Those night talks….

 

Ever since the weaning started, we are now having a long night-time routine for Avy. This includes a bath, and 3 books, then cup of milk and me singing him to sleep.

The singing part has had tremendous change in the past month. The ONLY song he wants me to sing these days is “Old McDonald” (EIO as he calls it).  It was fine when the only animals he knew were farm animals, now he knows a LOTTTT of animals, and he wants all of them to be on the farm. He does not get that Lion and Snake cannot co-exist with sheep and cow :):)

So I spend 20 minutes singing this song with ALL animals he knows, when I get to the line “And on that farm he had some BLANK”…Avy will pick his animal and somehow he request for hippo more than anything else!!!!

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We were reading the “What makes you giggle?” book which has the Sesame street characters. He knows almost all of them. Avy now enjoys calling us, by wrong tags. Like he will point to me and say App, will call himself Thatha and start laughing. So this one night while we were reading, he started pointing to all the characters and pointed to Elmo and said “Avy”, and named a few other, Appa, Thatha and Paati. I was waiting to see what he picked to crown Amma, scanning the page he landed on “Alice”..named it “Amma”…for those who don’t know it was Alice the Elephant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(:(

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As you may already know, Avy’s days are consumed by his never-ending love for alphabet and numbers. He is now showing interest to hold up his hand to show the number he is saying. So we were lying in bed and he was pulling my fingers to show the numbers he was calling out. We started,.. 3- check, 6 -check, 5-check….all with his surprised smile when I use two hand for 6 etc…and ever so charmingly he calls out “13”……!!!!!!@!!!!

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The final kicker, so Avy has this habit of biting when he is extremely happy!! He never bites out of anger or spite, just when he is overjoyed he runs to us and tries to bite. So we have been trying to correct this and we use the last line from the Five Little Monkeys rhyme – (for those who do not know this one here it how it goes- )

Five little monkey jumping on the bed

One fell down and bumped his head

Mama called the doctor and the

Doctor said – No more monkeys jumping on the bed!!! (Then we count down, 4 little monkeys, 3 little monkeys etc…you get the drift!)

So anyways, when we stop him from biting and we usually ask him “What did the Dr. say?”,  Avy would always say ‘No more biting!” and he would say Sorry etc.

Yesterday while I was dressing him after his bath he tried to bite me, I pulled him away before he bit me and asked him in a stern voice…”Avy, what did the doctor say?”

He looks me in the eye with a twinkle in his, and says “No more Amma”!……:):)

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Thatha-Paati

I used to LOVE summer holidays. We used to get shipped off to our grandparents house and it was 2-3 months of nonstop fun. It was all fine and dandy till the hard part came, till it was time to leave. L

My in-laws left on Saturday after their “summer holidays” with their grandson! How time has changed and it is hard. The relationship between the thatha (granddad)-the paati (grandma) and the peran (grandson) had grown leaps and bounds in these two months.

What started off slow has now reached its peak. Avy was shy when they first came, hiding behind my leg or Ajit’s when they first came. Now he sits on this Thatha’s lap and hardly lifts his face up to give me a byebye when I leave for work.

Dear Avy,

Here is what I want you to know about their stay here…

–          The way their faces light up when they see or even for that matter hear us utter your name.

–          The way they list out all your vaaluthanams when Ajit and I get back from work.

–          The way Paati runs behind you trying to get that half teaspoon more food into you, while you just turn your head with the slyest of smiles.

–          The way they feel proud of any utterance that comes from your mouth

–          The way you say “Nooo Thatha”

–          The way you manipulate them- Avy you have to know the way you picked your battles you made sure you always won with them J. You would talk nicely to Thatha and hug him whenever you wanted him to start the laptop for you, for your never ending E-I-O’s, you would proudly announce ‘outthaii’ (outside) and seeing no response from your dad or me, run to the stairs looking for Thatha, who you know would never fail you, you would run to paati whenever you get hungry knowing that she would always have what you need. The comfort you have grown to seek in them is something so heartwarming to see.

–          The way Thatha always is around with a camera to make sure to document every single one of your move.

–          The way they talk about you to others with pride.

–          The way Patti talks with you, with SOOOO much love which is only possible by a grandma.

