The de Guzman-Belew family hauled off to Seattle at the beginning of the month for GeekGirl Con. It was amazing, fun and revitalizing — and also very family-friendly. Mateo had a blast running around, ducking into the mini wooden TARDIS on display and making friends with Stormtroopers.
For more about our GeekGirl Con adventure, read my write-up at my website.
My goodness, it’s been a while. Between at-home work, freelance work, fiction-writing, keeping up my personal/professional site, taking care of Mateo and maintaining sanity, I have had so little time for anything else. Mateo is a toddler these days more than a baby, and it’s an adventure. He’s constantly on the move, rapidly adding words to his vocabulary (about seventy at last count!), and generally being an affectionate, high-spirited, joyful little boy.
At the end of the day on Easter -- Mateo was pooped, and Buddy was glad for a chance to smell someone's foot.
Brian recently started working as the creative director at a start-up design and production company, so as you may imagine, he’s been very, very busy. I’m lucky if I see him for more than fifteen minutes in a day. He leaves at eight in the morning and is home after midnight. The good news is that he has access to equipment that can make an even cooler corrugated TARDIS, with print and everything. The bad news is that he doesn’t have time to do this yet. The good news is that means business is pretty good at SMD Concepts. The bad news is that… well, you get the idea.
I take Mateo to Brian’s office about once a week. He loves looking at the giant printer and cutting table. There’s a loft upstairs that I’ve been dreaming about making into my office, at least while no one’s using it.
Mateo has a mini voice-activated R2 that he loves, but I’m not sure it’ll ever seem as cool to him now that he’s seen several full-sized R2-D2s at WonderCon. He was fascinated by them. These were at the Doctor Who panel.
Overall, WonderCon was a hit. Mateo got sketches from Sergio Aragones and Adam Hughes. (Well, I got them for him. He was asleep in his stroller at the time.) He loved seeing the people in costume and was constantly pointing at the art in the booths.
In the afternoon, we went to Yerba Buena Gardens, where Mateo did his best Superboy impression.
Last month, Mateo had his one-year photo shoot (after having to postpone it because of a sinus and ear infection that had the poor guy looking puffy and feeling even worse), and the photos are in!
Our photographer’s name is Christine Szeto, and she is awesome. Here’s her blog post on Mateo’s shoot, with a little trivia question. I’m sure most of the people reading this post will have no problem answering it!
We took the pictures at the Shinn House in Fremont, California. The Victorian house is surrounded by a Japanese garden and several old, rare trees. There’s also a barn and an awesome, scary plow out back.
This is the kind of thing I'm talking about.
This month, my Publishers Weekly column, Life in Comics, is about the challenges of working at home while also taking care of a one-year-old.
The response to Mateo’s TARDIS has made me think about how one raises a nerd. How much is inborn and how much is parental guidance? Sometimes the influence of parents is obvious. Brian’s father was a nuclear engineer who loved Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. Sometimes it’s not. My father was a car mechanic, my mother a homemaker.
Brian’s nerdiness manifests in the typical geeky ways — he likes Star Wars and technology podcasts and Heinlein’s juvenile novels. I like literature (especially late Victorian and early Modernist literature) and biographies of Cleopatra, Mozart, and 18th century noblewomen. We have kind of nerdy jobs — he’s a packaging and graphic designer; I’m a writer and graphic novel editor.
So how did it come about in my case? What I’ve realized is that specific interests don’t matter. What can influence your child to grow up nerdy is modeling for them an intense, sustained, and pleasurable interest in a given subject — interest to the point of wanting to read all the footnotes and sources, to know the minutiae, and feeling a sense of camaraderie with those who share that interest. My dad had Kung Fu — he competed in tournaments, broke cinderblocks with his fists, and taught others. My mom, well, she had Jesus.
My parents showed me that they had interests that were important to them, and while I still like Kung Fu movies and I have a non-spiritual interest in Christianity, it was the model they gave me that taught me that I should pursue and delve into my own interests.
Thank you, everyone, who has come by to look at Mateo in his TARDIS! Thanks to io9 for sending folks this way. He’s still having a ball with it. I’m not sure if I should be concerned about how much time he likes to spend in there.
Brian is going to be drawing up the plans soon so we can share them with everyone who wants to build their own corrugated TARDIS.
For Mateo’s birthday, I bought him a potty.
His father, however, made him a TARDIS.
Brian is a packaging and graphic designer. He made this out of the material he specializes in, corrugated paper.
It's to scale, of course.
Exactly one year ago today, Mateo Bernard de Guzman Belew, a little baby with a big name, was born. Nothing better has ever happened to me. I love you, Mateo!
When you’re a baby, the world is one big university. Babies are little scholars, studying and learning a variety of subjects, such as:
Mateo gets an A in this subject!
Mateo shows a lot of promise in this subject.
Mateo is the Cat Whisperer
Oscar makes a good pillow.
That might be a little advanced for you, Mateo.
An "A" for effort