Mea Culpa And A Thank You Of Sorts

I feel like the worlds shittiest blogger and blog-friend. So many of you stop by regularly to leave me the comment love, and yet, I sit and watch while my Google Reader fills up with your posts and I read, but don’t comment. Truthfully, I’ve been a bit distracted this week. This is in part because I’m dealing with more bedtime issues, but also it’s just something in the air. The seasons have changed really (and finally) and things are feeling a bit– I don’t know, frisky? Unstable? Anyone else get this way around the time change, or other seasonal fluctuations? I just felt baffled this morning that it’s November. I mean, it feels like June was twenty years ago, but at the same time, these last five or so months have passed in a blur. It’s disconcerting is what it is. Out of balance, or something. I’m a bit wobbly.

All of which I say as a lame attempt at asking forgiveness for being a crappy commenter lately. Please know that I am actually reading and I have such wonderful things to say in reply to your posts, but when it comes time to click and leave a comment, I feel either incapable of the focus required to leave my usual (long) comments, or inadequately qualified to reply somehow. So. I’m wiping the slate clean and starting anew this weekend, when I will attempt to sort through the backlog of posts I have bookmarked to comment on, and just try to keep up moving forward.

I think several of you said something similar on my last real post, but Annacyclopedia really hit the nail on the head (she almost always does– good at reading between the lines, she is…). Truthfully, I’m not terribly concerned about their habits right now. Yes, I would like them to sleep for the first segment of the evening in their cribs*. Yes, I would like to have other tools in my Go-To-Bed arsenal**. Yes, I would like Henry to not wake up a thousand times a night. But ultimately, if things continue on being exactly how they are right now, I can’t see any immediate need to change things. I might eventually go a little batty at the lack of long stretches of uninterrupted sleep, but for now, things are really not all that bad.

I think I framed the post the way I did because I really feel almost embarrassed at times over my desire to parent these twins along the semi-attachment-parent path. It’s not that I have any reason to be embarrassed about this, except perhaps that some of the more extreme attachment parents I know use divisive language and tactics in an effort to spread the message (I’m not down with hyper-judgemental behavior of any kind), and I don’t like being lumped in with extremes of any kind. So I waffle or downplay my opinions on parenting styles in an effort to keep myself from seeming like a nutcase who’s going to burn your house down because you circumsized your boy. But truthfully, when I read about someone using CIO, I honestly get a little choked up, not because I think it was a bad decision for the family choosing that path, but because I think about my babies being in that situation, crying, wanting comfort and being denied that comfort, and it breaks my heart, and reconfirms to me that it is 100% against everything that I find right (for MY family).

So here’s the whole truth. While certain opinions of mine do not fall in line with some AP “rules” (like the fact that I fully support ELECTIVE c-births, if that’s what a woman chooses), in general, gentle parenting is what I choose to practice. I’m pretty laid back about certain things (like the fact that my kids apparently have suicidal tendencies*), but when it comes to the way I want to raise these boys, I feel almost defensive of the fact that I want them to feel my love and support in every interaction I have with them. I don’t always like the impact that has on my life, but what I keep coming back to is the fact that this is such a brief time in their lives, and that honestly, the small sacrifices I’m making are just not that big of a deal in the long run.

In truth, I think I was creating pressure that isn’t really there. H and I had a long talk about it the other night. H is the one who co-sleeps with Henry, and Henry is our problem sleeper (part of me really wonders whether his issues might be resolved if he slept closer to me, because I sometimes think he’s waking up looking for Mama’s comfort, and will only go back to sleep if he nurses, even though he’s clearly not hungry and has a loving non-Mama parent dedicated to meeting his needs…). And it has been hard on H. We had been bickering over the last couple of weeks and things kind of came to a head over some comments he made in response to my report of getting a crappy night of sleep one night (I have become a total insomniac, so some nights, even if the boys are okay sleeping, I’m laying awake staring at the ceiling anyway…). Anyhow, he got into some sort of Pain Olympics type conversation (up with which I will not put), and that led to a fight. So, I’ve been really sensitive to his plight over the last week, and have been feeling pressure to change things to ease the burden on H. And after talking about it with H, it turns out that he actually agrees with me that things are not all that bad right now, and he doesn’t necessarily want to stop co-sleeping or rush a sleeping transition of any kind, either. I just presumed that he would want to so that he could sleep better, but I guess for now, that’s not the case. Just goes to show how inaccurate our assumptions can be, I guess.