–          The way thatha tells you “Nee dhaan da enna ivalo paasama koopidara” (You are the only one who calls me so nicely).

–          The way you imitate Surya (Avy’s cousin) and say “Po Thatha”

–          The way Amma so thoughtfully makes sure the Fridge ALWAYS has Dosai Maavu, the way she sets aside the first few dosais to make sure you get a neat, clean crisp one, which you take two bites off!

–          The way she reminds Ajit and I of all the things we need to do/take with us before we leave with you outside.

–          The way Thatha sits with you hours on end, playing the SAME song again and again.

–          The way Paati taught to say Chit, Chit (Bird), Thothhi Thotthi (kothi kothi) with so much excitement.

–          The way they genuinely believe that YOU’RE THE smartest baby on the face of this earth.

–          The way you made it a point to tell them goodnight and give them a kiss every night.

–          The way they played with you making you believe that the smallest boo from you would scare them to the core.

–          The way their heart break whenever you itch or scratch, the way they try to understand what it is that is affecting you. I hope you recover soon, for them.

And a million more things….

I am so happy they came, they got to see him start talking, start saying his A,BC’s, start his terrible two stage with the constant defiance. I hope they will come again soon. Here is what I am going to miss…

1)      The way the house was full- entering the house with either Thatha or Patti screaming Avy’s name is fun -Grandsons should paduthify (trouble) their grandparents.

2)      Amma’s sooper cooking.

3)      Appa’s big smile….always!

4)      Arguments with Ajit, with Amma’s support- and the fact that Amma supported me everytime.

5)      Cooking for them, I tried more variety when I they were here.

6)      Letting Avyu stay home and his face beaming after a day with Thatha and Paati.

7)      Appa’s Masala Pori!

8)      The way Ajit was happy to have his parents around!

Come back soon! We miss you!

The Art or science of eating out???

I like eating out!! I do not try too many new things but I do enjoy going out and eating the things I know I love. Of course like everyone else after a baby this has reduced. More due to the sheer task of packing everything and going through the ordeal. Once Avy was bigger we wanted to, but his allergies proved it kind of hard. Since I was not eating, Milk, Soy, Egg and peanut, the question kind of boiled down to what can we ever eat?

After a lot of research I have gotten it down to a Science. The basic premise is to do your research BEFORE you go out to eat..ALWAYS!. Asking the waiters at the restaurants many times will get you blank stares or ‘I do not think it does, but I am not sure”…well those responses do not help much. The information is out there, almost all these restaurants have it on their website by menu items.

I have tried to give a gist of the popular restaurants we go to and list some menu items which can be safely consumed by those with allergies. Hoping this will help someone out there!

Olive garden (many Italian places also): I love this place. Thought it does not offer many variations for a vegetarian person, I love their salad and bread sticks. The first experience there in taking Avyu was very positive. We did go there last month, with in-laws and all and it was such a nice experience. The bread sticks by themselves do not have milk in them, in fact Italian bread in general does not. They do apply butted on top when they bake them which is the culprit. So I always request a few bread sticks with no butter on them and they almost always oblige. Avy loves nibbling on this. The salad of course is milk free, and point to note here is Italian dressing once again is milk , egg, and soy free. For the main course, I always go for a mariana based dish, like the capellinie pomodoro, but I do it with penne. I share this with the little one too. Olive Garden does NOT have the ingredient listing on their website, however I did find the people at the places very helpful. The last time I was there Avy was trying to keep a 7 month old in the next table occupied by playing peek-a-boo. Was so heartening to see this ‘kid’ entertaining another 🙂

Subway: This is one of my frequent lunch joints. Well till the recent past I would always have their whole wheat bread which is gluten free, however recent news of them containing high fructose corn syrup is very disheartening.  Anyways, Subway does have detailed information online on which of their bread and condiments have the common allergens etc. Here is a link to their info: http://www.subway.com/subwayroot/MenuNutrition/Nutrition/pdf/AllergenChart.pdf

Mexican: I love Mexican food. Especially the chips and salsa. I tell you, this would be my biggest downfall. I just cannot stop eating those damn chips! Anyways, I have tried a few Mexican restaurants and they seemed to helps me with my demands. Once you get over the feeling of being a pain, it is all worth it. I normally have a quesadilla with no cheese, grilled veggies, beans etc, or Burritos or tacos with no cheese. I have not found the ingredient listing on many websites but they usually have some information on site in the restaurant.

