has a rather self-serving fluid definition of family. We shall call her Stephanie on here. Anyway, before she got engaged, “family” pictures included significant others who had not yet become official additions (i.e. me and Russ, her now-fiancee) because she wanted Russ in the pictures.

Now that they are engaged, I have been booted. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t care, except for the fuss she makes: “fifi, family-only pictures! You understand, of course. Here, you take the pictures.” Also, I have been around for FIVE years, which, not that anyone’s keeping score or anything, is three years longer than Russ has been around. I have been to four family weddings – i.e. ALL of them. I lived with the boyfriend’s parents for 2 months. I send them all Christmas cookies every year. I send Stephanie her own special Christmas present (this is somewhat under duress, NOT that I would ever express that thought outside of the Madre and my girlfriends).

I also wouldn’t care if she hadn’t made it a mission in the past six months to emphasize how “not family” I am, whenever given the opportunity. The boyfriend’s parents had a small engagement brunch for Stephanie and Russ right after they got engaged, an opportunity for the two families to meet. Stephanie spent the whole brunch going on and on about how she was SO glad she was able to include the ENTIRE family in her wedding because she knows how lucky she will be to be able to look back in fifty years at her wedding pictures and see her ENTIRE family in the wedding. This is where we note that not only am I not in any way in the wedding,*** but was the only person present not in the wedding. Specialness.

This morning it was a photo on facebook of the boyfriend’s parents, his brother, Bobby, Bobby’s wife, Beth, their daughter, Hannah (previously called “H” on here, but we shall give her her own fake name), and Stephanie and Russ, subtitled “Almost a family photo! Where’s [the boyfriend]??????”* And yes, there is a chance that I am being bar-exam-studying-inspired-crazy about this and it’s not a big deal and I am reading WAY too much into this, but at the same time, it’s irksome because she keeps doing this (it’s also irksome because it ties into recent discussions that the boyfriend and I have been having about what it means to be family** ).

Hmmmm…clearly this has turned into a Stephanie rant. THIS is why the blog is secret, people.

*FYI, at his girlfriend’s one and only law school graduation.

**I may have mentioned the photo thing to him and he was all: “But you’re not family. Should I be campaigning to be in your family’s Christmas card?” fifi: Actually you were. (It was a photo montage from our trip to Keystone with my family 2 Christmases ago).

***Blessing in disguise: Clearly it would be some what hypocritical for me to be in the wedding, considering that Stephanie is not my favoritest person in the entire world, but also because the bridesmaids’ dresses are UGLY. And this is not me being petty – her parents think they are ugly, her brothers think they are ugly, the boyfriend even attempted an intervention. They look really cheap. They are empire waist, with a t-strap halter top and the bottom is this brown-ish, maroon-ish shiny taffeta and the top is black jersey. They also are extremely short. And, on top of that, they were at the $250 price point. It’s bad, people.

Not, by the way, that I was ever invited to see the dresses. Stephanie showed everyone else, but never got around to me. I saw them later when the boyfriend wanted to complain about them to me and he showed me. Stephanie brought her big “wedding binder” with her to the brunch – we picked them in the city because I had driven up for the weekend and had my car in the city, and also spent the brunch showing everyone else things in the binder. When we all were in the car, I asked to see, because I am a nice person like that (and, yes, maybe I might have made fun of a few things to my girlfriends/the Madre/you all, but I would have been sweet as pie then) and she said “Oh no, I just wanted to show you my calligraphy.” At which point she handed me one of those plastic binder inserts with two scraps of paper – one was on the back of a receipt – with her “calligraphy” on them – apparently I did not warrant anything more formal. Just for the record, adding a few squiggles and curlicues to your normal cursive does not calligraphy make. FYI.

Remember when I introduced you to the family and baby T? And I said that F, her father and my cousin, in his new-father, over-exuberance for sharing masses and masses of pictures of his new spawn, seemed to be posting a lot of pictures of her crying? And I thought that he really needed to put on his editing hat because people want cute pictures of babies and there was no conceivable way that she cries that much?

Right. Shows you how much I know. 

The Bro and I went over to visit F, K, and baby T (coincidence that her name starts with a T and the word “tyrant” starts with a T? I think not*) and the first thing the Bro said to me (with wide eyes full of shock and horror) post-visit when we were safely ensconced in the car, ears ringing was: Are all babies that angry?

Clearly the poor thing is having some gas/colic/reflux issues because apparently when she is not sleeping this is all she does. According to the Madre, I also had the same issues as a baby, but was given medication by my pediatrician and all was good. F and K apparently asked their doctor about medication since poor T is obviously completely miserable whenever she is awake, but somehow came away thinking that these issues are just because T is relatively new to the world and therefore her stomach is relatively new to food. She is 2 months old – I can’t imagine there is that much of an adjustment period! But what do I know, really?  The doctor did tell them that they should bicycle her legs to help her, but F and K are convinced that T is too strong for them to do this to and so have not been doing that either. She weighs 9 pounds.  

