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.
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.
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
Mateo had a very good first Christmas. Friends and family showered him with toys, so all we had to get for him was a really cool wooden activity cube. He seemed to enjoy it.
Mr. George is envious of Mateo's new toy.
A bath and a costume change into the overalls that Granny got for him later, Mateo was opening more presents. He didn’t really get the unwrapping part, but he got the “new toys” part just fine.
Mateo really loves his animal puzzle from Granny.
Later, at Granny’s house, Mateo played with his cousin Jesse.
Both babies got sick after this, big surprise.
Mateo also got some time with Mimi, Nana’s and Papa’s poodle.
Papa's keeping an eye on both of them!
Go ahead. Call my son “pretty.” I don’t mind.
It happens almost every time I take Mateo out and there’s an older woman who exclaims over him. If she doesn’t immediately mistake him for a girl (which I don’t mind, either, and usually don’t bother to correct), she will say something like, “Look at those cheeks! Look at those eyes! Aren’t you so pretty — oh, I shouldn’t say ‘pretty’ for a boy. Handsome! Aren’t you so handsome!”
“It’s okay,” I say. “He is a pretty boy.”
And he is. He has dark, almond-shaped eyes heavily fringed with dark lashes so long they almost seem excessive; round, rosy cheeks; and tiny, pink bow-shaped lips. “Handsome” does not describe him. (Does it describe any baby?) He is pretty, and I, being a typical mother in my pride for my child and a flawed woman in my vanity, revel in his prettiness.
It’s a curious reality of culture that beauty is divided into masculine and feminine — and that the definitions of masculine and feminine beauty shift and change. There’s no use trying to contain these concepts within sex and gender, however, and I want to teach my son that traits that are traditionally considered feminine are not shameful or demeaning for a boy to possess.
“Pretty” is where we can start. I can work my way in from skin-deep.