I could handle childbirth. Could I handle flying with a baby?

I am not usually an anxious flyer. But this time we were headed south with an extra carry on — our 5-month-old son, Simon. (Bee Johnson/For The Washington Post)

I reassured myself as I walked to the check-in counter at Washington Dulles International Airport by running through my to do list. Passport? Check. Tickets? Check. Three hours allotted to make it to the gate? Check.

I am not usually an anxious flyer. I’ve made several international trips and annually trek to my husband’s native Trinidad to visit my in-laws. But this time we were headed south with an extra carry on — our 5-month-old son, Simon.

Secured in the carrier against my chest, Simon wiggled and whimpered to be free as I bounced on my toes and practiced my best apologetic face. I silently promised everyone I made eye contact with that I would drive to the Caribbean just as soon as a bridge was built. Next time, we’ll strap floaties to Simon’s arms and swim. Promise.

To compensate for my unpredictable traveling partner, I had thrown myself into controlling every other detail of our trip.

Since there is no direct flight from the Washington area to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, we had to choose a layover. While we usually go through Miami, for this trip we chose Orlando. It offered a perk — Walt Disney World. Surely a plane full of families headed to the most magical place on Earth would be forgiving.

Five-month-old Simon Rampersad was rewarded with mouse ears for good behavior during his first flight from the Washington area to Orlando. (Amy Orndorff/Special to The Washington Post)

I wished upon a star and kept planning.

[10 tips for travel bliss with kids — from a dad who spent 300 days on the road with his]

While my husband dealt with purchasing the tickets and filling out the paperwork for Simon’s passport, I consulted with other moms about how to make our first flight as a family as smooth as possible. First lesson: Leave the bigger, bulkier stroller at home. Sure it had plenty of pockets, cup holders and wheels that made for a smooth ride, but the simple Snap-N-Go would…

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