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I Hate My RAD Child

This post was written for caregivers who are struggling and are searching the internet to understand why they feel and say, "I hate my RAD child." 

Reactive Attachment Disorder is real and takes a tremendous toll on caregivers. If you choose to continue reading, please be kind and nonjudgmental. 

Unless you've walked a mile in their shoes, you can't imagine what they've been through.

As a parent of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, at the end of the night, after the kids go to bed, it's completely normal to find yourself in tears, hoping and praying that the events of the day weren't real and didn't happen.

Because if they were real and did happen, it means you have to reckon with yourself about how you responded to each and every situation. 

You know you made mistakes.

You may even feel like a monster.

You also have to accept that your child with Reactive Attachment Disorder actually did what your brain still can't quite comprehend is possible for a child at that age.

Nothing prepares you for this life. 

And so then you stay up as late as you can, because you dread the arrival of the next day and what it will bring.

I remember laying in bed with my head on a wet tear stained pillow, after a really HARD day, looking over at my husband and saying, "I really don't like my child today." 

Some may even say, "I hate my RAD child today."


I Hate My RAD Child


Now, I know what you're thinking.

How in the world can you not like your child?


How can anyone hate a child, whether they have Reactive Attachment Disorder or not?


And I agree. 

It's unthinkable. 

But, all of us are human and imperfect. 

Sometimes our emotions get the best of us.

We say something in private (never to the child) that seems the simplest way to express the complicated emotions we're feeling.

We're so exhausted and beyond not okay. The only phrase that comes out, is one like mentioned above.

So let's be clear! 


When a caregiver says, "I hate my RAD child," these are the thoughts of a caregiver who is emotionally and sometimes physically broken. 


These are the thoughts of a caregiver who is having to accept that nothing is working and no one knows what to do to make things better.

These are the thoughts of a caregiver who's life has been turned upside down and inside out one time too many.

These are the thoughts of a caregiver who has been pushed beyond any acceptable limits and is still expected to function perfectly to keep everyone safe.

These are the thoughts of a caregiver who is not okay and needs help, not judgement.

Do I really dislike my children with Reactive Attachment Disorder? 

Absolutely not.

They are incredible... and beautiful... and smart... and so, so, so much more.

I LOVE my children.

Does one really hate a RAD child? 

NO.


"I hate my RAD child" comes out when we don't have the energy to say everything else.


I hate that love isn't enough.

I hate feeling so incredibly helpless all the time.

I hate myself for what I've become trying to keep everyone safe and okay.

I hate the trauma that caused Reactive Attachment Disorder in the first place.

I hate the trauma Reactive Attachment Disorder causes to the ones I love now.

I hate that my child has to suffer so dang much.

I hate that Reactive Attachment Disorder even exists.

I hate the relationships lost because of Reactive Attachment Disorder.

I hate the community involvement with our family because of Reactive Attachment Disorder.

I hate the financial burden that Reactive Attachment Disorder has put on my family.

I hate that nobody understands what my family goes through, and therefore thinks I'm crazy.

And what I hate most, is that I can't take Reactive Attachment Disorder away. 

I can't make it disappear. 

I've lost count of how many times I've said to a therapist, how I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all go away, so my child can be safe and okay.

But I can't.

I hate that I can't.


So what does a caregiver do when feeling this way?


Know you're not alone.

It's okay to feel the way you're feeling.

It doesn't mean you are bad or wrong. 

You feel anger, despair, fear, and so many other extreme and complicated emotions that you don't have the time to sort out. 


The phrase, "I hate my RAD child" is shorthand for everything else that you just don't have the energy to say or deal with at the moment. 


Because let's be honest, if you took the time to sort through the feelings you're really feeling, you may not be able to handle the grief and pain that's so very real.

You may break, and no one can afford to have that happen.

So take a moment by yourself.

Find a way to take care of you, even if it's something really simple, like polishing your nails.

Remind yourself that you are alive and are more than a caregiver of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder.

And then, if it's possible, find your person.

Whether it be a therapist, a friend, or church leader, you NEED to talk to someone outside of your home. 

Find a person that can bring perspective to your situation, one that won't judge, but instead will accept you where you're at.

Most important, choose not to be the only caregiver of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder until you've worked through these feelings, if at all possible. This protects you and your child.

If you can't get a break, call a friend or relative to come spend time with you and your child.

You can do this. 

You are okay.


As a caregiver of two children with Reactive Attachment Disorder, I can't promise that everything will be okay. 


I can't promise that things will get better, but they might.

I can't promise that you won't have to endure more pain and hardship.

But what I can say, is...

I see you.