So I suppose I’m a half-assed attachment parent. I don’t wear the boys all the time (sorry, but 32 lbs of baby strapped to me doesn’t work!), but when I can, I love doing it. I co-sleep, happily, and have no major desire to change that any time soon. I breastfeed, and have been surprised at how important this has become to me (though I obviously have no problem supplementing with formula on a daily basis, and also have no problem adding in solids before many of my fellow APers would find appropriate…). I cloth diaper part time, but truthfully, I’m kind of lazy. I do everything I can to keep the boys from crying (though as other twin parents know, it’s just impossible sometimes). I am a mother, and I take this job quite seriously (though I am honestly surprised to hear myself say that).

I agree so wholeheartedly with the many recommendations I got from you awesome readers that I seek out more experienced parents to talk to. I think the issue I run in to a lot of times is that I’m in this kind of in-between place. I can’t say I know too many twin mamas who espouse attachment ideals, and rightfully so, since it’s really hard to do with twins, and everything (evv. ree. thing.) is different when there’s two. And because everything’s different with two, I can’t fully practice attachment parenting because it’s just not practical, so I often find myself at odds with some of the other APers I’ve talked to, because I just don’t care enough to battle the unending laundry pile by adding diapers to the mix and I love wearing my babies, but going out really only works in the double stroller, and I hate letting them cry, but sometimes you have to let one fuss a bit while you check the other for brain injury because he’s just launched himself head-first off the bed during the ten seconds you were looking away and cooing at his brother*.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to find, but I finally joined the local moms discussion board, and added myself to the infertility and multiples and attachment parent groups in hopes that among these, I may eventually find one or two whose lifestyles intersect with mine, and hopefully find one or two who are a bit further along this path than I am that might be able to offer advice.

So thank you all for the suggestions and for continuing to read in spite of my lack of anything interesting to say. I really need to hear (read, whatever) that I’m not the only one with (nearly-)five month olds who don’t sleep through the night. So thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We had our four month check up this week, and the boys are growing beautifully. They are long skinny things (Jack, especially), though they look just as chubby as they should, I think.

Jack
Jack

Henry
Henry

Their percentiles are probably a little off because they’re almost five months old at this point, but basically, they’re growing well enough, and their proportions are about the same. The doctor did say that if we wanted them to sleep through the night, we needed to quit feeding them at night, and that developmentally, they should be more than capable of going 6 hours without eating (there’s more of that pressure…), and that they simply wouldn’t stop waking up to eat until they learned that there wouldn’t be any food coming when they woke up. He did sort of allude to the fact that we could go cold turkey and it would suck, but that they would naturally give it up in the next month or so (which made me laugh, knowing how many people I know whose children still nurse through the night MUCH beyond the six month mark). Anyhow, I know he was just trying to comfort us or give us options, but having had your awesome comments on the last post in my brain’s back pocket, I felt much more confident in just knowing that our boys aren’t there yet, and that it’s not that big of a deal and therefore, I’m just not all that concerned that they aren’t yet sleeping through the night, and probably won’t for some time to come.

And walking away with that kind of confidence, knowing that my babies are pretty much normal (even if they could be ready, that they aren’t is normal), is a really good feeling, and one that I might not have had if I hadn’t had your stories to support me.

So. Thank you, and all that jazz.

How was your week? Any grand plans for the weekend? Anyone got any great Turkey Day plans?

*um, so here’s the story: Yesterday, while chatting on Facebook, getting some REALLY GREAT NEWS from someone (you know who you are), I was so excited and engrossed in the conversation, and at making faces at Henry to get him to quit grumping, that I didn’t notice that Jack had scooted himself right up to the edge of the bed, and (being the monkey-curl-up-toe-chewer that he has become) pushed himself off the edge of the bed, which I didn’t even notice, until he waaaaaaaailed. I (of course) immediately snatched him up, and he cried hysterically for about 2 minutes (which scared the crap out of me). But as he started to wind down a bit, I laid him on the bed so I could make sure his arms and legs were working correctly and that his head was intact and that there was no blood, etc., and he started laughing at me, so, finding no injury, I assumed he was okay. I called the nurse triage line and answered their questions, and we determined that he was truly okay and didn’t need to be seen. He’s got a small knot on his head, but otherwise, he’s fine now. So yeah. I didn’t win any parenting awards yesterday, but overall, no big deal.

