31st December 2019. Almost midnight. The rest of the world planned to welcome the New Year. My infant daughter and I were wide awake in the bedroom. Unlike others, we stayed up for a different reason.
I returned to India in early 2019 for my delivery. We landed in Singapore on 31st December morning, five months after I gave birth. From the start, my daughter looked happy in her baby carrier as we stepped onto the flight from India. Her excited and cheerful mood remained the same when we drive back to where we stayed in Singapore.
Unfortunately, all hell broke loose when I switched off the lights to tuck her in bed. She neither fell asleep nor wanted to lie in bed. To comfort her, I took her in my arms and strolled around the bedroom. However, my efforts made no difference.
It took me some time to realise that the change in the ambience caused her cranky mood. She was no longer in the same bed she had shared with me for the last five months in India. I was pretty surprised to see how even a five-month-old could distinguish and respond to the changes in her surroundings.
As months passed, I realised what happened that night was just the tip of the iceberg. Bringing up a child in a foreign land (and that too during the COVID-19 pandemic) might sound like a royal affair to my folks back in India. But the reality was something else.
Image Source: iStock
Being Homesick While I Raised My Child
Bonding with the rest of the clan back in India was what I missed for my child. Additionally, the pandemic made the situation worse. She only interacted with her parents, grandparents (stuck in Singapore because of the closed borders), and occasional video calls on WhatsApp.
This confinement within the four walls resulted in my daughter’s obsession with cartoon channels. Meanwhile, I was busy with household chores. Because of this, I struggled to cut down her screen time.
I Tried to Teach Her My Culture While in a Different Country
I came from a land where one festival or another ruled our lives throughout the year. While there, I would have no problem exposing my daughter to these festivities abroad. Unfortunately, living abroad made this an arduous task. I raised my child, attempting to give her an enriching experience.
To her, the deity of Durga was another version of her favourite cartoon character. No matter how much I introduced her to our culture and tradition here, it could never match the madness and fun-filled atmosphere back home.
My biggest fear was my daughter not knowing how to read and write in her mother tongue. I could not find any study material to teach her our native language here. But, of course, I didn’t expect to come across any either. How can I say that I raised my child successfully if she knows nothing about my culture?
My Last-ditch Efforts
My last resort was the free PDF download from Google. Sadly, each time I tried to make her familiar with the Bengali alphabet, she would switch to the YouTube app and watch cartoons.
The facilities my daughter received here in terms of education and medical facilities were worthwhile, though. Still, she was away from her roots. This detachment used to disturb me now and then.
However, ever since she started going to school and the borders re-opened, I was looking forward to bridging this gap and giving her the best of both worlds.
Moumita De Sarkar lives in Singapore with her husband and daughter. She is a storyteller and a blogger. Her blogging genre revolves around parenting and lifestyle topics.
DISCLAIMER: This article was prepared or submitted by a content contributor. The opinions expressed in this article are based on the author’s view. They do not directly reflect the views of theAsianparent and its affiliates.
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