What I want my Daughters to know

As days pass by and I see my daughters develop into their own independent little ladies, I often wonder what sort of women they will become. This isn’t something I particularly worry about. Perhaps I should. I don’t mind what jobs they have, I don’t mind if they go to university or not. Their happiness is the most important thing. Along the way I hope they learn, or I can teach these few things….

Be strong minded but not hard hearted. It is important to know what you want and to have the courage to go and get it for yourself. Accompany this with a warm heart and an ability to empathise with others and you will go far and be loved.

Have an opinion. Base this opinion on facts not hear say. Not everything you read or hear will be true. Don’t jump to conclusions. Be prepared to debate. Be prepared to have your opinion changed. Remain open minded. You won’t always be right, be gracious in defeat and always admit when you were wrong.

If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. If asked for an opinion then yes, voice it. Sometimes, however, a question wasn’t asked, a debate wasn’t started. In this instance, if it is too hard to find something nice to say then just don’t say anything.

Ambition is important. What the ambition is isn’t overly relevant. Having ambition itself is what matters as it gives you drive and focus. You can do anything you set your minds to it. Hard work goes a long way.

Be organised. This can be hard to do at times. It is important to stay organised in both thoughts and process. Sometimes things happen in life that knock your confidence, don’t let these things get in the way.

Trust your own instincts. We are all individuals and because of this we will each take different paths in life. We will all enjoy and dislike different things. As they say ‘it takes all sorts to make the world go round’. Only you will know what is right for you. Trust you know the answer.

Stand up for what you believe in. Trust me no one else will.

Stand up for others. Not everyone is strong, and sometimes even strong people have their strength taken away from them. Don’t stand and watch people be bullied or have their confidence sucked from them. Stand up for what you know is right and give others a voice when they have lost theirs. Someday you may need them to return the favour.

Value yourself. There will be a lot of people that come and go throughout life, sadly many of them will try to take advantage of you. If you let them they will keep doing it. Know your worth and value it! Don’t let anyone walk all over you.

Be decisive and be determined. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them.

Learn from other people’s mistakes and not just your own. This is hard to do but pay attention. There is no need to replicate someone else’s mistake.

Believe in karma. Trust me… What goes around come around.

Love freely. Those who love the most are loved the most.

Most importantly…

Be happy! Do what brings you joy. Be with people that make you happy, surround yourself with the good in the world. Happiness comes from within.

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This Mum's Life
Cuddle Fairy
Dear Bear and Beany
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Diary of An Imperfect Mum

Disappointing Weekends

Truth be told I look forward to the weekend from about 10am Monday morning. I long for the adult company and conversation of Hubby, I relish the idea of being able to split the parenting duties, not being the only one saying ‘no’. It is very common for me to post something on my Instagram with some sort of Friday or weekend reference, ‘Happy FriYAY’, ‘Have a great weekend’, ‘Can’t wait for Friday wine o’clock’. Etc etc….. I like these posts by other people but when I do it all I manage to do is to piss myself off. It doesn’t matter what we have planned for those glorious two days of double parenting the weekend will always be a disappointment.

As a stay at home mum I am naturally on hand 24/7 for all the needs of the girls. Other than 15 hours a week that Pinky is at preschool I am the go to girl! We are never apart. So I understand that it becomes very normal to ask me for something when they need it, from food to cuddles. I truly get it. HOWEVER, it would be nice if they could learn that their father is equally capable of providing for them. When they are physically sat on his lap having cuddles, or playing a game with him it would be nice if they didn’t leave his company to hunt me down and ask me for a snack, or to take Pinky to the toilet. Call me melodramatic but they really do hunt me down, in my own home and pull me out of whatever corner I am hiding in trying to get 5 minutes peace whilst I can. Ok,y it’s their home too but I swear they have infiltrated every single part of it. Even my makeup bag has their hair bands in it!

Believe me Hubby does try. He genuinely tries to get the girls to understand that he is more than capable of getting their preferred snack out of a cupboard for them. He tries to inform Pinky that he too knows where the toilet is in the house and could be equally as capable as Mummy in the art of arse wiping! But no, only mummy could possibly do it right!

In some ways I know I should be flattered, happy even, and definitely enjoying these days whilst they still very much need me. And I am under no illusion, I know full well I will long for these days back when they are gone. Living through them is a different story though.