Panera: Once again a nice place to have some breakfast or lunch. Their website is really good. They give you all the detailed ingredient listing (the stores also have a big book with all this information that you can look up when you are there). Go to this link: http://www.paneranutrition.com/. You can pick what you want to eat and it would give you all the information. The Black bean soup is the only one with no milk, egg or soy as far as I know. The everything bagel is allergen free, and a good option for breakfast. You can get variety of salads, and couple of the sandwiches.

Starbucks: Well Well, you can get anything Black and it would be fine. But if you are like me and cannot tolerate black coffee or tea then your option is to carry a box of rice milk wherever you go. The one thing I did not like is, they refuse to warm up your drink after you have mixed it. Not sure why and that is a pain. If you do not need caffeine they do have some bottled juices, fruit salad types things.

Ben and Jerry’s: They do have quite a few sorbet and smoothies that are devoid of milk and is wonderful to have. Avy loves loves it, he gets all pink lipped and giggly after having some!!

Red Robin Burgers: Well if you can have soy, then they do have a Boca patty that you can do. But if you staying off soy too then hard luck, all they have is a pasta dish which is very OKAY!! BUT, I mention that place here because they have AWESOME fries which Avy LOVES!! They also were so considerate, they brought the manager out to talk with us and work with us and Avy enjoyed fries and a plate of fresh oranges that day!

Indian restaurants Honestly my biggest problem sometimes is with Indian restaurants. because they may in the least expected place add a spoon of ghee! I try to ask a million times. Usually the fried stuff like pakoras are okay. I always get Roti and mention that it should be without any ghee. Bhindi masala is the best option. However, we did got to an Indian restaurant over July 4th weekend that actually had VEGAN dhal on the menu! I was mighty impressed!

So as you can see, eating out is not  an easy task in this household. We plan, plan and plan. I think now I pretty much know what questions to ask, who to ask and what to expect. If you feel your server is not able to answer your questions, ask for a manager. But remember, BE NICE! They will be that much nicer to you. It also works better if I say I have the allergy than show my tiny tot, they tend to take it more seriously when I say I have it :):). It does scare them a bit. Avy always does well eating out, he is patient for the most part, I hope to go out more and more as he grows and teach him to say what he needs to say to get what he wants!!

Here is a pic of Avy at Olive Garden trying to entertain the baby in the other table…

Relief??

Well we had the Dr.’s appoinment. It was a mixed bag. I must start off saying I love this Dr. She is sooo nice and so patient. We were there 50 minutes, and I asked questions for all that time. She answered everything patiently and my head is much clearer now…

Food allergies: Has not changed. Still the same, with some becoming worse. Milk and Egg are the worst. As of now we are still to avoid milk, egg, soy, peanut, sesame seed,chickpea and lima beans. From his old list we can try Oats :). The Dr feels that most of these kids, similar to Avy, outgrow these between the ages of 3 to 5. She said that she does think he will outgrow them. So I can only hope here. His next visit for this would be after a year.

Seasonal allergies: Bad news here. He has them pretty high for his age and she says they tend to get worse with age. So we are now having a 3 pronged approach to dealing with it. We expressed our concern over giving him so much antihistamines, but she assured us that it is okay. She changed the medication I give him at night and hopefully this would mean reduction in the 3 am waking up with itchy syndrome. He is allergic to tree and grass pollen and also ragweed. So this one, I just have to wait and watch. I am already dying for the first frost because that will end of this itchy phase!!

Best news of the day!- He is healthy. He has grown, height and weight, and has increased his curve. This was the happiest news I could get. The major factor of my worry as far as his allergies went were only two things:

1) Nothing fatal should happen due to an accidental interaction.

2) He should be healthy and not be affected due to the lack of food choices. I spent hours and hours figuring out his menu, substitutes just to make sure he is getting all that he needs.

