Bye Butt Crack

Not again! My heart sank with disappointment.

I bought a couple of branded denim pants from a resale store before summer. It’s one of those unique pants with interesting colored patches. I thought it would be cute for Austria, besides it was not that expensive. It was a size 8 and Austria is size 6 so I thought it would definitely fit on her when school starts. And so I thought!

I was excited to put it on her for her first day in 1st grade! I wanted to make it memorable. Of course she didn’t really care whether she is cute or not, it’s the least of her concern. As a girl with Autism and sensory issues, she can wear pretty much anything as long as it is soft and the tag is removed.

I could not zip the zipper because her waist got bigger. I adjusted the garter so the button may reach the button whole and it did! But then I felt so bad her tummy was so squeezed and I felt she could not really breathe. Not only that, as soon as she sat down, I could see the butt crack!

In a span of 3 months she grew taller and wider! What happened! She couldn’t have possibly grown that fast?  I wanted to keep these jeans not because they were unique, I guess I am also just in denial that she is really growing.

But my big girl has a ‘real’ problem. Sadly it is one that hundreds of thousands of women everywhere have. I just can’t find a pair of jeans that fit right. Although I’m not so sure that it is that they don’t fit right but manufacturers are not designing or making high-waist jeans for girls.


Austria has a high-waist that creates a cute butt crack. :)

I can find her pants that fit her booty, waist, and legs. It was not easy, but I have found some that fit. They look great on her for as long as she is standing up, but the minute she starts to run, play, and/or sit down they start sliding down her hips and her butt crack shows.

We have tried belts and long shirts, but nothing seems to help. There are some days when her school aide would insinuate that I should buy her a size bigger than 6. But the pants is already size 8!

It’s embarrassing and frustrating at the same because I can’t seem to do something about her pants.  Our close friends and her older brother Vincent would make fun of her because her butt is always showing. I myself find it cute but a mother’s worst fears (or one of them) are kids laughing or teasing my baby. Something HAD to be done! Ugh.!!

We’ve tried on pretty much every pair of jeans. I’ve been able to find in a store and they all have the same issue. I knew that it was time for me to come up with a solution of my own. It was time to break out the sewing machine.

I had seen these bands for adults that they could wear under their shirts to look like they had on a longer tank, but I had not seen any for kids. I knew they couldn’t be that hard to make so I decided to give it a try.

I already have a box of tri–colored cotton layer that I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond for myself but since it is my size, I just need to cut and sew it to fit her size and make “hide yo’ butt crack to finally rest!. :)

my kiddos

Austria wearing the layered band over her regular pants. With her brother Vincent.


Dear Mom on the iPhone: You’re Doing Fine


Dear Mom on the iPhone,

I see you at the park with your kids, phone in hand. Your cherubs are running around playing and calling out “Mommy, watch me!” They go down the slide squealing in delight, yelling “Mommy, watch this!” As they climb the ladder to go again, they shout “Mommy, I want you to watch me!! Mommy, watch! Mommy! Mommy!!MOMMY!!!!”

But you’re not watching… because you’re on your phone — checking Facebook, email or Pinterest.

You’re not watching… because you just spent every waking hour before arriving at the park watching everything your child did. Every. Little. Thing.

You watched as he ate his breakfast and “drove” his waffles around his plate. You watched as he held the fork upside down and stabbed at bites with the handle and said “Mommy, now watch me do this!” And then he picked up his napkin and put it on his head. And you were watching.

You also watched as your daughter picked out her clothes — only the shirt with the monkey on it would do today. Then you watched as she got dressed. You watched while she struggled to put on her socks — determined to do it herself. You watched — sometimes helping and guiding, but knowing that letting her figure it out is an important part of learning and growing.

You watched when she twirled around her bedroom. You watched as she played with her stuffed animals. You watched as she put away her toys. Slowly. Stopping to play with most of them on the way to the toy box. You were watching it all.

You watched as your kids brushed their teeth and hair. You watched as they played blocks and Play-Doh and had a dance party. You joined in because you love being a part of their fun. You watched while they pooped and helped wipe their bottoms. You watched them wash their hands with too much soap — or maybe not enough. You watched as they splattered water all over the sink. You watched them jump off the stool and run around the house with wet hands.

