Birthday Party Drama

It's challenging being a parent. Everyday we are put to the test. Sometimes we fail, sometimes we soar. I believe that the decisions we make, for the most part, are the right ones. For our children and for ourselves.

I like to think that I'm a good mom to my boys. They are my entire life, after all. I love them with every single cell in my body. And there is nothing I wouldn't do for them.

My job as my children's mother is to protect them, love them, teach them, support them, push them in the right direction, and comfort them, while sometimes taking them out of their comfort zone.

My oldest child is shy in new surroundings. Once he gets comfortable, he does okay, but it can sometimes take a while. He is my sensitive child, my thinker, my learner. I believe he suffers from some social anxiety in certain situations.

Sometimes, I have to help push him out of his comfort zone, even if he resists—for instance, when we signed him up for swimming lessons over a year ago, it was non-negotiable—he was going to go. After a few minutes of crying in the water, he started enjoyed himself. It was hard seeing him sad at first, but the benefits of him learning to swim far outweighed me just giving in and taking him home over a few tears.

When he was recently invited to a birthday party that took place somewhere public (not in a home) my son begged me to stay with him.

"Please don't go, mommy, stay with me!" he cried to me, his cheeks scarlet red. He was clinging tightly to my arm.

I could tell right away that things weren't going to get easier for him after just a few minutes. It wasn't the birthday party of a close friend, so I decided I would stay with my son. There were about 8 children at the party, and I was the only other parent there. It didn't even cross my mind that it was weird that I stayed. The parents of the birthday child were friendly, and we had a nice time.

Well. Overheard outside my son's school this week:

Mom 1: "You mean she stayed the entire time?"

Mom 2: "Yes! He wouldn't let her leave!"

Luckily it wasn't me who overheard that conversation, otherwise, I would have said a few things I might later have regretted. My mom actually heard that conversation, and basically said, "Yes, my grandson is shy. He wanted his mother to stay."

Mom 2: "Oh, yeah, we were just talking about the fact that he's shy."

Are you kidding me? Is it that weird that I stayed at a birthday party with my son who is only 5 years old? Somewhere public? I honestly do not think so. I remember parents always stayed at my parties when I was younger.

First of all, it's a big help, having another adult present. I can take my son to the bathroom, I can re-fill his cup of juice, I can help clean up. A room full of rambunctious 5 year olds can be very distracting. Of course I'm going to stay to make sure my child is okay.

If he was celebrating his best friend's or cousin's birthday, I'd leave, no problem, if he wanted me to. But right now? If my son needs me to comfort him, to help him? I'm not leaving his side. I'll stay by his side for as long as he needs me to. I'm his mother, and it's my job. And I love it.

What about you? What are your thoughts about this? Do you leave your child no matter what, or stay? Is there a certain age where you think your children should be left alone at a party, no matter what? I'd love to hear from you!

30 Days of Truth: Day 1

Sometimes, all you need is a good writing prompt to get your blog juices flowing. At the same time, a good writing prompt can also make you stare at your computer screen for hours on end because you're overwhelmed with all you want to write about.

I got this great idea from my friend's blog. 30 days of truth. I'll probably combine a few into one post, and I'll write whenever I feel inspired to write about a topic, rather than actually writing 30 posts 30 days in a row. I know, I'm *such* a rule breaker! Any-who.

The writing prompts are:

Day 1: Something you hate about yourself.
Day 2: Something you love about yourself.
Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 4: Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 5: Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 8: Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 9: Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10: Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11: Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12: Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14: A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15: Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16: Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17: A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18: Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19: What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20: Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21: (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22: Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23: Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24: Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25: The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26: Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27: What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28: What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29: Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30: A letter to yourself: tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

I'll start with number 1: Something I hate about myself.

Oh, gosh. I don't hate anything about myself! I think I'm fabulous. Really. Seriously, okay. I am a woman with many faults. Admitting is the first step, right?