I know you.

I feel you.

You may forever carry scars from the trauma you're enduring.

You will not ever be the same person you were before Reactive Attachment Disorder entered your life.

But you can survive it.

You can love.

You can care.


Love may not be received, but it's still important to remind yourself, that you're still you, and Reactive Attachment Disorder can't take that from you.


You know Reactive Attachment Disorder is not the child's fault. 

You know that with consistent love and care, there is a chance that YOU will be the one who helps your child heal.

No one can do that, except a loving, caring and consistent caregiver.

YOU are that caregiver.

Love, care and consistency look different in each and every situation in order to keep everyone safe.

Don't sacrifice you for your RAD child. 

You need to be at your best in order to do this.

You CAN do this!


For those who would like more Reactive Attachment Disorder resources, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter.

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If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.


What Is Reactive Attachment Disorder Fleeing for Safety Goodbye SunshineTo Be a Mother of a Young Child with Reactive Attachment DisorderFrom the Mother of a Bully What NOT to Do with a RAD ChildHow to Discipline a Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder Must Have Safety Resources When Parenting a Child with Reactive Attachment DisorderThe Realities of Reactive Attachment Disorder and Mental Health Therapy

I Hate My RAD Child


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10 Favorite Fall Desserts: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, and Refined Sugar Free

It's fall, a favorite time of year for Sunshine and myself, especially when it comes to baking yummy treats and desserts.

One of my biggest goals each season is to ensure that Sunshine doesn't miss out on delicious treats just because of her special dietary needs. 

Below you will find our 10 favorite fall desserts, all of which can be prepared to meet her gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, refined sugar free diet!


10  Favorite Fall Desserts: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, and Refined Sugar Free

 10 Favorite Fall Desserts: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, and Refined Sugar Free


1. Healthy Apple Crisp


Sunshine LOVES apple crisp. The fall wouldn't be the same without it. This recipe is perfect for those who have special dietary needs and tastes delicious!

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:


2. The BEST Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie


Nothing says fall like a delicious pumpkin pie. We made this last year for Thanksgiving. It was divine!

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:


3. Medjool Date Caramel Apples


Caramel apples are one of my FAVORITE treats. We make them every year around Halloween. With this recipe Sunshine isn't left out. Now if you've never used dates in cooking, you are missing out. They work so well!

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:


4. Paleo Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls


Cinnamon rolls are a staple in this house during the fall. Add pumpkin and they're even more desired. These do the trick to ensure Sunshine receives cinnamon rolls just like the rest of us.

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:

  • Use sugar free maple syrup.
  • Use baking powder alternative. We use 1/2 tsp cream of tarter and 1/2 tsp baking soda to substitute 1 tsp baking powder.

5. Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars


Whether you choose to use these bars as a breakfast or a dessert, really doesn't matter. They're delicious any time of day and one of our kids' favorites.

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:


6. Vegan Cinnamon Sugar Donuts


Oh my word. These are delicious! We eat them probably more than we should. They are perfect for fall when everyone else is enjoying apple cider and doughnuts, and you're not able to.

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:

  • Use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 flour.
  • Replace sugar in recipe with 1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup.
  • If using cinnamon sugar topping, use coconut sugar.
  • Use baking powder alternative. We use 1/2 tsp cream of tarter and 1/2 tsp baking soda to substitute 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Use dairy and soy free margarine.

7. Pumpkin Cassava Flour Cupcakes


Sunshine LOVES cupcakes. She asks for them quite often. These pumpkin cupcakes are delicious and satisfy that craving for pumpkin cake during the autumn season.

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:

  • Use sugar free maple syrup.
  • If you don't have cassava flour, you can use tapioca flour.
  • Use baking powder alternative. We use 1/2 tsp cream of tarter and 1/2 tsp baking soda to substitute 1 tsp baking powder.

8. Apple Cider Cupcakes with Spiced Butter Cream Frosting


I am not one that likes cake or enjoys frosting, but these cupcakes with spiced butter cream frosting are so good! Sunshine can't wait to enjoy them.

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:


9. Paleo Apple Pie Crumb Bars


Unlike my other kids, Sunshine enjoys fruit in desserts. These apple pie crumb bars are perfect for on the go yumminess. And when I don't have time to make an apple pie, these do the trick!

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:


My favorite pumpkin cookie recipe has cookies shaped like the ones in this recipe and includes frosting on top. I am so excited to have found an alternative for Sunshine that tastes just as delicious. Pumpkin cookies are such a must this time of year!

Here are some changes we make to the recipe to ensure it works for Sunshine's diet:


We hope you find these gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, refined sugar free fall desserts as much as we do! 