You’ve been watching your kids — playing with them, helping them, singing and dancing with them all morning. All day. And now, at the park, when they can run around and play, you’re taking a few minutes for yourself on your phone.

Maybe you work from home and you’re still actually working, checking email, responding to clients, sending a proposal. Your lucky kids have the benefit of spending some of that time playing outside, making new friends, running off steam, enjoying the sunshine. Kudos to you for giving your kids such a fun way to spend part of their day while you take care of business.

Maybe you have a friend or family member who’s been ill and you’re taking some time while the kids are happily occupied to send some texts to check in on them, arranging the timing to know when you should drop off dinner at their house. Or you might be looking for the email follow-up for your own test results you’ve been waiting on. Maybe you’re writing or reading kind messages on Facebook, offering condolences for the loss of a loved one. All while your kids are outside, enjoying some free time to play.

Maybe you’re on Pinterest looking for ideas to help your kids adjust to their dad’s latest deployment — finding tools to help them stay connected or searching for party ideas to welcome him home.

Maybe you have an older child in school and his teacher emailed you about a concern with behavior that you need to address… and now that you have a few minutes with your younger kids happily playing at the park, you return a message.

Or maybe you realize that watching your kid every second of every day isn’t necessary and that it’s totally acceptable and actually good for everyone involved — for you to have a few minutes to yourself. At the park. On your phone.

So, to you, dear Mom on the iPhone, I say this:

I’m not going to judge you. I don’t know you. I don’t know your story. But I do know that you don’t need to watch every hop, skip, jump, twirl, swing, bite, song, dance, blink or breath to be a good mom. There’s a lot that demands our attention in this parenting life — and a lot that we want to soak in and enjoy. There’s also a lot that happens in our lives outside of parenting that we cannot neglect.

While parenting might be our most important and rewarding job, it’s not the only one. We’re all working on balance and finding that area where we can be satisfied that we’re making enough time for it all. For the record, we’re all failing at that. Every single one of us wishes we were better at juggling our responsibilities… and many of us spend time beating ourselves up for how we’re doing. You’re doing fine.

 As long as you’re doing your best to make it all work for your family, you’re doing just fine, and that’s what matters.

It’s actually good for your kids to know they’re not the center of your attention every second of every day. It’s good for them to learn to play independently and do things on their own without accolades for Every. Little. Thing. That’s good parenting — allowing them to learn that some things are satisfying just for the fun and enjoyment of doing them, not for the praise or attention that comes with them.

So, find your balance. Be a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, mentor, employee — wear all the hats you need to wear. Do what needs to be done… which sometimes includes taking a little time for yourself — even if it’s just checking Facebook while your kid runs around playing at the park.


This Mom with an iPhone who isn’t judging you for yours

This post originally appeared on

Robin Williams’s death: A reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish

News of Robin Williams’s death due to apparent suicide, said to be a result of suffering severe depression, is terribly sad. But to say taking your own life because of such an illness is a ‘selfish’ act does nothing but insult the deceased, potentially cause more harm and reveal a staggering ignorance of mental health problems

Robin Williams in Man of the Year (2006)

News broke today that Robin Williams had passed away, due to apparent suicide following severe depression. As the vast majority of people will likely have already said, this was terribly heart-breaking news. Such aniconic, talented and beloved figure will have no shortage of tributes paid to him and his incredible legacy. It’s also worth noting that Robin Williams was open about his mental health issues.

However, despite the tremendous amount of love and admiration for Williams being expressed pretty much everywhere right now, there are still those who can’t seem to resist the opportunity to criticise, as they do these days whenever a celebrated or successful person commits suicide. You may have come across this yourself; people who refer to the suicide as “selfish”. People will utter/post phrases such as “to do that to your family is just selfish”, or “to commit suicide when you’ve got so much going for you is pure selfishness”, or variations thereof.

If you are such a person who has expressed these views or similar for whatever reason, here’s why you’re wrong, or at the very least misinformed, and could be doing more harm in the long run.

