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
Brace yourself, dear, and hold your ground. The terrible twos have begun. The goal of this phase is to keep you, the house and your belongings from utter destruction. Your little angel is coordinated enough to usually avoid hurting himself, but the house is another matter entirely. His quest for information makes any object fair game for exploration. They insist they're just looking at it, but 'looking' for a toddler means smelling it, putting their fingers on it, putting it in their mouths, testing it for adherence to the law of gravity, rubbing it all over their bodies and hair (if it's not solid), and if it is a solid object, doing their level best to crush it into tiny pieces. I'm really not exaggerating, dear. You have no idea the powerful force of mess and destruction behind that helpless exterior and those innocent eyes.
Another charming mark of this stage is that your little one is able to speak to you in a reasonably coherent manner. Oh, they say the most adorable things. Percy constantly asked for 'breksrit' instead of breakfast. Bill had the most adorable little lisp. But their ability to speak also means they are able to assert independent thoughts and feelings. Toddler moods swing wildly and they are quite willful. Anything that interferes with their plans is likely to kindle a huge screaming fit. You have to be careful about defensive magic when your toddler is having a temper fit. You can get quite a nasty burn from the charge coming off him.
Reparing Spell – (object) + reparo
This is a simple little spell which allows you to repair anything your active little one may happen to break, like your favorite statuette of Cliodna*, or your beloved grandmother's antique china tea service. Poor little Ronnie, everything he touched seemed to crumble in his hands. He never broke anything on purpose and he was genuinely mortified every time it happened. It just happened so often. I'd hear the tell-tale crack and hurry to find him before his brothers did. He was usually standing in someone's room cradling the broken remains of a sibling's precious toy in his hands. He'd turn to me, big tears running down his dirt-streaked cheeks, and hand me the pieces before mournfully trudging out the door. Poor lamb. Of course I could repair whatever it was in half a heartbeat, but he always felt so awful about the damage. Thankfully, he outgrew that ability.
Insist that your children spend more time outside, dear. They cause much less damage out there and that's better for their self esteem. While they're out, catillus reparo will repair those china plates, ornamentum reparo will fix ornaments and statuettes and amusus reparo will do the trick on those toys before anyone else knows it was broken.
Repelling Charm — repulsus
The five o'clock hour at our home has always been an extraordinarily difficult time to keep my sanity. The children are hungry and hyperactive. Arthur and I are tired after a long day. It's incredibly difficult to get the evening meal prepared with several pairs of hands grabbing at you and small bodies in your path every way you turn. I always tripped over the children. Then I had to deal with a screaming child and a burnt meal. I nearly scalded poor Ron one evening, when I tripped over him while carrying a pot of boiled potatoes. On particularly difficult days, I'd cast a child-repelling charm on the kitchen. Any child approaching the kitchen would feel an urgent need to clean their rooms. Oh, I loved those evenings.
Packing Spell – convaso
This is one of those lovely householdy spells with a million uses. I use it most frequently to put away the children's toys. Of course, children should tidy up their own rooms, but there are days, dear, when you just can't stand one more minute. When the constructor set Grandmother got him for Christmas, with a million tiny pieces, is all over the stairs, and the doll clothes covering her floor have been drug around the house by a playful cat. Everywhere you tread is already occupied by a toy of some sort, and if you've told them to clean up once, you've told them a hundred times. Those are the times for this spell. My Charlie had this wretched set of moving toy dragons that not only cluttered the floor of his room, but also flew around if they were left out and ignored. Those horrid things were his favorite toys but the boy spent so much time outside that they were forever underfoot and in my hair. This spell allowed me to put the dragons away so that I could actually get into the room and put away the clean washing without receiving nasty scratches from the Hungarian Horntail.
Shield Charm – protego
This charm can save your skin. We all know that wizard children who feel threatened frequently give off rather potent magical charges. You're on your own for a bit until you catch the pattern of your little one. But you'll quickly learn when your darling is most likely to put off defensive magic. Percy was the one most likely to shock me in the middle of a temper fit. I quickly learned that before I touched an angry Percy, I needed to cast a shield charm on my hands or I'd come away with quite a nasty burn.
