comfortable with, and I hope people don’t judge our decision. If you want to be like Lorelei and Rory Gilmore then go grab your coffee, have a speedy conversation and be friends like them. I’m not judging you.

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Baby

To The Friend Who Was Pregnant Long Before I Was

Now that I have experienced this whole new parenting thing for the first time in my life, I have learned a lot of things along the way. Much advice came from family members who had been parents for many, many years. Most of their words of wisdom were very helpful, but sometimes I took their advice with a grain of salt knowing very well that parenting has significantly changed in the last thirty years.

Some advice was from friends who had already experienced pregnancy, and were raising their own children. For some reason their advice seemed to stick with me more. The latest kids shows on TV, food trends, baby items all seemed more relevant than the, “Well back when you were a baby…” advice.

I had some friends that already had five year olds by the time I had my first child. They were in a different spot than I was. I was breast feeding and barely sleeping and they were school shopping and attending soccer practices. It made me realize three things about these friends of mine that had a few years of experience on me.

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Thank you for the advice.

Seriously. Thank you. The whole first time parenting thing is scary and new. Thank you for being there at any hour of the day so I could send you a text, or call you to ask questions. Thank you for answering my stupid questions like the difference between 24 month shirts and 2T shirts. Thank you for sharing with me what foods I should probably try first with my child. You were so helpful, and allowed me to calm down and see the beautiful part of pregnancy and the beginning stages of human life.

I’m sorry I didn’t know what to ask when you were starting your journey as a parent.

I did not have a clue what pregnancy was like, let alone welcoming a new baby into your home. I’m sorry I never asked you how you were sleeping before the baby’s arrival or after baby came. I’m sorry I showed up to visit without a meal for you to eat, or even a gift for your baby. How silly of me to not even bring a simple meal, or small toy for your child. I’m sorry I never asked if you needed help with anything. I could have done a load of laundry, or let you go take a nice, deserved nap. I’m sorry I never asked you how baby was eating, or about her health. I’m sorry I just assumed that you could still hang out whenever you wanted to. I was so naive when it came to parenting, and I’m sorry I was not a better friend for you.

I cannot tell you how much you have taught me.

I watch you and your children. You are amazing at being a mama. Your children are just as awesome as you. Whenever we are together I enjoy watching you be a mom. I watch the things you say, how you handle arguments or tough situations, how much they eat, absolutely everything. You have taught me so much about being a parent, and I have so much respect for you.

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From the hand-me-downs to the simple texts, thank you and I love you. You are one awesome mama, and an equally amazing friend.

Baby

Four Helpful Tips I Learned About Parenting Before I Was A Parent

When I was pregnant there were plenty of questions constantly running through my head. Will I be a good mother? Will my kid be a jerk? What kind of food do kids eat when they start eating? Will I ever sleep again? Is my relationship with my husband going to completely change? Am I going to completely change?

That’s a lot to worry about, and that wasn’t even the start of it all.

You’d think with all these questions running through my brain I’d be one of those new moms who would read book after book to figure out each answer.

Nope.

I only read one book. Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman.

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This book answered a lot of my questions while also making me feel relieved that maybe not all my questions will be answered right away, and I may just have to learn the answers as I go. The entire book discussed raising a child in France and the differences between raising a child in a French culture versus raising a child in an American culture.

Let me just say I enjoyed this book so much that for a while I was truly trying to convince my husband to move to Paris. Well that didn’t happen. Here are a few points the book hits that really stuck with me.

 

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1. Don’t forget you’re a person too.

Yes, you will change. Your body will change. Your schedule and routine will change. Your hormones will change (again). Your needs will change. MANY things about your life will change, but it’s also important to remember that you need to take care of yourself as well. You will naturally want to put your needs on the back burner and take care of that precious child. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But is it okay to have some alone time? YES. Is it okay to allow someone else take care of your child while you take that much needed nap? YES. Nap, nap, nap!

I hear so many people say, “Well now I’m a mom so I guess I can say goodbye to my old life”. Not true. Having a baby changes a lot, but it shouldn’t completely change the person you are. Adjust your old life to work with your new life. It is definitely easier said then done, but it can be accomplished. Find time for yourself, your needs, your significant other, and the things you enjoy.

2. Your baby is a real human.

I mean obviously. You grew that real human so you definitely understand the concept. But this book really hits on the fact that most people think of babies as these little people that are incapable of doing anything. You’d be surprised at how much your baby picks up, and how quickly. They are constantly growing, watching and learning.