Depression IS an illness

Depression, the clinical condition, could really use a different name. At present, the word “depressed” can be applied to both people who are a bit miserable and those with a genuine debilitating mood disorder. Ergo, it seems people are often very quick to dismiss depression as a minor, trivial concern. After all, everyone gets depressed now and again, don’t they? Don’t know why these people are complaining so much.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; dismissing the concerns of a genuine depression sufferer on the grounds that you’ve been miserable and got over it is like dismissing the issues faced by someone who’s had to have their arm amputated because you once had a paper cut and it didn’t bother you. Depression is a genuine debilitating condition, and being in “a bit of a funk” isn’t. The fact that mental illness doesn’t receive the same sympathy/acknowledgement as physical illness is oftenreferenced, and it’s a valid point. If you haven’t had it, you don’t have the right to dismiss those who have/do. You may disagree, and that’s your prerogative, but there are decades’ worth of evidence saying you’re wrong.

Depression doesn’t discriminate

How, many seem to wonder, could someone with so much going for them, possibly feel depressed to the point of suicide? With all the money/fame/family/success they have, to be depressed makes no sense?

Admittedly, there’s a certain amount of logic to this. But, and this is important, depression (like all mental illnesses) typically doesn’t take personal factors into account. Mental illness can affect anyone. We’ve all heard of the “madness” of King George III; if mental illness won’t spare someone who, at the time, was one of the most powerful well-bred humans alive, why would it spare someone just because they have a film career?

Granted, those with worse lives are probably going to be exposed to the greater number of risk factors for depression, but that doesn’t mean those with reduced likelihood of exposure to hardships or tragic events are immune. Smoking may be a major cause of lung cancer, but non-smokers can end up with it. And a person’s lifestyle doesn’t automatically reduce their suffering. Depression doesn’t work like that. And even if it did, where’s the cut-off point? Who would we consider “too successful” to be ill?

Depression is not ‘logical’

If we’re being optimistic, it could be said that most of those describing suicide from depression as selfish are doing so from a position of ignorance. Perhaps they think that those with depression make some sort of table or chart with the pros and cons of suicide and, despite the pros being far more numerous, selfishly opt for suicide anyway?

This is, of course, nonsensical. One of the main problems with mental illness is that is prevents you from behaving or thinking “normally” (although what that means is a discussion for another time). A depression sufferer is not thinking like a non-sufferer in the same way that someone who’s drowning is not “breathing air” like a person on land is. The situation is different. From the sufferers perspective, their self-worth may be so low, their outlook so bleak, that their families/friends/fans would be a lot better off without them in the world, ergo their suicide is actually intended as an act of generosity? Some might find such a conclusion an offensive assumption, but it is no more so than accusations of selfishness.

The “selfish” accusation also often implies that there are other options the sufferer has, but has chosen suicide. Or that it’s the “easy way out”. There are many ways to describe the sort of suffering that overrides a survival instinct that has evolved over millions of years, but “easy” isn’t an obvious one to go for. Perhaps none of it makes sense from a logical perspective, but insisting on logical thinking from someone in the grips of a mental illness is like insisting that someone with a broken leg walks normally; logically, you shouldn’t do that.

Stephen Fry, in his interview on Richard Herring’s podcast, had a brilliant explanation about how depression doesn’t make you think logically, or automatically confide in friends and family. I won’t spoil it by revealing it here, but I will say it involves genital warts.

Accusations of selfishness are themselves selfish?

Say you don’t agree with any of the above, that you still maintain that for someone with a successful career and family to commit suicide is selfish. Fine. Your opinion, you’re entitled to have it, however much we may disagree.

But why would you want to publicly declare that the recently deceased is selfish? Especially when the news has only just broken, and people are clearly sad about the whole thing? Why is getting in to criticise the deceased when they’ve only just passed so important to you? What service are you providing by doing so, that makes you so justified in throwing accusations of selfishness around?

Do you think that depression is “fashionable?” And by criticising the sufferers you can deter others from “joining in”? Granted, we hear more about depression than we used to these days, but then we know what it is now. We see a lot more photos from Mars these days, because we have the means of doing so now, not because it’s suddenly trendy.

Perhaps you are trying to deter anyone else who might read your views from considering suicide themselves? Given that statistics suggest that one in four people suffer some sort of mental health problem, this isn’t that unlikely an occurrence. But if someone is genuinely depressed and feels their life is worthless, seeing that others consider their feeling selfish can surely only emphasise their own self-loathing and bleakness? It suggests that people will hate them even in death.

