UUp at the crack of dawn to try and get the timing of the baby’s nap to coincide with the plane taking off. But she, like a pet dog, knows there is something big afoot. She would rather walk around than eat breakfast.

At Sydney Airport: First send in handsome son-in-law to check-in counter. We get a big smile from airline lady and get assigned seats with lots of extra empty seats around us. Cool! Then when we hit the queue for border control with the little one in the lead, a nice official tickles her chin and hurries us through, bypassing the crowds.

Having a toddler seems to be a major advantage so far…

We take off on time and settle in. Clearly no one in the American Academy of Pediatrics has ever flown with a toddler. ‘No screens until Two’ indeed! Hah! Peppa Pig keeps her nice and quiet.

Two hours in the air, a breastfeed and we get a 2-hour nap (she never naps for 2 hours!), her parents watch movies. This is so easy! (Note to self: download app of the white noise of Boeing 777 for the future).

Then she’s awake and wants to walk up and down the aisle, and up and down, and up and down. Then she reads a book about Sophie, watches videos of herself, and is found sucking on a small bottle of hand steriliser, alcohol-based. She seems very cheerful. Hmm.

Another feed, another several books and she is put in her carrier and at 7.29pm falls asleep. 7.30pm someone walks past, she wakes up. So more walking and singing and she finally falls asleep while on the move. Then is S-L-O-W-L-Y transferred to seat. She then stays asleep for a few hours. Wow!

Then wakes for more fun and games and suddenly we have arrived in LA.

There a toddler is a gift that just keeps on giving. In the border control area there appears to be thousands of people milling about and standing in lines that zig and zag towards the far distant counters. Her daddy hoists up his toddler and we are noticed and pushed to the front. The nice heavily starched officer asks a few cursory questions with his soft eyes firmly on the child who, on cue, smiles winningly at him and we are through.

We then have an express exit card thrust into our hands and we breeze through customs clearance.

Everyone should travel with a toddler. If you haven’t one of your own,  borrow somebody else’s!