First days at school!

First days at school!

Well this happened this week. The biggest tiny human in our family, who I’m sure was only born a minute ago, started school. This week has been an emotional time for me seeing G embark on her latest adventure, but for her it’s been exactly that – an adventure.

There hasn’t been any apprehension about school and its really helped that she has moved up there with about half of the class from nursery, and her best friend. As much as I’m emotional about it, it’s not because I’m sad or scared or worried for her, it’s just my baby hitting her next milestone, and it seems like only yesterday when I first held her in my arms. When people say to you they grow up so fast they weren’t wrong!

L has been completely fine about the whole situation. She’s not been having a little cry at the thought of school, packing, unpacking and repacking her school bag to make sure everything is there or been stroking her little uniform hanging up in the wardrobe (Yes! I may have done that!). In fact on the morning of the first day I got G dressed in her smart little uniform and I popped upstairs as I had forgotten something (code for I’m just about to cry again) and I said to L “if you don’t cry when you see her in her uniform then you’re frosty the ice queen”!!! Sure enough she did mention that she may have shed a small tear!

We did the obligatory first day pics with all of the girls, trying to make sure we made a big deal of little miss chaos too as it was her first day back at nursery and also the first day for the tiniest human too as Mummy and Mammy planned to spend the day together to celebrate making it this far as parents!!! We are still alive and so are they! L had big ideas about going to lots of places and doing lots of things but truth be told all I wanted to do was lie in bed, watch telly and sleep! Not very exciting but not something I can do with the kids and hey it’s been a long 6 weeks holiday!!! Thankfully L came round to my way of thinking and embraced the peace and quiet of our home. The silence was in fact deafening.

So first day went off without a hitch. G didn’t look back and once she was in there all settled she waved at us as if to say “You can go now!” And off we went. What I hadn’t thought about was how ‘Mid-Kid’ would be without her big sister at nursery. In fact it only dawned on me when we were in the car driving home on about day 3 when G turned to miss chaos and said “How was your day?”. My heart melted at G being so thoughtful but it also hurt at the thought of our little chaotic one wandering around nursery lost without her big sister looking out for her. Then I realised it was our mid kid. The one who can hold her own weight and own a room just with her smile and sense of humour. I don’t need to be worrying about her that’s for sure. Plus if she ever needs a cuddle she just asks and plenty of people are happy to oblige.

So now a week into school life and feeling less like the new kid on the block (me that is!) we are getting used to the pick up routine juggling the three kids through the churchyard to and from the school with the chaotic one jumping on people’s headstones, the phonics homework each night and the other tasks or questions we duly must complete. We’ve already had spy bear come and stay with us! That’s Poppy the class bear. When I first saw G come out of her class with it I thought “Aww that’s so sweet and look how chuffed she is!!” I was relieved as it was a great distraction to stop her complaining that she isn’t going to after school mushroom club. I mean how many new kids cry leaving school??? Then it slowly dawned on me, I was now going to have to come up with some wholesome kid activity we could write about in the book of fabrication and posed pictures to compliment the story! We may as well call it ‘Fake News’. The bear is an undercover agent to check out what life is really like at our home. Kids tea and telly I’m afraid with the girls wrestling each other, the bear thrown on the floor and forgotten about and me giving it a quick frisk just to check it truly isn’t bugged!!

I really didn’t need this guest for dinner or the added pressure to come up with some fictional writing that my own child can’t even read! The one good thing was that it was only the second night of the bears’ adventures so it wasn’t like I felt that I needed to put too much effort in. I’m certain some other family will be keen to act as a topper and recreate a truly magical moment with their child and the bear. Wondering if you can sense the sarcasm in my voice? I’m actually eye rolling as I can’t stand a topper!!
The spy bear will be back in a few weeks, let’s just hope we don’t get it on a Friday!

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When the chaotic one turned three!

When the chaotic one turned three!

Look at this face! This is the face of pure euphoria at the sight of a chocolate birthday cake! This little middle one has just celebrated her 3rd Birthday. We had a classic children’s party at home in our garden where there were waterfights and party games, including pass the parcel and musical statues. L and I couldn’t deal with knocking the kids out in musical statues so we just let everyone have prizes!! You should’ve seen their little faces dancing their best moves and concentrating so hard. It brings tears to my eyes.