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." Marilyn Monroe

I hate that I have ZERO patience. I get upset when I'm stuck in traffic, I get short-tempered with my children if they're moving too slowly getting out the door in the mornings, I have no patience when I'm waiting for someone to email or call me back, and I have no patience with basically everything in life. I hate waiting for things to happen. I want what I want now.

I hate that I'm always late for things. Not when I have to be at the airport at 4 a.m. to leave for a vacation - no, I'm never late for that - and I'm never late for a party, other than being fashionably late - but with school, I was always late. Every. Single. Day. So late, in fact, that by grade 12, my homeroom teacher stopped keeping track of my attendance, and would look for me at my locker before first period to tell me the daily announcements. He was a good man. I believe I had 60 lates in one semester alone. My parents, especially my father, would try so hard to wake me up every morning so I could be on time, but to no avail. I was always late.

I hate that I can't get off the bunny hills. When I go skiing, I stick to the easy hills. I feel safe there. I occassionally ski on the moderate hills. Once, I went down a black diamond hill. I was doing great, actually - until my friends decided to tell me that I was on a black diamond hill. I thought it was a moderate hill, you see. Once they told me, I froze. I sat down. I refused to go the rest of the way. I was doing great up until that point. I get scared of new and challenging situations, not only on the ski slopes, but with work, and life in general. Sometimes, I get scared to push myself, to take on that new challenge, to make that necessary change, and to just go for it.

I hate that I have no concept of a dollar. I don't like using cash because it leaves too quickly. No matter how many bills I've got in my wallet, they'll be spent in a day if I can see them. True story. If something is $99, in my mind, it's $90, not $100. If something is $199, to me, it's $100. I round down, always. (I stopped taking math in grade 10 and I never touched a math course in University because numbers scare me!) I can't save. I love to spend. I shop too much.

I hate that I'm not honest with myself. The truth can be so scary. Change is also something I fear. I can pretend, and I can put on a smile, and I can act as if nothing is wrong. This can go on for very long periods of time. I hate this about myself. I wish I was stronger. I wish I was able to say the things I felt without worrying about other people's feelings so much. I usually do whatever it takes to avoid confrontation.

That's it for Day 1. The 'something' I hate about myself turned into 'many things I hate about myself.'

Is there a therapist in the house?

Day 2 should be more fun, if I can find anything to love about myself!

On being Greek

I love being Greek. I love the culture, the history and the beauty of Greece. I loved spending my summers in Greece as a child, and next summer, my children will hopefully visit Greece for the first time. Except for the 8 hour plane ride, I'm excited to show them their roots.

Let me tell you a little bit about being Greek.

Greek people love to eat. Everything is about food. Meal times are NEVER missed and dinner is a huge event. Every night, it's like Thanksgiving. We consume a lot. Then, at around 10 p.m, the night begins. That is when people start getting ready to go out, coming back home at around 5 a.m. Greeks know how to enjoy life! Their passion for food, music, drinks, shopping, sex, and everything—is evident. Just ask anyone who has been to Greece!

Even though a lot of people in Greece still smoke, the life expectancy is very high. You know why? Because they are so chilled about life. They eat healthy—fresh fish, olive oil, Greek salads and delicious fruit, every day. They are surrounded by the beautiful sea and gorgeous mountains, and they don't have to scrape ice off of their car for 6 months out of the year. They nap EVERY DAY. Greece is doing something right!

Greek people are also funny and set in their ways. Nothings gets my grandfather worked up like a conversation about Greek politics. Greek people have been known to go into cardiac arrest over topics like politics and soccer. If you're on the wrong 'team', don't even think about entering my house. I can't deal with the yelling! Oh, yes... Greeks are very loud, too. And VERY dramatic.

Greek people also have some crazy 'superstitions', like:

If you put your child's shirt on inside out, it will keep away the evil eye.

If your child crawls across the room, it means you'll soon have a visitor.

You shouldn't bring your wedding dress back to your parents house because it's bad luck.

If you have an itchy hand, you're going to come across some money.

To get rid of the evil eye, Greek people sometimes spit on themselves three times. (Not actually spit, more like, pretend spit. This, my friends, is the cure to the evil eye. Now you know!)