Some people maybe don’t believe this, and I’m not going to lie at first I was definitely skeptical. Druckerman discusses the idea that if you talk to your child they really might understand. She says give your child a tour of your house when they first arrive home. Explain to your child what you’re doing, and why. If they start tearing books of the shelf, explain that we don’t do this in our house, and these need to be put back on the shelf. It worked for her children, and I truly think it is already working for my daughter.

When my daughter wakes up in the middle of the night and I know she is fed, changed and comfortable I have talked to her and said, “Everything is okay, you just need to relax and try to fall asleep”. Maybe it’s just the sound of my voice, but she has slowly learned to calm herself down and has been sleeping through the night since she was two months old. Druckerman gives other examples of this type of behavior in her book. Whether you believe it works or not, it’s worth a try right?

3. Wait, Wait… WAIT!

This is hard sometimes. REALLY hard. Obviously if your child is hungry… FEED him! If your child needs changed… CHANGE him! If your child needs attention… GIVE IT to him! I strongly encourage that, especially if they are a newborn. Newborns needs this attention.

But once you feel like you and your child have somewhat gotten to know each other and start a small routine, feel free to try the waiting game. If you know your child has all their needs met, give waiting a try. Babies have not learned many skills that may seem obvious to adults. One of those skills is soothing themselves, and learning how to fall back asleep.

When I heard my daughter cry in the middle of the night I would feed her, burp her, change her and get her back to sleep. When she would cry again 20 minutes I naturally had the urge to grab her and help her. Most times once I did this, she didn’t stop crying. I learned that if I just gave her even five minutes to cry she was learning how to cope with this upset feeling she had. Sometimes she would even fall back asleep on her own! If she didn’t fall back asleep she still had learned that it’s okay to cry for a little bit, and eventually mama will come to the rescue. Babies need to learn it’s okay to feel lonely, hungry, or upset because they are one day going to feel those emotions, even as adults. Those five minutes of waiting will not hurt them, it might even help them.

4. Your husband is still there.

As a new mom you want to put all of your attention on this new, adorable baby that needs you. You should. You should also give daddy some attention. Don’t let being a mother take away your role of being a wife.

Before baby my husband and I exchanged a hug and a kiss every morning before he left for work. After two weeks of our baby being home with us, I thought to myself, “When is the last time I kissed and hugged him goodbye in the morning?” Our mornings had turned into sleepy, screaming baby, hurry to change and feed mornings that even a simple kiss goodbye was not even a thought. One day I finally said to him, “WAIT! Kiss me goodbye!” I put the baby down for 30 seconds to kiss and hug him goodbye. Those 30 seconds did not ruin her morning, and it made my whole day completely better.

One tip Druckerman suggests is have adult time after baby goes to bed. I found this was hard at first because when the baby was sleeping I either had a million things to do or I wanted to sleep. Once we had a schedule down these evenings became such a great bonding time for my husband and I, and definitely much needed alone time as man and wife, not mom and dad.

My baby is not even a year old yet, and I have found her book so helpful in so many ways. There are other great ideas that she discusses as well. Ideas for introducing foods, how saying “no” is completely acceptable, and allowing children to explore and learn at their own pace. So if you’re looking for an amazing book to help give you ideas on any of these aspects or raising a child I would definitely recommend “Bringing Up Bébé” by Pamela Druckerman. You won’t regret it.

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Baby · Self Love

Here’s To You, Mama

You’re reading this. That means that you have survived the day (so far). You have made it to a point in your day that you will maybe get a sliver of time for yourself to read at least part of this. Maybe you won’t finish it because the milk will spill to the ground, or small people will start yelling, “Mommy!”. But that’s okay, because here’s to you for all the things you did today.

Here’s to you for preparing.

Preparing meals, preparing for sports, preparing tomorrows outfits, preparing the diaper bag, preparing for meltdowns.

Maybe you still weren’t even totally prepared. That’s okay, you can’t always be, but you tried.

Here’s to you for trying.

Trying the homework you were not doing “like the teacher does it”. Trying to understand why the baby was crying right now. Trying to make everyone happy all at once. Trying to get the house clean faster than it becomes messy again. Trying new events or activities with the kids even if you were nervous about how they will go.

You tried, and that’s all that matters.

Here’s to you for smiling.

Smiling at your coworkers even though you were up all night with a sick kid. Smiling even though you’re exhausted. Smiling at your teenager even though you knew you would never in a million years get a smile in return. Smiling at the woman that stared at you, judging you because you just picked up your kid’s pacifier and put it back in his mouth without really wiping it off.

Sometimes smiling is the last thing you want to do, but you did it anyway.

Here’s to you for helping.

Helping your daughter with her science project even though you don’t know the first thing about static electricity. Helping your mother-in-law get to her doctor appointment. Helping your co-workers with something that needed to get done today. Helping that lost dog in your lawn find it’s owner.