Things have changed in our household recently. Hubby is working longer hours and is traveling more than he has ever done before. One week the girls saw him Monday morning then not again until Friday evening. They missed him loads and wouldn’t leave him alone. I think they would have cuddled him for hours if it wasn’t nearly bedtime. It was really cute, they are actually showing huge signs of being ‘Daddy’s girls’ where for years they have been ‘Mummy’s girls’. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, I thought to myself that as much as I miss Hubby when he is away if it means the girls get to enjoy the time they spend with their Daddy more and maybe appreciate his presence I may get a chance to deal with one less toddler request over the weekend.

Alas no!

It doesn’t matter how much they miss him only Mummy could possibly complete their request properly. Only Mummy deserves to be screamed and shouted at, tantrumed at, because only Mummy could possibly understand the reason and all consuming need for a catastrophic meltdown over a fleck of dust on Dolly.

So with another weekend over, another Monday morning looming, have I been on call all weekend?

Oh yes!

Will I still sit and long for next weekend most of the week?

Oh yes!

I will always remain hopeful that next weekend will somehow be different because without hope there is only despair. And that is not a healthy place to parent from on a regular basis.

Of course Wednesday’s wine o’clock helps, or is it Tuesday’s? Or Thursday’s? Meh! They all help….

Cuddle Fairy

 

Dear Bear and Beany

Time to ‘Wife’ a bit more

This month Hubby and I will have been married for five years. It’s not that long in the general scheme of planning to be together for the rest of our lives, but I can’t believe it’s already been five years. This year our anniversary lands on a Saturday. Bonus! This of course means we are going out. Out out parent style! Dinner and cocktails before heading home to relieve the baby sitters (brother and sister in law) and collapsing in a tired, makeup smeared heap. I can not wait! I may even buy a new dress for the occasion.

As Hubby has written we have done a lot in five years, and two of those huge things take up so much of our time and mental capacity. I wouldn’t change Pinky and Perky for the world but I have decided that since September is our month, I am going to concentrate on husband and wife stuff. I parent daily but I’m not sure I can honestly say I ‘wife’ daily.

I don’t think our marriage needs ‘spicing up’, we have a really good relationship, we really really work. We talk about everything, no subject is off limits. As cliché as it sounds we laugh daily. No one can make me laugh like Hubby. If one of us needs a quiet sulky evening we have it, if we need a cuddle the other simply knows. I want this to last. Forever.

Since becoming parents our stuff has taken a backseat. Of course it has, it has to. We don’t go out as often as we did because two more humans need feeding and clothing. Speaking of which our wardrobes could really do with updating. We had originally said that we would try and have a date night once a month after Pinky was born and I was comfortable leaving her for a couple of hours. This hasn’t happened, life got in the way. That’s not to say we don’t ever have date nights because we do. However, what has generally happened in the past is we don’t go out for a few months at a time, so when we do, we go out out. All out out. We organise a sleepover at the grandparents for the girls and we go up to London for the night. ‘The Big Smoke’ isn’t far on a train (just ridiculously expensive) but we don’t go up as often as we would like as we love the city. To make the most of it we will head up in the day and do a spot of retail therapy. Solely my therapy I suspect but bless Hubby he tags along with minimal complaint, mostly just unsubtly asking if there is anywhere to get a drink in the department store in which find ourselves. Then it’s dinner and a hotel stay before heading back home on the Sunday morning. This is expensive. I love this date and would do it more regularly if we could but until our lottery numbers come in it will have to be a very occasional treat. Having said that just because we are parents doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a little luxury ourselves every now and again. Many people enjoy a little spa weekend and there are many good offers out there to take advantage of. I love a good back massage but to be honest a spa weekend really isn’t our style. We would be bored by lunch.

So this month I’m going to concentrate on marriage stuff. I am going to think about Date night ideas, ways of lowering my own expectations and accepting there are other ways of having a date that doesn’t necessarily involve leaving the house or needing to organise baby sitters. It doesn’t need to involve an over priced, white table cloth adorned restaurant that serves lobster (not actually something we have ever ordered but it’s nice to know we could). I want to concentrate on the smaller things and appreciate them.