We ended the day with a party tea and a slice of chocolate cake which went down well. All of the children seemed happy and no doubt were bouncing off the ceiling from all of the ‘E’ numbers we let them consume before sending them on their way with a Team Umizoomi sweet cone which will keep the local dentist busy for a few months! (If you’ve not heard of Team Umizoomi google it and play the theme tune on repeat for 20 minutes really loud while multitasking with at least 5 other time sensitive tasks and you’ll have an idea what it’s like in my world at 6am).

We went to longleat safari park on the middle childs actual birthday and what a great day it was. Loads for the kids to enjoy and even though it was the school holidays it wasn’t crazy busy and we didn’t have to wait ages to see or do things. I’d definitely recommend it if you get the chance. The birthday celebrations went on for some time. She really dragged it out. Here she is still celebrating 3 days later and still wearing her super hero dress and her birthday party hat! This tiny human just exudes the joys of life.

Over the holidays I’ve been taking some time to see things. You know really see them. To step back and see and feel the moment and it not just be a process. It started because I got sick of hearing myself say to the kids “Just a minute” or “in a minute” or “once I’ve done this, or that”. I found it so so easy to get caught up in the jobs that need doing or rushing around and not actually paying full attention to what’s going on around me. I can’t do this all of the time but I’m trying each day to do it with all of the girls, and when I do, I see how happy they are, how all they want to do is have me join in with a puzzle or push them on the swing or show them how to do something new.

I looked outside the other day and saw little chaotic one with her arms in the air spinning round and round saying “I’m flying” with the biggest grin on her face and I soaked up that moment. I really felt it and I’ve saved it. That feeling of happiness was contagious and I can take myself to it whenever I need to all because I took those few minutes to see it. Good job I did as we are now on day 35 of the summer holidays and I’m starting to reach my limits! I’m tired. I’m fed up with the “mummy” whine, the refereeing who had what first and the cleaning up which is never ending. I have to openly admit I’m ready now for the nursery and school to start. But of course I also feel guilty saying that!!!

The last week of the holidays is about to start but thankfully I’m not going to be alone. L has a full weeks annual leave so we are going to be all together 24/7 for 9 whole days. I am so excited about this. We need this time as a family plus a big woohoo to adult company and an extra pair of hands. Hopefully it’s nice and relaxing and we don’t spend the time competing on who has had the least sleep or who has cleaned up the most poo! We are planning some day trips and I’m hoping for a cheeky lie in one day. Fingers crossed! But mainly I want us all to make some more memories together as a whole family unit before our biggest tiny human starts school and our mid kid begins her last year of nursery.

A 1940s Birthday Bash!

A 1940s Birthday Bash!

L turned 42 last week (she’s getting old) so to celebrate we had a 40s themed birthday party.

This was her first major social occasion since her near death experience with pancreatitis and also the first birthday in about 25 years where she hasn’t been able to have a drop of alcohol!! L hasn’t had an easy couple of months with her illness so I wanted to really spoil her and I believe that birthdays should always be celebrated big as we are celebrating the amazing person who is in our lives so I like to go the extra mile and make it special. L thinks I go a bit OTT but I don’t care.

L decided she wanted to go as Rosie the Riveter in an oversized boiler suit and I just fancied being all dressed up pretty from that era. I had my hair curled and pinned up and my make up done 40s style by a kind friend all to add to the effect. One thing I didn’t think through was how I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed in my dress so I had to slip away upstairs to feed the little milk monster. Didn’t fancy stripping to my waist with L’s work colleagues!!!

I’ve been told I should go into party planning because of the attention to detail that I like to go to. I would LOVE that as a job. L said I’d taken it a bit too far with the ID cards that I made each guest carry with their photo in or with the 1940s bingo that I got her best mate to create but we unfortunately didnt get to play because of the rain! For me it’s all about everyone’s experience and for them to have a fun and memorable time.

To add to the theme we also had a surprise Jazz trio playing swing classics to get everyone in the mood which L absolutely loved and we ended the night with karaoke in between the rain showers. It was a fantastic party and well worth the effort.

