Let us not, in this climate of flying hell, forget the TSA! Those ubiquitous overpaid and undertrained power mongers who 'guide' you through security.
If you are traveling alone with a small child, please choreograph the details of your security checkpoint well in advance!
I thought I had it down to a science. First, leaving Bubbles in the stroller, I removed the laptop and dvd player and sent the backpack through first. I put the electronics in a bin, removed both of our shoes, and then took off my jacket and put it through the scanner. Then, I took Bubbles out of the stroller, and while gripping him with one hand, I closed the stroller with my other hand and feet. Then I put the stroller through, put Bubbles in front of me, and wait to be waved through. Meanwhile, during all of this, there are impatient people huffing and shoving and sighing at the sheer amount of time it can take one person to do all of this. These angry people get sympathetic looks from the TSA people, who are apparently also annoyed with the sequence of events surrounding getting a toddler through security checkpoints as they sit and watch it all.
When we got back to the Minneapolis airport to catch our flight to Pittsburgh, I used my choreographed plan, but there was a small glitch.
As I was waiting to let Bubbles walk through the scanner ahead of me, a TSA woman demanded my boarding pass. I told her it was in my green jacket going through the scanner - I pointed to the jacket coming through on her end. She looked thoroughly put out. I pointed to Bubbles, said I didn't have a pocket, that I had too many things to hold on to.
She waved Bubbles through, then she waved me through. I reached for Bubbles' hand, and she grabbed my arm. "I need to see your boarding pass!" She demanded. I pointed to my jacket on the rollers - "It's in there!" I said. Right then, Bubbles took off like a two year old on speed (redundant, I know). I took off after him, leaving all of my belongings, and TSA woman yelled at a TSA guy to "STOP HER!" I was about to be tackled, and I yelled - "STOP HIM BEFORE YOU STOP ME - THAT'S MY BABY!" And the guy who had just about reached me, looked up and saw Bubbles running and laughing maniacally at all the commotion. He said "I didn't realize..." and let me grab Bubbles before he escorted me back to security. He apologized because he didn't realize I was chasing a baby - the TSA woman hadn't told him that part!
TSA woman gave me dirty looks when I returned, and I just muttered something about having had enough of incompetent assholes, and put myself and my stroller back together.
Scary, people. I think it will be a while before I try and cross the country alone with a child again.