There seem to be some contributing issues as well to add to T’s rage: When she woke up, she was clearly (I say “clearly” with such arrogance considering I have no children, but having spent large and extensive chunks of time in the last year with Z, the best godbaby ever, and the Munchin, as well as with H, the boyfriend’s niece, I have some clue) in need of a diaper change, but F was so excited to bring her out to meet us, he forgot. When he handed her to me, I could feel her diaper, but was in that awkward this-is-not-my-kid-and-it-would-probably-be-pretty-annoying-to-you-if-I-said-anything place. She also seemed pretty darn hungry, considering that she was trying to eat my shirt, but K thought that since T ate pre-nap, she couldn’t be hungry yet. 

She did stop crying for about 5 minutes when I was holding her and she had discovered my shirt was darn tasty, but then she spit up all over me. The Bro keeps telling people about this with a voice of awe: T threw up all over fifi and fifi just kept talking like it was no big deal. She didn’t even flinch!!!

I am lucky that the Bro is so easy to impress. He was cracking me up about the whole thing on the ride home with gems like:

Do all babies have such bad breath? (dude, she just spit up – of course, her breath is not fresh and lovely) Can you give them mouthwash or something to deal with that? (Note to Self: do not suggest that the Bro offer to babysit for F and K).

and

So she seemed kind of less mad when you were holding her (I had her up on my shoulder) and I wanted to hold her that way too (he did the traditional cradle hold – I have a great picture – she is screaming (shocker) and he looks TERRIFIED) but then I thought that she threw up on you when you were holding her like that and I didn’t want her to throw up on me (the Bro – always a giver). 

*Note: Obviously T is not an intentional tyrant (for now) and I am sure that she is going to be lovely and sweet as soon as they can figure out some good rhythms and schedules and address these digestive issues.

This is where I start to introduce you to everyone you are likely to meet on the blog and give you all a little more background on myself in the process. First up: my family.

You’ve already met the Madre. The Madre is a generally awesomely supportive mother who puts the Bro and me above all else. If you mess with us, she will cut you. Seriously. She’s also incredibly formidable – she graduated from law school at the ripe old age of 23 and is very smart, so she’s something of a tough act to follow. She is a professor at a school back home. We get along extremely well except when we don’t. 

The Dad is also awesomely supportive, although he doesn’t push the Bro and me quite as hard as the Madre. While the Madre always thinks we can do better, Dad is pretty happy with us just the way we are * Dad is just a genuinely all-around nice guy. He’s in finance so the last few months have been a little rough, but he’s doing okay.

The Bro is my little brother. He’s 19 and just finished his first year of college playing D-2 lacrosse in Florida. We are like night and day and don’t always see eye-to-eye on things. I’m calling him the Bro on here not only because he is my brother (duh), but also because that kind of sums up his personality. If you know lacrosse players (at least like the ones I went to school with: laid back, lackadaisical, very much like stereotypical surfer dudes, smoke a lot of weed – although that has never been proven with the Bro and he denies it), then my brother is a stereotypical lacrosse player. Oh – and he fulfills that other lacrosse stereotype as well – he thinks he’s hot and is a bit of a slut :)** Anyway, his big thing right now is that he wants to transfer to another school. He wants to go to a big football school because he’s obviously watched too many movies and has a certain idea of what college should be, not because of  academics or anything like that. Watching OSU games on TV made him “physically ill” because his school doesn’t have a football team and he felt left out – Have I mentioned I think he’s a bit of an idiot sometimes? However, in the Bro’s typical fashion, he has not actually done anything about transferring. He can go to OSU because he got in last year and the admittance is good for a year or he could transfer to somewhere like Miami (of Ohio) that has extended its application deadline, but he “doesn’t know” what he wants to do. He is driving my parents nuts.

The Rest: My Aunt L is my dad’s sister. She’s married to my Uncle E and her son is my cousin, F. F is considerably older than me (he just turned 40) and is married to K. F&K thought they couldn’t have kids and had kind of given up (K just turned 45) and then…surprise! Along came T, who was born 2 weeks ago. I haven’t met her yet, but she seems cute (although F has developed a bad habit of only sharing pictures in which she is crying. She can’t be crying that much!). All of them live in Cleveland, so they’ll probably pop up on the blog more this summer since I will be moving back and living at home to study for the bar. There are some more peripheral ones that I’ll introduce as they come up, but these are the main relatives.

My Godson: Z. Z is a very advanced 1 1/2 year old (he was standing at 6 months! I am not exactly up on my child development, but I am told that makes him special 🙂 ). He is an absolute doll and I adore him, although I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like. His story is a little to complicated for this post, but I’ll get into it at some point later. 

*I know it sounds like the Madre is a hardass – and believe me she is – and my dad is perhaps the more reasonable parent, but sometimes installing a little drive is not a bad thing. For example, the Bro wanted to transfer to another university, namely UVA. UVA is tough to get into. When the Bro was getting B’s, my dad was telling him how great it was, whereas the Madre and I both knew that if he wanted to get into UVA, he needed better grades than that. So the point is, in his being supportive and proud of us, the Dad sometimes inadvertently encourages a little unhealthy delusion. 

**I know at a lot of schools the lacrosse guys are seen as entitled assholes, but that has not been my experience and I did go to a school with a top lax program.