I am also in the market for a suitable anniversary present, wood for the fifth year. All ideas on a postcard please.

This Mum's Life
Cuddle Fairy
Dear Bear and Beany

My Mummy CV

Recently I’ve been feeling a little lost and confused about my daily life. I have no desire to go back to work at all, which is not like me, I have always had a strong work ethic. After Pinky was born my priorities changed and now two children down the line I actually quite like being a stay at home mum and because I don’t get the nursery drop off tears from the girls anymore I get a little less mum guilt, which is always a plus! Despite this I just feel a little bit worthless. I know this is silly but I thought it would be good to remind myself of just exactly what I do as a SAHM, so I thought I would write my ‘Mummy CV’.

Name: Mummy Winnette

Personal Profile: As a mother I am expert at functioning on a higher conscious level even after a torturous amount of sleep deprivation. I am a very patient person, I remain calm in stressful situations and yet when the appropriate occasion arises I can go so bat shit crazy that even the least judgemental person would give me a side glance. A talent which is enhanced by the sleep deprivation. This is an incredibly useful skill to ensure the health and safety of an overly curious toddler. I have eyes in the back of my head and a sixth sense for misbehaviour. My hearing is freakishly good. So much so that sometimes I pretend I haven’t heard something, even when I did, just so people don’t think I’m strange. My main hobby is baking and I love to teach this to my little girls. I know all the words to the opening song of Sophia the First, Doc Mcstuffins and Sheriff Callie as well as few CBeebies programmes. Plus the words to approximately 80% of the Disney songs from their animated films. This was the result of intensive self directed study from a very young age. I greatly enjoy watching pretty much anything on Netflix when time allows.

Education: Genuinely irrelevant at this point.

Training: No previous training in Motherhood. A total novice.

Additional skills:
Laundry Guru specialising in the removal of tomato sauce stains
Gourmet Cook (don’t try and tell me otherwise)
Nutritionist
White lie inventor
Language interpreter with a keen interest in toddler talk
Sibling Wars referee
Events coordinator
Health and safety executive
Cleaner
Snotty sleeve collector
Waitress
Nurse
Toy locator
Expert Negotiator
Miss Manners enforcer
Kindness and Sharing monitor
Teacher
Guidance councillor
Expert in Anger Management
Provider of emotional support
Cuddle giver
Bum wiper
Bathroom sharer and conversationalist
Librarian

References:

Pinky Winnette
Daughter 1
Aged 3 1/2

Perky Winnette
Daughter 2
Aged 1 1/2

I think this is a fairly accurate CV. It’s hard to explain to anyone without children exactly what being a parent is and this only gives a tongue in cheek insight. I love it and wouldn’t change it but sometimes it’s ok to need reminding of that.

If anyone thinks of any skills I have missed please let me know…

I wanted girls….

It’s not something you are suppose to admit out loud, that you have a gender preference for your unborn baby.  But I had a preference, with both pregnancies and I never had the courage to admit to myself or anyone else.

Even before I fell pregnant with Pinky I thought I wanted a girl then a boy.  Truth be told I wasn’t that fussed at the boy at that point but I absolutely wanted a girl first.  Hubby and I always knew we have more than one child, so as far as I was concerned all I really wanted was a girl first.  I was the oldest sibling and only girl and I liked the idea of having a daughter as the eldest.  I can’t really explain it anymore than that.  Although Hubby is also the oldest of his siblings he always says his little sister is like his big sister really, they just got their birthdays the wrong way around.

I was 6 weeks along when I found out I was pregnant with Pinky.  I never really voiced my preference for a girl with her pregnancy because I just knew she was a girl.  I didn’t doubt this fact for a moment so when we had the sonographer do a gender check at the 20 week scan it came as no surprise she was indeed a girl.

The second pregnancy was a little different from the beginning.  I suffered less with morning sickness (or ‘all fucking day sickness’ as it actually was with Pinky), but I was more nervous about this pregnancy.   There were various factors that made me nervous but one of those things was the fact that I had convinced myself I was having a boy, although I believed this with much less conviction this time.  It was what I always thought I wanted.  It is what everyone else tells you you want, as if it is some superior combination of children, “one of each and then you can be done.” (an actual quote from a colleague).  I tried to look at new baby stuff, things I knew we would need that had been over used with Pinky.  Plus various double pushchairs.  But I just couldn’t look at any of it for more than a couple of minutes without getting fed up and frustrated for no apparent reason.