You didn’t have to do those things, but you did and they didn’t go unnoticed.

Here’s to you for knowing.

Knowing exactly what your son needed even before he did. Knowing how much time it was going to take to get from the dentists office to soccer practice on time. Knowing what to make for dinner so everyone’s happy. Knowing the last day the baby had a bath was three days ago and he’s due for another.

You knew, you always do.

Here’s to you for loving.

Loving your kids every second of the day even when you’re so angry at them you could cry. Loving your husband, your teammate. Loving your chaotic, messy life just the way it is.

Your love is the glue that holds everything together.

Here’s to you for living.

Living a life for others. Living a healthy life. Living a happy life. Living your life as a mom, wife, daughter, friend, coworker, human and doing an awesome job.

Where would they be without you?

 

So here’s to you, Mama. For every single thing you do.

 

Baby

Parenting Advice That Can Only Make You Laugh. Or Cry. Or Both.

From the moment I informed people I was pregnant, I began getting all sorts of unsolicited advice. Some I took to heart. Some I tried to remember.

And some I tried so hard not to laugh at.

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You need to sanitize everything the baby could touch.

OH OKAY! No problem. Now that my baby is crawling and touching everything in sight I’ll just attach a bottle of sanitizer to her wrist and teach her how to use it.

You should really have your baby avoid screens.

Easy peasy! We live in a day in age where there are never screens anywhere. Maybe I could just have her wear a blindfold and raise her as a blind child.

Babies need to teethe so you should let her chew on whatever feels good.

True. I should let her keep chewing on her wooden crib that’s starting to split into little slivers of wood, or better yet the dog’s furry tail. He just loves being gnawed on by a small child.

She should be wearing bows so people know she’s a girl.

You’re so right! She absolutely loves wearing those on her head and never pulls them off or screams when I put them on her, so I will make sure she wears them 24/7 even when she sleeps.

Make sure she avoids all sugar until she is around (insert age here).

Uhhuh, we haven’t already broken that rule or anything.

You really shouldn’t drink alcohol around the baby.

Good call! My infant is pretty amazing as determining the difference between me drinking a glass of wine and drinking water.

You should listen to children’s music in the car instead of your music.

Right! I forgot that I don’t matter anymore, and my life has to completely revolve around her.

You should breast feed until she’s at least (insert age here). DO NOT use formula until after that.

Gotcha, and then when I stop producing enough milk I’ll just let her starve to death. It’s fine.

Don’t have her around your dog too much. You don’t want her to think all dogs are friendly.

Um. What?

You should put her in at least a little pink every day.

You are a woman aren’t you? Could you show me the little bit of pink that you are wearing today please?

Well with my child (insert any other wonderful piece of advice here) which is why you should do it with yours.

GOOD POINT! I forgot literally all children in the world are the same so they should be raised in the exact same way.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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Please everyone, share more of your infinite wisdom with me.

Britta

Baby

20 Personalized Gifts For A One Year Old That Can Be Used For (at least a few) Years To Come

Over the last year or so I’ve been invited to first birthday parties for a few of my friends children. My daughter is also about to turn one. She’s my first born, so in all honestly I don’t know what one year olds want, need or like.

I got a mermaid doll for my friend’s daughter. She threw it on the ground the moment she saw it.

I got my other friend’s son a wooden train set. He was much more interested in the wrapping paper.

I said to my husband, “Why am I spending all this money on stuff these children won’t remember or care about? What the heck are we going to get our daughter for her first birthday?”

Then it hit me. IT DOESN’T MATTER! She won’t remember. She will toss toys aside and want to play with the wrapping paper way more than the presents, so I can get her anything I want. Maybe I’ll wrap up an old toy or even be funny and let her unwrap a banana or something.

OR since she doesn’t necessarily care about what she’s getting right now, nor will she remember I can get her things she will need later in life. Things that she will later use, and that I won’t have to purchase at some point in the future.

1. Personalized Beach Towel

You can use a big beach towel to lay on when you’re a baby or a grandma. Talk about a gift that will last forever.

2. Personalized Backpack or Tote Bag

I know that one year old’s will not be able to use this right away, but their parents will. When baby goes to grandma’s house for the night they have their own personalized item to put their belongings in.

3. Personalized Snack Container

Babies eat a lot. Give that one year old their own snack container, and they’ll love you forever.

4. Personalized Pillow or Pillowcase

Get just a simple pillow or pillowcase with their name on it, or even just a monogram. A small pillow for the bed or as decor would be cute, and could be an easy thing to bring in the car on a road trip.

