Posts Tagged ‘ Full House ’

The White Sheep of the Family

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Six months.

Jack may have been born as a Mexican baby, but he has gradually morphed into a little Norwegian boy.  The supreme irony is that when Jack was born, he almost looked too dark to be my son.  Six months later, it’s the opposite situation.

If you grew up in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, then by default one of your favorite sitcoms was Full House.  And whenever you think of Uncle Jesse, you think of his awesome video for “Forever” where he is wearing a black leather vest while in a bathtub surrounded by candles.  Also featured in the music video were Jesse and Rebecca’s twin sons, Nicky and Alex.

For me, I was always distracted by the fact that a dark featured Greek guy and a normal complected woman with reddish brown hair would have sons that had blonde hair, blue eyes, and light skin.  I already had enough trouble believing that Danny Tanner would have three daughters with blondish hair when he himself had black hair (Bob Saget is Jewish in real life) with their mother who was also Greek; she was Jesse’s sister.  But light featured kids don’t come from dark featured parents, especially when there is a Mediterranean bloodline… I thought to myself for 20 years.

When Jack was born, and in the month or so to follow, he was a Mexican.  His skin was darker than mine, his hair was jet black, and his general features just simply looked Hispanic, or at least Italian. That’s because my maternal grandmother, Delores “Lola” Mendez is a dark-featured Mexican from Buffalo, New York and my Italian grandfather, Albert Metallo, was a dark featured Italian from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In fact, when you climb both sides of the family tree (both my wife’s and mine) you continually find dark haired people with dark eyes. But there is the fact that my wife’s paternal grandfather was a Norwegian orphan adopted by an American family, who married an indentured servant from Ireland.  In other words, despite the influx of “dark genes”, Jack evidently adopted the underdog “lighter” genes.

My wife and I have a blonde haired, blue eyed son with porcelain skin.  He’s sort of the “white sheep” in the family. And now that he’s officially six months old, the age at which a baby’s eye color remains permanent (based on what I’ve read), we now know it’s official.  Granted, I realize there’s a good chance that the older Jack gets, the darker his hair will get.  He may not always be blonde, but he will always have lighter skin than his parents who have a subtle olive complexion (skin with yellow and green undertones).  And people will always ask us, “Where’d that boy of yours get those pretty, deep blue eyes?”

Knowing me, I’ll probably reference Nicky and Alex from Full House every time I answer that question.

Pictured below:

1) The Four Generations of Shell in December 2010; my grandfather Shell is sitting in the middle, holding my son Jack, in between my dad and me.

2) The Four Generations of Metallo/Mendez in January 2011; my grandmother Metallo is sitting in the middle, in between my mom and me.

3) In May 2011, Jack is holding a sign that reads, “I am 6 months old today.”

*To get a better idea of just how different Jack used to look, look on the right side of the screen and click on the archives.  Start at November 2010, the month he was born.

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The Due Date

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Forty weeks.

Don’t ask me how, but all week my wife and I have had the theme song to the ‘80’s sitcom Mr. Belvedere stuck in our heads.  In the mindset of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”, we downloaded the song as our ringtones for when we call each other.  That has caused me to revisit some of my most favorite theme songs from these sitcoms that served as the backdrop of my childhood.  A very interesting trait that many of these TV shows had in common with each other (and accordingly, the lyrics to their theme songs) is that premise was that an outsider moved into the household, therefore throwing normalcy out of whack.  Which totally relates to what’s going through my head right now about our upcoming new addition, a baby boy. (In order to qualify, the sitcom had to actually start in the 1980′s; Diff’rent Strokes, Mork and Mindy, and The Facts of Life don’t qualify since since they premiered in the ’70′s.)

For example, here’s a sitcom that had it all, yet could have only existed in the 1980’s: An all-American family, laugh tracks, and an Alien puppet. Of course, I’m referring to Alf. While the song had no words (instead it sounded like what would happen if you pressed the “demo” button on a $200 Casio keyboard in 1988), the thought of a little creature running around the floor chasing cats loosely translates having a baby boy. For Family Matters, the intended outsider was Estelle Winslow who moved in with her son Carl’s family, though unexpectedly the true outsider instead became Steve Urkle (intended only as a guest star) instead a few episodes into the first season.