I love how we now have an option for every situation that Sunshine finds herself in while celebrating the autumn season.

For those who would like more glute free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, and refined sugar free recipes and resources, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking the link below.


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

40 Summer Dinner Recipes: Glute Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, Refined Sugar Free Food Issues When Food is Your Child's Enemy Sensory Resources for Children Who Need to Chew Special Dietary Needs: A Beginner's Guide for Parents Meal and Snack Time Visual Schedules and Supports for Kids

10 Favorite Fall Desserts: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, and Refined Sugar Free


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5 Tips for Helping Children with Mood Disorders at Halloween

Sunshine, who has a mood disorder, is experiencing horrific nightmares almost every single night. She feels extreme anxiety before bed. 

During the day she exhibits a fascination with all things scary. 

At the moment she's obsessed with Goosebumps books, yet is absolutely petrified of them at the same time.

This is all completely normal for her the minute Halloween season begins, and by that I mean the minute Halloween decorations hit stores.

When she's at home, we know how to help these situations. Here are 5 tips for helping children with bipolar disorder at Halloween.

5 Tips for Helping Children with Mood Disorders at Halloween

Background Information about Night Terrors and Vivid Nightmares in Children with Mood Disorders


Two of the symptoms of bi-polar disorder in children are night terrors and vivid nightmares.

Demitri Papolos, MD., and Janice Papolos in The Bipolar Child (one of my favorite books) share:

"Many bipolar children suffer night terrors from which they awaken screaming with fright. Sometimes they cannot even be awakened but remain in a semiconscious state while they continue to experience some frightening event. When they revel their nightmares, what stands out is the content.

They dream of being chased by sharks or monsters, but where typically a nonbipolar child wakes up just before the teeth pierce an arm or leg, a bipolar child doesn't--the jaws surround the arm or leg, teeth crunch into the skin, and bone and blood fill the water. Their dreams are often filled with blood and gore."

In the article "On Diagnostic Gore in Child Child's Nightmares," Dr. Charles Popper from Harvard Medical School wrote,

" As bipolar children talk about these dreams, they report the explicit appearance of blood (not just imagined or inferred, but actually visualized blood) and descriptions of mutilations of bodies, dismemberment, and the insides of body parts. Their dreams are considerably more affectively intense than regular nightmares.

Dreams of fighting are quite common. In the fighting dreams of children or adults with mere anxiety, a knife may be pulled out and brought in to attack, but the dreamer wakes up just before the knife enters the skin or rips the clothing. 

For bipolar children, the knife goes in, the blood is seen, and the dream may continue at considerable length and with explicit visualization of gore... Where the 'newsreel' of a dream story normally  stops, the 'newsreel' in the bipolar children keeps going."

Dr, Popper continues,

"In these individuals, it is as though their unconscious sensors of painful affect are not working, even in their dreams."

We know what this is like first hand, as we've tried to help Sunshine with her mood disorder.


The Challenges of Halloween and Children with Mood Disorders


Many children with a mood disorder are also obsessed with blood and gore. 

Night terrors and horrific nightmares are incredibly difficult for caregivers, as they can feel helpless and somewhat disturbed, but then comes Halloween taking things to a whole new level.

Halloween season is particularly challenging. The world around us becomes filled with the scary content that these horrific dreams are made of.

A child with a mood disorder may seem very passionate and somewhat obsessed with all things scary, yet in reality, she is absolutely petrified, which then leads to more behaviors and possibly more nightmares.

So how does one help a bipolar child be okay during Halloween?


5 Tips for Helping Children with a Mood Disorder at Halloween


Over the years we've learned of several ways to help Sunshine through the Halloween season. There is a delicate balance between avoiding behaviors and worsening nightmares and allowing her to have fun at Halloween.


We hope these tips help your child and you as you navigate the challenging of being a caregiver during this difficult time.


1. Avoid scary things.


Really take time to observe your child and how she responds to each and every Halloween character. This isn't just about avoiding the scary ones. Sometimes a character we may think is not scary, actually is due to nightmares the child has had.


If you notice obsessions or perseverations, there's a good chance that your child is petrified in one way or another by the character in question. Remove all experiences related to this character, including decorations, books, etc.


Be aware that even cartoon versions of characters can be scary. Sunshine is petrified of so many.


2. Focus on nonfiction themes and facts


Each Halloween we try to focus on facts instead of fiction. We may study cats, specifically the black cat. Other years we studied bats and arachnids. 


The goal is always to empower Sunshine with information to help her avoid more anxiety and nightmares. It's not enough to know characters are pretend, so we try to fill her mind with facts that are real.