5. Personalized Umbrella

No, they will not be able to use this right away. But their parents can store it with the other umbrellas, and when that child is old enough to use it they will be so excited that their name is on it.

6. Personalized Jewelry Boxes

Little girls have bows and hair clips by the time they’re only a few months old. They will already be able to store things like this in it until they are old enough to wear jewelry without eating it.

7. Personalized Ice Cream Bowl

I scream, you scream, the baby screams… wait, that’s not how it goes. Everybody loves ice cream, so why not get baby his own bowl.

8. Personalized Pail or Bucket

Whether it’s a plastic, play bucket for the beach, or a cute pail to hold belongings in the bedroom that child will be able to use it for years.

9. Personalized Book

There are so many websites now that help you to create a personalized book. That is a book that kids will never want to get rid of.

10. Personalized Camping Chair

Get a fold up camping chair with the child’s name on the back. This could be brought to sporting events, camping or just sitting outside on a nice day. There are different sized chairs and different styles to choose from.

11. Personalized Baskets

Parents can always find SOMETHING to put in a basket in the child’s room. Whether it’s books, toys, hair supplies, etc. extra storage is always useful.

12. Personalized T-shirt

If you get a large enough size that a kid could fit into, but not too large that they trip in it they could use it for a while, even if it’s just to sleep in.

13. Personalized Games

Ever played the game memory? How fun would it be to have all of the baby’s family on different cards? Personalize games that baby will be able to play for years.

14. Personalized Piggy Bank

Chores, lemonade stands, hopefully baby will keep getting money one way or another. Buy her a cute piggy bank with her name personalized on it. There are tons of options to choose from.

15. Personalized Lunch Box

It won’t be for a few years, but eventually baby is going to need a lunch box. Get baby a cute, personalized lunch box that can either be stored away for when he goes to school, or used to transport snacks and food when going out.

16. Personalized Sippy Cup or Water Bottle

Most likely baby drinks from a sippy cup at this point. You could either get her a personalized sippy cup, or get a nice water bottle for when she is older.

 

Non-Personalized Items:

17. Money for College Fund

It never hurts to start the college fund early. Give money to the family to put toward college, or a saving account for baby.

18. Letters from Family

Tell the family instead of buying gifts for the baby to write her a letter. Have each family member or couple write a letter, and then give those letters to her on her 18th birthday. It might be more meaningful than having them bring a gift she will forget.

19. Buy Baby an Experience

Instead of finding a toy or an object, put money towards an event for the baby. Maybe that means you buy movie tickets (that won’t expire) for baby’s first movie trip, or their first experience at a bounce house.

20. Gift Cards

The parents will never turn down a gift card. It can always be put towards the clothes that baby will grow out of so quickly, or toys that they know baby will love and appreciate.

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If you have any other ideas for baby’s first gifts leave a comment to share!

Britta

Baby

11 Things I Did To Get My Baby To Sleep Through the Night by Seven Weeks Old

Ok let me preface this by saying this DOES NOT mean you are doing anything wrong. This DOES NOT mean you are a bad mom. This DOES NOT mean that you will agree with all the parenting choices I have made. This DOES NOT mean these tips are going to work for you.

Have I made myself clear? Good.

My daughter is 11 months old now and she has been sleeping through the night since she was seven weeks old. I’m sorry, maybe you didn’t hear me, SEVEN WEEKS OLD.

Everyone told me I would never sleep again. I mentally prepared myself for that. But alas, I sleep like a mama bear who gets to hibernate whenever she damn well pleases.

Now I’ve always thought this was strange. Why does she sleep so much? Why is she not like all my friends children? Does my child have mono or something?

Nope. She’s just a bomb sleeper. And when that happens you just shouldn’t ask questions.

Has she woken us up in the middle of the night every so often? Of course. But I could probably count on two hands how many times I’ve had to get up with her in the middle of the night in the last nine months since she started sleeping through the night.

I’m a first time mom just figuring this out. But as a first time (or second time or third time or fourth time) mom, you get all sorts of unsolicited advice. These were just pieces of advice I heard about one way or another and I tried.

And you know what, they worked.

Swaddle that baby.

At first when we brought my daughter home we felt like she was too hot at night so we did not swaddle her. She would flail around and sometimes even wake herself up. One night we decided to swaddle her. She couldn’t move around, so she stopped crying and just fell back asleep. That was the first night she slept longer than a two hour stretch, and that was the first night I started to regain my mental abilities.

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I wanna Rock N’ Play all night.

