I have always been able to tell the boys apart and many who have met them for the first time say they each have their own 'look.' They are definitely not carbon copies of each other and I of course think they look so different that sometimes I question if they really are identical or not. I come to my senses quickly when I look back at old pictures and struggle to guess who's who. Since the boys were around crawling age I've been able to tell them apart by their cries. I have a pretty good accuracy rate when it comes to Eli and Thomas, I'm right about 90% of the time. With Caleb it's more like 99%, he has a very unique cry which sounds like he just found out the world is coming to an end but really his brother just took a toy from him. As they have gotten older I can add more ways to tell them apart with out looking at their faces. When we get new (to us) clothes Phil and I sometimes will assign certain pieces to a boy because it best suites their personalities and we almost always agree. For example we got some pajamas and monsters went to Caleb (he's always monsters), sharks went to Eli because he was the first to start biting his brothers, and Thomas got monkeys (some things I just can't explain). When they were smaller Thomas was always duckies and still is always puppy dogs.
Besides their looks/facial expressions and their cries I can tell them apart by the way they laugh, walk, talk, yell, dance, and run, they each have a unique way of doing all these things. I am surprised that they are so different from each other I sometimes wonder what if I had had id quads what the fourth boy would be like? Or if there had only been one baby who he'd be more like, Caleb, Eli, Thomas or would he have been totally different???
Caleb (nickname: wibs or wibbies, which morphed from cay-wibs)
All the boys are climbers but none of the boys come close to Caleb in that department. He is the owner of more oh crap! moments because of this. His climbing skills far exceed his good judgement, the boy is spiderman! He is quite stubborn, he puts up the most resistance when I try to teach him something. He's always seems to reach milestones before his brothers, maybe he'll be the teacher of the trio later on. Still looks the most different from the other two. He likes to say 'no' a lot but it sounds like 'nyo.' The boy loves to nurse and he's very very snuggly with anyone that can spare a lap. He's just learned that if he holds up his arms he'll be picked up, smart boy! Consequently his over use of this tactic means that he spends lot of time in my arms. He has taken over Thomas as alpha male but it's his first born right so he's just taking back what is rightfully his! Caleb also took over Eli as my 'singleton,' he gets more than his fair share of attention these days. Caleb is all smiles, and the most ticklish of the trio.
Signature facial expression: he gives this confused and disgusted look a lot.
Eli (nickname: shmee, morphed from eli-shmee-li)
He's a very fast learner and the easiest to teach. He's the most sensitive and if he doesn't get my attention quickly enough or I tell him 'no' over something he'll run away to a corner and half way there he starts crying (all the boys do this but Eli by far does it the most). He's quite the stuffed animal affection-ado, his favorites include a small dog, small cat (Mrs. Meowmer Meows), and his big lion (Roarski). He goes to bed with one out of the three but usually it's Roarski and sometimes he won't let go of him when we get him up. He'll hold him through his diaper change first thing in the morning but as soon as he's down and playing with his brothers he forgets all about his lion so I scoop him up and put him back in his crib. We kind of treat Eli as the odd man out, but not in a bad way, I think it's because he started out with the most personality. For example, if we have three shirts that are similar, the one that is most silly or most different automatically goes to Eli. He's just a silly little guy and you'll notice he gets the biggest paragraph! He has his own adjectives that we came up with, like 'feeling shmeely,' 'that's so shmee,' or 'thats shmee-tastic." Once my singleton, now he's right in the middle like his birth order. He's the one that rejected formula and only wanted to nurse now has the least interest in nursing but as long as the other two nurse he will too! He likes to put his chin on his chest while he runs forwards, all the while making a funny sound. Phil and I call it the chicken dance (although he's not really dancing). He is still quite the dancer and does his signature side to side sway and more recently a shoulder shake. Sadly all the boys don't dance as much as they used to : ( but maybe I just need some new music?
Signature facial expression: he gets this either wide eyed or droopy eyed (depending on his mood), cheeky, yet innocent look about him
Thomas (nicknames: Mr. T, Thunder, Thunder bolt, Thunder bird, T bird, little T)
Thomas has been such a good boy lately and requires the least of my attention. We used to call him Mr. Confidence but when Caleb took over as alpha male he seems to have lost this title as well. Thomas claims it was the hair cut he got a few months ago, like when Samson lost all his powers when Delilah cut off his hair. He is the most cautious one of the bunch. He's become the enforcer of rules, when I yell at the other boys to get off the super yard fence because they are pounding on the t.v. he'll try to pull them down. But this is not to say he won't just as readily break the rules himself. He's become the NO natural light Nazi, as soon as he notices that the shutters on our window are open he closes them. We've all been deprived of natural light for the past several weeks, "no natural light for you!". When he gets frustrated he does this cute little dance where he stomps his feet and smacks his hands around. A stranger witnessed it happening and she thought it was cute too but I do feel bad for him when he gets frustrated (I think it's a new stage we're entering). Thomas runs in the cutest way ever, he looks kind of like Fred Flintstones in that he looks like he's running so fast but is hardly moving forward at all and at the same time he does this little high step. When it's time for lunch or dinner Eli and Caleb come running to me but Thomas runs away! He loves a good chase : )
Signature facial expression: raised eyebrows that makes him look very inquisitive and surprised