The day after the party it was lovely to wake up hangover free since we had three small ones to attend to and 6am is a lie in. After a quick trip to the out of hours for chaotics toe, which turned out to be infected and fractured, we made use of our guests and left all of the tiny humans with them and we went for a rare meal and a movie. It was amazing to have three courses of hot food followed by an uninterrupted showing of Mamma Mia 2. L was in her element doing all these things she loves and it was wonderful spending some quality time together where we could actually talk.

Finally, to end the birthday celebrations, and in keeping with the theme, we attended the Battle of the Proms concert at Highclere Castle. It’s an outdoor concert where we took a picnic and enjoyed this lovely summer weather. We went when I was pregnant with Grace 5 years ago and have been really looking forward to going again. I booked the tickets as a surprise and thanks to another kind friend we had the big girls looked after and we took the tiniest of our tiny ones to join in the fun. It’s well worth getting a ticket to one of the shows and they host it at a few different locations in England. A wonderful atmosphere with great music and fireworks along with a spitfire fly past!

All in all a brilliant week celebrating my most favourite adult human. Happy birthday L xxxx

FREEDOM!!

FREEDOM!!

This is the smile of freedom. The biggest, cheesiest grin I’ve had for a while and all captured last weekend when I took part in one of those bonkers mud run thingys.

Like the Great North Run, the Muscle Acre Summer Madness was one of my pregnancy projects. Whilst full of crazy hormones and frustrated at my lack of sporting activities, annoyed at my ever changing-ever growing body, I decided to sign up for a few challenges to help my body bounce back to pre-pregnancy weight and shape. But then real life happened and quite frankly even if I could’ve started running I didn’t have the energy, motivation or even the time to get back into things.

I know as well as anyone that exercise makes you feel good so the last few months have been that constant mental battle between knowing what is best and having the energy to carry it out. Anyway I was deemed fit enough to run last week by the physio and with her warnings of “take it slow”, “Run, walk, run”, “avoid hills” and “start with 10 minutes and gradually build it up” I went for my first run. Just a little 4km with a few hills and no stopping. I couldn’t help myself. I just felt FREE so the majority of her advice went out the window. I was child free and felt energised. Running is MY TIME. It’s how I process my day, release my stresses, feel strength and as a little boost my body looks better for it. So once I got back beaming that I’d achieved it I was super excited about the Great North Run and although there’s only 8 weeks to go I genuinely think I can do it.

So that leads to Sunday. Sunday was the Muscle Acre Summer Madness which I was sure I was going to miss. But then there’s me Mrs stubborn, or I like to say determined, wasn’t going to give in and I’m so pleased I didn’t. I mean look at that smile. I had fun. Oodles of fun wading through mud, climbing wooden towers, carrying logs and sandbags and that water slide! Well I felt like a big kid. What a brilliant experience. It felt great to do something for me but to top it off I had my beautiful family at the finish line cheering me on. There’s no greater motivation. I’d recommend it to anyone.

So that’s given me a real boost to up my training for the half marathon in September. Great timing really as the nursery holidays start today and as much as I’m looking forward to them this year I know I’ll need that ‘me time’ more than ever as days can be exhausting with little ones.

Today is our biggest tiny humans last day at nursery before she starts school in September and to say I’m emotional about it is an understatement. Everybody says it but the time has gone so quickly. She was just a 10 month old baby when she first started at nursery, then she was 2 when she started at Little Sandhurst Nursery and today she is leaving. We couldn’t be more grateful for all of the support LSNG have given G and our family so a big shout out to all of them. It’s a testament to their hard work and enthusiasm which brings G to tears when she doesn’t want to come home in the evening because she’s having too much fun. She always says “five more minutes Mummy” or “please can I stay for mushroom club” which is their after school club. You’d think she preferred it to being at home but I’m assured that’s the sign of a confident tiny one and that is what she has become. I’m just hoping she doesn’t cry at pick up today as that will send me right over the edge although we’ve already planted the seed of a bribe tea at McDonald’s so we might be ok!! Stop growing up so fast!

Royal Ascot Broke L

Royal Ascot Broke L

What a week we have had in the Robson-Malone family.

We had a blast at Royal Ascot last week but thats what broke L. Physically broke her! The all day champagne and prosecco drinking made her pancreas very unhappy although we didn’t realise it at the time. We then headed up to Newcastle with a lovely trip to my most favourite beach in my hometown. The kids loved it and were unaware of the pain L was in. It floored her three times when I said that we really need to go to the hospital but L being L said she was fine and we went out for a fish and chips tea at the seaside!!!

