It’s after 10 pm. The boys have been in bed for a while. Every night, my husband and I take turns reading to each of them. Being two years apart, it’s been sometimes difficult to find one story that will interest both of them at the same time, so we tend to read to them separately. Right now, however, they’re fascinated by the same character:
Oh my word. Harry Potter, all day long. They throw curses at each other over the breakfast table (I’ve put my foot down: no Unforgivable Curses, please). Sebastian wants his own wand for his birthday. He spent a good chunk of yesterday pretending to smack his forehead on various hard objects, exclaiming ‘Dobby the House-Elf must punish himself!’ I’m tempted to hand him a sock if it will make him stop.
With Daniel, we’ve been reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Because this is the darkest and most disturbing of all the books, we’ve insisted that he only read it with us, not alone.
This was a good move, apparently.
A few minutes ago, I heard Daniel call my name and tell me that he needed to talk to me. I usually try to encourage conversation before, rather than after the lights are out, but he sounded like he really, truly, needed my attention. I perched on the edge of his bed and stroked his hair.
‘Mommy, I’ve made a decision. I think I need to stop reading the Deathly Hallows until I’m older. I’m thinking about it all the time and it’s scaring me. I’m afraid it’s far too epic for right now.’
What followed was a whirl-wind, five minute conversation about imagination, about being allowed to quit something once you’ve started ( a life lesson that applies, I feel, to music lessons but not necessarily to novels) and about how to drive unpleasant thoughts out of one’s head at bedtime and how I’m pretty bad at it. It was one of those crazy parenting moments: touching, funny and, as I looked into his wide eyes, very, very real.
So, no more reading Deathly Hallows right now. No movie, either. All I ask is, until then, that you don’t tell him how it ends, okay?