3. Avoid trick-or-treating or other Halloween functions with scary characters and/or objects


When possible, we avoid trick-or-treating or any location or event that may include scary characters or objects. This is a challenge, but it helps behaviors and nightmares significantly.


Instead we focus on fall harvest themed activities such as apple picking, hayrides, visiting a pumpkin patch, playing in the leaves, etc.


Halloween night, we throw our own non-scary Halloween party to ensure Sunshine doesn't miss out on the holiday and she remains safe and okay.


4. Create a Halloween Sensory Kit that provides safety and comfort.


No matter how hard we try, children with bipolar are still going to be frightened by unexpected scary experiences that occur during the Halloween season, whether it be a commercial on TV, decorations in someone's lawn, or something they see at the grocery store.


It's this time of year that I try to make sure that I have a Halloween sensory kit on hand for Sunshine. When she's frightened, she can immediately grab sensory friendly comfort items and self soothe until she feels better.


Sunshine's favorite sensory items include a flashlightPeanuts Halloween blanket, and Snoopy stuffed animal


To her, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is not scary. She often focuses on the story, specifically the character, Snoopy, to help her during the season.


5.  Create calming and consistent bedtime routines that ease anxieties and focus on positive experiences.


A lack of sleep can increase behaviors and nightmares. 


Stress at bedtime can increase behaviors and nightmares. 


It is extremely important to make bedtime as calming and routine as possible.


In our home Sunshine takes a lavender scented bubble bath before bed. She is then lathered in lotion. Teeth are brushed, hair is combed. Stories are read. When it's time to sleep, she listens to lullabies with an adult within her sight, until she falls asleep.


This routine doesn't chase away all nightmares, but it definitely helps them occur less often.


Raising a child with bipolar can be incredibly hard for the caregivers and the child. Halloween can make things ten times worse, if you're not prepared.


We hope these tips help lessen behaviors and nightmares, providing rest for all.


For those who would like to learn more about bipolar disorder and other mood disorders in children, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking the link below.



If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.


How to document your child's behaviors for professionals and specialists Mood Disorder Tips: How to Help a Child Through Manic and Depressive Episodes How to Recognize Signs of a Mood Disorder in Young Children A Mad Scientist Halloween Party for Kids Disney Villains Halloween Party A Halloween Pary for Kids with Special Dietary Needs Montessori-inspired Halloween Jack-o-lantern Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Halloween Animals Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Halloween Themed Language Bundle


5 Tips for Helping Children with Mood Disorders at Halloween
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A Mad Scientist Halloween Party for Kids

Halloween is the perfect time of year for a Mad Scientist Party for Kids, especially for those who are looking for non-scary ways to celebrate the fall holiday.

A Mad Scientist Halloween Party provides the perfect balance of learning, fun, and cool costumes! Not to mention, kids will be wowed and in love with all of the fun experiments.

What I loved most about this theme is that it can be customized depending on the needs of each kiddo.

A Mad Scientist Halloween Party for Kids

A Mad Scientist Halloween Party for Kids


 Costumes


Mad Scientist Halloween Party Costumes

A Halloween party isn't a party without costumes. We like to keep things simple and non-scary. 

These lab coats were absolutely perfect for the occasion. The safety goggles were a fabulous and necessary accessory. The badges secured in the badge holders were the perfect touch!

Science Experiments


A Mad Scientist Halloween Party isn't complete without a few experiment. Here are several experiments we found and loved!


Please be aware that adult supervision is required with these experiments.


Mad Scientist Halloween Party Experiment 1

Lava Lamp Experiment


Everyone loved the Lava Lamp Experiment, which requires only a few simple ingredients. The kids loved choosing their own colors. I loved watching the kids facial expressions as the experiment came to life.

Mad Scientist Halloween Party Experiment 2

Can Dry Ice Blow Up a Balloon?


Halloween is the perfect time of year to introduce dry ice into experiments so long as you can ensure safety. In this experiment the kids found out that dry ice can in fact blow up a balloon! I found this experiment at Life with Moore Learning.

Mad Scientist Halloween Party Experiment 3

Using Dry Ice to Put Out a Candle


Our next experiment was determining if dry ice could put out a candle faster than just the lack of oxygen. This was yet another experiment we found at Life with Moore Learning that the kids loved.


Mad Scientist Halloween Party Experiment 3 Modified

Bubbling Potions


If kids have never worked with dry ice before they're in for a real treat with the simplest of experiments. All of the kids were introduced to dry ice with this experiment from Stepmomming


It's sure to be a success, especially with younger kids. Sunshine absolutely LOVED this experiment. 