Saturday her pain continued which she thought was trapped wind. She took every over the counter medicine possible in the hope to get rid of it but she was still struggling. How on earth she made it through her sister’s wedding celebration, even making a speech, I have no idea. She’s just another warrior.

In hindsight it was a blessing that we had the 3 girls with us at the party so L wasn’t keen on having many drinks as if she had of ‘gotten on it’ with our friends things could’ve been much worse. Back at our hotel room, which we had squeezed the 5 of us in, L was in a lot of pain and by 2am she’d decided she really needed to go to hospital. I was wracking my brains for someone who we know and trust, who could look after the girls AND would be sober on a Saturday night and I was stumped. The only person I could think of was working nightshift at the time. So the best I could do to offer support was to order her an uber and track her journey to the hospital.

After a misdiagnosis of gastroenteritis L returned to the hotel and we drove the 6 hours home. The journey was awful, although the kids were amazing. L moaned all the way home and not in her usual lets-have-a-whinge-about-everything manner but physical moaning in agony. We dropped the big girls off on our doorstop with a friend and headed straight to our local hospital.

It’s only when we arrived in A and E with L crying in so much pain that she tells me she’s got blood in her wee and has done since the service station 4 hours ago but she didn’t want to tell me as she knew I would make her go to the nearest hospital. OMG! Damn right I would have!!! What a total idiot!! How she managed to sit in the car for all that time just to get us back to our home, and support network, I have no idea. Seriously she’s stronger than an ox this one!

They were quick to try and get her pain sorted and to start the investigations and it was looking really serious. To make it harder the A and E nurse wasn’t keen on the tiniest human being there for the risk of infection and there I was between a rock and a hard place. Absolutely wanting to protect our little baby from anything that can cause her harm but being so worried and scared for my wife, and soul mate, who needed me. Thankfully L was moved to a ward quite quickly so I only spent a short time outside a blubbering mess feeling helpless and pretty useless. To be fair the whole time I’ve been feeling pretty useless as there’s very little I can do. I guess that will change when she gets home.

So after a few hours, several blood tests and scans, they diagnosed it as pancreatitis. They’ve told us it could’ve been fatal and it’s life threatening. It’s also caused by alcohol. L was mortified. She doesn’t drink every day, or even every week, but when she does have a drink she can put away quite a bit but she has been reassured that this can happen to anybody it’s just the luck of the draw and this has been one big reality check for her. It means no more alcohol EVER. You that know L will take a few seconds to get your head around that! I really thought that she would be upset about it but quite the opposite. She said it’s the wake up call she needed to turn her life around and to be there for us all. I said it was payback for the last 5 years which I’ve spent pregnant and breastfeeding and her best mate said she can be designated driver next time they jet off to Vegas! Obviously we are giving her the sympathy she needs!!!

After the initial shock and a couple of days, we thought getting better, L deteriorated which is really common with pancreatitis and she was moved to a high dependency unit. This was alarming but as usual L had to make a joke of it. She said “it’s like first class. It’s got air conditioning. Lots of nurses. No noise. It’s like an upgrade.” Well we couldn’t have her slumming it could we? Plus they brought me cups of tea too so I can’t complain and oh how they cooed over tiny legs. The staff have been giving her cuddles and getting no work done making her smile and competing with one another to make her laugh. It’s cheered L up no end, brightening her day showing off her baby.

Little legs and I have spent the majority of the week at the hospital and when L has needed to rest I’ve wandered the corridors stopping off at the restaurant for hot chocolate and daily menu specials, visited the chapel for some quiet time and added L to their Prayer tree and sat outside in the courtyard trying to enjoy this lovely sunshine. We have certainly been trying to make the most of an awful situation, plus I have to keep myself busy at times like this.

Slowly she’s been getting better which is clear as she’s annoyed at me for nagging her. I’m sure she’s just done this to get some peace to watch the world cup! I even went to watch the England game with her thanks to another kind babysitter.