In Mr. Belvedere, a British butler moves in with an American family living in Philadelphia: “Sometimes things get turned around and no one’s spared… There’s a change in the status quo.  Preparing for our new arrival.  We might just live the good life yet…”


Another prime example is from one of my favorite sitcoms ever, which happens to have my favorite TV show theme song ever.  In Perfect Strangers, city slicker Larry Appleton is thrown for a curve when his distant cousin Balki moves from his mysterious Mediterranean village to live with Larry in Chicago: “Sometimes the world looks perfect- nothing to rearrange.  Sometimes you just get a feeling that you need some kind of change…”


In Full House, it was  Joey and Uncle Jesse who mixed things up by moving in with the Tanner family: “What ever happened to predictability?”

There was CBS’s version of Diff’rent Strokes: Webster.  As a kid, I actually liked Webster more than Arnold: “Til there was you…”


The next two sitcoms both premiered in 1984 and featured an Italian-American who moved into the household as a “manny”. Who’s the Boss? contains my 2nd favorite theme song ever and often caused me to believe that Tony Danza was my uncle: “You might awaken to a brand new life around the bend…”


Even though I never watched it, I know it was a big deal to a lot of people- Charles in Charge: “New boy in the neighborhood…”


You’re welcome… for being led into a world of nostalgia.  It’s pretty much a fact that you’ll be struggling to get one of those songs out of your head for the rest of the day.  So being such a sentimental guy as I am, I’ve been thinking about the current events that are going on right now.  That way I can tell Jack what was going on around the time he was born:

Interestingly, on November 5th, the movie Due Date hit theatres.  Daylight Savings was two days later; meaning that when it’s that time again to set back the clocks every year, it will almost be time for Jack’s birthday.  Conan O’Brien’s new show premiered this week (November 8th) and sure enough on last night’s episode during the monologue Conan pointed out that it was exactly nine months ago that his gig at The Tonight Show ended; so if because two people felt sad for Conan losing his job they decided to “get frisky” to be happy again, their child would be born this week.  Good call.

It will also be pretty neat that I will be able to show Jack the November 2010 issue of American Baby, in which in his birth was anticipated.  He is not making his debut unannounced; that’s for sure.  Today, November 11th, is not only Jack’s due date but it’s also my dad’s birthday, whose name is also Jack.  So even though he won’t have the same exact birthday as my dad, their birthdays will always be close.

Of all the pregnancy advice I’ve been given, the one thing no one warned me about is this: For first time moms, it’s normal and expected to not delivery until a full week after the due date.  So if you or your wife are approaching your due date, don’t do like I did and get all psyched, thinking the water is going to break at any moment.  Because then everyone is constantly asking for and expecting baby news, but sure enough, the baby is unaware of his due date.  He’s coming out when he’s good and ready.

I have to remind myself that my baby is not a Hot Pocket, with an exact predetermined time of two minutes in the microwave.  In fact, that would be pretty weird if he truly was born right near the due date.  We went to the doctor today.  Thank God, Baby Jack has still got a strong heartbeat and is in a good position.  He’s turned the correct way and everything.  But as far as when he gets here, I’m sure it will be the moment that I (and everyone else) least expects it.  He’s a sneaky little guy.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com




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Lamaze Classes Have Begun

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Thirty-two weeks.

Until this week, I didn’t even know how to spell “Lamaze”, or even more importantly, what exactly it meant.  All I knew is that it involved breathing techniques for women in labor.  Monday night we had our first Lamaze class (out of six) and now I have a better understanding of what this is all about: Lamaze (named after a French doctor) classes help expecting parents to prepare for the birth of their child ideally without the use of medical intervention (AKA: going natural).

