The transfer window - Mind The Baby

The transfer window

I cannot stress strongly enough that this is not a post about soccer.

You can fit on a postage stamp everything that I know about football. You can also narrow it down to international soccer tournaments between 1988 – 1990 that have the soundtrack of “put em under pressure” and “give it a lash Jack” belting in the background.

But I am procuring the term for a different context. Because the transfer window in parenting does require a level of not just skill but also practice, visualisation and mental rehearsal. I am of course referring to that delicate, delicate time when the child has accidentally fallen asleep in the back of the car.

The transfer window is a very real thing. Getting it right means the difference between a blissfully unaware sleeping child transferring seamlessly to their bed, and the almightiest, crankiest, sleep-deprivation induced screaming fit of a tantrum if they are accidentally aroused from their slumber. Oh indeed, fuck it up at your peril.

The success is twofold. First, making the decision to stay or go. Staying means sitting in the car once you reach your destination and waiting the nap out. This might seem like an attractive option because you might be listening to something interesting on the radio or fancy catching up on a bit of social media “me time” while you have the chance. You’re making one fatal error however. You no longer have the gentle vibration of the car engine that sent your child to sleep in the first place. The nap is going to end sooner than you think but also sooner than they’d like – so anticipate worst case scenario here. Now you might be tempted to keep the engine running in a bid to fake it, but you lose again because although you have the noise and vibration, you don’t have the motion. You’re gambling high stakes here and you’re probably going to lose.

Then again, if might seem like the more attractive option to deciding to go.

This is when the “transfer” part of the transfer window kicks in proper. Never has the expression “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” been quite so apt. Really for maximum chances of success, you need two bodies to pull this off – one to go first and open all doors, draw curtains and pull back bedclothes; the other to gently, gently lift the sleeping body from their car seat and into the bed.

If you’re on your own, your chances of success significantly diminish. Believe me there is no sexism in this next statement, purely an recognition of genetics: if you are a man, the transfer window is likely to go better for you. By your very manliness, you have greater powers of strength and usually girth to pull off the scoop and run. Basically what you’re trying to achieve here is the smallest amount of unnecessary movement. The replication of some class of a hoverboard, if you will. The smoother the physical transfer the less likely there will be awakenings. Think “sack of spuds” and then do it.

In all honesty though, the best strategy of all is avoiding the transfer window at all costs. Sometimes, driving 50 miles past your destination to facilitate a full length nap is worth the wasted petrol than the scenes of carnage at the site of the alternative. Only sometimes though. Other times it just all goes badly.

And then you’ll need a nap. But you won’t get one. Because you fucked up the transfer window.

Featured photo credit: P.S. that is not my gigantic car. In fact it looks like a mini bus. Also, that is not my smiling happy child delighted, it would appear, to be transferring from a beast of a car to his bed in the middle of a nap.

14 thoughts on “The transfer window”

  1. Ha ha love this!Mini is a great sleeper and we had no problem transferring her to cot from seat.Her sister is another kettle of fish altogether.There have been times when I’ve just left her in the car seat.Of course that led to guilt about her spine possibly becoming deformed cos you’re not supposed to leave babies in them seats for that very reason but fuck it,when you need a break you take it anywhere you can get it!

    1. Good woman Wonderful Wagon! Any opportunity is a nap opportunity. When he was much smaller, I used to write blog posts on my phone while he slept in the back 🙂

  2. I’m so glad we are past this stage. My son would stay asleep even with the car stopped, so I kept a book in the glove compartment for just this reason. In this location, though, the weather is also an issue because if it’s summer, staying in a parked car is not an option, even with the windows open.

    My daughter, however, always woke up as soon as the car stopped. There was no window. Possibly she wasn’t actually asleep. Ever.

  3. Love this! We tend to have the same thing coming in from walks when he’s in the buggy, as the car seat is his seat in the travel system at the moment and we need to take it apart to come up the two sets of stairs. He’ll be conked out from the walk and the second we click the latch to free the car seat from the stroller the eyes shoot open 🙁 Have been tempted to camp out in the lobby just to get a further half hours quiet!

  4. This is oh so familiar to me at the moment! Luckily we can manage to get him from the car to the bed without too much disturbance, a whimper or 2 as we go upstairs but I have learnt my lesson in terms of preparing. Whenever we head out at a time where a nap may occur in the car, I leave the bed covers pulled down, pillows ready and the 2nd bear on the bed (just in case we drop the 1st one in transit or something!)

  5. Ah I remember this well. For the first few children it was a major deal, but as I go busier with a lot more children I became a lot more lax. I left “sleeping dogs lie” and, wait for it, put the kids in charge ( all three ten year olds) They played outside and had to tell me when she woke up, as I semi relaxed in the kitchen doing dinner, homework or whatever.
    Number three woke the second the car stopped. I still haven’t forgiven her!
    Loved this post. Well done.

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