Mad Scientist Halloween Party Experiment 4


Dry Ice Volcanoes


My kids are huge fans of baking soda and vinegar volcanoes, but dry ice volcanoes take things to the next level. I love how the dish soap adds some extra fun as well.

Mad Scientist Halloween Party with Younger Child

Sunshine enjoyed this experiment as well but was a little shocked by how big the eruption became. Lol. Once she realized it was all safe and okay, she was fine.


Candy!


In our house, we don't do trick-or-treating due to special dietary needs. Instead the kids each pick out a couple bags of candy. We dump everything out on the table and let everyone choose what they want.


Mad Scientist Halloween Party Candy Sort


We had a co-op friend join us for our Mad Scientist Halloween Party, where he also was able to enjoy our family tradition.


It was the perfect ending to a fabulous Mad Scientist Halloween Party!


For those looking for more holiday party ideas to meet the needs of all children, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking the link below.



If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Disney Villians Halloween Party A Halloween Party for Kids with Special Dietary Needs Montessori-inspired Chemistry Preschool Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Intro to Chemistry Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Periodic Table of Elements Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack


A Mad Scientist Halloween Party

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Montessori Grammar: Noun Activities for Kids with Free Printable

Montessori grammar is one of my favorite things. Learning about nouns using the method is no exception. 

These beautiful Montessori Grammar: Noun Activities for Kids with Free Printable are sure to be a hit with your children in Montessori preschool and elementary classrooms.

The pictures are absolutely beautiful, all made with true-to-life images.

All of the activities are such fabulous ways to teach reading, spelling and vocabulary.

Montessori Grammar: Noun Activities for Kids with Free Printable

Montessori Grammar: Noun Activities for Kids


Montessori Grammar: The Noun 


Montessori Grammar: Noun Sorting Activity

When I first introduced nouns the Montessori way, I provided resources that related to the shape and color of the Montessori grammar symbol along with multiple examples of nouns unsorted. This helped kids and co-op friends better understand and isolate the noun as a single aspect of grammar.

Sources: The large cards in this activity are from our Montessori-inspired Introduction to Grammar Printable Pack. Small sorting cards are from our Montessori Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack.

Montessori Grammar: Noun Sorting Cards


Montessori Grammar: Noun Sorting Cards

In this activity children sort the stack of cards into three noun categories: people, places, and things. 

This is a great way to help them remember the definition of a noun and think about the difference between people, places and things.

Source: I created the printable for this activity. It is part of my Montessori Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack.

Montessori Grammar: Singular and Plural Noun Sort


Montessori Grammar: Plural Nouns Sort

This activity introduces rules about changing singular nouns to plural nouns. 

There are several options as to how to go about this activity. You can choose to just use one rule and sort out cards as to whether or not the rule applies. This works well for children just starting to understand the difference between singular and plural nouns.

Montessori Grammar: Plural Noun Rules

Or, if students are up for a challenge and more advanced, you can have them sort cards under multiple rules.

Source: I created the printable for this activity. It is part of my Montessori Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack.

Montessori Grammar: Plural Noun Clip Cards


Montessori Grammar: Plural Noun Clip Cards

Once children have learned how to change singular nouns to plural nouns, these clip cards provide great opportunities for practice. I love that this activity also includes a spelling component which is always helpful.

Source: I created the printable for this activity. It is part of my Montessori Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack.

Montessori Grammar: Identifying a Noun in a Sentence


Montessori-inspired Grammar: Nouns Identification Clip Cards

Once children grasp the idea of a noun and are able to read, these clip cards are perfect when teaching how to identify a noun in a sentence. 

The kids read the sentence and then mark the noun in the sentence from the choices provided.

I love how this activity helps kids analyze sentences.

Source: I created this printable. It is a free. Click on the link at the bottom of this post to receive your free copy.

For those interested in more Montessori grammar activities be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking the link below.


Don't forget your free printable!


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.
    Valentine's Day Noun Activities with FREE Printables Valentine's Day Singular and Plural Noun Writing Strips Day of the Dead Grammar Activities with FREE Printables Montessori Grammar: Articles Printable Pack Montessori Grammar: Adjectives Printable Pack Montessori Grammar: Verbs Printable Pack Montessori Grammar: Prepositions Printable Pack Montessori Grammar: Adverbs Printable Pack Montessori Grammar: Pronouns Printable Pack Montessori Grammar: Conjunctions Printable Pack Montessori Grammar: Interjections Printable Pack Montessori Grammar: Environment Word Strips Bundle

Montessori Grammar: Noun Activities for Kids with Free Printable


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