I’ve had no rest. The days have been long and I had to admit defeat by Thursday when I was feeling tired, emotional and overwhelmed so when a friend offered to bring dinner on Friday I let my stubborn personality and pride go and gladly accepted it with open arms. I do not know how I would’ve managed this week without our support network. Our community strikes again!!! I’ve had help with last minute childcare, dropping the children off, feeding the children and entertaining them, meals delivered to the door, constant messages of support and offers of help and lots of lovely hugs just when I need them most. I feel so grateful and blessed to have these wonderful people in our life and when I mention to L what’s happening at home or who has the kids or what other act of kindness has occurred she just cries and says she feels humbled. I have no idea what we have done to deserve these folks I just hope we can pay it forward somehow.

The latest news is that although L will be unwell for a few weeks she may be well enough to come home tomorrow. So here I am now running round the house like a nutter trying to get things up to standard for my wife. See I know when she first gets back she will be just glad to be here but after a day or two it’ll be “why’s this not clean?” “Why hasn’t this been done?” And that’s fine, I can roll my eyes and bear it for about a week before I’ll be politely telling her to shut up! This is the woman who runs her finger along a surface then tactically asks about what I’ve been doing all day! Even cheekier when she’s the messiest person I know. But at least for now I couldn’t care less I just want her better and us back as a family of 5.

Hurry Home L I’m missing my partner in crime and as much as I can manage fine on my own I really don’t want to. Life is not quite the same without you by my side.

Baby Milestones

Baby Milestones

Here I am sitting here trying to fill time to distract me from anxiously staring at the baby monitor. Our smallest tiny human is now a little over 4 months old and this week marks the time she’s been evicted from our room and I’m not exactly on board with this transition. I’m sure the severe lack of sleep is not helping as I’ve spent the day wandering around feeling like a drunk without the enjoyable consumption of tasty adult beverages.

The older girls were all in their own rooms by 3 months so L can’t see what the problem is. Supposedly we are disturbing her good sleep and she doesn’t like the spare room. Yes you can imagine I have a WTF face in full swing over this matter.

I have two issues with the move. Number 1 is the feeding situation. I’m still feeding anything from 1 to 3 times in the night depending on if I make it to bed later than 8pm or if little one is having a growth spurt or if mini pea pod just decides that she just would much rather be attached to my worn nipple rather than be in her own bed. So I didn’t really want to put her in her own room as its further to go and get her. Then I need to decide if I stay up and feed her in the nursing chair or if I bring her back to bed so I can get as much rest as possible.

Number 2 is my perhaps ludicrous overwhelming need to keep my little baby a little baby and for her not to grow up at all!! It’s crackers really as with G being my first I was all “Come on! What’s the next milestone?” But now I’m sad instead of happy at the milestones. They’re a reminder that little people grow up so so quick and that these moments don’t last forever. There is a chance I could be being a little bit sensitive about the whole thing. I mean I hysterically ugly cried on Saturday when we received the induction letter for G’s school. Can you imagine what I will be like in September??? My babies are growing up and I want to freeze time. I’m not ready for this. I’ve only just become a Mum.

Hmm….although I don’t mind if little miss chaos grows up just a teeny bit. Just enough to lose the major attitude that comes with a toddler being adamant they can do everything themselves then realising they can’t and a slight improvement on the bladder control as she chose to squat on my driver seat of the car and relieve herself. But with her smile she can get away with absolutely anything. She even has L wrapped round her finger!

So back to the room move…I hoped that tiny one would HATE her new room, and big cot, but last night she actually slept quite well. That annoys me. Maybe L was right about moving her to her own room as tonight she is also sleeping well so far. I hate it when she is right. But after the 3am feed this morning I didn’t hesitate to get her back in with me. I call it a compromise! Happy Mummy, Happy baby!!!! It was delightful waking up to this little face.

Anyway, rather than me spending time agonising over the inevitable growth of these babies I should be turning my attention and energy to expressing enough milk to afford L and I a whole day off from children when we head to ladies day at Royal Ascot. This has been planned since last year with the lads from work and it’s always a great day out. When pregnancy was dull and I was feeling fed up with missing out on social events this was one of the things I was looking forward to. Some nice, easy, simple fun with good friends! Just hoping that I can keep up with everyone and don’t end up puking, falling over or making a fool of myself since I’m severely out of practice when it comes to drinking alcohol. But letting my hair down is exactly what I need, plus I’ll have my beautiful babies to go home to (And deal with the following day!).

