The Me and Not-Me

I think this will be my most reflective post yet- literally. I have been fascinated by my baby's fascination with mirrors lately. And I recently learned that what I was mistaking for baby vanity is actually an exercise in self discovery.

Holding CeCe in front of a mirror brings out intense stares, smiles and giggles. I can only imagine what goes on in her head when she is checking herself out in the mirror.

"Hey girl- you look good. That loaded diaper does wonders for your butt. Ooh, that spit-up stain down the front of your jumper works for you. And your hair looks FAB-ulous. Rock that bald spot in the back."

But last week my former professor and awesome life adviser filled me in on a little factoid- mirror play is a major part of a baby's development in forming self-identity.

I've been searching for more articles on the subject, but here is the Wiki entry on the psychoanalytic theory of Lacan's mirror stage.

My dad referred to this as the "Me and Not-Me" discovery. Mirrors help a baby realize that there is a world outside of themselves, and this can stimulate verbalization through the need to identify all these new things that exist externally.

This also set off a lightbulb in my brain as to why CeCe always stares at other babies with such a puzzled expression. She has no idea that she is one of them.


  1. I read in a book once that you can test a baby's sense of self-identity by putting something on their nose, like shaving cream, and holding them to a mirror. If they reach up and try to take it off, then they've realized what they're looking at. Pretty fun...

  2. Miss B stares at herself all the time. She kisses the "baby" in the mirror and dances for her too!

    So sweet...

  3. I am helping to raise my 21 month old granddaughter and she is fascinated with looking at babies, including herself too.
    Funny thing, she's always asking me to look at her babies. What she is wanting is to look at all the videos and pictures I have of her on my iphone. Since they are of her since birth, she doesn't realize that the older ones are of her.