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Where I hate on Lithium, but groove on my girls.

26 Jan

Im not enjoying 1200 mg a day. I am nauseated, I have a pounding headache and I’m thirsty no matter how much I drink. And I’ve been this way for the last three days.

Ick.

I just feel BAD. Physically exhausted despite sleeping in (with the radio on for white noise-lord knows what crap I listened to unconsciously) and just plain blech. The headache is the part that’s killing me.

If this lasts, I’ll have some issues with it. But it works. My brain is normal, when it’s not foggy like it’s been lately, useless at work and everywhere else.

It works. So I suck this shit up, and deal.

Taking both girls on their own excursions today didn’t help. I’m bloody exhausted.

Moving on….

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Ros was going to get a much needed haircut, but she refused to sit still. I’m sure having the toy section right outside of the cheap hair place in Wal-Mart didn’t have a thing to do with it. Vivian needs the haircut more anyway-she has the dreaded lady mullet.
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She’s got the dreaded mother as well…
The great thing about tiring them out is that at bedtime there are no battles. Just sweet, blissful silence. Can you hear it? It’s absolutely lovely. I have an open beer downstairs, and I’m nearly finished Francis’ blanket. Things are good, ignoring the ick.
Oh, and some silly cooze actually HIT ME WITH HER CAR as I walked ON A GREEN light with Vivian and a friend. HIT ME. I had to scream blue murder before she noticed, since apparently, HITTING SOMETHING is no indication. Then she tried to act like it was the sun-which I would have believed had she not been wearing sunglasses.
Seriously. And y’all wonder why I refuse to ever learn to drive, and think cars are the tools of evil. It’s because everyone seems to forget they could KILL ME when they’re paying more attention to what’s in a store window.
I mean really….

“The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory.”

20 Jan

As I sat, folding laundry this morning, I stared over at my kids, at Rosalyn transfixed by Wonder Pets, Vivian attempting to help me fold. It occurred to me that despite my having no real memories of that period of my life, my mother still did all the work.

She listened to the screaming. The whining. Did the potty training, tried to get me excited for new foods. She helped me learn to dress myself, learn to talk, learn to read. She wiped away the tears when I fell down, she praised me when I did something new.

And I remember none of it. My girls, will remember little if none of it.

Vivian is finally entering an age where memory will start to be retained. She also has a memory like a steel trap. She still remembers, vividly, dislocating her elbow when she was 2 or so, not even 2 if I remember correctly. It was that scary and painful that she can still speak to in in detail. But now, the mundane will be collected and stored for later, and I find myself wondering just what she’ll remember. Will she remember all 4 of us on the couch, watching a movie? Will she remember my threats to throw her father’s (clean) underwear on her head fondly? Will she remember the perogies she had for lunch?

I can’t control what she remembers, what she keeps for later. But I know how much I mourn not having those memories, and not having someone around to help reinforce what little I have. I don’t know what’s real, and what’s fantasy in many cases, because it only involved my mother and I, and I can’t validate it. So I try hard to make moments that will impress themselves upon her, shared giggles, the warmth of a shared need for contact, a look in the eye together. A bond that maybe even death could never shake free.

Because I worry about death. Not obsessively, not like I once did, but I still worry “What if?” What if I die before they’re old enough. What if I leave them without me, without my words and arms to remind them of how much I loved them, here and now. What if they never hear my voice as adults. What if…

I can’t build a life on what if, but I can prepare for all contingencies. So I do. So we sit and tell stories, we tickle, we love, we appreciate, awake and aware, what we have right now, so that maybe, we won’t forget when we’re older.

To Rosalyn on a Thursday

10 Jan

You wrap your tiny, perfect little arms around my neck, like pincher’s, clinging softly, not desperate, but like a craving, scrambling higher and higher up my body, until your warm head fits snugly in the crook of my neck.

You hair is soft, freshly washed, your body retaining a little, just a little, of that baby softness. It’s outgrowing this weakness, but still, around the back, I can find it, and I draw lazy circles as we sit, you recent from the bath, still dripping in some places, and I perched in that spot you dropped the water, nose to your brow, drinking you in.

