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August 25, 2010

A Case of Mistaken Identity?

I think I read somewhere that babies are often close to 18 months old before they can recognize themselves in a mirror.

Our girls have loved looking at mirrors since they were just a few months old. And when they began to talk just after they turned a year, they would often exclaim “Baby!” when they saw themselves.

The girls are now 19 months old. Over the past couple of months, they’ve started saying, “Sissy!” when they look in the mirror.

Our girls are nowhere near identical; in fact, I often joke they are VERY fraternal (as if there are varying degrees…HA!). I can’t imagine they see themselves and actually think it’s their sister.

This is definitely one of those amazing twin experiences in my book. My guess is that the girls know the mirror image is not their sister, but are at a loss for what to call themselves.

I know the girls know their own names (they answer to them when they want to), but on the other hand, I hope we haven’t confused them by calling them both “Sissy”…as in “Where is Sissy?” Or more often, “Don’t pull Sissy’s hair!”…“Give that back to Sissy!

I think this behavior is probably just the evolution of them recognizing their mirror image. But it does beg the question in my mind about identical twins…do they actually confuse their mirror image for that of their sibling's?

That’s just fascinating for me to think about. And whatever the case with our girls, I just love watching the learning process.


Momma Chantal said...

It makes me wonder what toddlers that age use to distinguish other children. When adults look at people they notice hair color, eye shape, face shape, body shape and size, etc. But is that too much for a toddler to catalog? Maybe they just notice basic shape and coloring, and maybe that is what they see both in each other and themselves. Could it also be that they see themselves wearing something they have seen the other wearing? I am just guessing, but this has really made me wonder! Makes me wish I had some of my old Psych books still so I could do some digging. I also love watching the kidslets learn new things!!

Helene said...

I think identical twins are so fascinating...both of my sets of twins are fraternal (well, Cole and Bella obviously). It's so much fun when kids are able to identify themselves in the mirror!

Deanna said...

We do the 'sissy' thing all the time too! In fact, I qualify it as one of their first words. My girls are identical, and I have been interested to see if there was a point when they would look in the mirror and call the reflection 'sissy'. They love to look in the mirror, but usually 'sissy' is right there too, so it's like they know the difference. Addison did seem to mumble something about sissy when she saw her reflection in the carseat mirror this week though.

I agree, it's fascinating to watch them develop a sense of personality!

Sadia said...

This whole "who am I?" individuation with twins blows my mind every time I try to conceive it. It's another way in which twinship is like marriage. In a healthy marriage, I believe, each partner has a strong identity and self, but sees their partner as part of themselves when they look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

how fun!!! i wonder if they do also self identify as "sissy". probably a lot easier to differentiate with b/g twins, lol.

Rebecca said...

Love it...having twins is so awesome b/c you never know what's coming next. Mine are boy/girl and it took them forever to realize that they're different...

MultipleMum said...

My twins are at this stage too. The Minx looks at herself in the mirror and when I say "who's that?" she says, "Dew Drops", her twin brother's name (he is not a bit like her). In the same scenario, Dew Drops, on the other hand says "nice". The positive self-image in boys obviously starts a bit earlier!