When Covid-19 lockdowns started in my hometown in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, I turned my hand to varied tasks. Like many others, I painted a guest room, re-oiled the outdoor furniture and tidied most of the cupboards and drawers.
I had been looking after my grandchildren two days a week since they had been born nearly a decade ago, and that came abruptly to an end as my daughter responsibly decided that she wanted to protect our health. Two days a week for the last 10 years of my life had been spent planning food, activities, outings and loads of fun and games with these two children – and their absence left a big gap in my life. Further to that, school canteen duties, ballet runs and school community activities also came to a grinding halt.
However, while it had been a decade of my life, it had been the children’s whole life. How unsettling for them to have the routine that had been part of every week of their lives cease so abruptly. There wasn’t the natural out-growing of coming to my place – just a sudden stop! Their solid foundations were starting to feel a bit wobbly. On Facetime they would ask me, “Nanna can I come to your place?” and “Nanna, when can we come to your place again?” and, although I am a clinical psychologist with a lot of experience working with children, I struggled to answer those questions.
So, I decided to write them a book called Villony Virus Comes to Town . The book introduces the family and then describes how Villony Virus and his army of nasty bugs come to town. The story then explains all the changes that had to take place while the people in the town fought the virus. It gives the children hope as the scientists work on a vaccine and provides some simple strategies to assist children to understand and manage their feelings. Naturally, there is specific mention of grandparents!
The book worked very well with my grandchildren, but as I watched those around me also struggling, I decided to publish the book. How interesting at my stage in life to have to learn so much about the publishing world (although I am still very much a novice). The feedback from people who have purchased the book has been extremely positive from psychologists, teachers, parents, grandparents and most importantly, from children.
It is very rewarding for me that I can offer this bit of help to families during such turbulent and disrupted times, however I am keen to let as many people as possible know that the book exists. I hope people can keep spreading the word that the book is available, so that those who feel they would benefit can get a copy for their families. Some people have told me they have bought a copy for younger children as a souvenir of the pandemic. Grandparents who normally travel interstate for school holiday baby-sitting have not been able to travel; many grandparents have not yet been able to meet new grandbabies; and regular ‘minders’ like myself have had to make big adjustments.
Children don’t always understand these changes.
The book is available from most online sellers such as Amazon or Fishpond, but the prices vary, so it is good to shop around. Villony Virus Comes to Town has a Facebook page of that name with more information.
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