Encouraging Independence in Children: How We Roll

by | May 6, 2014 | How We Roll, Parenting | 46 comments

My Day in the Life post inspired a lot of comments, and a lot of questions. So, I’m starting an occasional series called How We Roll to answer them.
I would say that my children are very independent, compared with the general population of two to twelve-year-olds. (Lulu I would categorize as “not at all” independent.) Some of it is because there are a lot of them, so, just to get through the day, they have to be able to look after themselves and each other. 

But independence is also just a quality that my husband and I really value.

So, even if we had had a smaller family, we would have worked to make it a part of our family culture.

There are two categories of independence, as I see it, and they require two different approaches. 
The first category is independence at home: being able to accomplish regular tasks or not do things that are against family rules without direct, immediate supervision. 
My children get themselves up in the morning at a set time, before the baby and I are usually up. (Or, once the baby is sleeping in a crib, while I’m out for a morning run and going to Mass.) They do their morning chores and make breakfast for themselves and for the two year old. My school aged kids are expected to entertain themselves and keep out of trouble during afternoon nap time. 
I don’t “childproof” anything. I expect my one and two year olds to stay out of pantries, toilets, and electrical outlets without the aid of contraptions. (Because I think one-year-olds can be bossed.) I also expect them not to go out the front door unsupervised. Jack, eleven, and/or Betty, ten, often babysit for the rest of their siblings.
The second category is independence away from home: being able to go places and do things away from our house, without a parent, or without any adult present.
My kids are allowed to walk or ride bikes or scooters around the neighborhood or to the park that’s about a mile away. They sometimes get themselves to their sports practices. They sometimes go to a fast food restaurant for lunch, or to the movies. Jack often goes grocery shopping on his bike for our family. 
Independence at home requires trusting my kids, setting reasonable expectations, reminding them what those expectations are, and following through on consequences if they do not meet the expectations.
I want my kids to have the virtue of confidence, avoiding the extremes of both recklessness and cowardice. I have different kids who tend towards different extremes. So, I encourage my naturally prudent kids to attempt things that are outside their comfort zones, and I require my naturally bold kids to exercise more caution that they might otherwise. 
We have very consistent, oft-repeated rules for what is expected of our kids in the morning and during naptime. But it started small. Before I did anything else, I first had to Always Mean What I Say. After that, I could move on to explaining that, if it’s light out, you’re allowed to get up and get yourself breakfast, and exactly what you’re allowed to get yourself for breakfast, and what should happen to the milk when you’re done pouring it, etc. 

We didn’t start this with our oldest until he was maybe seven or eight, but my now four-year-old can handle it just fine.
Then, we just addressed particular issues as they arose. Kids keep heading for the playroom without eating breakfast? We put a sign up on the playroom door. Milk kept getting left out? Water only to drink for the rest of the day if you leave the milk out. 
Then there’s letting your children out of your sight.
I think there is GREAT benefit to letting children have the independence to go places and do things on their own (or on their own together). They learn self-reliance and problem solving. They learn time management. They learn that I really do trust them and their judgment.
The problem, of course, is that all kids always get kidnapped.
Except that they don’t.
Really, really, they don’t.
In 1999, there were 72 million children in the US. One thousand three hundred were killed in car accidents. One thousand were killed by family members. One hundred fifteen were kidnapped by strangers.
My kids are statistically ten times more likely to be killed IN MY CAR on the way to the park than they are to be kidnapped by a stranger while at the park on their own.
I can tell my kids that I trust them, but unless I show them that I trust them by actually allowing them to do things without my direct supervision, at home and away from home, then those are just empty words. Nothing builds true self-confidence like really actually accomplishing things yourself.
And that’s . . .

Have you entered the Mother’s Day Giveaway yet? The winners will be announced Tuesday at 10pm. There are some really great prizes from some really talented artists. You don’t want to miss out. Your mom does not want you to miss out.


  1. Amelia Bentrup

    I'd love to hear more about the process of teaching kids independence outside the home. We mostly do all the things you do at the home and my kids are really independent at home. But, they haven't ventured into independence outside the home, mostly because there is really no place for them to go. They will occasioanlly ride scooters or rollar skate up and down our street or around the neighborhood, but that's about the extent of place they can go. There aren't any parks or anything close by, within walking distance or within a safe walking area (ie. sidewalks).