On New Year's Day, Greek people eat vasilopita, a Greek desert bread, covered in icing sugar. The person who finds the coin in their piece of cake will have good luck for the entire year.

Don't hand someone a knife—let them pick it up, or you will get into a fight with that person.

Shoes that are overturned are bad luck and can even mean death. Yeah. Make sure your shoes are upright!

Greek parents also loving getting mad at their children. And, oh, the things we heard...

Things like:

"Tha sou alaxo ta fota sou." Translation: I'm going to change your lights!

"Then eimaste kala." (I've heard this one the most!) Translation :We're not well. As in, you're clearly not well in the head.

"Tha fas ksilo!" Translation: You'll eat sticks. As in, you're about to get your ass kicked!

How about my personal favourite, said to children when they leave the house:

"Ta matia sou theka-tesera!" Translation: Your eyes, 14! As in... um? Make sure all your eyes are open and be really careful!

These are just some of the funny things I remember growing up in a Greek household. Greeks are certainly entertaining!

How about you? Do you have any funny superstitions from your culture, or anything your parents would say to you that strikes you as funny now?

Surviving the dreaded months ahead

It's no secret.

I love summer. I shouldn't really be living in Canada. Don't get me wrong; I think I live in the best country there is, and I love Canada with all my heart. From May until September.

From October to April, I complain an awful lot.

I hate winter. The snow, the ice, the minus 30 temperatures. The coats, the boots, the hats, the fact that it's dark at 4 p.m. Sure, skiing is fun. Skating, that's okay too. The only reason I partake in those winter activities is not for the rosy cheeks it gives me - I prefer the glow the sun leaves on my skin, to be honest—I do it so my children can get some fresh air, and for the beavertails and hot chocolate.

I get a serious case of SAD from about now until spring. I can't help it. I start worrying about winter in July. As I'm swimming in the pool, enjoying the hot sun on my body, I can't get rid of the depressing feeling that winter is just around the corner.

I know most of you do not share these feelings with me. You all embrace fall and the beautiful leaves. But really. Fall is just a tease, because although it's nice, it's the start of something horrible. The long, cold winter.

I get through the winter months by going to Florida. There is nothing like stepping off the plane and being greeted by the beautiful palm trees and blue ocean. One week a year is never enough, but I'll take what I can. I have decided that I should move to Florida. I just have to figure out when!

Another way I survive the winter months? With a lot of good TV! The only good thing about summer being over is that all my favourite TV shows are back.

Like GLEE!
And Grey's Anatomy!
And Desperate Housewives!
And Modern Family!

(Also, I'm in love with Entourage. Why, oh why, is there only one season left? And Ari? Poor Ari. And Vince? GET IT TOGETHER, VINCE!)

So, the season finale of Grey's was great. It had to be great, because Grey's is spectacular at their "HOLY SHIT! DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?" season finale moments. I thought last year's season finale was good. Incredible. Edge of your seat awesomeness. But I liked the year before even more. The last scene, with Izzy in the elevator? And George? AND GEORGE!!!! That episode freaked me out. I still have it recorded on my PVR.

The thing that bothered me about the most reason season finale of Grey's was the fact that not one single doctor had a cell phone. NO iphones or BB's? No Twitter? Can you imagine how much less damage and carnage there would have been if our friends at Seattle Grace had Twitter?

@LittleGrey Holy shit meet me on the 3rd floor by the elevators!
@Teddy I need you, like YESTERDAY, Derek has been shot in the heart!
@McDreamy I'm pregnant. I love you. Stay safe.
@Cristina I love you, I choose you. I CHOOSE YOU.
@McSteamy I'm covered in Reed's blood. Someone shot her! I'm in the supply closet!

Anyway. Maybe they'll all get iphones for Christmas or something. Surely they make enough money, right?

Tomorrow, Glee is back. I know I'm excited—are you? What else are you looking forward to seeing? What shows will keep you warm during the winter months of misery? What is your favourite snack to enjoy while watching your favourite TV show? And what new show should I add to my line-up this year, and why?



