Biggest anxiety I had about flying solo with MLP? When would I get to pee???? With kid in a carrier, answer is: whenever I can get out of my seat. As MLP grows up (ow ow my heart gets squeezed when I type that) there are new things to cope with while traveling.

Yesterday was Mellow Little Person’s 29th time on a plane, our 19th time just the two of us. Since MLP now walks, walking is THE THING TO DO. AT ALL TIMES. This makes being a lap child a little more, shall we say, challenging. Some tips from multiple solo trips:

1) Maybe you love a stroller for your little person. We are carrier types, especially in transit. Baby in the front, backpack in the back. Backpack contains kid toiletries, grownup toiletries, snacks, diapers, wipes, spare onesie and pants, and most importantly a bag of toys. I would say that I carried a book to read but I almost can’t finish typing this that is such a ridiculous suggestion.

2) We have discovered that whoever wears MLP can pass through the x-ray and then on the other side, have our paws swiped. It adds three minutes, but lets you pass through with both hands free. Wear a jacket with multiple pockets, which you can stuff with everything that needs to pass through x-ray and in to a bin.

3) Keeping carrier strapped around waist and backpack on shoulders, release little person to run around on airport floor. Germophobic? Suck it up on this one. Keep wipes in a pocket. If tot is crawling only, put socks on hands. Possibly burn socks after. The energy expended by your little person makes up for sticky surfaces that scare you. The more your tornado toddler runs around pre-flight, the less you have to wrestle kiddo in-flight.

4) Things that make great toys: lids of plastic cups, plastic cups, water bottles, tray tables, window shades, the buttons that turn the overhead lights on and off.

5) Attempt to strike a balance between consideration for your fellow passengers and martyrdom- absolutely do everything you can to prevent actual physical interference with your flight companions but don’t apologize for every squeak- I would have lost my voice. Yesterday’s flight was, I believe, my introduction to life as a stepladder. We had gracious neighbors all around us, so MLP’s occasional cry-whine-fuss outbursts were tolerated with zero external show of annoyance. THANK YOU NEIGHBORS.

6) Even if initially a flight attendant seems grumpy (they are human. Give them a break.) BE NICE. BE NICE TO THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS. They are the single most likely folks on the plane to give you a sympathetic smile.

7) Every flight has endpoint. Even if you have the hardest trip ever and everything goes wrong (I wish that on NOBODY AT ALL EVER) the trip will come to an end and you will survive.