    Do you give your kids a cell phone for them to contact you when they are out?

    Also, do you worry about police officers, truant officers or CPS? I do know a few homeschooled families that have their kids picked up by truant officers if they were out during school hours.

    I didn't grow up going places by myself until I could drive, because where I lived growing up, it was NOT a pediastrian/bike friendly place. We lived right on a busy road, no sidewalks, cars speeding down a narrow two-lane area..I wouldn't walk there as an adult, never mind let a kid walk there.

    • Kendra

      We've have plans to get another cell phone or two, but right now, the kids and I all share mine.

      Mostly my kids are doing school during school hours, and are out and about in the afternoon or on weekends. I do worry about CPS. My only hope is that they would be reasonable. I'm not a negligent mother and I hope that they would see that. It would be terrible and my heart goes out to every mother who has gone through that. But that risk doesn't outweigh the benefits of a self-reliant child to me.

  2. Christine

    Woohoo! Glad to hear there are other parents who choose to teach kids instead of childproof the house.

  3. Anna

    Interesting that this is pretty much exactly how I was raised. And it wasn't a parenting philosophy or anything. All the parents were doing it this way. To my child's eye at least.

    And yet these things do seem out of the ordinary for today. Or maybe it's just that it is so hard to see past having only little kids to realize that in a few years they will be capable of so much more. Like bikes and such.

    I do childproof about 30% of our bottom cabinets. Which is what I will continue to do, because my china is important to me and even one incident could be catastrophic (we proofed the chemical cabinet also because the 'experts' say we should and the drill was out anyway). And there are still plenty of opportunities to teach the kids "no." Like lots and lots and lots.

  4. Anonymous

    Kendra, I am in agreement with what you're saying here, but I am wondering if you've had pushback from neighbors. I was reported to CPS by one neighbor (story here), and another stopped a child who was out with my permission and told him I was wrong to have let him go. And this is in a neighborhood where kids do run around without adults supervising them.

    (Also, while I am happy to tell anyone who will listen that it is more dangerous for kids to be in cars than to walk by themselves, it is a tenfold difference, not a hundredfold.)

    • Kendra

      Thanks, fixed it.

      Oh my goodness Jamie, what a thing you went through. I'm so, so sorry.

      But I'm not willing to surrender. This is what I think is best for kids. I pray that I'll never have to go through what you did. But if I do, I'll still think that this is the right way to do it.

    • Anonymous

      Oh, I think you're right. I still encourage my kids to be independent. And I still think it's a win-win to have a kid get out and walk if he's having trouble managing his behavior in the car (assuming home is less than a mile away and conditions are reasonable) — he gets the wigglies out and his siblings and I don't have to get more exasperated with him. But if I even suggest that someone might need to walk home, even six years later, the kids are like, "Mom! Have you forgotten what happened?!?!" Fortunately, my kids are big enough now that this almost never comes up. 🙂

      I don't think I would have been nearly so traumatized if I hadn't been pregnant. But as it was, the feeling that I had done A Bad Thing in the eyes of The Authorities when I had only been doing what made sense for my family– that was really hard to deal with.

      (Also, if you wanted to make yourself a time machine, and write me a post from ten years in the future about how you handle the independence question with your teenagers, that would be awesome. Thanks!)

  5. Natural Mama Nell

    I really like the way you guys roll. With my oldest being almost 4, it's hard to imagine life actually being less involved in the minutia and more about the overall picture.

    I read an interesting Atlantic article about the whole kidnapping thing–shoot–was it the one about the landfill playground? Anyway, our perception of children safety has radically changed in the past 20 years (we were always allowed to go & do stuff on our bikes so long as one of the older siblings of us 5 was with us). My husband and I do have that entrenched stranger-kidnapping fear. So the real question is, did you have that fear (or pedophiles, etc) and how did/do you reach beyond that to what you think is healthiest for your kiddos to get out & be?

    Sidebar question: when no one else's children are out & about because they're all at conventional school or a billion activities, do your children run out of playmates aside from each other?

    • Kendra

      I mostly don't live my live in fear. I really just don't.

      I know that there is a statistical possibility of my children getting kidnapped, but there is a HIGHER statistical probability of all sorts of other awful things happening to them in my own house or in my car. I don't want to live my live in fear of a very remote possibility of all the terrible things that might happen on any given day.