Sealing Charm – collosedes
This is a variation of the well known 'colloportus' door binding spell. I modified this myself after a particularly frustrating day trying to toilet train Charlie. He was such a wriggly urchin, much more suited to outdoors than in. Bill was easy to train. I'd just put him on the toilet every fifteen minutes until he'd produce something, then I'd make a huge fuss over his accomplishments, give him a drink of pumpkin juice and start the process all over again. After two days, he was trained. Charlie, on the other hand, would cry and moan and squirm to get off the toilet, then go into a temper fit and shock me. He'd invariably mess all over himself and the floor just minutes later. After weeks of this behavior with no end in sight, I got the idea to modify this charm. It enabled me to seal him to the seat until he'd produced something for which I could praise him. It also ended the quantity of messes around the house. Even scourgify doesn't always get the smell of urine out of the carpets. Not at all pleasant.
Drought Charm – aridus
Now, dear, if you have more than one child, at least one of them will probably develop a fascination with how things work, like the tap, for instance. My twins are both just that sort of child. It was Boxing Day and Arthur and I were having a lovely lie-in after all the fuss of Christmas. I awoke with a start, realizing that the romantic waterfall in my dreams wasn't a dream; the sound was coming from the hall. As I put my feet on the floor, the rug squelched. A thin layer of water was rising in the room. I elbowed Arthur awake and tore out the door in my nightdress.
There were the twins sailing toy boats in a river of water down the stairs of the Burrow, splashing around in sopping wet pajamas and having a jolly good time. When I found the source of the flood, I discovered that they'd stuffed a flannel in the sink plughole and then turned the tap on full.
In addition to the stairwell waterfall, the water seeped through several floors under the loo and soaked the ceiling plaster, which fell in the kitchen in great chunks. The cats were sopping wet and hiding in the attic – Bill found them and got the stuffing scratched out of him for his trouble. Baby Ginny's room was below the loo. We were fortunate that no plaster fell in her room. However, there were two inches of water on her floor and her toy animals were soaked and swollen to the point of bursting. I've never been so furious in all my life. Arthur kept me from obliterating the twins, steered me outside to a garden chair and conjured a cup of tea. Then he returned to the house where I could hear that darling man repeatedly yelling "aridus" until he'd dried up every last bit of the flood. By lunchtime, the house was in order and he let me back in. It took days before I could look at the twins without steam coming out of my ears.
Immobilizing Charms – immobulus and petrificus totalus
My least favorite toddler game is "Run from Mum." It never fails, whenever we're in public at least one of the children will decide he wants nothing to do with our agenda and strikes out on his own. Ron and Ginny played this game incessantly. They'd giggle like mad fools and run as fast as their little legs could carry them away from wherever we were headed. Did I mention that I really hate this game? Immobulus allowed me to stop them in their tracks before they were hit by a shopping trolley or a lorry, or a car. If I was out with all the children, I'd hit the offenders with petrificus totalus and then mobilicorpus them back to me. Mobilicorpus was also quite useful in getting the children together and into the floo for family outings. More on that another time. Gracious! Independent spirits can be difficult at times.
*Cliodna (CLEEV-nah) – Celtic/ Irish goddess of beauty, eldest daughter of the last Druid of Ireland.
A/N: Ah, the wonderful Antonia East. She catches all kinds of tricky little things and the products of my imagination are much improved thanks to her powers of perception. Thanks also to my Loving Husband (LH) who puts up with my Harry Potter obsession. My LH is my pre-beta, if it doesn't get a chuckle out of him I know I need to rework things a bit.
My nephew Spencer provided the details for the great water incident.
There are some excellent essays at the Harry Potter Lexicon which helped in the research for this story. I LOVE the Lexicon.
...and I Grew Up With Percy... by Susanna Luhtanen
Magical Theory: A Magical Worldview by Steve Vander Ark
That Had to Hurt…Or Did It? by Steve Vander Ark
And… to say Molly is flattered by your reviews of her work is an understatement. Thank you all very much for taking the time to share what you like about her Guide. She will include tips on the Hogwarts' years, so if you want to see something particular mentioned, or have a question about magical parenting that you want her to address, please owl her in care of Tante at this site. Molly's next chapter will appear in a little over a week's time.