"Toddlers Are Delighted With Themselves"
February 11, 2020 1:18 PM   Subscribe

“A posed picture of your child perfectly dressed and coiffed, that’s not reality,” McLean told me. Photos that kids take of themselves, however, with their baby teeth on display and their tongue hanging out, “are precious mementos,” she said. “Toddlers think that they are amazing. This is a time when children are so unselfconscious, so accepting of how they look and who they are.” (Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic)
posted by Johnny Wallflower (15 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
True dat. My son's first selfies were closeups of his uvula and his scrotum.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 1:25 PM on February 11 [7 favorites]


I don't recall my niece taking a ton of selfies, but when she was 2-3 years old, she *loved* to sit with people and scroll through the pictures of her in their camera roll. "That's Hana!" she would exclaim excitedly at every picture of herself. Or if it was her when she was really little "Baby Hana!"
posted by jacquilynne at 1:28 PM on February 11 [10 favorites]


I don’t think my daughter has been brave enough to hand her phone over to her two-year-old yet. That said, the little one sure does know when the camera is on her, and puts on her best, toothy grin.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:31 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


I contend that smartphone makers should spend less time worrying about getting the perfect picture in pitch black rooms or in super slow motion and concentrate more on focusing on facial features when the phone is less that 2 inches away and mostly sideways.

So many out of focus nostril shots.
posted by madajb at 2:33 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Also, they could figure out how to use burst photos to programmatically remove stray fingers from an otherwise wonderful selfie of your kid, that would be awesome.
posted by madajb at 2:34 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


My son is 5 and I'm pretty sure he knows what a picture is supposed to look like but every so often he'll pick up my phone and take a bunch of out of focus way too close selfies (it's the only thing he wants to do on the lock screen because I won't tell him my PIN). He can take better selfies - I have the proof - but that doesn't seem like what he wants to do most of the time.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:41 PM on February 11


"when she was 2-3 years old, she *loved* to sit with people and scroll through the pictures of her in their camera roll"

I have a three year old. This is my entire non-work life.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:59 PM on February 11 [8 favorites]


This is a time when children are so unselfconscious, so accepting of how they look and who they are.

Which is dictatorial little narcissists, she went on to add.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:03 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


When my niece was about one, all anyone in her presence (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles) used their phone for was taking and displaying photographs of her. Phones were always proferred from adult to adult with the question "Do you want to see the baby [pictures]?"
She therefore learned that cellphones were called "babies," and she would always demand to see any "baby" that was out, and you can take one guess what she wanted to see on said phone.
posted by agentofselection at 5:24 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]


Our two-year-old grandson hasn't figured out selfies, but only because no one lets him play with a phone. He is, however, aware of when he's being recorded, and says "Wanna see! Wanna see!"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:36 PM on February 11


My 2.5 year old can't unlock my phone yet (thank god), but she says "cheese" when I raise the phone in her direction and loves looking at pictures of herself. She also enjoys her reflection quite a bit. As someone who struggled with self esteem her whole life, I hope I can help her keep at least a little of that confidence 10 years from now.
posted by weathergal at 9:27 AM on February 12


My three year old loves taking photos at exactly her eye level. So many photos of my belly while cooking, backs of my legs doing laundry etc. She is remarkably uninterested in faces/whole person, but just exactly what she can see directly through the phone lens. I kind of love it.
posted by recklessbrother at 9:45 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


My kids got really good at selfies by taking huge numbers of dolly pictures - doll portraits even, and I still have a good number of them on my phone because I thought it was so funny.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:51 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


My three year old loves taking photos at exactly her eye level. So many photos of my belly while cooking, backs of my legs doing laundry etc. She is remarkably uninterested in faces/whole person, but just exactly what she can see directly through the phone lens. I kind of love it.

One thing I like to do is at large parties (weddings and similar) I'll give my camera to my kids or nephew and let them take pictures. Just that perspective of looking up at most things gives the pictures they take a very interesting feel.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:14 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


From the ages of 1 to 3, McLean told me, kids rapidly develop a sense of individual identity, making sense of the fact that they are separate humans from their moms and dads, and for most kids, that’s a pretty exciting prospect.

If I'd known then what I know now.
posted by bendy at 11:13 PM on February 12


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