I want to freeze you intact in this place; your limbs, stretching from baby to child, your curious, 70% cocoa eyes, that mouth which bubbles and brims with thoughts, ideas, loud words, wants, quests. I want to trap your giggles in a margarine bucket, opening slightly at the edges when I’m 40, and you’re being, well, difficult, so I can remember today, so I can remember you smooth arm and chubby fingers stretching around my neck, so I can remember the joy which shoots like beams from your eyeballs as we tickle you.

“I want it! I want it!” you scream in any direction, any room in which your sister has the discourtesy to touch something. She capitulates in most cases, the path of least resistance, or at worst, the path that leaves ones eardrums intact.

You are the baby. I stare at you, straining to remember this age with Vivian, this almost 3 time, and I can’t. She was not you-she was so completely and utterly different. Mature somehow, older. You’ve been left to ripen longer, left to explore the outer reaches of toddlerhood without our impatience for what’s next to disturb you.

I watch you cling to your father as you do me, the same, but different. As girls are wont to cling to their daddies, you dangle yourself across his chest, nuzzling his neck, your eyes closed. Sweet, peaceful contentment, in the warmth of a father’s arms.

Stop growing my honey bear. I cannot stand the thought of losing the you who is here with us now.

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So…

6 Dec

It’s 4am, and a toddler is yelling “Mommy Mommy!”.

You go downstairs to find her holding her not that full diaper, which has been removed without undoing the tabs. Everything is dry.

Am I the only one wondering WTF?

Boxed Whine, now on sale

13 Nov

Morning.

9 Nov

This morning, the sun broke through my windows like a thief, quietly, shifting upwards almost imperceptibly, until it was shining in their eyes.

My messy haired daughters, wrinkly pajamas, sleep filled eyes. They sit playing, almost silently, lighting up as I turn the corner to wish them good morning. How happy they are to see me-like they haven’t seen me for days.

I raspberry a belly. Suddenly, two shirts are held up, giggles held in, barely, saying “please Mommy, me too”. Their laughs are like crystalline daggers in my heart.

It’s a beautiful morning.

A girl needs her shoes

6 Nov

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Thankfully we were able to convince her that two different pieces of footwear really aren’t the best fashion statement.

“Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore, and that’s what parents were created for.”

5 Nov

My daughters, it’s not that I hate you, or resent you, or want you gone. It’s not that I’m tired of your shining faces, like new leaves, grinning through the wetness of the morning. It’s not even that I’d wish you were never born, because I wouldn’t. Your births have been the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself.

But there are days, long cold in the heart days, when I cannot tolerate you one more second, where the fury worms it’s way through my heart and I can barely see for the rushing blood. There are days when your whining makes no sense, when I have given you everything I would have ever wanted from my mother and still you want more, draining me with words and demands and needs, so many god awful needs it makes my head hurt.

I’m quite sure that whomever originally thought of vampires was a mother.

Daughters, stop touching me. Or rather, eldest, please stop. I can tolerate the soft caress of my youngest, and yet the rough play of my oldest stops me cold, freezes me up, shuts me down. My youngest, you sit quietly in my lap until you nod off to sleep, haunted houses on A&E. My eldest, you screech and whine and demand demand demand you little dictator. I can’t deal with you. You’re just like me.

My daughters, this will pass. I know it. There will come a day when I will look back to the lazy Sunday’s we spent, you playing SNES with your father, me reading on the couch, and I will miss those days. You will be out with friends and lovers and we will be at home, wondering if you’re warm enough, if you’ve picked the right person to open your heart to.

Soon, soon it seems you will be gone from me. If only I can be patient, and love the moments you’re in right now.

“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits. “

18 Oct

The last few lovely days of 2007 are upon us, and we bask in it’s sunshine, the soft warmth of fall, the automatic scent memory of wood stoves and crushed leaves in our noses. The trees shine yellow, orange, purple-my candy dreams come to life around me.