      People don't think it's unreasonable to decide that ballet lessons are worth the risk that you'll be in a car accident on the way there. Or that getting to see Grandma is worth the risk of a plane crash.

      I think an old fashioned, self-reliant childhood is worth the risks that come with it. Everyone used to.

      When we don't allow our kids to be outside and self-reliant we run other risks to their health and well-being that seem more likely and that I'm more scared of. Parenthood is scary! I'm just doing the best I can.

      We have another homeschooling family with a couple of kids right across the street, but my kids do mostly just play with each other and with their friends at our homeschool group. Mostly my kids are doing school during normal school hours.

    • Natural Mama Nell

      I really really respect this and want to implement it for our kids–not to be fear based. Thank you for your thorough response!

      Helpful too to hear about how socializing works. Even though we've still got such young ones, of course it's on my mind as even homeschoolers/unschoolers can be so laden with extra curriculars that the running amok in the neighborhood isn't possible.

    • Dara

      I also thought of The Atlantic article after reading Kendra's post. Here's the link if anyone wants to read it. http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-leave-those-kids-alone/358631/

      I really agree with your philosophy. I have also been criticized by my neighbors and friends because I let my 4YO scooter by herself in the open space on the ground floor of my apartment building. This is Singapore where people tend to be cautious but I think your responses would work well.

  6. Jenny Cook

    I've been talking to other moms about the challenge of finding the line between being overbearing and being properly protective. We are about to move into a trailer park where there are lots of kids playing in the street all the time. I personally don't feel ready to let my almost four year old go out and join them unsupervised. We've also been advised that there is a mentally handicapped man in the park who has a history of entering other people's homes uninvited and trying to lure children into his home with promises of toys or candy. So, I think I'm not going to be letting my kids out by themselves much at this particular neighborhood.
    I also don't really trust people I don't know to supervise my kids at their house. As in, if a neighborhood kid asked Ruby to go play at her house, I would be strongly inclined to say no, because you just don't know what or who is in the house and what their family culture permits. Same reason I'm not inclined to allow sleepovers–I think you were of the same opinion?
    But I also have to admit that I do tend towards fear-based thinking, so I could be falling more into fear than prudence at times. And my kids are very, very independent and extroverted, so I'm not terribly worried about them being incapable little humans. Still, do you let your kids go over to other people's houses if you don't know the other people well or at all (neighborhood folk, for instance)?

    • Kendra

      I'm with you on this. My kids aren't allowed to go into other people's houses in the neighborhood. They just play outside. I have reluctantly done some sleep overs, the kids do love them so, but if you can avoid them, good for you!

  7. Ashley

    I love this post! Do you have high traffic where you live (for example, when your kids go to a fast food place, are the roads pretty calm?) I would have no problem with my kids (when they get older) doing that on their own and kidnapping would not really even cross my mind. But we live by a very busy highway and I would be afraid of them getting hit by a car.

    Ashley @ The Wannabe Catholic

  8. Kris

    I grew up this way – my dad was in the military and kids pretty much had total freedom when you lived on a military base. We rode out bikes or walked everywhere. I live in a much busier area now, but we do allow our kids some flexibility. They can ride their bikes to the pool, and we have a CVS about two blocks away and they are allowed to go there for a treat. My older two have also ridden to the grocery store as well. My biggest concern is that they have to ride on a very busy road without a sidewalk (only two lanes). I don't worry about them and their ability, but I do worry about crazy drivers who don't pay attention. Also, all mine have worked from an early age in an "outside job" capacity. My oldest son started as a soccer referee when he was 11 and saved enough money to buy a car when he turned 16. He's been lifeguarding since he was 15 and works even during the school year. My next oldest has been babysitting and doing odd jobs in the summer. He's 15 and now applying for a full-time summer job. My two youngest took over a yard-work "business" that the two older ones formed when they were younger and they do all sorts of odd jobs for neighbors. They are 9 and 11.