Someone told us that their child never slept in a bassinet or a crib right away, but slept in this handy dandy little thing called a Rock N’ Play. We thought, “Well that’s the one thing we don’t have”, so we purchased one. Best purchase EVER. That thing cozied her right in and she loved it. The first night we used that for sleeping she slept through the night. I mean literally just like that. I did not believe in miracles until I was in the presence of the Rock N’ Play.

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See ya, kid.

I know there are many studies that show that having a child sleep in the same room with the parents is beneficial for the baby. It allows the baby to follow the parents breathing patterns and reduces the risk of SIDS.

Yeah, but it also kept our entire family awake.

We have a Saint Bernard, Black Lab mix. He’s five and he’s huge. He has always slept with us from the moment we brought him home. Sometimes he shakes his gigantic head, his enormous jowls shake and make it sound like we are participating in a Civil War reenactment. Other times he may click around on our hardwood floor giving us a small tap dance performance in the middle of the night. My husband and I are used to these noises, but my daughter was not. The dog would wake the baby, and the baby would wake us all and just when we all fell back asleep it happened again.

BYE BABY!

The night we sent her to sleep in her nursery was a lovely night. I could still see and hear her on the monitor, but her small noises wouldn’t wake me up unlike when she was right in the room. This arrangement just worked well for everyone.

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Keep ’em busy during the day…

During the day we do a lot. We play in different places. We go outside. We move all the time. Even a simple walk can tire a baby out (if they don’t fall asleep). If we could have longer stretches of awake time the naps and nighttime sleep seemed to be hard sleeps.

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…Keep ’em calm at night.

Once nighttime came we tried to maintain a relatively quiet evening for baby. We tried to have her avoid screens (is that even possible anymore), kept our living room dim, took a bath, read a book and quietly went to bed. This slowly told her it was getting near bedtime.

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White noise is better than no noise.

Someone purchased a sound machine for us before our daughter was even born. I didn’t realize what an amazing purchase this was, and I wish I knew who to thank for getting it for us. We have used that every night that she has slept in her room. On the nights we forget to turn it on, she wakes up to outside noises, our loud dog (yes, all the way from our room down the hall), and other random creaks. But when it’s being used, we don’t hear a peep. Since summer we have also used a small fan which has helped as well.

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Bye bye, Pacifier!

When my daughter used to get tired she would calm down and pass out when we plopped that pacifier in her mouth. When she would wake up she would see it two inches from her face. Unfortunately for her she did not have the motor skills to place it back in her mouth, so she would scream until we would come to her rescue to plop that thing back in. We learned very quickly that we could not put her to sleep with that pacifier still in her mouth, or we would be her pacifier slaves for eternity.

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Keep it light. Keep it bright.

One of the pieces of advice I received was to keep it bright while baby naps. During the day keep the curtains open, the blinds up, or the lights on. When baby sleeps at night it should be the opposite. Keep the lights off or low, and as dark as possible. This will get baby used to daytime naps and can determine the difference between a “nap sleep” and a “nighttime sleep”.

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Cry it out, girl.

This was probably the hardest one to follow, but it was by far the most beneficial. If the baby starts crying… just wait. Not forever, but for a little bit. When I started this process I let her cry for five minutes. Then six. Then seven. You get the picture.

I never waited more than ten minutes of crying. Not because I couldn’t wait more than ten minutes, but because typically after about 6-7 minutes of crying she would have fallen back asleep.

You see babies don’t know anything, including how to let themselves fall back asleep. It’s a skill they have to learn. Allowing my daughter those minutes of crying helped her learn how to self-sooth and put herself back to sleep. Eventually I could tell the difference between an “I’m hungry” cry, and a “I’m awake, what do I do now” cry.

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Put them down drowsy.

Sometimes I miss the days of rocking and rocking until my sweet girl fell asleep in my arms. But as precious as those moments are, I tried not to always put her down fully asleep. As often as I could I would rock her or walk with her until those eyelids got heavy but were not fully closed. Once I could tell she was tired but still awake, I would place her down and allow her to fall asleep on her own. Again, it taught her how to put herself to sleep.

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Fill ’em up!

Typically before we put her down to sleep, we’ve always given her a bottle. Sometimes it’s a full bottle feeding, but depending on when she’s eaten last it may be only 2-3 ounces. Whatever we can do to fill that belly before bed has helped her to last all night without wanting more. Ain’t no better sleep than a milk coma sleep.

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These are the tips and tricks that I have tried with my sleepy child and they seem to work wonders. I hope that at least a few work for you and your child, and that you get some sleep soon, Mama!

If you have any other helpful ways to get your baby to sleep that I have missed comment below to share with others.

Thanks, and good luck! Now stop reading this and go take a nap.

Britta