Posts Tagged ‘ Norwegian ’

To See My Child Brighten Someone’s Day, It Makes Me Proud

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

This morning you were so excited to take your pet dog, Chi-chi, to school. He (or is it she?) has an “on” switch which causes it to walk across the floor and bark/chirp. It’s pretty hilarious.

But since you and your friends are 3 and a half, it’s pretty much as awesome as me finding out yesterday why “A113″ shows up in nearly every Disney/Pixar movie.

You were so eager to show Chi-Chi to your friends, I was actually a bit surprised. I feared that you might freak out as a mob of your classmates would begin going crazy for your toy.

I thought it would bother you. I thought you might quickly get possessive.

That’s not at all what happened. Instead, I saw the look on your face as 7 or 8 of your friends all circled around you in amazement of your toy.

Never was there a sign of concern as Chi-Chi (and ultimately, you) were the hit of the party.

I saw joy in your eyes as you witnessed your friends playing with and passing around the toy you brought to share with them.

You brightened their day. That made you happy.

And it made me happy too.

When we got home, I saw on Facebook that my friend Holly, from college, had messaged me:

Nick, i just had to let you know that of all the compliments I received on my pink hair picture, your son requesting a second viewing makes me feel the coolest. Hope you’re doing well!

A few days ago, Holly had posted this new picture of herself with some temporary pink hair dye. (Being half-Norwegian and half-Swedish, her hair is normally light blonde.)

You caught a glimpse of the picture on my laptop as I was scrolling through Facebook and were pretty fascinated by this seemingly magical girl with the pink hair. I let Holly know that:

“My son Jack likes your hair so much, he just asked to see your picture again!”
Of the 20-something comments and 70-something “likes” she received from that picture, your comment made her feel the coolest. Enough for her to take the time to let me know, several days later.
And if you can believe it, the fact that you made her day by asking to see her picture a 2nd time… well, it made my day.
Twice in the same couple of hours, I saw first-hand how you simply brightened other people’s days.
It makes me so proud that you are such a sweet boy. I don’t think I was that caring and giving when I was your age.
Yeah, you make me proud.


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Mommy and Daddy Have First Names, Too?

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

As I reached for the shower curtain and a towel to dry myself off this morning, there you were with Mommy, waiting for me to realize I had visitors. You had a sneaky look on your face.

“Hi Jill!” you proudly greeted me.

Right name, wrong parent.

We felt you were old enough to know that Mommy and Daddy have other names, or as we call them: first names.

The problem is, you think my name is Jill and that Mommy’s name is Nick.

That’s okay. You’ll get it eventually. I don’t think it’s a bad idea for you to know our first names.

What if you get lost in a store? How will you tell someone who your parents are? We figured it wouldn’t hurt to teach you our “real names” for such an unfortunate event.

Until now, I had never thought about what age is appropriate to teach you our names other than Mommy and Daddy. For all I know, maybe it’s too soon.

I wondered at first if this was a recipe for disaster since you might start mainly calling us by our first names. However, I don’t think that will be a problem. You laugh every time you say our first names; as if they are our “funny names.”

As for the next name I shall teach you, what about our last name? Shouldn’t you know that too if you get separated from us somewhere in public? Fortunately for you, it’s an easy one: Shell.

One syllable names like Jack, Jill, Nick, and Shell definitely serve as an advantage to you, as a 2 year-old. You just happened to be born into a family with easy-to-say and easy-to-spell names.

As for your Croatian and Norwegian ancestors on Mommy’s side of the family, they probably had a more difficult time with this.

Just imagine, at best your name would have been something like… Ivan Ljùštura.

(I think I’m pronouncing that right.)




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“Your Son Looks Just Like Your Wife!” Said No One Ever

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

19 months.

Earlier this week I published a similarly named article about how my son looks nothing like me. And people agreed; as I have gathered from the comments.

There were some people who saw me in the shape of my son’s eyes, forehead, and potentially his nose.

Even though I felt the article was a stand-alone work, I now see the need for the sequel. Time to compare my son to his Mommy, this time around.

When people try to figure out who Jack looks like more, they by default choose my wife. I want to dissect that.

Granted, no one has ever said, “Your son looks just like your wife!”