Conjure up if you will, a target smile of comfort, blissed out eyes, closed off into their own little world. This is where I am most at ease, most alive. During the transition between life and death, summer and winter, I find my place. A child born of that division, forced to acknowledge it forever.

But I don’t mind. Fall lingers in my pockets like an old favorite of a book, nothing too chewy, nor too easy, but just right-just enough to make you ponder and think, make you wonder. Just enough to help you fall off to sleep each night.

If a season can be home, then autumn is mine, with all it’s nooks and crannies.

 **********************************

We trudge off to the park, as we do most nights, dragging Poppi along, trailing sticks and cigarette smoke.

“I don’t trust you on the road Poppi.” Vivian states as he pushes Rosalyn down the street to the next sidewalk ramp. “Get off the road.”

Bemusement fills his face. “Little Dictator” he mumbles as he plods along. I grin silently.

***********************************

We watch Rosalyn toddle along from slide to slide, veering between her favorite red one, the fast one, and the shorter yellow one. She hops when she runs, almost like a rabbit, but cuter, that irrepressible toddler spirit humming along.

“Mom would have loved her.” I blurt out. “She’s just so adorable and girly…”

“yeah.” My father says. “Think of the pink frilly dresses she would have bought. Oh! The pink!”

And it’s only the truth. Love might be equally shared, but everyone has a secret favorite, a child whose heart matches theirs just that little bit more, the child who just gets it, the child who fits just right into the crook of your eye. Rosalyn would have been that child for my mother. The daughter who wanted skirts. Who wanted little girl things. The cute little girl, loving and warm.

A little part of me is jealous, even of the relationship they would have but couldn’t. My mother would have understood this child in a way that I can’t, ways I might never. I envy that.

My father and I sit quietly for a few moments, lost in thought, watching Rosalyn go up, down, up slides. Perhaps my mother watches as well, putting down her sewing to hover around Rosalyn’s head, making sure she doesn’t fall too hard or too far.

I like that idea.

A little levity

29 Sep

Rosalyn earlier today. Mogo is so proud.

 

“Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life.”

20 Sep

I’ve been scrabbling for words lately, trying to find the head space between being stupid busy at work and mood swinging in my head.

I’m full of thoughts-almost to bursting. To the point where I can peel through them. I feel like an onion with layers, some moldy and rotten, some remaining sweet and fragrant. But an unstable onion, unable to point and shoot in the right direction, my sulfuric acid going to waste.

This is my irritable time-when the words don’t work, and I’m not full of flowering phrases or beautiful odes to those I love, to the moments in time I’ve stopped for. I feel deconstructed, Northrup Fryed. My metaphors are jumbled and distilled.

It’s the most awkward thing-being capable of such moving grace in words one day, and the next being almost incapable of stringing a sentence together. I know my work is sometimes lovely, but it is fickle, and removable.

I’m full, and yet at the same time, vastly empty.

**********************************

I took Rosalyn to the mall the other day, and we browsed in the dollar store. In one aisle were a stack of clocks.

“Want the clocks!” she yelled, “WANT CLOCK!” Except she left the L out of the word each time, and I felt the surrealness of life with a toddler descend upon me. Thankfully, no one seemed to hear.

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Watching my daughters makes my hands shake to write, to try and capture that essence, the sloth like speed of time, the blindness we hold towards tomorrow. I have suddenly become so very cognizant of time, of how soon they will be 16 and ignoring their weird mother, how soon I will rarely touch them again. Time is going to betray me, and make women out of my daughters.

Again, I tell myself “No Pre-Mourning.”

I am but a vessel for them, my words an extension of their arms. I write for them, so the late afternoon September sun will remain fixed in their eyes, orange and peering through changing leaves, the soft diffusion that makes me wish for a camera. Their brown eyes trust implicitly, and follow me, casting about for their beauty. The sky holds wonders, turtles and magicians, rocket ships, the moon.

How we ache for the moon.

Already Vivian stretches up to touch the sky “What will it feel like?” she asks. “Tell me when you touch it.” I reply. She might go there some day, into the sky. “Will it feel like cotton candy?” I ask.

“No!” she giggles.