I think our take on “going natural” with this birth is currently along the lines of “let’s just see if we can do it”.  Ideally, we won’t use pain medication, and a C-section won’t be necessary.  But we obviously recognize it may not happen that way.  We half-way joke with each other that if we can do this without an epidural, we’ll spend that saved money on a trip to Maine.  I’m seriously planning on printing off a picture of us on our honeymoon at Kennebunkport to take when we go to the hospital, as inspiration.  But we’ll see how it turns out in reality.  I’m starting to care less either way.

With us starting Lamaze classes, it takes us to a whole new level of “Wow, this is really happening!”  We’re both having weird, off-the-wall dreams, evidently fueled by our subconscious anxieties.  I recently dreamt that Jack was born with light blonde hair and blue eyes, which I think is near impossible given our particular genes, though Uncle Jesse and Aunt Rebecca from Full House had blonde twins (and I could never get past that).

We both have sore backs these days, as it’s hard to sleep comfortably for either of us because my wife has to sleep sideways now with about five pillows, meaning I’m limited to a smaller sleeping space.  But hey, I’m not complaining.  I just want to do anything necessary to help her feel a little more comfortable during the pregnancy.  And we are starting to feel this sense of unsettledness as we count down these final eight weeks or so.  It’s getting to the point where we are both thinking, “Enough of this pregnancy stuff, I’m just ready for him to be born already!”

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com


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The First Time Dad at Age 29 Club

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

At 8:37 tonight, I will turn 29 years old.

I can think of three 29 year-old first time dads right off.  John Krasinski playing Jim Halpert on The Office.  Zack Braff’s character, Michael, in the movie The Last Kiss.  And Kevin Bacon playing Jake Briggs in the movie She’s Having a Baby.  And now I shall be among them.

Of course, I’m not an actor or a character in a movie or TV show.  But it’s natural  to look at them and think, “Hey, I can relate to them. And if they can pull it off… so can I.”

I have a habit of subconsciously giving myself reassurance based on the lives of actors and fictional characters.  The truth is, we all do.  I admit I used the characters of Stephanie Tanner (from Full House) and Winnie Cooper (from The Wonder Years) as the standard of the girl I wanted to marry.

Mission accomplished.  My wife is a fun-loving all-American middle child from northern California (like Stephanie Tanner) and sweet, respectful, and passionate (like Winnie Cooper).  I can’t deny that my personal life is affected by fiction.

So I put myself in the shoes of the average guys I see on my TV screen every week.  I am average, like them.  Arguably normal, like them.  Clueless to fatherhood, like them.

And from what I’ve learned so far about being a first time parent is this: Being clueless is sort of the whole point.  No one actually knows what they’re doing.  It’s a character building experience, just like marriage.

I think of this banking commercial that was airing a few months back.  A first time dad brings his newborn home and holding the baby up to his eye level he says, “I know.  It’s not about me anymore.”

Yes, my life as I know it is ending.  In November I will begin Life: The Sequel.  I will instantly be transformed from Married Guy to Married Guy With a Baby.  Totally cool with me.

Because I can easily admit that the transition from Single Guy to Married Guy has done nothing but make me a better person.  I’m less self-centered and more easy going because I have less personal expectations to be met.  My expectations revolve around someone else, as a Married Guy.  I am a helper and a partner.  I don’t mind those roles.

So how much more will I improve in my journey of becoming a more giving person once the baby gets here?  I can only imagine: that much more.

Born into this world as a baby who was completely dependent on others for everything, I have spent 29 years learning to do things on my own, having no choice but to realize it’s not all about me, more and more each day.

I had nay sayers trying to warn me before I got married how much I would miss the single days of answering to no one.  But almost two years into being married, I don’t feel that way at all.  I was not cut out to be a Single Guy.  So glad those days are over.

While I am fully aware that having a baby changes everything, I welcome this change.  What good would it do to spend the next five or ten years just trying to save up money to try to afford to have a kid? I would never reach that point of affordability or personal readiness.

I was married at age 27, the average age for an American man to be married.  And I couldn’t find Internet research to back it up, but I would have to assume that it’s safe to say that age 29 is the average age of a married, first time dad.  Despite my overawareness of my own quirkiness, I live a pretty normal life.

And that’s what I want.  A normal life.  Dirty diapers and all.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

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