Camping with 3 kids

Camping with 3 kids

If you’re thinking about doing this then it may be a good idea to reconsider ALL of your options like a staycation, visiting a distant relative or just cancelling your annual leave altogether and going to work! All of those options have to be better than going camping with 3 kids. After doing it last weekend I can safely say I would rather rub chillies in my eyes than do it again.

I thought it would be a great idea to take the family camping for the weekend at the Big Church Day Out festival last weekend. L wasn’t keen mainly because she doesn’t like festivals or crowds but I really wanted to go so I did. Big Church Day out is a festival that brings together thousands of Christians from all over the UK and Europe to worship and celebrate all that is good.

The festival has a special place in my heart as we took the girls there last year and it was the day after our embryo was transferred and that little embryo is now our tiniest human. So technically she has been to the festival twice!! I remember thinking about how we could be pregnant the whole day we were there so it’s nice to go back with our little success story.

Thankfully L came with us on the Friday to set up. I was grateful for the extra pair of hands which was needed just to transport all of the stuff. I mean have you seen how much STUFF you need to go camping? Then all the child paraphernalia on top of that! Geepers my car was weighed down and bursting at the seams. Then all that STUFF has to go back home with you and be put away in the right place when all of the excitement of the trip has worn off and all that’s left is the smell of outdoors and portaloos haunting you.

The first night we were all excited and clean and enjoying ourselves. We went out for dinner in the village pub which was lovely and I thought “this is easy. I can totally do this”. Then there was the night. The dark of night set in and the chaotic one decided it would be fine to wake 5 times. Thankfully the tiniest human did me a favour and I only had to get up to feed her once. She is an angel. L whispered “warrior” when I got up and it made me smile and feel strong. When I asked her the next day why she said it her reply was “You just are, and even more so because you’re determined to do this with the kids this weekend”. Aww made me feel all warm, gooey and appreciated inside.

I was sad when L left but I understand her and I know there is no point in forcing her to do something she doesn’t want to. So off we set on our separate ways. I had made this cart to transport the kids around from an idea on pinterest. It was perfect. More so when I managed to recruit someone else to drag them around in it!!! I got loads of comments about it, although I wasn’t feeling quite so smug when I came round a corner too quickly and it rolled over with the bigger girls inside! Bad mum moment! They were fine of course but I certainly took the corners a lot slower after that. So I could be seen over the weekend with the tiny one in a sling strapped to my chest and the two bigger girls being transported along in their wagon. I was sweating! Like full-on-almost-exploding-knee-pit-and-under-boob-sweat sweating!!! Not attractive at all. Thankfully I did manage a shower over the weekend it was just the kids that didn’t!!

We saw some fantastic artists on the various stages and there was loads for the kids to do. They had an absolute ball. The downside was I spent half my time in portaloos with the kids. I tried to make them go when I was there but then they would say they didn’t need it. I would then walk about 500m back to a stage or exhibit and one of them would now need it so I’d have to go all the way back 3 kids in tow with the baby pinned to my chest. That made it interesting when I needed the toilet! I was grateful I had a blocked nose but seriously I was so sick of having to visit those plastic cabins full of dirty mess. You can imagine my WTF face when I dropped my hair towel on the floor in the portaloos and then the grand finale was my friend who gave G a punnet of blueberries. Before I knew it she had ate the lot and nobody needs to clean up that mess, by hand, from a travel dinosaur potty positioned at your camp. L could not hack this as even I was broken!

I don’t think I’ve been so thankful to see my house. It feels like luxury 5 star accommodation in comparison. I was so grateful for running water and toilets that flush but I think L wanted to bleach us all when we arrived back home.

Some bits of the weekend were AMAZING. Spending time with friends, seeing the girls having such a great time outdoors, the artists and sessions we took part in were brilliant, thought provoking and interesting. To top it off I came away with a nice sunkissed glow. But if it hadn’t of been for my friends who helped me out I wouldn’t have lasted the whole weekend so for them I am grateful. Now I could sleep for a week, my body feels like it’s been hit by a bus and all of the prep that went into it was too much. Next year I’m definitely just going for the day. L said she will come too!! Woohoo!

So after that super busy weekend I’ve been smacked in the face with the joys of half term! Seriously why do the nurseries and schools close??! I’ll be there super sharp on Monday morning to drop the noisy ones off as I need some quiet time and my toddler to stop telling me “I don’t like you”!