We’ve been putting the boys to bed at night in the center of our bed, since that is where they will ultimately end up, but due to Jack’s roly-poly proclivities, it’d be REALLY great if we could get him to go to sleep in his crib for that first stretch of sleep, so that I’m not checking him every five seconds to make sure he hasn’t woken up and scooted himself close to danger. They go to bed earlier than I do (though I’ve been going to bed shortly after them for much of this week because they’ve been trading off nights when they protest bedtime, so it’s just easier that I lay down with them and sleep, since I’m kinda tired anyway. Unfortunately, this has been a major cause of lack of commenting, since I do most of my responding at night when I don’t have two babies on my lap), so I really need to work it so that they keep going to bed at the same time, but so that I don’t have to worry about their immediate safety.

**It’s not that I have any problem nursing them to sleep– I LOVE nursing them to sleep– but it’s gotten to the point that they wake up when I take the nipple out of their mouth, and wake again (at least Henry…) over and over again throughout the night, trying to nurse, because that’s how they want to sleep. So, I don’t need to break the nurse to sleep habit, I need to break the “I must have a human nipple in my mouth at all times to sleep” habit. Henry did okay taking a pacifier or Papa’s thumb last night for a while, but I still nursed him back to sleep three or four times, which wouldn’t be a big deal at all, except that when I nurse Henry, because I nurse in bed, I have to either contort myself around Jack (which inevitably disturbs him, so wakes him up, so doesn’t work) or move Jack (which straight up doesn’t work, because he wakes up) OR just wake Jack up and include him in the nursing party (which is what I usually do, but not what I really should be doing, because plenty of times after nursing Jack, he has an overflow barf– not spit up, but just a rejection of the last several swallows of milk because his stomach is still totally full). So, I’m unnecessarily waking Jack up because Henry won’t go back to sleep without nursing. I’d like to switch it up so that Jack sleeps with Papa, and I can just nurse Henry without getting up, but Jack won’t sleep with Papa. So… therein lies the conundrum. No need to quit nursing to sleep, but it’d be great if there were something that Papa could do, besides getting up and rocking him for 20-30 minutes, or something that I could do without waking Jack, so that we could all get a bit more uninterrupted sleep. I don’t have issue with getting up a few times a night, I’d just like to stop the wakings every hour or two, and move towards every 2-3 hours…

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13 Responses to Mea Culpa And A Thank You Of Sorts

  1. Tara says:

    No sorrys required. Stuff happens and we all need a restart now and again. And I agree, there’s something in the air with the time and seasons changing. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about parenting, it’s that you can’t put your situation into someone else’s life. You and H are going to do what you need to do to raise happy and healthy twins. And from the looks of those photos, you’re doing a darn fine job of it!

  2. luxzia says:

    Well, babies will be babies and launch themselves off beds to see if they can…

    Jack looks sooo happy – his smile is sooo like yours. Totally heart-warming and honest. And I love Henry hiding under the covers – I wonder if that is prophetic of years to come.

  3. strongblonde says:

    i’m still giggling thinking that your doc told you that they will just “give up” nursing through the night around 6 months. mine were still going strong nursing all night long at 11 months. we slowly (and gently, imo) got them to finally sleep through the night by around 12 months or so. they still wake up and fuss occasionally, but it lasts maybe 1 minute or so…not even enough time for us to get in there.

    second, you shouldn’t ever feel the need to apologize for your parenting style. you are the only one who knows how to parent your own children. what is right for you and them might not be right for everyone else. and that’s okay. you want to do some sort of hybrid parenting, go for it!!

    i think that you should just friend me on fb so we can chit chat through the day and i don’t have to wait for your updates 🙂

    xx

  4. Esperanza says:

    I think it’s great that you realize that you don’t have a problem with their sleeping patterns and that you don’t feel you need to conform to society’s ideas of what good sleeping looks like. The No-Cry book talks a lot about how you only should be trying to change things if you want/need to change them, not because others make you want or think you need to. I’m so glad you realized that for you it’s okay the way things are.

