This is Natalie.
When people ask me how we tell the difference between the twins, I run through the tangible list - Natalie's a little bit taller, their hairlines are different, Natalie sucks her fingers so her smile profile is different.
But there's also the intangible stuff. Their voices are different. They laugh differently. Noelle's feelings are more easily hurt, but Natalie holds a grudge longer. Natalie is more of a girly-girl, while Noelle wants to be the boy in all the games they play. Noelle stays up forever; Natalie recognizes and embraces her need for sleep (which really endears her to her tired old mom). Noelle has a longer attention span; Natalie seems more flighty. Noelle frequently has a slightly bruised expression, while Natalie almost always looks like she's up to something. Thus the twinkle and the devilish grin in the picture above.
And the list goes on.
One of the bigger differences right now is that Noelle seems to have a better memory for detail, having the ability to memorize books, prayers, and songs word for word. It was Noelle's gift for words, in fact, that convinced me that she might be ready to read. She was the first one to demonstrate an interest in reading, and to tell the truth, I really didn't think Natalie would be able to keep up with her. On this point, thankfully, I was mistaken, and they are both making excellent progress.
Where Noelle is meticulous with words, one particular quirk of Natalie's is the way she mixes words up. Instead of "forgot," for instance, she will say, "gotfor," as in: "Mom, you gotfor buy my favorite cereal at the store!"
One afternoon, on the way to Bible study, her lips got tangled up and no matter how many times she tried to say "Bible study," each time it came out "Bubby." This struck us as so funny that now our twice-weekly meetings are forever referred to as "The Bubby."
Which brings me to the final point of this post. Today something startled Natalie, and she turned to me in exasperation and exclaimed, "That scared me out of a crap!"
Apparently, the phrases "holy crap" and "you scared the crap out of me" are used too commonly around this house. I didn't know whether to laugh or hang my head in shame.