Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Magic in the Mirror

As I've mentioned before, Ryan has a decided preference for cheap toys - the box, rather than the contents, if you will. He'd rather chew on my knuckle than the fancy frozen chew toys designed for that purpose. He'd rather snuggle his spit rag than any of his adorable teddy bears or other stuffed animals. And at the moment, his favorite toy isn't a toy at all, it's a mirror.
He's not especially particular about which mirror, either. There's a full-length mirror in our bedroom that's very handy because the overhead light is nice and bright and you can get right up close to it. There's another full-length in the basement that's short enough to play peekaboo with Mommy's reflection (if I stand up straight he can't quite see my face). And the excitement of all the bathroom mirrors is either making Mommy have to sit on (or in) the sink or sitting in the sink himself.

He's also always torn about whom he wants to watch. (I know, "whom" sounds odd there. But it's grammatically correct and I'm having a Grammar Nazi moment. So sue me. Aaaaand we're moving on.) He seems fascinated but a bit puzzled by the baby in the mirror, and will gaze at him intently (but somewhat blankly) for several minutes at a time. But then his eyes wander over to Mommy's reflection and they light right up in recognition, and then he bursts into a beaming grin. That's the best feeling in the world!

I'm not sure if he understands yet that the baby he sees is himself. I let him see my finger moving in to "boop" (well, technically, "meep") his nose, I kiss his cheek with a loud raspberry, I wave his hands in front of his face so he can see that the baby in the mirror is doing the same. But I suspect that at this point all he thinks is that the baby in the mirror has a mom who's almost as cool as his mom. She even knows the nose-meeping trick! And she does it every time HIS mom does it! How cool is that? But I don't think that thought is yet followed by a "Hey, wait a minute....."

I love watching Ryan learn new things and develop new skills, like reaching for his toys, deliberately grasping things, watching people he recognizes, and making visible cognitive leaps (big words meaning "he's thinking actual thoughts!"). And as much as I want to savor every moment, I can't help but look forward to each new physical and mental step. So I'm eager to see him figure out that the baby in the mirror is him. I'm not quite sure when it will happen, or how I'll know it has happened, but I know that it will and I will. And I plan on spending plenty of time staring into mirrors with him until it does!

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