    Everyone responds to “night parenting” differently. Some people (i.e. my partner) really need their sleep while others can get along pretty well without it. Some people need to work and therefore need to get better sleep because the demands of their away from home jobs require a bit more sleep (and having been a SAHM for the past five months, I’m not saying THAT job doesn’t require good sleep, but I do think it’s harder to actually use my brain in any way that involves communicating to other adults in a decipherable, let alone professional, manner when I haven’t slept and it’s is different from using it to get my daughter through 12 hours of wakefulness without harming her in anyway). I’m not trying to say it’s okay that you don’t get as much sleep because you’re home with the boys, but you might feel differently if you were leaving for work in the morning and then coming home to be with them and then doing all the other stuff life requires of you (which I know you know is way more than is possible to get done, no matter where you are all day). I found that my impending return to work really made me rethink what I was capable of sleep-wise.

    It’s so hard to figure out what kind of parent you want to be. I have some attachment parenting books and while I love some of the ideas I think some are a little intense (like wearing your child most of the day) and I know they would not work for me personally (I already have back/shoulder problems, thank you very much). I also felt like the attachment parenting books that I read were very judgmental of moms going back to work and basically seemed to espouse that a good mother would find a way to stay home – by say, starting a company from your home (actually a suggestion in one book I read) and I found that a bit off-putting, as a mother who doesn’t have a choice, (but that is for another post). Having said that, I’m sure attachment parenting techniques work wonders for other people and in the end I’m sure that all children who are genuinely loved by competent parents are going to grow up to be well adjusted, productive members of society.

    Anyway, enough of that. I’m glad you’re back. I’m sorry to hear about the launching-from-the-bed experience and I’m glad everyone is okay. I also wanted to say that yes, Daylight Saving Time has reeked unreasonable havoc on my family and I realize I’m going to DESPISE falling back and springing forward for the rest of time.

  5. Rachel says:

    I love the photos, and of course enjoy reading your very careful thoughts on parenting. I did laugh at your pediatrician’s comment. The fusspot was still happily nursing several times a night at 18 months … and probably would be still if her terribly-mean momma hadn’t ousted her from the bed (at least temporarily, and primarily in pursuit of weaning). In fact, I am quite sure that I did not sleep through the night (and I do mean a fine 6-hour block, no crazy 10 hour goals here) until she was at least 20 months old.

  6. Sue says:

    I nursed my baby to sleep until he self-weaned at 17 months and he has no problem going to sleep without the boob. He just decided he was done and that was that. You’re right that it is such a short time. What you do now is not forever – enjoy it while it lasts.

  7. Esperanza says:

    Hello Kate,

    I want to apologize for my comment. I realize it sounds very judgmental. The reality it, I was feeling really defensive when I wrote it. I spent the whole time I was feeding my daughter and putting her to bed wondering why that was. I think it’s a three fold situation.

    First of all, the line about it choking you up when you read about people using CIO really stung. Not because of anything you were saying, as you were not being judgmental at all, but because I’ve been really struggling with the method myself in the last week. When we first used CIO and my daughter was falling asleep without a peep and sleeping 10-12 hours without waking up I thought it was ABSOLUTELY the best thing I could do for my family. I thought it was in her best interest to cry a little (she never cried for less more than 20 minutes and usually around 10) for three nights if it meant solid, uninterrupted sleep from then on. Of course, in the past week she’s been having a very hard time at night, crying for longer periods and I have no idea why. I think it’s the falling back for DLST but I’m not sure, it could be so many things, and it’s breaking my heart and making my question my system. The problem is, I have no idea how else to go about it.

    I’ve also been feeling defensive about my choices because I asked a question about my daughter’s hard week and CIO with sleep regression symptoms on a forum and got some judgmental responses (shockingly despite my request for people not to do so). That just happened in the last day so that already had me on edge.