Maybe you know some people who have “attempted” suicide purely for attention? Fair enough; a debatable conclusion, but even if you’re right, so what? Surely someone who succeeds at committing suicide is a genuine sufferer who deserves our sympathy?

Perhaps you feel that those expressing sorrow and sadness are wrong and you need to show them that you know better, no matter how upsetting they may find it? And this is unselfish behaviour how, exactly?

A brilliant but tortured individual has taken his own life, and this is a tragedy. But levelling ignorant accusations of selfishness certainly won’t prevent this from happening again. People should never be made to feel worse for suffering from something beyond their control.

The ‘Self Help’ Trap

The Problem of Self Help

Everyone wants to be better at something right? Like most recovering overachievers, I have a complicated relationship with perfection. While I am certain I can become a better version of me with the help of self-help books, seminars, life coaching and spiritual quest, I know for a fact that I can never achieve perfection.


Most therapists, counselors, psychologists will agree that women are multi taskers. While men see facts and ‘the bigger picture’; women are designed to know and work with details so we try to get all the information that we need to be that effective and productive woman.

In the book The Relief of Imperfection written by Joan Webb, she summarizes what women go through just to feel they are growing as making things better.

“Books, magazine and newspaper articles, reality and news shows, commercials, internet pop-ups, websites, stores, doctors, schools, fitness centers and even churches present methods and habits we can and should adopt to look younger and trimmer; be healthier and more energetic, work faster and better at home of in the office. Be more successful; make extra money; maintain consistently satisfying relationships; obtain more education; improve our cooking; time management; home décor; parenting skills; build a bigger, better and more organized  house; be a more loving mate; enjoy increased fun and additional exciting vacations; enhance social interaction with neighbors, other moms  and colleagues –all while keeping up with technology, avoiding overload, reducing anxiety and stress, developing personally and spiritually, giving generously to the hungry and hurting, and doing all with greater love, patience, joy, self control, peace, persistence, passion and care.”

This is me. I can relate. I do believe there is nothing wrong of achieving such things, the real problem is, I am not designed to accomplish all this – and it’s okay. Even God did  not create the world in one snap…he created it slowly in seven days, in a time He think is best!

“Of course, perfectionism has its benefits, especially in work, where it motivates over-achievers to pursue high standards and new visions. Perfectionists are driven to improve and innovate. They are disciplined and detail-oriented; both of which are critical in professions where there is no margin for error…Steve Jobs and Martha Stewart are frequently credited with insisting that their teams strive for perfection.” wrote Amanda Neville in her blog.

It is to my shame that I can be impatient with other people who I think cannot do a great job with the task they are given. I think if I just do it myself it will be perfect or at least better! My colleagues usually say “Let go Lorraine. Let go”. Having that perfectionist attitude in me actually makes me not ‘a better’ person.

“Perfectionists, experts now know, are made and not born, commonly at an early age. They also know that perfectionism is increasing. One reason: Pressure on children to achieve is rampant, because parents now seek much of their status from the performance of their kids. And, by itself, pressure to achieve is perceived by kids as criticism for mistakes; criticism turns out to be implicit in it. Perfectionism, too, is a form of parental control, and parental control of offspring is greater than ever in the new economy and global marketplace, realities that are deeply unsettling to today’s adults.” According to Hara Stroff Morano on her blog in Psychology Today.

I am guilty of this behavior. Oftentimes I expect my husband to be better in some ways. I expect my kids to be excellent in everything they do from having the proper manners to dressing up themselves. I grew up already being a perfectionist. I would stay up late to study to achieve that perfect test score. I guess I had a little bit of obsessive behavior.

The problem of Self help books

Because we have this desire to be better and perfect, we turn to SELF HELP books. You think you are always One book away from a much better you..

My library has all kind of self help books i have bought through the years. I have an array of fitness books how to flatten an ab and build core muscles. Another set of managing your time, how to make friends, being a leader who can influence, how to be a highly effective person, having the wisdom to make the right choices, DIY books, how to understand the mind and behavior of men; how to raise up awesome kids; how to have a dynamic marriage; how to deal with difficult people and how to manage my Bipolar Disorder. And to mention having tons of spiritual books and different versions of the bible! So while I could fill my library with all these books, the fact is: Real change is hard!

