COVID AND THE ACCIDENTAL AUTHOR

Charlie Golding is a mum on a mission to help children better understand the world we are living in right now. When The World Went Inside is a beautifully written children’s book, perfect for starting conversations with our little ones about life inside a pandemic. Charlie shares her story here xx


It was an ordinary bike ride in an extraordinary time.

At least that was what I was aiming for. If I could get out of the house.My 3 year old clung to the door frame, crying and refusing to leave; as I wrapped him in my arms and felt his heaving wracking sobs against my chest it dawned on me that this was no ordinary tantrum. This kid was frightened. As I held and shushed him, he finally started to talk. As the mumbles became more coherent it dawned on me what was going on. And with that realisation came a bolt of ice through my heart.IMG_2239

He was scared of COVID-19. 

At just 3 years old he was unable to discern between a virus which he could manage and control, and a monster which was hiding behind the bushes, just waiting to leap out and grab him!

This was March 2020, and COVID was just starting to get real in Victoria.

I had missed the memo about Doomsday prepping. In February I was living my best life as a working Mumma to three glorious dirtbags. I simply popped my proverbial fingers in my ears every time someone mentioned the dirty C-Word. Whilst I definitely enjoyed the virus memes and toilet paper jokes, all of that was safely contained within the internet. I was living in the real world – and it wasn’t going to affect me. 

IMG_2020

And then one day I walked into the supermarket and came eye ball to eye ball with a terrifying figure in a full HAZMAT suit and gas mask. I looked around me and the aisles were empty. My core chilled and I wanted to cry. Except I couldn’t, some bastard had just made off with the last box of tissues.

Suffice it to say that I didn’t handle the start to COVID well. However, as I sat in my hallway holding my sobbing baby boy, I realised that whatever I did next – I had to aim higher for the kids. 

At this stage of the crisis very little existed to help children understand COVID-19. Hell, there was very little out there for the adults. But I dug deep and came up with a Tumble Science podcast. The kids reacted enthusiastically and we listened to it again and again. They loved the science behind it – learning how the virus had mutated and where it came from meant something to them.

IMG_2460.jpg

But you can’t cuddle up with a Podcast. In our family we use bedtime stories as a springboard to deeper conversations; I’ve used fictional books to cover topics on history, sex, gender, race and equality. The story never covers everything there is to talk about but provides a baseline that propels the conversation forward. Naturally, my first instinct had been to go looking for a friendly family text; but being so early in the pandemic one didn’t yet exist.

Believe me, my immediate reaction was not to put my hand up to write one! I had a job, and a family and a crisis to deal with, after all! However, COVID-19 was dominating our conversations. I realised that the more we spoke about it, the more reassured we all felt. I communicate openly, it comes as second nature to engage children in honest yet challenging conversations. However, my locked-down friends were telling me that they weren’t sure how to have these talks. How much information to provide and what to withhold? After all, what information do little brains need? Can we damage inherent innocence by laying it all out too honestly?Microscope

My experience tells me that children will only absorb what they are ready to hear. If you talk confidently and provide facts reassuringly then you can trust kids to take from that conversation what they need. 

When The World Went Inside is our lockdown story.

It’s an illustrated book for children that emerged from our lived experience. It’s a powerful story told simply, written with the hope that children would see their own experiences mirrored within the pages and feel less alone. 

Hot on the heels of this global health crisis, is a mental one. There’s a lot that 2020 has asked of our little ones – from stopping and starting school, to living life as never before. Thankfully, they’re resilient little critters. 

Every time I hear from a parent or teacher about their child’s reaction to the book, my heart soars. Parents we’ve got this!!!

The creative world has stepped up and there’s now a toolkit of resources out there to help guide your conversations with your children; maybe my book will be one of them. However, my purpose for writing this is to plead with you to prioritise your mental health, whatever that looks like. Our children need us happy, healthy and whole. With us standing strong by their side they’ll continue to thrive, no matter what the world has in store.

IMG_2086


 

About When The World Went Inside

Learn how to stay safe and keep having fun in a world with COVID-19. This fun and beautifully illustrated book is best for kids aged 3-10 years old. If you’re parenting in a pandemic then join in the chatter in the socials!

www.whentheworldwentinsidebook.com

Facebook instagram

Tumble Science link: https://www.sciencepodcastforkids.com/blog

 

Life, Loves and Lockdown

Lockdown is well underway *again here in Melbourne so it’s a perfect time to see how others are doing it!! Here’s a sneaky peek at ‘Lockdown Life’ from Melbourne’s best local biz cheerleader, charity fundraiser and all round good human!