Well, I am happy that my second worries are being put to rest. We are doing our best, we are doing something right for him to have improved. All my obsessive research has paid off finally. My biggest fear is that all these allergies would somehow affect his health, and he will not grow well. Now that I know I am on the right track I will be worrying as much. I do not feel so sad that he may not be able to eat ice cream or have neii (ghee), it is OKAY. There are a million things we do not eat and as long as my child is healthy, everything else does not matter. He still gets his overload of cookies, cake everything, tailor made just for him.

Ajit often says that he wants to bring up Avyukt fully aware of his issues but have an attitude that it is okay to be this way. We would continue to strive and provide the best support we can, morally too as he grows. So long for another year…and now I can get back to my everyday joys!

“Happy, Happy”

This is what..

…happens when Appa and Amma are not home!! Little one becomes his thatha!! :):):)

One where I ditched the bath…

This week is getting harder as each day goes by. We have a 6 month progress check up for Avy with his allergists on Friday and am a bunch of nerves. We got the blood work results and it does not look promising, but I am still going to wait and see what the doctor says.

But am in such a state of mind that I want to curl up under my bed and sleep, I guess sleep deprivation can do that to you!! Avy went to daycare yesterday and normally on such days we NEVER take him outside after that because he is a creature of habit, and he likes being home, eating dinner, playing with me, jumping on his dad, taking a bath and going to bed by 8.30pm latest. On these days he is very tired when he come home, after all the playing all day. Still, yesterday against better judgement we took him out.

We had to so some minor shopping and what was supposed to be one store, became two since we did not find what we needed at the first store. In the spirit of full disclosure I could not predict what followed. He became very cranky at store 2, so we rushed home and as I was heating his milk, he just lost it. He started wailing at the top of his lungs. So I carried him upstairs and the bath seemed a distant possibility as he really wanted to sleep. So I changed his diaper, clothes, gave him his medication while his dad tried his best to make him laugh and he did succeed briefly.

A baby who had pretty much weaned fully for this feed, and was content falling asleep on my arms started wailing to be fed to sleep. He could barely breathe in his tears and I broke down too. I fed him to sleep. This may have been against my better judgment and but could not and will not let my baby cry to sleep when I can help him. On a normal day he never fusses, he understands, he hugs me, kisses my boo-boos, I had to give him this yesterday. He had gotten so flustered to be outside his comfort zone that he did know how to calm himself down. He does not use a pacifier , never has, he just has me :). So I calmed him down, laid him to bed and finished up some of the chores.

As I lay to bed I feared that since I had not given him a bath he might wake up all itchy soon. See on top of his food allergies, he is allergic to pollen, bluegrass, ragweed etc etc. Environmental allergies. So I HAVE to pretty much give him a bath everyday and it helps wash away all the allergens. My instinct was right, he woke up at 3.30am and then the ordeal started. He wanted to feed, I let him for 5 minutes and then I said No, as I could not bear it any longer. He seemed to understand and then started what seemed like my longest night. The funny things is, I used to have such nights so frequently about 2 months ago, but he seemed to have settled down. So this was especially hard to handle.

I rubbed him with lotion, sang to him, spoke with him, hugged him, scratched for him…but he spent 2 HOURS just itching. Poor thing he would try to fall asleep, on me and would wake up 5 minutes later to scratch a new part of his body. I would lie still once he falls asleep so as to not to move him and wake him up. I finally gave up and fed him around 5.30 am and he slept immediately, all itching stopped. I always felt he fed only to take him mind off the itching and I was right….he slept peacefully by 5.45am. I of course could not drift back. I lay awake, holding him and sometime I must have dozed off, because I got up startled around 7 am.

So I am torn, why couldn’t I have just fed him and saved him all those hours of itching. Why was I trying to do this to my baby? I broke down crying to Ajit on the phone on my way to work. I am feeling somewhat better now. But I am still torn and maybe there is no right answer. I have to take one day at a time with my little one. He is different and I need to work around that. Since his diet is different he gets hungry at night, rice milk before bedtime is not as filling as regular milk, he is going to wake up more than a normal kid, I need to work with that. And most important lesson, NEVER DITCH THE BATH!!!!

I am so hoping this Friday gets me more answers to make Avy more comfortable.