  9. Heather

    The whole scope of independence becomes very different when you're a single mom – as I was. I had to be able to trust my kids after school and at times when I was unable to be with them. As a result my kids' transition to adulthood was easier. They all are excellent cooks, they know how to maintain their vehicles, they keep their yards up (and two even grow a garden!). You have to be able to trust your parenting to know that they have been raised right. You build their self-confidence by placing trust in them to do the right thing. And honestly, you trust God to protect them beyond where your arms can reach. I accepted the fact early on that God loved my kids more than I ever could and He was always on duty! *hugs*

  10. Elizabeth@SuperSwellTimes

    My parents were considered pretty over protective when I was growing up, but by the time I was 15 I had free reign of the Seoul subway system. Plus, we were always outside playing with kids in the neighborhood (and nary a parent in sight!). So, even though they were seen as overprotective at the time, we had a lot more freedom than the average kid these days, I think.

    Thankfully, I have a few years before I'll have to worry too much about people thinking I'm nuts for letting my kids go on an adventure.

    • Dixie

      Similar story: we lived for a year and a half in Paris when I was 11 and 12, and I had complete free rein in the city during daylight hours. My parents made sure I had a phone card and a public transportation pass and maps. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It gave me incredible confidence.

      I think one of the reasons that it was so safe, though, was that (at that time, at least, in the mid-'90s) Parisian adults had no qualms about telling off a random kid who was misbehaving or doing something dangerous (not calling CPS! just watching out for kids in general). In that sense, the city kept you safe. And I knew where not to go, of course.

      But when I went back to visit at 16, with a woman's body, I felt much LESS safe — as an "adult," I was no longer in a protected class. That was quite a shock to me, as I had never felt safer than during my time there as a kid. It was okay (obviously, not okay with everyone, but it was tolerated) to leer at or shout at or rudely approach an attractive woman — but not a child. I felt betrayed.

  11. Colleen Duggan


    I understand your hesitation to live in a spirit of fear (which can be crippling and tiresome) but fear as an emotion has a purpose, especially in the way in warns us of danger The potential problem with giving our children permission to have independence away from us is if we haven't properly trained them to listen to their intuition, scope out their environment and everyone in it, and to read danger signs. In other words, we need to have told them, "If you are afraid, don't ignore it. Run."

    Fear compels us to take action if there is a clear and present danger; it's what allows us to see what's happening and respond appropriately. It's an emotion that can help our children and save their lives.

    I get that you desire to reject an excessive form of worry that controls your life, I want to do that too. It's not fruitful to allow my kids to grow up afraid of the boogeyman, scared to go out of their homes or try new things or meet new people. But I do think we need to help them develop and learn to trust their intuition and I'm not confident that my two oldest children, ages 10 and 9, would feel absolutely confident enough to follow their gut and ACT if a stranger approached them. Maybe they would…but maybe they wouldn't…

    • Kendra

      Thanks for this Colleen, you have raised some important points. Yes, I have to make determinations for individual kids as to what they are capable of. My oldest is super confident, my second is less so, and isn't comfortable with the same things. So, they don't do the same things. Also, as you said, we have talked with our kids about dangerous situations and trusting your gut and running if necessary. I think mine would.

      We've also been super specific about things like how important it is to try to escape and how bad guys will lie and say your parents aren't looking for you anymore. I think my kids have all the tools we could give them, presented in a factual, non-scary way, with a reminder that almost every person is good and would help them, but this is stuff they should know just in case.

  12. Tia

    I think this is a great way to raise kids, though it takes some doing now that you have to run against the cultural current of overprotection (which I also think is, oddly, a direct result of contraception and anti-child attitudes in society, because when people have fewer kids, they have less children to look out for each other and more worry about the few they do have).
    Luckily we live in San Francisco, and so there are lots of sidewalks and parks within walking distance. There are also a lot of oddballs and dangerous people on the streets, but I feel like they're usually harmless. Older children (maybe 7 or 8+) on their own are also a more common sight because many kids commute by muni to school in the mornings. Still, I know that the prevailing wisdom is much more protectionist then when I was a kid. I babysit for a family with a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old. They're so self-sufficient and know exactly what to do for their bedtime routine, I really don't understand why the parents have anyone sit them at all. I was staying home by myself by 8 and managed not to burn the house down, etc. But I'm guessing the mom is worried more about getting in trouble with other parents than the actual childrens' well-being.