Maybe it was just intuition, maybe I always knew she was a girl really.  Once we had a gender scan at 20 weeks and it turned out we were having another little girl I really relaxed.  Now I know there is a chance those scans are wrong but on this particular occasion that little girl had her legs spread and out the way!  There was absolutely no chance of a boy coming out as far as I was concerned.

On the way home from that scan was the first time we discussed names properly, by which I mean I got involved in the conversation rather than just responding to Hubby’s suggestions with ‘No I don’t like that name.’ or ‘Literally never going to happen! Don’t mention that name again.’  (I know, bitch right?) Now I was relaxed, calm and open to suggestions.  I was full of excitement, another little girl for us.  A little sister for Pinky.

I started looking at baby products for hours at a time and constructed a list of things I thought we needed and where we could get it from for the best value of money.

Maybe this was never a true ‘preference’ but just a mothers instinct that I was ignoring, but, truth be told, I never wanted to have a boy as much as I thought I did.  I used to hide this fact from everyone because I know it’s not something you are supposed to admit.  That is not to say that if I had had a little boy I would have loved him any less than Pinky or Perky.  I would have loved him with all my heart, I really would have.  I really can’t explain it anymore than I just wanted girls.  But this in itself was not something I would admit.  My own mother can tell you that I had a conversation with her once in which I stated I very much would not want two girls.  This phone call took place in the early stages of pregnancy number two when I still thought I was having a boy.  I think I said it mostly to try and convince myself.  If I felt if I said it enough I would believe it.

Sometimes I understand why people get a little uncomfortable if you claim to want a particular gender.  It’s not anything we have control over, and even though science is developing methods to give us control over these things I don’t think we should get to choose.  I don’t believe for a moment that mothers or fathers love their children any less because they ended up with all boys or all girls.  Nor do I think parents with the gold dust ‘one of each’ have been dealt a better hand than other parents.  You get what you get and the parenthood journey will be just as challenging whatever that is.  Having said that I think it should be ok to give an honest opinion when asked.  People love to ask expectant mothers if they mind what they are having, and every expectant mother will always respond that they don’t.  How often is this actually true? Are those expectant mothers simply trying to protect themselves and the question asker from an awkward conversation?

Would I have been disappointed if I had had a boy? NO! I simply wish it had been ok for me to talk about this whilst I was pregnant, I may have found someone who was able to put my nerves at ease, perhaps help me get my mind to a place where I genuinely didn’t mind.

Is this just me? Am I the only person who had a gender preference?

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Saturday Strawberry Picking

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We took the girls strawberry picking on Saturday.  The both loved it and Perky was better behaved than I had expected.  She followed Pinky and did exactly as she did and loved putting the strawberries into the baskets.  We filled two whole baskets and by the end of it Pinky hadn’t eaten any (a totally stickler for the rules) and Perky had only snuck two into her mouth when she thought I wasn’t looking.  Of course it could have been more than that as I’m not sure Hubby was really trying to discourage her.

As well as the strawberries we went and picked some peas and broad beans.  Pinky got really excited about being able to pick her dinner.  It was lovely to watch her interest grow and it really did make a difference, she ate all her veg at dinner!  I was almost inspired to start a vegetable garden for her but since we don’t have the largest garden in the world it’s not likely I will actually do it.

Oh, and the fact that I could kill a cactus.  But I shall skim past my lack of green fingers.

From the strawberry fields Hubby took as to Top Golf which was just around the corner.  This isn’t something I would normally think of doing and we probably won’t do it all together again until Perky is older.  We go lucky this time really, there was space downstairs and Perky was happy to sit in her pushchair with a snack and drink watching us.  Pinky loved having her own mini set of golf clubs and once she had been shown how to set up the balls she had to do it for me each time.  As Hubby plays golf as often as he can, which is not as often as he would like, he was really pleased to be able to help her take her first golf swing.  And she loved it!  She often hears me say ‘Daddy is at the golf course’, and although that doesn’t mean he is at Top Golf I think she likes having a better idea of what I actually mean.  I’m sure she will be his caddy as she gets older.

