We didn't think it would be possible to love another little being as much as your big brother. We had no idea how a tiny infant would fit into our Batman-costume-filled afternoons and superhero-stunt mornings.
But then we met. It was 10:45am and I knew in that very instant that unless you, my darling Axel, made an appearance in the next 20 seconds, I was going to get up, crawl out of St. Mary's and be the only woman in history to cancel birth during labor.
And then you cried. And we cried. Well, Pappa almost fainted -- as he did when Curtis arrived -- but I was prepared for that the second time around.
Fast forward through Yo Gabba Gabba fetishes, sleepless nights and a persistence perseverance of the love of OJ and here we are, just days before your third birthday.
Now you're tall and funny, sweet and loving and always adoring of your big brother. You love your scooter, the battery-powered Thomas ride-along and any pants that can be labeled as "cozy." You're admirably addicted to dressing yourself, even if it means spending long minutes wrestling with your outfit before it agrees to be pulled on. You still have your "babies" in a corner of your room, but it's been months since you've truly played that game.
Now it's more about being faster and best and bestest. About keeping up with Curtis during backyard bughunts, emulating any iPad games so effortlessly played by big brother, and -- through it all -- staying forever loyal and true to Apa and Mimi, although the latter is saved for bedtime snuggles.
My most favorite little baby brother, Axel: happy delicious birthday. And thank you for adding a little empathy, coziness and three-year-old smarts to our every day.