When I used to think of Mark's Work Warehouse, I used to think: "I've got no need to shop there." After all, didn't Mark's only sell things like uniforms for nurses, and work boots for construction workers? Well, Mark's has changed. It's a store even I could shop at now!

Mark's still carries all the basics you'd need if you're looking for proper work attire, but it's also gone through some major renovations - both on the outside, with their new 'look', and in terms of what they sell inside. The store is simply called Mark's now, and Mark's is all about innovation.

I was invited to Mark's along with several other bloggers for a Marks-over. I was able to try on some of their fabulous new clothes, and was treated to a full make-over, including make-up, hair, and a fun photo shoot.

My eyes were instantly drawn to a sparkly pink top, because, well, I love pink! Also new? Skinny jeans! And sexy boots!

It was a really fun experience, and the best part? We got to take home our new outfits. I have received many compliments on my new Mark's outfit - so thank you, Mark's, for showing us all that you're not just for 'work' anymore!

25 Things

25 Things Being A Mom Has Taught Me:

1. You will love like you have never loved before.

2. Your heart will break like never before.

3. You will remember how fun it was to play with all the things you loved playing with as a child—things like LEGO, Play-Doh and Playmobil.

4. You will become very emotional. Not just right after you give birth, but always. You'll be changed forever, and commercials that aren't made to make you cry will make you cry.

5. Your level of empathy for others, especially children and mothers who have suffered a terrible loss, will increase and although your heart is full of love, there will always be a part of it that is broken for every tragic story you hear about.

6. You will be like a deer caught in headlights the first time you have to deal with cleaning up floating poo from the bath-tub. Unfortunantly, this may be something you have to do more than once. This has happened to me more than a handful of times. Poo in bath-tub is NOT fun! Vomit clean-up is also just as awful.

7. You will breastfeed in places you never thought you would. I enjoyed breastfeeding, but I was also private about it. When I could be. Other times, I'd whip out my boobs on the airplane, on a bench in the mall, in Starbucks, and during dinner at a fancy steak house.

8. All the little things you thought you would love about being a mom—after dinner visits to the park, pushing your child on the swings, going for ice cream, snuggling in bed on a rainy night, having picnics in the grass—those experiences are the very best.

9. Happy Meals at McDonald's are absolutely acceptable once a week.

10. The dislike for winter grows tenfold when you have children, because trying to get them into snow pants, boots, hats, scarves and mitts causes a lot of anxiety, stress, and tears. And then trying to fit your children who look like the Michelin Man into their car seats? Sob.

11. Going to the bathroom without little people watching you is a luxury. For the most part, I will take a shower late at night, after my little people have gone to bed.

12. Your mom was probably right.

13. Having to take your child to the bathroom at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere during a road trip will not help alleviate your fear of germs. In fact, your panic will be so clearly visible to your child that after the experience, he will sleep with a bottle of Purell beside him.

14. You will catch yourself eating food off the floor. It's a quick way to clean up. Sometimes, the food you eat off the floor actually ends up being your dinner.

15. You will not fit into your old jeans three weeks after you give birth. Anyone who does fit into their old jeans three weeks after they give birth is not human and I don't want to know them.

16. "Sleeping in" is as distant a memory as "Tequila Sunrise".

17. You are stronger than you think. Both phyiscally, as you carry your children in your arms even when they're four years old, and emotionally, as you have to face seeing your child sick, upset and hurt.

18. Saying 'no' is never easy.

19. You will sometimes feel like you're not doing the best job parenting. But when your children run to you, greeting you with kissses and hugs, and call out your name in the middle of the night, you'll think you're doing alright.

20. Teaching your children is a very beautiful thing. Watching your children read, or watching them write their own name for the first time, are moments to always be proud of.

21. You will get extremely embarrassed in public many times. Your children will swear loudly in front of others, and you'll have body parts exposed when you least expect it. Grin and bear it!

