Outie or Innie: Alex and James Stafford

By SAMANTHA HURST

With soft blond hair and blue eyes, it’s difficult telling identical twin brothers Alex and James Stafford apart.

Even their mother Julia needs specific cues to distinguish the 5-year-olds.

“When they come in I have to tell them, ‘Now you’re going to have to talk to Mommy … which one are you?” Julia said.

Stafford said even their preschool teacher, who had been teaching 15 years, seemed baffled. Stafford said the boys do have their own unique traits.

James has a higher-pitched voice, while Alex has a deeper tone. One has an “outie” belly button and the other an “innie.”

Twins do run in their family with one or two sets on both sides. The Staffords never expected twins, though. They already have an 8-year-old daughter, Shelby.

“I always laugh and say my husband and I always wanted two children but God decided we needed three,” Stafford said.

Like many mothers of twins, Julia originally dressed the boys alike. She now often dresses Alex in blue and James in red to limit confusion at school. But sometimes the boys work to keep confusion high.

“Alex, you wear this too, and we’ll trick our teachers,” James said one morning before vacation Bible school.

The boys have incredibly individual personalities, Stafford said.

“I always explain James as the kid who is always doing his own thing. He is a very free spirit – everything is funny,” Stafford said. “Alex is a little more reserved but he is also extremely hard-headed. He wants to do what he wants to do.”

Julia said she and her husband have and always will try to recognize the boys as individuals.

“I think as they get older it will be really important to keep that individuality in check and keep the competition between them down when there are areas when one excels more than the other,” Julia said.