    Finally, I’ve had some real issues with the Sears and Sears Baby Book, which is the only thing I have on attachment parenting (besides the No-Cry Sleep Solution book). I’ve read through that whole book and all the parenting parts are hard for me. I feel like I’m unwilling to do much of what they recommend (like wearing my baby for 3+ hours, as I mentioned before) and there is a part of me that wonders if it’s because I’m not willing to make enough sacrifices for my baby. Also, the you-should-really-stay-at-home-if-you-can-and-you-would-if-you-loved-your-baby message felt pretty heavy handed but then again, I read it when I was feeling REALLY BAD about going back to work and so maybe that is why I felt that way about what I read. I really don’t know how much of what rubs me the wrong way about that book is just me and my insecurities about being a good mother and how much is really in there. Probably it’s a little of both. I guess I’ll never know.

    And about the staying home thing. I’m sorry about what I wrote about that too, about SAHMs not needing as much sleep as “working” moms. That is bullshit. The reality is I’m just jealous you get to stay home with your boys while I’m going back to work. And while I do, honestly, think I will need a better night’s sleep when I go back to work than I do now, I didn’t word that well and there is definite attitude in my words. I’m sorry about that. I SOOOOO wish I could stay home with Isa and when I’m feeling really bad about it I think back to the messages in that Sears & Sears book and I wonder if I really am making all the sacrifices I could to be able to stay at home. I certainly could spend less, shop less, eat out less. Is the fact that I don’t mean I’m not really trying to stay home with my baby and am therefore a bad mother? These thoughts are constantly racing around my head.

    Anyway, I just wanted to apologize. I feel horrible for my comment. I don’t know if it reads as bad as I think it does, but in case it does, I want to apologize. I think your method of mothering is commendable and I’m in awe of what you do every day. I think you make amazing choices for your boys and are very selfless in doing so. I am very impressed with you and your family. I’m sorry if that my own insecurities and defensiveness about my mothering became an attack on you and your views. That was not my intention.

    I hope you can accept my apology.

    Esperanza

  8. Star says:

    I’m glad that you are feeling confident in your decisions about how you want to parent. I know it is really hard to have your decisions challenged by others — I recently had a ped “suggest” something for my child that I found highly offensive and inappropriate, and even though I am *quite* confident in the decision I have made on the subject at issue, it was still hard to be looked at by a doctor as though I had done something wrong for my child.

    I think there are some folks in every group who are a little zealous and over the top — there are CIO advocates who believe so fully in what they are doing that they really do think everyone should do it because “giving your child the gift of being able to fall asleep on his own” is so important, etc. So I try not to identify whole groups with extremism, though I know there are some AP folks who are evangelical in their zeal. I think most of us are probably not that way, though. Personally I have never felt judged by the Sears books at all even though I too never much got into babywearing (in part because neither of my kids was all that into it, and in part because it does get physically taxing after a pretty short time) and also had to go back to work. The way I read their book(s) was, these are some guidelines but they are not hard and fast rules for everyone. I thought they went out of their way to be nonjudgmental, but I have heard a lot of people say the opposite … not sure what accounts for the different perceptions.

    Don’t worry about people judging you for not CDing full time — I think most CDers take breaks or use disposables on vacation or at night or in some other way are not “pure” and I’ve NEVER seen any judgment about it on CD forums. I am doing cloth part time right now and not on vacation because I am so sick. I always use disposables when my LO has a rash so I can use diaper cream … it’s not an all or nothing proposition. 🙂

    Also, very glad to hear that you and H are on the same page about the sleep situation. It’s so important to have support from your partner in important parenting decisions. Here’s hoping that their sleep will even out very soon!

  9. Samantha says:

    This is neither here nor there, but when I saw that photo of Jack looking up at you on his tummy, it made me think of what a big milestone change those boys are going to be going through. When I look back at pictures of my son, for the first few months, they are all of him lying on his back, then the tummy pictures start to creep in, and then they are all on the tummy, and he’s slithering around the floor as quite a mobile baby! From your scary but fortunately harmless fall, it sounds like your boys are gearing up for their moving soon! The tummy picture is a sign.

  10. TRACY MILLER says:

    You sound so good right now…I’m glad you’re comfortable with your parenting style, and that you and H are in agreement. The boys are just gorgeous.