Shy one…

Just back after a lovely weekend. 3 days of just relaxation and fun and also today is a reminder that my next holiday will not be for a very long time. What was originally planned to be a weekend where our friends were visiting turned out to be 3 days of totally different things. First of all, my Periappa (Uncle- dad’s older brother) called up last week on Tue or Wed, and we caught up quite a few things and I, of course, summarized all of Avy’s antics and it made him all sappy! He called back and told us that he would be visiting us with his family, just to hear the little one call him ‘thatha’. Such is the melting powers of grandkids.

See my Periappa owed us a visit for over 2 years, ever since we moved into our own house, then Avy’s birth etc etc, but it is always hard to find the right time. I am so happy that they spontaneously decided to come and it turned out to be such a nice weekend.- Wimbledon, a pond visit, dinner outside, fireworks, lake visit etc etc

So, coming to the title, I know all of you can guess who is the shy one!!!! When I was pregnant, I always imagined my little one would be the kid that would go to everyone the minute they called, and will be the one that would smile all the time (that Avy does, just not at new people). Anyways, the last, almost 22 months have taught me so much more about Avy and also more about Ajit and me. Avy got into the whole stranger anxiety thing even by the time he was five, six months. He would cry if new people tried to hold him, and sometimes even if they were in the same room. I did NOT expect that at all. I found myself giving excuses as to why he does that (I think I still do), but am slowly trying to accept that.

He has grown, and things have changed a bit. he no longer cries at the sight of new people, but he takes his time. He gets used to younger people quicker. The people who persist and try to play with him, he plays with them. If someone stays at our place he takes a day, but he eventually lets his guard down (I guess once he is convinced that they would not take him). But they are to sit near him and play and not try to carry him, I think that freaks him out. He would sit on their lap and play, and loves it if they did anything with alphabet and numbers.  I have also noticed that if anyone does not bother him much, and keep their distance he warms up more to them, than people who try to carry him at the first go.

As I was thinking back to this weekend, it took him a whole day to warm up to Periappa and Periamma, and he got well settled only by the time it was time for them to leave. The softy that he is, he always feels bad when people leave after he is used to them. Once he takes his time and likes you, he gets really attached.  The weekend ended with him imitating my Periappa’s loud laughter and fulfilled my Periappa’s wish of being called ‘ThaTha’. I, however felt bad that they did not get to see him in his full blown action!

But what I realized is I still find myself trying to defend him if he does not go to anyone and have trouble accepting that he is ‘shy’. I have to realize that Ajit and I are shy people. We take a while to warm up and talk to new people. I was really shy as a baby, kinda like Avy, refusing to go to anyone, talk to anyone, now people who know me can vouch that I talk way more than I should. Ajit is the same way, always cried at strangers when he was a kid. I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree.

I just wish people could see the Avy we see, the smart, chirpy, sly- vaalu that he is. But then we are the inner circle for him , I guess his chosen people!!! Perks of being the parents!

BEING THROWN IN THE AIR BY PERIYA THATHA!!!

Gender Stereotypes

Telugumom tagged me for this. My first TAG:) Thanks so much.

So the concept is to post 10 gender stereotypes (mainly manly/womanly things you do or like to do which are not typical to your gender. Now I would like to say that I think everyone is capable of doing everything, but certain things are better done by one person 🙂 Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

So here is a list, 5 things I have committed against my gender and 5 things I wish I could….

Sins I have committed:

1) Worn my dad’s shirts to college

2) Worked with power tools to assemble a bed

3) Played four corners only with boys through many school years

4) Travelled as the only girl to Las Vegas with 10 boys (my twin brother being on of them :))

5) I do not shop for long, it takes me less than 10 minutes to pick anything, saree, salwar anything.

Now the 5 things I wish I could do;

1) Wash my hair everyday without ever worrying about styling it

2) Spend an entire day watching three different kinds of sports with maddening enthusiasm

3) Not being awaken by the slightest whimper of my child

4) Build something from scratch like a coffee table

5) Just have one wallet and call it a day and not try to utilise the gazillion handbags I have 😉

Now as I make this list I realize that I love being a woman 😉 I cannot thrive without the variety in our lives 🙂

I tag Anitha and Parisal

Early intervention…

As I have mentioned before Avy was a little delayed walking, well even standing. He would never stand, even holding onto something, much before his first birthday. We started being concerned as he would do not do anything that had to do with bearing weight on the legs. So this program called Early Intervention (this is a state-run program, most states have it, that deals mainly with helping parents cope with developmental delays in their kids) was suggested to us by our pediatrician and he said we could wait or call them. I believe in having things done as soon as possible, especially when it comes to health, I believe in sooner the better.  So I made the call and after a couple of cancelled appointments due to Avy’s health, they finally came in September 2009 and evaluated him for the first time. A physical therapist, a child developmental specialist and a coordinator visited us.