The blue is blue on blue on forever, and her eyes shine because of it.

“Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.”

15 Sep

Rosalyn grabbed my hand with her soft stubby fingers as we walked, the early autumn mint air swirling around our heads. Vivian walked a few steps ahead, already beginning her slow movement away from me.

It hit me then. That little hand won’t hold mine forever. In a blink and a flash, my baby would be in school, my baby won’t want to snuggle with me early in the morning, half awake. While I’ve expected and accepted my oldest growing older and moving on, my baby girl, my honey bear,  is a different story.

Part of me clings to her, clings to her softness and memory. I was the baby too-I was the apple of my mother’s eye. Rosalyn melts my heart in all the ways I like to imagine I melted my mother’s-in the sweet innocent comments she makes, in the eyelashes she bats in my direction. She represents my childhood, the one left behind in so many ways.

Will I hold her back? Will I struggle to let her go, to let her be herself? Isn’t it the oldest that is supposed to get all the curfews and rules? Because I imagine it differently, my youngest being constrained by my worry, while my oldest runs the streets, my worry indifferent at best.

For now, the leaves are changing, the world is turning, and their feet are growing. Life moves past another year, more moments I’ll never return to, and entire section of stores I’ll never need again. The finality of knowing.

I’m both eager and scared of the future. Of knowing who my daughters will be, of the stories they will tell, of how happy they will be. So much, and yet ultimately, so little depends on me.

I hope I can squeeze her hand back just enough.

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Sometimes admitting you’re wrong is only part of the problem

1 Sep

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Waiting for the bus on this cool morning, fall in the air, I hear an old woman behind us.”Such wonderful children! They behave so well!”

I search around with my eyes quietly until I realize she’s talking about my daughters. I look back at the girls, who are sitting chatting with a little heartbreaker named Kyle, he of brush cut and toothy grin, sharing the stoop of a doorway.

“Oh, mine? Yes, they are, today.”

I minimize their goodness. I reduce the times when then act as I expect to smaller moments than I should. They ARE good kids. They DO listen. They are happy to be with me. They are learning. They speak kindly and properly to other children and adults.

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(Vivian sees man in Cowboy hat)

“Wow! A man in a cowboy hat! Cool! Is he a cowboy?’

“Ask him Vivian.” I snicker a little, inside of course

“Are you a cowboy!” she bellows?

“No.” he grins “I just kinda like the hat.” He smiles gently at her. She beams back.

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They spread joy and warmth where ever they go most days. They are fine children I should be proud of. They are the children I wanted when I first learned they would be mine.

It’s time to focus more on them, on how they are that makes me happy, rather than how they are that upsets me. When they misbehave, it’s more like a wolf attacked a sheep, it’s nature, and it’s necessary. How I react dictates how the day is spent.

Time to stop reacting to the things I hate most I wager.

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We ride the bus home with Kyle and his Grandma. Vivian drills him on what he likes.

“Do you like Tigers?”

“YEAH!”

“Do you like snakes?”

“Yeah!”

and on and on and on it goes.

Molasses

22 Aug

girlchild

honeychild

like molasses you are over me

clinging, sticky in your demands

tiny pursed mouth opened to a

black hole of you, of

pure frustration and need. The

needs of being 2 on this planet.

Soon, sooner than I think

sooner than warned

you will shun the arms I so unwillingly give

1 am, blurry eyed dragging teddy wordlessly

your airsoft skin gentle on mine tiny

scented head on my pillow.  My girlchild to

womanchild to woman, no child.

yet I will always have this child.

I cast my eyes into your future. I cast out

my lines flying from north to south in search of

warm mornings, cereal that stays in bowls

wet kisses, tears. They recede into

broken hearts and angry women.

I shall hand you reeds to breathe above this. I shall

grasp your hand tighter down stairs. I shall

paint stories with the greenery that frames your

tiny impish glow.

Honeychild, let the bees come. Your sweetness

flows freely as it should.

Today was a nice, normal whitebread kinda day.

19 Aug

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And yes. That’s my impossibly horrible basement in the backround.

