Who doesn’t rejoice at the prospect of travel? So long as the trip does not involve danger, vile germs or boredom, book me in, and right away, please. And yes, travel agent, thank you for inquiring as to whether I would like the Toddler Upgrade. But what, pray tell, is the Toddler Upgrade?

To which the travel agent cheerfully responds: A twenty-eight-pound escort will accompany you aboard your flight. For the last quarter of the trip, you will be required to stand in the aisles of the aircraft while your TU thrashes its legs, shrieking “Iwannalolly.” Even though you will have three lollies on your person, they very well may not be the color or design suited to your TU’s given temperament.

Who doesn’t rejoice at the prospect of travel?The TU includes, but is not limited to, vomiting episodes, incessant windowshade/food tray/overhead light tinkering. Oh, also in-flight magazine shredding, and, depending on your particular upgrade, maybe hair pulling and food hurling.

Who in their right mind would opt for the toddler upgrade? I wonder aloud. To which the travel agent smugly replies: Do you have a child under the age of two and a half?

I answer affirmatively.

Then (aha!) you already have opted for the Toddler Upgrade.

I patiently respond. I suppose so, but I do not choose to travel with her at this time. Well . . . actually, I have just traveled with her, and indeed, she is quite the Toddler Upgrade.

Hmmmm . . . (I ponder the coincidence).

Well, I forge forward, this toddler package is mine (spoken like a true mother of a toddler). You didn’t upgrade her to me, or me to her. She was born to my family—lollipop tantrums and all. And thanks for asking: she’s as adorable as she is, uh, enthused.

I find myself becoming irritated, and reprimand the travel agent.

Sir, the airlines have no right to impose the Toddler Upgrade on their customers. It’s the customer’s right and privilege to redeem the Toddler Upgrade wherever and however they choose—that is, if they so choose.

Don’t you dare impose toddler totalitarianism on unsuspecting individuals. A Toddler Upgrade is a warped privilege of sorts which must be earned. It is not for the faint of heart, the squeamish, or those flying without sufficient patience or sprinkled cookie reserves.

I do not stop to catch my breath.

It is not for those traveling without an overstuffed carry-on of pull-ups and newfangled toys that conspire a minute past midnight in a cacophony of automated singing.

It is most certainly not for those who naively believe that “toddler,” “flight” and “upgrade” can be grouped into the same sentence without an ensuing toddler ticker tape parade. And very sticky ticker tape, may I add.

It is not for the faint of heart, the squeamish, or those flying without sufficient patience or sprinkled cookie reservesLook, nothing personal, I huff, but may I please speak with your manager?

Ten toddler minutes later, I am speaking with a manager.

Ma’am, please excuse the mistake. Our airline actually offers the Newborn Premium Plan. The NPP provides extra pillows and blankets for you and your little one. A flight attendant will attend to your infant while you enjoy the five-star cuisine prepared exclusively for new moms.

Should other passengers disturb your rest, you will be reassigned to first-class seating. Complimentary vouchers for Toys“R”Us and Baby Gap will be provided upon your arrival.

The manager concludes on a triumphant note. Once you’ve earned seventy thousand NPP points—on average, it takes about two years—you are then eligible for the Toddler Upgrade. And you, our valued customer, gets to choose when you redeem the upgrade.

To which I laughingly respond: Oh, manager, you got it all wrong. The Toddler of said Toddler Upgrade chooses when and how I do anything—Toddler Upgrades included. And if you don’t already know that, sir, I suggest you earn yourself a Toddler Upgrade and get back to me if your phone isn’t being held hostage by a twenty-eight-pound, sippy-cup-wielding escort, bawling “Iwannalolly.”