Not that she will actually carry his bag…. but she may get the club out that he wants… If he is lucky (or bribes her with chocolate).

Of course it would have been rude to do the fruit picking and then not make a cake of some description.  I opted for an easy vanilla sponge with vanilla Italian meringue buttercream.  I chopped up loads of the strawberries with the help of Pinky and put them in between the two layers of sponge.  The result was yummy!  Pinky helps with all my baking these days and I hope she will always enjoy baking with me or by herself.

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Siblings

It was never in question that we would have more than one child.  Both Hubby and I have siblings. We are, in fact, both the eldest of our siblings.  So when Pinky came along we knew we would one day have a brother or sister for her, and for us.  Naively there was a lot I had forgotten about having siblings when I was young, nothing dramatic but things that no doubt drove my mother mad and are now driving me mad.

People often pass comment to me that the relationship of sisters, whilst precious, can be volatile. I can’t truly comment, I only have brothers, but to be honest I think they are talking utter rubbish.  It’s possible these comments come as a well meaning nugget of sympathy that its normal for them to argue occasionally, or it’s an insight into the relationship they had with their sisters.  In my opinion all siblings are likely to fight, argue and sulk with each other whatever the combination of gender.  Sadly, this doesn’t stop it driving me to despair some days.

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I am going to update my ‘Mummy Job Description’ to now include ‘Referee’. I understand that the toy that hasn’t been played with for 2 months suddenly looks like the best toy ever now your sister is playing with it, but your sister is playing with it so leave her alone or wait your turn.  I had forgotten sharing doesn’t apply to siblings.  I understand that because your older sister can go upstairs by herself you want to too.  But you are only 17 months old and if you don’t want me following you, or carrying you, then you should stop prating around on the stairs.  I understand if your sister has a snack/drink you want one too, but I haven’t given you the same one because you don’t like what she is having, and I will only have to pick up said snack/drink from the floor when you spit it out remembering you don’t like said snack/drink, then promptly demanding something else.

These are daily scenarios. My method for dealing with the bickering varies. Sometimes I let them fight it out between themselves (I like this method as I know it teaches them to resolve things without always needing an adult), sometimes I intervene and do the resolving for them.  What I chose to do can vary from minute to minute rather than day to day as there is only so much whinging and crying I can listen to before my last nerve is hit.

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Of course it’s not all bad.  There was a reason we wanted a sibling for Pinky and along with the soul destroying daily fighting there are times throughout every day when they remind me why we chose what we chose and prove we made a very good decision.

In the mornings Perkys biggest, brightest smile is reserved for her big sister.  When we pick Pinky up from a morning at nursery it is Perky she cuddles the hardest.  If we are planning a fun day out Pinky always makes sure we are taking Perky too.  She doesn’t even like going to her Grandparents on her own, not because she doesn’t love the undivided attention they give her but because she loves sharing experiences with her sister more.  They love each other the most.  They are already best friends as well as sisters.  On holiday a little girl of similar age to Perky came over and picked up Perky’s dog toy.  Pinky came straight over, sat down next to Perky, put her arm around her and took the toy back off the little girl (who really wasn’t causing any harm) and said “No, that’s ‘Perky’s’”. They look out for each other and I suspect they always will.

I hope when they are older their love and friendship continues.  I hope they are each the first one they turn to for help, comfort and support.  I hope that they don’t fight too much over clothes and shoes.  I hope when they suffer their first heart break the other goes and buys the ice cream.  I hope when one has exciting news the other celebrates the hardest.

All these things I hope but really I know I don’t need to. I know they will do all these things and more.

Having a baby was the best decision we ever made until we chose to have two.

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Potty Training – 9 months dry

It has been nine months since Pinky officially started potty training.  We had flirted with idea a few times before but it never really stuck and more often than not we (I) had given up after a couple of hours.  But nine months ago it stuck and since then we have had a couple of wetting incidence and one code brown! In essence she just got it.