 

 

 

See Mommy

16 Aug

“Wake up seepyhead!”

roll over

“Hi Ros

Shuffles in pile of clothes. Picks up shirt

“Here’s your short”

drops shirt on my head

“Thanks Ros.”

“Here’s you shirt”

drops shorts on bed.

“Ros, come cuddle”

Drops self on bed. Here we sit for a few minutes.

Down the stairs.

“I wan cispies” Ros shakes when she gets excited. She is shaking, waiting for Rice Crispies.

“See Mommeee!” her hands high in the air as my own are full of cereal and milk and bowls, her insistant glowing face meeting mine.

“Not now Rozzie. Wait”

My girls eat. They talk. They argue over the Cinderella book until Vivian finds the other one. I get ready for work.

I eat my bagel reading the paper online.

“See MOMMEE!” Ros yells, louder now.

“Soon baby. Soon. Let Mommy eat.” Limbs are flung into my face, a leg in my ribs, a finger in my ear. I scarf back my bagel and shut of the monitor.

“Let’s get dressed Ros.”

“This one?”

“no”

“this one?”

“no”

Repeast ad nauseum, until Ros remembers her neon green skirt in the kitchen, and wants to wear it again.

“Skirt! Kitty Shirt!”

She’s dressed.

“See Mommee?”

I glance at the clock, decide to be ten minutes late.

“Yes flower. See Mommy.”

Last night

14 Aug

Last night I lost it.

After days of whining, screaming, snivelling, acting up and generally making my life a living hell, despite the birthday festivities, I lost it completely.

I screamed. A lot. Loudly. That version of me doesn’t come out often, but when it does, get out of the way.

Vivian got a non PC swat on the butt to reinforce that I am more than sick of her constant refusals to cooperate and her whining and snivelling and flat out fibbing.

With visions of wanting to tear my child limb from limb, I slammed the door and stalked off to sit on the deck as they cried their crocodile tears. (You know the type-start, go one weakly, stop to see if anyone is coming, start again. Rinse. Repeat)

I don’t want to be a mother they’re scared of, but the other version of me seems to be the one they feel free to walk on, to push and push and push. I’m terrified of something happening to me, so I have trouble walking away from them.

Not so last night. Last night I entertained all the ways I could run away or just be done with kids. I didn’t want them anymore at that point, and why would I? Nothing we do seems to have any affect-I don’t know how to parent small children, and I have no parent to ask. (My father can joke, but he worked when I was small, and has no idea what my mother did)

WHY do I feel so alone in all of this, so helpless? Why can I not find my loving sweet caring daughter in all of this? Why is she so driven to driving me mad lately?

While yelling myself hoarse out of frustration and anger and sadness, I blurted out the one thing I didn’t want to. “Do you want Mommy to go away again?!”

I feel so fucking terrible about that the most. A swat on the ass you get over. The fear of being abandoned, not so much. I feel so fucking helpless because most of the advice I hear or see is great for parents other than us-people with one child, or a stay at home parent, or children spaced further, or for parents who are sane, or for people who have help, and lots of it near by. We are NONE of these things.

I hate myself today. I hate who I have to be with my kids, but I don’t see what else to do at this point. I really don’t. 

 ETA:

My post in the same vein up at GNMParents today. Go read it. It’s just as irritated and depressing.

If one ends up adopted, you know why.

13 Aug

Today  might be the day I kill my children.

I don’t know if it’s because we have a visitor this week (their beloved Auntie) or the heat of me being cranky, but holy FUCK my children are irritating. The past few nights have seen bedtimes of around 10pm, after 2-3 hours of screaming, yelling, whining, crying and generally pissing around.

I on the other hand, have been sleeping like crap when I do make it to bed, so I’m exhausted. And cranky. Very, very cranky. Everything has to be noisy with these two, a fight, screaming, pulling, running NOISE NOISE NOISE.

I cannot handle it. I am now counting down the year until Vivian starts school.

Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.

12 Aug

Someone asked me in an email if I found being the mom of “A kid” weird.