22. The 'first time' moments—when your baby walks alone for the first time, the first smile, the first words—are the happiest moments. The 'last time' moments—the last time you nurse your child, the last time your child drinks from a bottle, the last time your child wears a diaper—are very emotional moments.

23. Time goes by so quickly. Take a lot of pictures. And videos!

24. When writing a blog post about your children, make sure you don't write anything that they'll be upset about 15 years from now.

25. Take a deep breath. It's not as bad as you think it is.

You're invited!

I'm so excited!

I was asked to co-host the upcoming Fall Couture Cosmetics Gala at The Bay, Rideau Centre. As you know, I love to shop. And I love make-up! A make-up gala event? OF COURSE! How could I say anything but YES?

The annual gala takes place this Thursday, September 16th, 4 to 9 p.m., so put that date in your calendar, friends!

As the co-host for the event, I will be the Estee Lauder spokesperson. I was given some amazing new products to try, and I have to say, I fell in love with the new lop gloss and night cream. At the gala, I will be wearing make-up from the new Blue Dahlia line, which is absolutely beautiful (pictured above). I usually go with a smoky eye look, but I'm excited to venture into the blues. The new colours for fall can also be worn year-round, and the new line is stunning!

Tom Pecheux, world renowned make-up artist, is now the Creative Makeup Director for Estee Lauder, bringing a twist to the usually traditional makeup line. He says "It's a great privilege to work with the Estee Lauder brand. We are both dedicated to making women look and feel beautiful." The best part about Estee Lauder, besides their amazing make-up and skin care products, is their commitment to helping the fight against breast cancer.

Proceeds from the gala will be going go to a very deserving charity—to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. So far, The Bay has raised $1.3 million for the Canadian Women's Fund.

At the gala, you'll be able to get a makeover at any of cosmetics counters, receive samples, and possibly win one of many fabulous gift prizes! Once your make-up is done, you'll be treated to a photo shoot with professional photographer, Joel Bedford. Best picture of the day wins a prize, too!

Tickets are $10. $2 goes to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and $8 goes back to YOU to be used towards the purchase of any make-up or facial product that night.

If you're in Ottawa, I would love to see you this Thursday! If you like last-minute trips, then you should come as well!

I look forward to seeing you all!


Some difficulties

So, the post I wrote the other day about how ready my son was for his first day back at school? Things actually didn't go as smooth as I thought they would.

This year, since my son is in senior kindergarten, he starts school in the afternoon. I rushed home on my lunch break from work to take him to school.

At home, he was in tears. He didn't want to go to school. He didn't want to go because his tooth was loose and he was afraid he'd lose it. I promised him his tooth wouldn't come out while he was at school, but if it did, Mrs. P would take great care of it for him and put it in his back pack.

I took his hand, and we walked outside to take a picture by the tree like we did last year.

Last year's picture:

This year's picture:

Uh-oh. It wasn't a good scene.

At school, he was very clingy to me. I kissed him and told him it would be okay. I promised him that since it was his first day back at school, it wouldn't really be a 'normal' day.

"So that means there will be no learning today?"

"Exactly, my little man. No learning today. Just fun times."

That made him feel a little better, and he started walking towards his classroom. Then he turned around and looked at me, and OMG.

I died!

However, I did not cry. Last year, I was a sobbing mess. This year, I was strong. No tears. Even after all of HIS tears, I was strong.

When did I become a tough mom?

After school, my mom picked him up. He was happy and smiling, and day two of school went extremely well. Phew.

What is it with the first day of school anxety for parents and children? Well, at least another 'first day' is over and done with, right?

Now, where is my wine...


What a difference a year makes...

One year ago, I was an emotional mess. Last year, my first born son, my baby boy, was starting kindergarten. I wrote about my feelings before and after.

On his first day of school, as he walked away from me, holding his teacher's hand, I cried. A lot. In front of other moms, while holding my baby boy, I was a sobbing mess and I couldn't stop crying.

I couldn't believe my child was starting school. He was officially a big boy, a big boy who had just entered a whole new world—an exciting world, filled with so many new experiences.