It started on a Monday aged 2 1/2. Pinky had one accident in the afternoon but it was obvious she had just forgotten and she quickly ran towards the potty but it was too late. The next day she was at nursery, I know its cheating letting someone else do day 2 but there was never going to be a good time to do it so I went with it. She had one wetting accident that day too but had used the toilet a couple of times. Then that was it… dry all week. Until the following Tuesday at nursery.  Another wetting incident. This became a general theme for three weeks or so until we spoke to them. It wasn’t that we minded her wetting herself on occasion it was simply that she only ever did it at nursery. After a little chat it seemed that as the kids were aged 2-3 in Pinkys room they didn’t think much of it when one of them did wet themselves. I can understand this as whilst chatting to Pinkys key worker one little boy announced very loudly that he needed a ‘pee pee’ and promptly pissed all over the floor. I get it, they are young and I know its perfectly normal for it to take a while for some kids to be proficient with their toilet use, but Pinky knew what she needed to do. After that they must have paid extra attention to her asking for the toilet (she can be a bit quiet) because she didn’t have anymore accidents.

About two months later Pinky announced she wouldn’t wear nappies at night anymore. This took me by surprise and as I wasn’t planning on tackling the night time stuff until about now, maybe not until September, I wasn’t keen. Fortunately I made a snap decision to go with it and see how she did. She is a sensitive soul who hates doing wrong so I figured the worst that would happen was I would be woken up i the night to change her wet bed and that would put her off for a bit longer. We put a potty in her room and told her if she needed to go and we didn’t come quick enough she could use the potty. Well she did. That was it. She self trained at night. Yes I am bragging a little. But this does bring me to the code brown…. It was a few months ago now, Hubby went upstairs for something and came back down saying Pinky must have a lot of wind tonight as it smells a bit. We thought nothing more of it as she was fast asleep. Snoring loudly, super contented, not moving type sleep. Then a short while later when we went to bed it still smelt in her room… We checked and sure enough… Code brown! Bless her she had no idea. We woke her up enough to clean and change her, the bed was clean, knickers and PJ’s had kept it contained. YES!

Over the last month I have been trying to persuade Pinky to use the bathroom at night rather than the potty in her room. I wont just remove it as that isn’t worth the tantrum it will cause (sensibly picking my battles). She hasn’t been keen but then opportunity arose and I took it! We went on holiday and I didn’t even pack her travel potty. Luckily the toilet in our Villa was lower than at home, not by much but enough to not need a stepping stool, and she could reach the light switch with ease.  On the first night I told her to just use the toilet of she needed it and then come and find us if she needed our help. I think the extra independence really appealed to her and she spent two weeks taking herself off to the toilet, wiping and flushing all by herself. We only helped in the public toilets. Before we came home I spoke to her about it and we decided she could help us pack up all her potties to put into the loft until her sister needs them. So now we are back home she is using the main toilet at night, she can even reach the pull-string to turn the light on and off. She has been taking herself off in the day without announcing it each time and the only occasions she asks for help are if she has had a poo, I could do without this smeared all over her hands, we still need to work on wiping skills so I’m happy to help with this. But as far as I’m concerned we are done. She is toilet trained.

Sadly I have no advice on how to achieve this simple stress free level of potty training other than wait until they are ready. But don’t wait too long or they will be just as difficult to train as doing it too early… Make sense? No. It doesn’t to me either. I know I just got lucky with my timings and I have all fingers and toes crossed that I manage it again! A friend once told me that the night time dryness comes from a  hormone within the brain, or something to do with natural brain development and that you can’t actually train a child to be day at night, thats up to their own body and brain. It makes sense that that may be the case and likely explains why some 2/3 year olds are dry at night whilst some 6/7 year olds still we the bed.

I suspect round 2 of potty training will start soon. Certainly within the next year. Perky may only be 17 months old (almost) but she is desperate to do everything her big sister does and I know she likes to sit on the toilet before her bath. We bought her some new Pampers pull ups as they are as absorbent as normal nappies and she thinks they are like the knickers Pinky wears so she loves them. She can drink from a proper cup because Pinky does, she demands a fork as well as spoon at meal times because Pinky has one… The list is endless and exhausting.

|f it takes it longer for Perky to get it I won’t be too disappointed.  There is a certain level of security offered by nappies that I like, the reduced risk of rushing through the shopping centre/restaurant/park/house due to a sudden onset of the need to wee (or heaven forbid poo) and just not making it in time.

Either way… We will get there… One day soon I will finally say goodbye to nappies for good.  Will this be a sad day?

I don’t know.

Maybe.

But it is unlikely. They are so expensive!IMG_3993