    • Elizabeth

      This article really bothered me when it was circulating Facebook. I didn't say anything, because I knew I would sound nuts on social media. I think this blog is a fairly safe place to say something a little out of the mainstream, though. I read the article while I was reading JPII's biography "Witness to Hope". This article seriously sounds like it would fit in really well with communist Poland, down to the dump-inspired playground, child social structures, experimentation, stranger supervision, parental absence, and on and on. I know — The use of the word communism makes me sound extremist, which is why I avoided writing anything on Facebook. It sounds inflammatory. I encourage you to at least read that section of the biography and ponder it. The idea that kids *need* to be away from their parents and in their own worlds for long periods of time is not necessarily a great idea. This author was raised in the 70's though — a time where these ideas were at their max. We got lots of ideas from that side of the world, from architecture to parenting styles. So I understand that the author of this piece is nostalgic for her own childhood. Many of us have some nostalgia for what we know. And what kid wouldn't want that kind of freedom? And there are a few nuggets of truth in it.

      I prefer Stacy's perspective on prudence instead of focusing on independence: http://stacytrasancos.com/raise-prudent-kids-independent-kids/

      That being said, I think Kendra IS prudent in raising her kids. I don't think she follows the model of The Atlantic's highly circulated article. It doesn't have to be over-supervised padded playgrounds all the time any more than it has to be hours of unsupervised roaming or dump-inspired playgrounds. I really like that Kendra trusts her kids to run errands and transport themselves via bike sometimes. That's my kind of independence — something oriented toward a goal. Unsupervised free time is fine, but The Atlantic article takes it into an unhealthy direction.

      Okay, now please don't blacklist me for bringing scary politics into a parenting article :). I promise I don't read conspiracy theories into things. Haha. Thanks for a relatively "safe" forum to articulate my basic concerns. A family member very familiar with communist culture of that time had the same immediate reaction that I did.

    • Elizabeth

      As a side note: Karol Wojtyla actively tried to combat the parenting philosophy espoused in The Atlantic. Instead of separating children from parents into ugly spaces with encouraged experimentation as much as possible (a clear goal under communism), he sought to bring families together in beautiful places as much as possible. He sought to instruct with targeted outings. That togetherness and family instruction is far more important to a child's development than free time away from the family. But, again, time away from the family is not an evil thing — just not this central good celebrated by that article.

    • Kendra

      For a second there I thought you were saying *I* was Communist. Whew. Glad I kept reading.

    • Dara

      I agree with Elizabeth re the rubbish-dump playground described at the the beginning of the article. Later on the author describes Roger Hart's research on child play in the 70's and his attempt to follow up in 2004. Hart's description of unsupervised child play in ordinary neighborhoods in the 70's and '04 is worth reading. I think it is the sort of childhood many parents would want their children to have but think is impossible now. Hart gently challenges this notion.

    • Anonymous

      Dara, that was definitely the most compelling part of that article to me, too. (Some of the other themes are too Lord of the Flies). I had a brief online conversation with some of my friends about this, and several of them said, Oh, I would love to let my kids be more independent like I was, but I can't because it's not acceptable in my neighborhood. But then one woman said there was a new family in her neighborhood that let their youngish kids be outside and in a several block radius unsupervised and that at first it made everybody uncomfortable, but slowly slowly, other parents started allowing their own kids the same independence and now their neighborhood culture is shifting. (I guess in this neighborhood, discomfort at somebody else's parenting choices didn't mean a call to CPS, thankfully.)

    • Elizabeth

      It was Babar that gave you away, Kendra ;).

      No, you are far from communist! Homeschooling Catholic is about as anti-communist as you can get.

    • Kendra

      Amy, that is so heartening! And Elizabeth, hah! I can only assume "The Land" used to have a copy of "Babar The King," but that the kids have burned it by now.

  13. E

    Thanks for posting this! This was how I was raised, too. We lived in a small walkable town and I had a paper route at age 12. It was a good childhood and I learned a lot of independence and good skill. Now, we live in the country and have to drive everywhere. 🙁 But I do let my 3 year old (who is very responsible and independent) outside on our porch, deck and yard unattended. She has to feed our animals twice a day and help with chores around the house throughout the day. So, without having the accessibility to be in the neighborhood I am trying to teach some of those same lessons. That really is so great that your kids have the opportunity to get themselves places and be independent. They will be better adults because of that!

