Progress Notes: There will be one final Chapter dealing with the Hogwarts years and beyond, but I've had to put writing Molly on hold for a while. I'm at a block for this last chapter and need to write other things while that sorts itself out. Thank you for reading. I've enjoyed your reviews tremendously. -Tante
Molly Weasley's Practical Guide to Magical Childcare
We at Witch Weekly Publishing are tremendously proud to present the writings of the lovely and accomplished Mrs Arthur Weasley, mother of seven, twice named Witch Weekly's Mother of the Year. Molly graciously shares with us her tips and secrets to raising wizard children in the next of our book series on household helps begun by the talented and charming Gilderoy Lockhart. We are sure parents of all ages will find Molly's advice helpful and encouraging. As always, we make no claims of ownership to any of Ms Rowling's delightful characters.
Congratulations on your decision to have children. Parenthood is one of the most rewarding, if underpaid, careers available to the intelligent witch and wizard. Of course you're exhausted, every new parent is. Caring for a child is incredibly demanding work, but the rewards of the heart are thousand-fold.
My humble offering to you is a chronological guide to charms I've found most useful at the various stages you'll experience with your child. More than anything, enjoy each stage. These early years with your children are fleeting and wondrous. All too quickly, they grow up and then move out to remote locations around the world like Romania and Egypt where they rarely get leave and refuse to settle down and have grandchildren. So appreciate the presence of a baby in your home while you've got one. I can truly say that I've enjoyed my seven children immensely, even if I did occasionally wish to sell the twins to passing trains of gypsies.
Summoning Charm – accio
I can't tell you the number of times I've walked upstairs or downstairs to get the baby and either found I needed something unexpected or forgot to bring whatever it was the baby needed. The most frequently forgotten item was the basket in which I held all my nappy changing supplies. My husband, Arthur, quickly learned to duck when he heard 'Accio, nappy basket,' after he suffered a rather nasty concussion one time. It was quite a large basket. Babies do seem to need rather a lot of bits and bobs. Alright, it wasn't so much large as it was extremely heavy. It was my first child and I did insist on being prepared for every emergency. After that, Arthur insisted that I take out the baby's wardrobe (evidently only one change of clothes was really necessary). So do bear in mind, dear, that one can be 'too' prepared. Of course you don't really need to yell the incantation either, but yelling became a courtesy 'mind your head' to anyone within felling distance.
Bubble-Head Charm -- capitalis-bulla
This one's for your husband, dear. For some reason I cannot fathom, men incur a violent reaction to stinky nappies. Even farmers who work all day covered in dragon dung will retch uncontrollably when changing the nappy of their own offspring. It's just poo. I have no idea what all the fuss is about. You won't either, dear. Just roll your eyes and remind him of this favourite charm from his Hogwarts days. Chances are he used it plenty of times when he and his classmates set off dung-bombs in the common room or hallways. He'll look incredibly silly, but at least you get out of changing every nappy and you'll get a bloody good laugh.
Cheering Charm -- hilarulus
This one's for you, sweetie. Make sure your husband or your best friend knows it cold. Baby Blues are a very common after-effect of having a baby. All those sleepless nights when you are rudely awakened hour after hour by a screaming, starving infant while your husband sleeps blissfully on, snoring away as only a great inconsiderate git can. Sorry. I'm sure your husband is much more enlightened and has a much more equal view about parenting. But just so you know, a focused amplifying charm right in his ear will do the trick nicely. Then put him to work bringing you the baby and taking it back to bed after it's done eating. Also, cheering charms are a lovely antidote for hiccups, although baby hiccups are too sweet for words. Ron, my youngest boy, made the most adorable squeak with each hiccup. I could listen to it for hours.
Placement Charm -- object + -vexi
I'm sure you've noticed that you're a little more forgetful than you used to be. There's a popular theory in the wizarding world that a mother gives a portion of her brain cells to each child. So, after seven children my husband laughingly insists that I have no brain left at all. Ha, ha! They will have their little jokes won't they? The unfortunate thing about summoning charms is that you must have an idea of where the object is that you are summoning. This wonderful placement charm can help you make sure things are in their proper places so that accio works every time. Just pronounce the incantation after you use an object you're particularly prone to misplace, such as baby's jacket (vistimentum-vexi) or baby's favourite teddy bear (ursa-vexi), and the object will fly right back into place for the next time you need it. Gracious, the number of times I scoured the house for matching children's shoes (caligula-vexi) before I learned this charm. Never again! Never, I tell you.
Cleaning Charm - scourgify
At four months old you'll introduce your dear baby to solid foods. Then the fun begins. This is a handy spell to keep your darling presentable after a lovely bowl of porridge or pasta with marinara sauce. It's great for the floor too, if you don't happen to own a dog. It's also brilliant on clothes. So, bring out the silks and other delicate fabrics and don't worry about spit-up, sandwich paste or jam on your shoulders. My third boy, Percy, was such a horribly messy eater; food would get in his hair, in his ears, in his nose, on his elbows and he'd always tuck a little down his shirt for snacks later. I'd clean him off and invariably miss a spot which he never failed to transfer to my shoulder or bosom right before we'd greet the vicar at the doors to church on Sunday. A quickly whispered scourgify from my finally considerate husband made sure I was never embarrassed with my appearance.
Messenger Spell -- nuntius
This is a rather interesting and useful spell for parents. Often you'll need to communicate with each other when you're far out of earshot. Like when you're in the bath and the baby begins crying sharply. You can alert your husband to the needs of the baby through this lovely form of a silvery dart, rather like a small, ghostly bird. Of course that doesn't mean you'll get to finish your bath. Usually he'll bring the screaming baby in to you and ask you what's wrong with it. Like he couldn't see the filled to bursting nappy or smell it a mile away. Give him time, dear, he'll catch on after the second or third child and develop into quite a helpful man. Meanwhile, just roll your eyes and summon the nappy basket without yelling the incantation once in a while.
Play Charms – avis & bulla aurea
There will be those rather lovely moments in almost every day where you're enjoying your baby so much that you just can't tear yourself away. You'll notice when he begins to follow you with his eyes and when he reaches for your wand. You'll melt with every new smile and coo, certain to yourself that he's the most advanced baby in the world. And you'd be right, too. These charms are stimulating entertainment for your little one. Avis conjures an adorable flock of small, twittering birds. Your little one will follow them avidly with his eyes, soaking in all the colours and sounds. A small scourgify charm will take care of any accidents the birds may have.
My husband's favourite play charm is bulla aurea which sends long lasting golden bubbles out of the tip of your wand. He loved to see the bubbles reflected in his child's eyes. He was fascinated watching them reach for the bubbles and giggle with excitement. It was always a charming moment to walk into a room and find him playing with the children in that manner. It made my heart melt, and I knew I had a good man.