Oftentimes, I read several books simultaneously. In reality I hardly have the time to read most of it because I have other million things to do as a mother and part time designer. They end up in my pile of unfinished books I have not been able to get through.

The self help book industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. It fills bookstores and conference rooms. It’s made media celebrities out of people and capitalized wildly off the growing self-consciousness of recent generations. Mark Manson reiterated this in his blog. He shared 4 things about the problem of self help.

1. Self Help Reinforces Perceptions of Inferiority and Shame

Two types of people get hooked on self help material: those who feel something is fundamentally wrong with them and they are willing to try anything to make it better, and those people who think they’re already generally a good person, but they have some problems and blind spots and want to become great people.

2. Self Help Is Often Yet Another Form of Avoidance

George Carlin once joked that self help was a paradox because if someone was actually capable of helping themselves then they wouldn’t need to read a book on helping themselves.

3. Self Help Marketing Creates Unrealistic Expectations

Although theoretically I have no issue with the profit-motive in the self help industry, in practice it causes problems. With the profit-motive, the incentive is not on creating real change but creating the perception of real change.

This can be done with placebos, teaching clients to suppress certain negative feelings or to pump their temporary emotional states. It can be done by gratifying anxious people with more information and neurotics with relaxation techniques. These are all short-term solutions that create the sensation of accomplishment and improvement, but almost always dissipate within a few days or weeks.

4. Self Help is (Usually) Not Scientifically Validated

Here are the self help practices which have been shown in scientific studies to have some validity: meditation or mindfulness, keeping a journal, stating what you’re grateful for each day, being charitable and giving to others.

Here’s what the science is hit and miss on (it usually depends on how or why it is used): Neuro-Linguistic Programming, affirmations, hypnotherapy, getting in touch with your inner child.

Here’s what is complete crap: Feng shui, manifestations, tarot cards, telekinesis, psychics, crystals, power animals, tapping, the law of attraction, anything supernatural or woo woo.

Remember the case of James Arthur Ray, the author of ‘The Secret’ a NY Times Best Seller book for months?. Millions bought his book and he became an instant celebrity. He facilitated a program called the “Spiritual Warrior” program. The over achievers crowded into the dark, windowless space and sat in two tight rings around a pit filled with heated stones and this was called “the sweat lodge.  Many had spent more than $10,000 to be part of it. He required his devotees to participate into this and they obeyed because they were told that overcoming ‘death’ is overcoming fear in your life. It culminated five days and was promised that this ceremony is the “catalyst for personal transformation. After hours later, several people died.

Our quest of being better or being perfect is addictive. We are not satisfied of what we have and who we are because society tells us that we need to be better because it is the only basis of success. I have to meditate about this myself and not fall into this trap.

Although the bible says “Be perfect because your Father in Heaven is perfect”, we can never ‘play God’. Playing God is trying to control events, people, situation and to make certain that things in our life come out right -or the way we want them too.

It is only through imperfection and accepting our limitations and weaknesses that God can work fully and transform our lives. If we try to conceal our fears of being weak, or denying that we are not better, we miss the whole essence of being a ‘human’. Failures are not all quite bad for your self esteem. And I will certainly never get flatter abs if I don’t take care of my self –esteem problems first!.

I have come to realize now that the only and truly Self Help book I can rely on is the Bible which I already have. It has the real ‘blue print’ how to live a life to the fullest, becoming a better person and attaining true knowledge and wisdom.

While writing this blog, It just dawned on me that it is only through reading the bible that helped me get through the darkest days of my life – and to truly ’help’ myself.

So the next Self Help Book and a NY Times Best Seller that comes out in bookstores, I’m gonna say ‘pass’ this time. :)

29 Delicious Vegan Breakfast

1. Jumbo Chickpea Pancake

Jumbo Chickpea Pancake

Protein, fiber, and the perfect hummus/avocado/salsa canvas. What else could you ask for in a breakfast? Recipe available here.

2. Blueberry Oatmeal Waffles

Blueberry Oatmeal Waffles

Reason enough to finally get that waffle iron. Get the recipe here.

3. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Nutella, meet your match. Get the recipe here.

4. Jelly Filled Muffins

Jelly Filled Muffins

For when you’re feeling a little fancy. Get the recipe here.

5. Tofu Omelets

Tofu Omelets

Eggs not invited. Get the recipe(s) here.

6. Toast With Refried Beans And Avocado

Toast With Refried Beans And Avocado

For the kitchen-phobic vegan. If you can make toast, you can make this breakfast.Get the recipe here.

7. Soft & Chewy Sugar-Free Baked Granola Bars

Soft & Chewy Sugar-Free Baked Granola Bars

Perfect for the health conscious, on-the-go, freezer-utilizing vegan. Get the recipe here.

8. Wholesome Banana Bread

Wholesome Banana Bread

Like cake but for breakfast. Get the recipe here.

9. Pearrific Green Smoothie

Pearrific Green Smoothie

Easy, breezy, beautiful Smoothie Girl (or Boy!). Get the recipe here.

10. Sun-Dried Tomato, Mushroom, And Spinach Tofu Quiche

Sun-Dried Tomato, Mushroom, And Spinach Tofu Quiche

Perfect for the people that like to cook once and eat for a week, this quiche can be eaten cold out of the fridge or heated in the microwave. Get the recipe here.

11. Alicia Silverstone’s Peanut Butter Granola

Alicia Silverstone's Peanut Butter Granola

Waste money on store bought granola? As if. Get the recipe here.

12. Baked Blueberry Donuts

Baked Blueberry Donuts

Because muffins get boring after awhile. Get the recipe here.

13. Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast Sandwich

Don’t let the meat eaters have all the breakfast sandwich fun. Get the recipe here.

14. Warm & Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

Warm & Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

Quinoa: Not just for dinner. Get the recipe here.

15. Stacked Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes

Stacked Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes

As it turns out, Strawberry Shortcake is not just a cartoon characterGet the recipe here.

16. Canal House Lentils

Canal House Lentils / Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton

Lentils for breakfast may sound weird, but we’re not making this up. Dishes like this are standard morning fare in Japan. Get the recipe here.

17. Pan Seared Oatmeal With Blueberries

Pan Seared Oatmeal With Blueberries

Take oatmeal to the next level. Get the recipe here.

18. French Toast

French Toast

How to say “I love you” in Vegan. Get the recipe here.

19. Tofu Breakfast Tacos

Tofu Breakfast Tacos

Because everything tastes better in a taco. Amirite? Get the recipe here.

20. Luscious Indian Cream Of Wheat

Luscious Indian Cream Of Wheat

Creamy yet healthy, cream of wheat is the breakfast enigma of our time. Get the recipe here.

21. Egyptian Ful Medames

Egyptian Ful Medames

All that protein in one little bowl. Get the recipe here.

22. Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

Bon Appetit / Matt Duckor

Serve to your egg-eating friends and see if they complain. Get the recipe here.

23. Loveliest Lemon Pancakes

Loveliest Lemon Pancakes / Kathy Patalsky

Just make sure you make enough for seconds… and thirds… and yeah, probably fourths too. Get the recipe here.

24. Citrus Granola Parfait

Citrus Granola Parfait

Another good excuse for all those Mason jars you bought. Get the recipe here.

25. Detox Green Monster Smoothie

Detox Green Monster Smoothie

Feeling last night’s bad decisions a little too much this morning? Get the recipe here.

26. Samoan Coconut Tapioca Porridge

Samoan Coconut Tapioca Porridge

Simple yet impressive, just like your ex-boyfriend. Get the recipe here.

27. “Hot Chocolate” Banana-Nut Oatmeal

"Hot Chocolate" Banana-Nut Oatmeal

With only 382 calories and a respectable 11 grams of protein, this proves once and for all that chocolate is a health food. Recipe available here.

28. The Incredible Vegan Frittata

The Incredible Vegan Frittata

Yeah this one will definitely take a little while, but just look at how incredible it is and tell me it’s not worth it. Get the recipe here.

29. Carrot Cake Jars

Carrot Cake Jars

We say the [vegan] cream cheese qualifies this as a breakfast. Get the recipe here.

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