They kind of reinforced what we knew about him, he was slow in the motor skills area but very ahead in his cognitive skills. But the physical therapist felt that even though he was slow, his muscle tone etc were fine so she wanted us to wait. She said to give him 3 months and if he was not walking by then, or bearing weight, we would address it. He slowly but steadily started standing, but it was not until a week before the 3 month deadline did he start walking.

So nearly 7 months have gone by, but he still walks with the weight on the inner side of his feet, while they had mentioned that it would gradually shift to the outside. Also, he alsmot always keeps his toes clenched, which sometimes makes him trip and fall. So I made the call again, to have them come out and see if anything needs to be done.  So yesterday was the chosen day 🙂

The appointment was at 3.30, I went and picked up Avy from his daycare and reached home by 3.25. Two of the three people came and started the evaluation. Here is where it got really funny…

Avy was a kid who knew how to do his entire shape puzzle by the time he was 15 months old, 8 shapes (circle, square, rectangle, oval, star, heart, triangle and diamond), and he could name them all by the time he was 16 months, yet, yesterday when she pulled out her puzzle and handed him the biggest circle to be fitted correctly, he just stared at me blankly…:). Like as though this was the first time ever he has seen a circle, and what more, when she asked him what shape it is, he saw me and asked “uh?”….I was speechless.:)

But after some coaxing he did fit the puzzles correctly, but would not name them at all, not till the end. And then to continue in his defying trend, the physical therapist asked me to ask him to stand and go get something, since she wanted to see how he would stand up (with or without using the floor as a crutch)…so I ,ever so sweetly,

Amma: “Avy, can you go get amma the big ball?”

He looks at me and points to the ball. I say “yeah, can you go bring it?”…and guess what he does??

HE CRAWLS!!!!…..now say what you want, but when people come to evaluate his legs, the last thing I want him doing is crawling instead of walking 🙂 The room was filled with laughter!!

Then, we got the Bramashthram (a weapon given as a boon by Lord Brahma, one mega powerful one) out. His A,B,C puzzle. See I am shamelessly proud that my son knows his A, B,C..and that he has known it since he was 20 months. So we pull out the 26 piece puzzle, hoping against all odds that he breaks the trend of the evening, and proves to the world how smart he is….my son came through!! He dazzled them with putting all of them correctly and naming all the letters perfectly.

The lady asked us if he was forming 2 and 3 word sentences. I said, “Yes”, while Ajit, very pleasingly adding “Yeah whenever he forms a 2 word sentence, one word would have to be No” (No amma, No appa, No thatha, No Patti, No paal…etc etc)

We then went through series of discussions as to what needs to be done etc etc. Here is the conclusion:

a) His legs need some kind of attention, so we are going to work with a physical therapist twice a month for that. Nothing alarming, just to help him get there. As far the toe clenching goes it maybe in the genes, as his dad does it till today!!!

b) He is way advanced in all his other cognitive and emotional skills. She said as much as being 27 months and 30 months in some areas. SO I was proud 🙂 She told us that we have done great…and feels good once in a while to be validated. They said they have not seen a kid whip out a puzzle and do it all in any of their home visits :)…ellam ennoda ABC paithiyum 🙂

So I am sure with a little help he is going to be walking better. I would also like to add that any parent reading this, or anyone who knows a parent worrying if their kids are developing properly, motor skill-wise or speech issues or any other concerns, feel free to call this agency in your state (of course in the USA, but am sure there are similar organizations in India). They come out and evaluate free of cost, and the charge for the services are minimal too. Please do not hesitate, it might appear as though we are making a big fuss about nothing, but as the old adage goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. It is your kid, nothing you do to keep them happy and safe, even if it seems over the top ever goes waste!

With the clenched toes…trying to stand…