Liz1

Liz Paganoni – Life Loves & Liz 

Staying home and not having to interact with others face to face, is the stuff Liz’s dreams are made of. Mostly. Wow. Is Liz a crazy lady? Sort of! She is an introverted homebody, so lockdown isn’t that uncomfortable for her in all honesty.

I’m now going to stop referring to myself in third person, because ‘weird’, and delve a little deeper into the situation. I’ll start with a brief introduction. My name is Liz. I’m a wife to Tom and mum to three babes, Ella (11), Alex (10) and Anna (about to have an iso 7th birthday).  We are a fairly regular family. We work hard, and we play hard! We enjoy spending time with friends and family, we love food and drinks and hanging out together.

Liz9

When Lockdown 1.0 hit, we were in the midst of a bit of a health crisis. Given it wasn’t mine, I’m not going to go into it any more, but suffice to say ‘Lockdown’ was somewhat of a blessing in disguise. We were able to block out all outside pressures and work through what happened as a family. Gone were the external pressures of work, school, sport and social things that pretty much kept us busy 7 days a week. So, it was a great chance to heal. On the flip side, not being able to access outside help was hard. Thankfully, with the assistance of a medical team (via phone), friends and family and plenty of messages, we were able to deal, and I am actually somewhat grateful for the lockdown. It was like a giant pause button had been pressed and we had time to stop.

Lockdown wasn’t all healing and dealing though, we also had the time to do other stuff, like clean out the pantry…and the plastics cupboard….and all the other totally boring stuff that ordinarily, the craziness of life helps you to put off.  

For the kids, not going to school was HUGE. They’re all baby nerds and absolutely love school so they were devastated at not being able see their teachers and friends every day.

Liz8When the whispers of no school first began, we whipped up some lists and schedules quick smart and got into a great routine. We all had chores to do every day, we all had time allotted for exercise and we all made time for work. The most important aspect for us was the exercise component, making sure the kids (and I) got outside each and every single day for fresh air and movement. It’s easy to forget how much incidental exercise kids do every single day at school, before school and during play times as they run around doing whatever. 

On the subject of school, we are really lucky. Our kids LOVE school (I’m yelling that out because that is how they actually feel about school), so remote learning wasn’t all that bad for us. Ella and Alex are very self motivated, sat down every day and smashed out their work. I’m so grateful for these two and how well they did over the period. Anna was a bit harder to work with but at that age, it’s to be expected. She’s in grade 1 and I’ve discovered she likes things done a certain way, at a certain time on a certain day. And boy, if you deviate from this unknown schedule, things are not going to be done! However, she must have learnt something as her reading has skyrocketed right up to grade 2 level.  #WinningLiz4

I could probably write a 1000 page thesis on my thoughts about lockdown and iso but BORING. I guess my main points about getting through lockdown (which is actually me living my best homebody life) are these;

  • View it is an opportunity. An opportunity to ditch all the external pressures that take up so much time. An opportunity to bond as a family. An opportunity to clean the bloody plastics cupboard out.
  • Schedule your days. Schedule in chores. (The kids are home more thus can do more chores).  Work in exercise/movement time (we found 2 x 1hr blocks within the day worked for us and work/school blocks. Having a schedule means you don’t turn into a PJ wearing couch potato *not good for your physical, mental or emotional health.
  • Set goals. This time round I’ll be walking every single day working up to running. You can check up on me on Strava if you like (Liz Paganoni) and keep me accountable! Walking each day means I have at least an hour away from the kids, self care, which helps me stay sane. 24/7 with the kids is hard right?! I also have work goals too. Lockdown is a great opportunity to work on things you might not normally have time for.
  • Make friends with online shopping…. and your local bottle shop. But also make sure you have AFD’s each week…because, balance! Buy from local businesses who have probably had the worst year ever between bushfires and COVID. You have plenty of time on your hands to find rad new biz’s to support after all! Spread the word of the local businesses you use. They will love you for it and you’ll feel good to.
  • Check in with others. Introvert or not, you still need to interact with others. A text convo here, a Zoom chat there, it benefits both parties. Make it a goal to chat to a different person each day?

liz3

Lockdown is hard but we’ve done it once and we can do it again, as long as we support each other. I believe in you all. And if I can help in any way, please let me know.

Liz xxx 

You can follow Liz and her journey through life, loves and Lockdown via her website and on her socials below xx

instagram.pngFacebook