By Hannah Wong
I have, essentially, spent every day, twenty-four seven with Tiny Human for 20 months (including the 9 months in utero). I’ve met and jumped over the typical obstacles that came my way, including: figuring out how to use my boobs as a feeding utensil and ways to settle the breast engorgement (feeling like a botched boob job); surviving on very little sleep; handling poo explosions; the teething conundrum; getting through the minefield that is weaning and the list, most certainly, goes on and on. We’ve literally been joined to the hip (ok, so not anatomically correct) and I so desperately needed to feel like myself again. I need some of my own time and I needed to interact with someone that would talk back to me! I was ready for this – or so I thought.
As I kissed (smothered) my Tiny Human goodbye, I felt a weight being lifted (approximately 26lbs). This was the day I could return to my life, pre-Tiny Human, back at Strathy.
When I met my new year’s cohort, there were more faces and names to put together than my baby brain could handle. I swear, I can no longer function properly. I’ve also suddenly started form sentences like a small child: I’m not intelligible, at all, but maybe that’s the nerves (or so I keep telling myself). I’m thinking, where do I fit in here? Most of my new classmates, with the few exceptions, are all in their late teens and are at a different stage in their lives from me. Although, I’m not sure what stage I’m at but it feels like limbo. I can’t relate to them completely, I can’t go out spontaneously like I could before (they invited me out that very same day, for example, and I couldn’t just say yes). I have to plan things precisely nowadays otherwise the day just won’t work. By the end of the day, I’m desperate to hold my tiny human in my arms, like I’ve already forgotten what she felt like to hold. I’m becoming more unsettled and impatient. I feel a need to get home.
There was a huge wave of relief when I saw my Tiny Human, she turned around and gave me the biggest smile I have ever seen, but, of course, she carried on playing like I hadn’t been gone at all. I couldn’t help but feel slightly disgruntled because she is handling the transition so much better than I am.
I thought I had some of my freedom back in going back to university. I thought I could slide back into my old life like I did my old jeans, but I’m not filled with the feeling of freedom, something else spoils me: guilt. Am I abandoning her? Have I been selfish? Am I not spending enough time with her anymore? Will she’ll fall in love her childminder and grandparents and not want to come home with me?
…Am I the child in need of a minder?