I do, kind of. It’s odd after years of haunting the baby aisles to know that I don’t need to anymore. New bottles appear. Cute outfits come and go. I find myself crawling up the store into new areas, legs stretching to find where my oldest daughter now fits. I mourn silently the baby time I have lost. It’s a new place this type of motherhood.

As a new mother, you wander streets and malls with the same tired eyes, floppy deflated bread tummy, hopeful grin. You meet the eyes of other first timers, and share a moment of wonder, a look that says in one second “I know exactly what you’re going through, and it sucks but we’ll get through it” like the baby confers ESP. You pass along coupons in the diaper aisle, recommend wipes and new ideas for stimulating play. You have something to day. You’re scared and excited, all at once, and you’re young. Oh so very young, fresh.

Now I look at new mother’s and wonder if I was ever that young and fragile looking, that tired and washed up. I’m a soldier on her 2 tour surveying the fresh troops. I envy them the knowledge they don’t have-the newness awaiting them. But I don’t envy the fear, or the lonliness, or the long days and nights of nothing working and nothing good to say.

Today, the mother of a “kid” and a toddler turning into a preschooler, I hardly recognize myself in them. It’s only been 4 years, and I marvel at this. 4 years have changed me so utterly, altered my being and my sense of space in so many ways. 4 years have matured me in ways impossible without children. I have become responsible not just for another life, but for another person. Who they become, the values they hold, how they treat others, that is MY doing. Which is why I’m now just as terrified as a new mother. I can break them in such subtle ways now. In hindsight, cuddling a baby for hours to help them sleep is a breeze compared to talking down a “kid” having a meltdown while the toddler decides to join the fun. It’s hard work to be understanding and calm some-days.

I’m not my mother-I’m something else entirely. I’m my own person. My girls clamber for me-last night, after the excitement of the day, they wouldn’t go to sleep, and Rosalyn needed a few moments of Mommy alone. And with her head tucked under my chin as we watched Dirty Jobs (ooh! Alpaca’s!) I remembered how fleeting my girls are, how nearly invisible they are in the long span of time. Today they play hide and seek and pretend. Tomorrow they might be choosing a trade or backpacking through South America.

It’s all new once again. And I’m glad. I could use a spit shine.

The kid who don’t care

2 Aug

Sigh.

I just spent a frantic hour that should have been nice and family like but instead involved a lot of running, stomping, heaving, getting angry and sweating. (Not necessarily in that order)

Vivian, as most of us are aware, is 9 days away from turning 4. (Four? Four? Where the frick did 2 and 3 go?). And apparently, she’s entering a new developmental stage as well. I’ve begged for answers to this question in the past.

I’ll be frank. I don’t know how to discipline my kid. Or rather, I do, but it doesn’t seem to work.

I know it’s the age where she’s going to ignore me and be willful. Is giving her options and a little autonomy really going to help? or will she be the devious little rat I suspect she will be and decide to see just how far she can push until Mommy snaps? Aside from that smack the other day, I do NOT intend to make physical punishment part of our regimen, because I know that shock value wears off, and all it really does in many cases is relieve my own stress and anger. Should we try time outs? Time in’s? Ignoring her? (I so can’t do this, not the the extent that might be necessary)

The problem is that this child is extremely willful (I think some people call it “spirited”) she doesn’t understand mellow-crap, the only time she’s mellow is in front of the TV (which has been taken away for the entire weekend). I think she’s watching entirely too much of it, and intend to shut that down for at least a few days. I don’t remember watching 2+ hours of TV a day when I was a kid, and my mother didn’t take any shit from me.

Something has to give. She screamed for an hour straight for poor Mogo when she was punished for something earlier today. I know part of it is that we have difficulty picking our battles, and that when you ride transit, you can’t just toss the kid in the car-the “we’re going home NOW!” threat doesn’t work as well. But I still want them to learn how to behave in public.

On the other hand, before they lost interest in their meal, the waitress commented on how good they were being as they ate, so I don’t know if I’m expecting too much from them or what. I see other kids who are good and quiet. But then, they look like they’ve had life beaten out of them

Sigh. Little help here?