    And you know what? We did sleep training, and E&R STILL didn’t sleep through the night until they were almost 9-months old. They both still needed a feeding at 10pm, then another at 4am until they were close to that old as well…mostly because they were so big, I believe. And Evan was a downright stinker about the whole thing. Not telling you this to dishearten you, of course, but so that you know that in the end, you have to parent in the way you feel comfortable with because there is NO “right way.” (IMHO.)

  11. PJ says:

    Um… at this moment I currently have 361 posts in my Google Reader. And I swearz that I read, I just don’t comment because I’m so freakin’ busy! And often, I have a baby in my arms and it’s hard to type and mommy at the same time. You get that, I know.

    It’s hard to do anything else but mommy. And work. And mommy. And work more. 😛

    Attachment parents? Is that like, a well known term? Gawd, I am so out of the loop.

    I love holding my babies. It breaks my heart sometimes to NOT hold them both at the same time. Snuggling with them, is the best thing ever. Even when I’m needing to do something else, 99% of the time I don’t mind holding them instead.

    So, the last few weeks I’ve taken off one weekend day and have gone shopping, usually grocery shopping, Tarjay, Sams, etc. Not for fun, but for neccesity – although it’s good to get out of the house (kind of theraputic, actually). Anyway, this has been totally stressful for my husband. Like, I am made to feel guilty because I am often gone “too long” and both babies like to gang up on him (mostly because I am the mommy and I have the mommy mojo, and they know it. LOL!). Ahem, anyway… so today to avoid getting bitched at, I took Lauren shopping. She loved it. I put her in the double snap n go, in the front. I raised the little bar thingie on the front to get it out of the way. I put the diaper bag in the front to add some weight. It worked beautifully. It was a good trip, despite Target being a whore about gift cards and me forgetting my Babies R Us coupon.

    Divide and conquer. Just sayin’.

    Oh, and you take the most AWESOME pictures! 5 months!!! Can you believe it?

  12. Ellen K. says:

    I think there are a very few people who are zealots about whatever parenting theory or practice they abide by, but the vast majority of us are just putting various ideas together as they make sense or as we like. Whether it’s coordinated bedding or a patchwork quilt, the kids are covered.

  13. KK says:

    Haha I am totally with you on feeling like mentioning that you subscribe to a few attachment parenting principals is a little bit like confessing a dirty little secret. I feel like the people who go around self-labeling as APers tend to fall into the zealot category and I don’t want to be associated with that (I also think that a lot of those zealots bastardize the original AP tenets into some super-martyr parenting).

    I think the most important thing is that you and H are on the same page regarding the nighttime parenting. That is one area that I am struggling with right now with TFO because HE is a shitty sleeper and so having L in our room means that TFO gets less sleep because he wakes up when I get up with L in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep (his sleep issues are myriad, he is my princess and the pea). He is fine with it for the foreseeable future, but I still feel this pressure to move L to his own room sooner than I would like (which, honestly, right now feels like 1-2 years time) for the sake of TFOs sleep. Anyway, as someone with co-parent sleep strife I think you are a step ahead already.

    I did want to pass along one suggestion that I was given for helping ease the falling asleep without the boob/bottle transition — which was to introduce a lovey — some kind of little blanket (that is thin enough that you can breathe through it – Aden and Anais make some little 12″ squares for just this purpose for example) that you start tucking in between you and the baby while you are feeding before bed (breast or bottle) to start forming another soothing bedtime cue. We haven’t introduced one yet because we haven’t had any problems with getting L to sleep (I say this as I sit in the dark with a wide awake, over-tired, don’t-touch-me-its-too-much-stimulation baby lays on the couch next to me — not our average night), but it’s one that I’ve tucked away for future reference.

    Also, I belong to our local AP yahoo group — the solutions to various parenting issues by some members tend to run too extreme for me but it’s just a matter of culling out the stuff that won’t work for you — just like ignoring CIO advice at the other end of the spectrum. I know you have been trying to figure out where to meet like-minded local parents and if there is similar yahoo group in your area that might be a way for you to connect with some people that are more on your wavelength. The local group here has in-person playgroups scheduled for every day of the week — casual drop in gatherings a la “we will gather at X location between 10 and 2 today, come when you can.” We haven’t gone to any yet, but I think we will check them out in the future.

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