I took a trip. I took a trip to California. I took a trip to California with my toddler. I took a trip to California with my sick toddler. I took a trip to California with my sick toddler BY MYSELF…..and in my (carry-on) bags I packed:

• three small containers of Play-Doh
• Crayola twistable crayons
• two Curious George paperback books
• two Richard Scarry paperback books
• one board book (Sheep in a Jeep)
• several packages of Annie’s Gummi Bunnies
• four Matchbox cars still in their packaging
• a plastic baggie of small Tonka trucks
• an entire box of Healthy Time wheat, soy, and dairy free cookies
• tubs of cut up chicken, peas, squash, rice, and mandarin oranges
• sippy cups of water, goat’s milk, and juice
• a wedding-sized container of bubbles
• a travel-sized Hello Kitty magnet toy I got at a yard sale
• infant gas relief drops
• dye-free infant Motrin
• a small tube of hand lotion
• toothbrush and toothpaste
• two cuddly swaddle blankets
• one stuffed monkey named Jerome
• six or so Huggies Overnight diapers, wipes, and changing pad
• a full change of clothes for Josh (you never know)
• a paperback book for me (in case I’m blessed with a nap, didn’t happen)
• make-up, Visine, hand sanitizer, etc. inside the requisite quart-sized baggie

Have you ever played that game on a road trip? Where the next person recites the whole list and adds something else to the suitcase and you have to say it all back in the right order? Those were fun times.

Traveling alone to California on a non-direct flight through Phoenix with your not-quite two year-old child is not so fun. Fret not; you will see that there was no fruit leather packed, so I did not encounter any monstrous poop incident akin to the one we endured on our Washington trip. But did you catch those two pronouns? That would be the “we” and “our.” Yeah, that is a MAJOR distinction folks. Trying to get from one coast to another as a single adult in charge of a snotty, food-sensitive toddler is no joke.

Picture me in line for the security check: Josh is strapped to my chest, pushing the weight limit of the Baby Bjorn. The hand-me-down umbrella stroller is straining under the weight of the car seat that is topped off with a backpack filled to the brink with all of the aforementioned items. Except for the food, of course, that is all stuffed in a cooler bag that hangs from the back of the stroller. And without fail, I forget it’s there every single time I unload the seat of the stroller and the darn thing tips right over.

It went something like this: backpack into a gray tub. Nice person behind me in line notices I’m already sweating profusely and asks if they can help. They kindly heft the car seat onto the conveyor belt for me. Stroller falls over under the weight of the cooler bag. Remove bag, right stroller, and put green cooler bag in a tub. Clumsily collapse stroller and place it into the tunnel. Strip off jacket and put in tub. Remove freaked-out child from Bjorn. Place Bjorn into gray tub. Reply, “Of course,” when a harried business person asks if they can cut in front of me. Remove my shoes, Josh’s shoes and jacket, and place in a tub (how many tubs is that now?). Walk through scanner while holding Josh’s hand. Comfort him as he screams when the alarm goes off because I forgot to remove my belt (another gray tub). Assure security personnel that it is fine for them to open all the sippy cups and tubs of food to make sure they are not contaminated with explosives. Replace twenty-six pound child onto body and reassemble towering stroller.

I will (for now) spare you the details of the next twelve or so exhausting hours before we reached our final destination. People were very kind, there was only one on-board meltdown, and the bubbles were a BIG hit (thanks Beth and Bobby; do not leave home without them!)

But think on the fact that he had to come to the bathroom with me on the plane. That teeny-tiny, stinky, disgusting bathroom. Yep, fun times.