  14. Christine

    Thank you … I appreciate and in many ways envy your kids' independence. What I struggle with is how to get there. My 5 year old WANTS to be very independent but he can't seem to understand that by following the rules set for him he can earn more responsibility/independence. He sees his chores as the end of the world and often spends the entire time crying about doing them. So how do you get there? Just stop making him breakfast? And then what about the kitchen? He can't do anything else until it's clean, even if it takes all morning? Maybe as a 5 year old oldest child he just isn't quite there yet (i.e. with no older siblings to set example). Can you share anything about how you taught your older ones?
    Outside the home seems to have a lot to do with geography. We live in a rural area on a street that is barely safe for an adult to walk on. And even if he could walk or bike on it, there's no where close enough to get to. He is allowed to play outside in our yard by himself. I have thought about letting him go into our woods, maybe giving him a whistle in case of emergency. I have been pondering this quite a bit lately and I'm just not sure what else independence looks like in this location.

    • Kendra

      I think you're right. For us, my oldest had to be older and I taught him what to do to make breakfast. Then the other kids just pick it up as they go along.

    • Elizabeth

      When my son was six, I would send him into the woods with a walkie talkie (1-mile range) and our protective dog. That's a slightly more comforting alternative to whistling.

  15. Theresa @ OrdinaryLovely

    At the risk of admitting publicly that a recent parenting decision was influenced by someone I don't know on the other side of the continent… today I thought of you when I agreed to let my four year old play in the front yard with her brothers while I was still inside. If she gets kidnapped, I may be tempted to direct blame this post 😉

    Also – I LOVE that having more than 1 child allows me to see what they're capable of handling at an earlier age than I ever would have imagined. Like your breakfast example, I did SO many things for my oldest (and even 2nd oldest) that now my littles do on their own at a much earlier age. It fits so nicely: you have more children, so they to do more for themselves out of necessity, and it's having more children that allows them to learn to help themselves by imitating their older siblings 🙂 'Nother reason big families take the cake.

    Thanks for another good post.

  16. Kelle

    I'm really curious to know more about the babysitting part. I was definitely intrigued by the outside independence as so many commenters have been as well. After thinking it over a few days, I do think I have been too protective of my 8 and 9 year olds (my oldest 2 out of 5) as far as being outside alone goes. I was not raised with a ton of freedoms outside because my dad is Mr. 2% Chance, so I just needed someone I respect to give me a push. The area we live in is not nearly so safe and my kids wouldn't have the stamina to get to the grocery store with me, much less without me, but there are plenty of ways I can encourage independence without having them running errands.

    So back to the babysitting…When you say they babysit all of the kids, I assume that doesn't include the baby, right? I have ages 9, 8, 5.5, 2.5, and 8 months. My oldest can't even carry the baby around because she is tiny and my babies are fatties. The 2.5 yr old is our most difficult. What are they instructed to do as far as when the toddler won't listen or obey? How long do you leave them? Daylight only? Naptime?

    • Kendra

      No, I don't leave the baby, where it go, she goes! My oldest two often put the 2.5 year old down for naps or bedtime even when I'm home because they prefer that chore to others, so we do sometimes leave them to put him down.

      But I should back up, when we first started letting the oldest kids babysit, we stayed close to home so we could be back within a few minutes if necessary, we fed and pajama-ed all kids before we left, we put the toddler to bed, then let the rest of the kids have some popcorn and watch a movie, then go straight to bed. And we called and checked in once or twice.

      Once they could handle that we added more responsibilities. Now they are comfortable with making Mac and cheese, getting little kids in pajamas and down for bed etc. and we go farther away, but not too far. And we always call to check in.

      Also, we don't pay our kids for chores or give them an allowance, but since we would otherwise be paying a babysitter, and we want them to take it seriously, we do pay our kids for babysitting. Big kids get paid for sitting successfully, little kids get paid a little bit for successfully being sat.

  17. Мaria

    On a slightly different note than the independence part, would you be willing to talk about your family rules? I've finally decided to be more proactive and less yell-y by outlining them clearly, but can never remember all of what I want to include, and so am sorta chasing my tail a little bit. I suspect that someone like you (in a good way!) might have a list, if just a mental one.. ;]


    • Kendra

      You're right. There is a list, but it's all in my head right now. I'll see if I can't get the down in writing (or meme!) for a post sometime.

    • Мaria

      Haha, I suspected as much!

      And thank you :] Your and Leila's concrete concrete, practical stuff is so helpful. I'm always reading it, thinking, yes, this exactly! It's so nice some of us are able to put these things into words ;]

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