At best, they say, “Your son sort of looks like your wife… a little bit.”

The fact that our biological son doesn’t really resemble either of us makes me think of the classic sitcom, Full House.

Sure, it was great. But it always bothered me that DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle shouldn’t have looked the way they did.

Danny Tanner was played by Jewish actor Bob Saget. And his unseen wife and the mother of his kids was a Greek-American; her extremely dark-featured brother Jesse Katsopolis made that evident.

Well, the Tanner kids sure came out vanilla.

And then to make matters worse, when Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky had twin boys, Nicky and Alex, they were even more fair-complected and blonder than the Tanner girls.

The casting always bothered me on Full House because the kids didn’t look like they should have come from those parents.

But boy, am I one to talk.

If my wife and I were cast as parents in an 80′s sitcom, our son Jack wouldn’t be cast as our son. Unless the casting director was the same as the one for Full House.

So go ahead, help me see how Jack looks like my wife Jill.

I would have said they have similar eyes, but that was one of the few ways he resembles me, according to some.

Maybe their noses… from the front?

I agree that he will have my Italian nose when it’s all said and done.

(Though my wife is just as Italian as I am.)

When Jack was an infant, I said he reminded me of Jill’s dad, who passed away a few months after Jill and I got married 4 years ago.

Looking back through pictures from the weekend of our wedding, I found this picture of him. I still believe Jack resembles her dad; who was pretty much half-Norwegian and half-Irish.

So help me sort this out.

Does Jack look somewhat like his Mommy? And do you see the resemblance I see between my wife’s dad and Jack?

Oh, and I’ve been told several times that my wife and I could pass for brother and sister.

Even if we look alike, our son doesn’t.


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5 Ways My Son Actually Reminds Me of Myself

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

One year.

Because my son Jack decided to take on the rare and formerly forgotten genes of his Norwegian great-grandfather on my wife’s side, it is pretty much expected now when people meet him that they half-jokingly respond with some form of, “Are you sure he’s your kid?”

Trust me; my wife and I both have almost wondered if there was some kind of mix-up at the hospital, but we know we never took our eyes of him the entire time we were there. Yes, we actually had to convince ourselves!

My kid is the poster child for what foreigners think the typical American kid should look like: Blonde hair, blue eyes, and porcelain skin. (I learned this back when I was a teacher in Thailand; I was once confused for another teacher who had these traits.)

So while everyday I try to squint hard enough to see how he resembles me at all, I keep in mind that not all of the traits he takes on present themselves in the form of physical resemblance. In fact, all I had to do was grab a pen and a yellow sticky note to come up with 5 ways my son reminds me of myself:

1) He loves being outside; getting deep in thought. When Jack gets antsy, I simply take him for a walk. I carry him in my arms around the neighborhood. He loves to feel the wind on his face. When I take him on these walks of solitude, he gets quiet and just takes it all in. So do I.

2) He thrives on meeting new people. Jack never meets a stranger. Last weekend we went to my new favorite restaurant in Nashville, an authentic Italian place called PortaVia. As we were waiting on our food, we let him walk around to nearby tables. Everyone who saw him pop into their frame just laughed with adoration, as if a cute little cartoon puppy had just appeared.

3) He gets angry when he’s hungry or needs a nap. Don’t try to make him laugh. Just feed him or get that kid a nap. He’s hard-wired just like me in those ways. My wife and I are always prepared with a bag of Cheerios and the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album for either event.

4) He can never eat enough bananas or pasta. Jack refuses to eat meat; mainly dining on some form of whole wheat grains or a banana. It’s almost eery how we both have the same food staples in our diets. The truth is, I’m actually a vegetarian who just hasn’t come out of the closet yet. (More on that in days to come…) Jack, however, is more confident in his identity.

5) He has very sensitive skin. Just like me, neither his soap nor shampoo can contain sodium laurel sulfate- we break out in rashes if we use the normal stuff. And I’m sure that just like me, the same thing would happen if he ate shellfish or too much sugar. Jack inherited the eczema gene through our Mexican bloodline.

Yes, the outdoors-loving, people-person, angry-when-he’s-hungry-or-sleepy, pasta addicted, Burt’s-Bees-soap-using kid is my son. Just remember, though, he is the white sheep of the family.

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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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