When Dallas’s dad and I decided to have our wedding ceremony in Mexico, we knew it wouldn’t be like previous trips spent sitting by the pool sipping Cuba Libres at 10 a.m., taking naps to sleep off the morning mimosa buzz and enjoying copious amounts of uninterrupted peace and quiet.

What we also knew was that this year we would see Mazatlán through Dallas’s miniature sun glasses and that we would have memories and pictures as a family like never before to last a lifetime.

My main focus: the plane. I read all the mommy blogs.  I armed myself with window clings, plastic dinosaurs, sticker books, his favorite movie (“The Secret Life Of Pets”) and his very own headphones. Ping pong balls and red Solo cup shot glasses he could stack and drop balls in to.  We inquired with the doctor about using Benadryl.  I found a neat “quiet book” on Amazon — a fabric book adorned with shoe laces, velcro, shapes and colors, and push buttons. I purchased SPF swim gear, a beach tent, sand toys, chemical free sunscreen, water shoes. All of the necessities.

I am happy to report the plane ride went well. We were seated in the very back of the plane, and with nobody behind us we felt more comfortable, less faces to study and (fingers crossed) less judgement. First we flew to LA. Window clings kept him occupied most of the flight. Good thing I had two large sheets of them because bending over to reach a sticker under the seat is never going to happen when buckled in to an airplane seat.

At times he was restless, hopping back and forth between his dad and me. We stayed calm and used distraction techniques and snacks.

I forgot about the snacks. Dallas was munching on Goldfish, Ritz crackers, Annie’s gummy snacks and granola bars — all the genetically modified flavors he had never experienced before.

We attempted Benadryl at the airport and he spit it out just as quickly as we could get it in his mouth. He took a quick 30-minute nap in my arms, which wasn’t much considering we got up at 3 a.m. but any mom of a toddler knows a quick nap is better than no nap at all.

Between flights we strapped on the backpack leash and let him run around the airport, when he resisted the leash he would sit down abruptly causing us to bust out the carrier.  Smashing a 19-month-old in an Ergo carrier is a no-brainer when containing them is absolutely necessary. We were pleasantly surprised by how many grins and adoring glances we were given. Smiles all around watching Heavy D strut his stuff through the airport. He had fun running in to Sephora countless times and flirting with the makeup girls during our layover.

When it was time to get on the flight at LAX, we had hope the next flight would go as well or better, and it did.

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There were at least three toddlers on the plane. Dallas enjoyed playing peek-a-boo with a sweet little one behind us, and even shared his dinosaurs and window clings to help entertain her as well. He didn’t fuss too much while going through customs and we were so relieved.

My next worry was the ride from the airport to the hotel sans car seat.  Now that we have been here 10 days, we have taken him in half a dozen taxis, shuttles and pulmonias and he’s fascinated with the experience. I am certain the minute we strap him in to his car seat leaving Seattle he’s gonna be totally over it.

What I couldn’t have prepared myself for was a double ear infection seven days before our trip.  This left me worrying about his ears on the flight and kicked my anxiety up a notch. Ten days of amoxicillin was administered before our departure and Heavy D seemed to be on the mend. So we thought.

What family trip is complete without outrageous tantrums and a house call from the doctor? A thermometer up the butt wasn’t a welcomed experience but it did the trick. Tylenol wasn’t cutting his fever and waking up to a screaming, vomiting baby at 3 a.m. in a strange place can bring you to tears faster than you think.

Be optimistic
Don’t you be a grumpy
When the road gets bumpy
Just smile
(Smile and be happy)

The silver lining.  We were told by the amazing local doctor (who we paid only $50 for a house call) that Dallas is on his fifth ear infection because his father or I are carriers for strep. It may be dormant in our bodies, but his little immune system has been picking it up constantly, causing bacterial infections which move in to his ears.  Although he has had rounds of amoxicillin it hasn’t scratched the surface, leaving D with a resistance to antibiotics.

When we get back to Washington a culture and study are very necessary. I’ll let you know how the plane ride home goes.

We have had to dig deep and pull out all the patience we could muster. We have cried and taken turns being strong. Most of all we have learned that a two-week vacation in a different country with a toddler is not easy and two weeks just may be too damn long, especially once the in-laws leave.

Grandma is on speed-dial for a much needed break when we get home.

I should mention before I let you go that there’s been heart melting moments too. We have enjoyed Spanish cartoons, the beach, and it’s been a joy to see Dallas through Grandpa’s eyes. We’re holding onto the tender moments every time a tantrum strikes, which has happened more than I care to admit. We have Skyped Grandma at 2 a.m. and she’s talked us down when we can hardly bear it any longer.

Would we do it again? Yes. How soon you ask? Way too early to say. Prayers for a speedy recovery and strength for Mom and Dad are welcomed.

On the plus side, our wedding was dreamy and the little champ slept through the whole thing. Oh, and a bald eagle flew overhead when Cody and I saw each other for the first time, and Cody got s**t on by a bird. They says that’s good luck and lord knows we need all the luck we can get. I see you dad, Ten four.

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