Your school years, from the first year to the last year, are filled with vivid memories, both good and bad. I remember things so clearly, from grade school to Univeristy. The smells, the people, the experiences, the excitement. Friends, detention, homework, dances, track and field, first crushes, first everything. School is where everything happens, where best friends are made, where your heart breaks for the first time, where your world crashes down on you, where you gain confidence and where you do a LOT of growing up.

Now my role had officially shifted, from student to 'mother'. I was going to be the person who would be waiting at home for her child to come running through the front door with stories of excitement, with tears, with questions, and with (God help me) math homework. Would I be strong enough?

When I picked my son up from his first day of school, he was smiling and he ran towards me. I was glad to hear his first day went so well, and from that day on, things kept getting better and better. I wrote about the changes I saw in him. I wrote about his happiness about going to school, and how happy that made me. His first year in school went by very quickly. And on his last day of junior kindergarten , I cried again.

Last year, this was our conversation on the drive to school:

C: "So, you're going to leave me at school. But you'll be back."

Me: "Exactly, sweetie. I'll be back before you know it, and you'll do great - you'll love it so much, you have a great teacher, and you probably won't even want to leave!"

C: "So when you leave me at school, you're just going to go buy some soap, right? You're just going to go buy some soap for the dishwasher, and then come pick me up?"

Me: "I'll be back, don't worry at all!"

On Tuesday, he starts school again. I know there will be no fear, and no questions asked, this time. He's not exactly thrilled that summer is over, because his days of swimming and eating watermelon all day will be replaced with more structure and routine, but he's glad to be going back to his teacher, and to his friends.

I am excited for his second year of kindergarten. I hope he does amazing, I hope he learns, I hope he soars, I hope he laughs and I hope he runs back into my arms at the end of the day so I can hug him tight and tell him how proud I am of him... every day.


It's my birthday!

I'm another year older. I'm 34. Only one more year until I am 35 and then it is all DOWNHILL. Right? I mean, when I turn 35, I'm only 5 years away from 40 and 40 is like, I can't even comprehend. So old. Okay, okay, I'm just kidding! KIDDING! I can't wait to embrace my 40's! Bring it ON! Actually, I think I'm going to really enjoy the rest of my 30's. 3o's are almost as awesome as the 20's. Even more awesome, in some ways.

Most days, I still feel like I'm in my 20's. Sure, I'm a married mom of two incredible little boys but I don't feel older. Just way more tired than I was in my 20's. I guess five years of getting no more than four hours of sleep a night will do that to a person, right?

I miss high school, and University, where my biggest problem was... um... drawing a blank here... because there really were no worries back then. What, studying for an exam? Writing an essay? Discovering the Internet? Drinking? Anyway.

In all honestly, life right now is great. Being a mom is the most amazing thing ever. It truly is. Watching my boys growing, our conversations, the hugs, the feeling of immense proudness when my son writes his name, reading to my boys, listening to their laughter, playing with them, and hearing "I love you, mama!" are the reasons I'm thankful to be another year older.

Last year I wrote about the reasons I was happy to be turning one year older, and the same reasons are true this year. I'm happy to be alive, because the alternative sucks, and I love being a mother to my two children.

My birthday wish is pretty simple. Health and happiness for all my loved ones. That's it!

This year, I want to challenge myself more. Push myself in areas I know I can do better, make positive changes, cook more often, continue exercising and become a more patient person.

Am I a true Virgo?

A Virgo is: Dedicated, Sympathetic, Observant, Creative, Reliable, Kind, Organized, Analytical, Sensual, Witty, Charming, Helpful, Thoughtful, Compassionate, and Sexy as Hell.

A Virgo is also: Bitchy, Fussy, Pedantic, Always Complaining, Always Worrying, Indecisive, Anal-Retentive, Annoying, Shrewd, Obsessive-Compulsive, Argumentative, Over-Critical.

I will not admit to you which of the two groups I see myself fitting into more. That's for you to decide!

(Be nice, it's my birthday!)
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