Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006


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H is for Harry

I don’t usually go for  alternate realities in my own reading, but my imagination has been captured over the years by the triumverate of The Lord of the Rings, Mervyn Peake’s superb Gormenghast trilogy and the Harry Potter books. I so much loved the latter that I was quite keen to call my third child Harry, but my husband pointed out that Harry Otter is a rough name to live with. So he now has another, rather lovely, name which suits him perfectly, but there is a small part of me that mourns Harry.

I think part of Harry Potter’s universal appeal is that he is an orphan going it alone. Children respond to his ability to cope in an adult world and defeat a great evil. Personally, I just want to mother Harry. I really want to get him home, cook him a nice meal and talk about his day. I’d like to remind him to stop ignoring Ginny Weasley since she clearly is the girl for him and encourage him to listen to that nice Hermione and get on with his homework. I want him to open his eyes and see the good in Snape.

But I think it is more than that with Harry and me. You see, Harry Potter was my birth partner. Long-term blog readers may remember this, but for those who are new here, I’ll retell the story. One of my presents for my 32nd birthday, which is a week before Christmas, was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I wasn’t overly interested in the book, but I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Two days later, when I woke with birth pains and was directed by my doula to get straight into the bath and wait for her to arrive, I started to read it. Several cups of tea and some acute contractions later, I was hooked on Harry. The doula and my husband would pop their heads around the door now and then to check on me or bring me tea, and I’d wave them away, saying I was fine. I dived into Rowling’s world, subsumed myself in her detail, and came up occasionally to do some shallow panting. While I was going it alone in the bath with Harry, the doula gave everyone in the house foot massages.

When the pains finally grew more demanding than Hogwarts, I climbed out of the bath. By then – though we didn’t know it yet – it was far late to leave for hospital. My doula gave me a back massage, and I went to the loo. While I was there, baby coming down the birth canal, though I didn’t know that either, she sent my husband downstairs to put the suitcases in the boot and de-ice the windscreen. She knocked on the bathroom door and told me it was time to leave, and summoning the strength of Harry, I got off the loo, staggered to the door and croaked, “I can’t make it to the bloody DOOR, let alone the hospital!”

Reading my face for the first time, she said, “Put your hand in your pants and tell me what you feel.”

I followed instructions and replied, “I. can. feel. a. HEAD.”

Her surprise was not unlike that of Harry’s when Quirrell unwrapped his turban to reveal he was sharing head-space with Lord Voldemort. “Get on the bed!” she shrieked. Within seconds, my child was born. A few minutes later, my husband reappeared, ready to transport his pregnant wife to hospital, to be met with the news that he had a daughter.

Tucked up in bed with my gorgeous little baby, I finished Harry Potter and started the next one. My newborn’s nickname was Hufflepuff for her badger-like snuffling when she fed. After reading the series myself, I read it aloud to Hufflepuff’s big sister, and now that she is bigger I am reading it to her. Last night, we finished The Order of the Phoenix. Hufflepuff’s little brother sometimes listens in and he recently insulted his grandmother by telling her she was “as old as Neville Longbottom.” It wonderful to me that my kids love Harry as much as I do, since he is their literary uncle.

Maybe if we get a dog, we’ll call it Harry. As homage to our hero.


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The Sickly Seven

In the interests of meeting my NaBlo deadline, here is a Seven Random Things meme I was tagged for by Velocibadgergirl. I think I’ve done this one, or versions of it, a few times, so forgive me if my answers aren’t of startling interest or novelty. You probably won’t choke on your cornflakes in surprise.

1. I don’t like doctors. As people, I’m sure they are delightful, but I just don’t like being their patient. Yesterday, I visited a doctor after a two-week head cold morphed into something altogether grosser (permanent headache, green and crusty eye), and I grabbed the prescription for an antibiotic and pain-killers Without Asking Him What Was Wrong. I just had to get the hell out.

2. When I’m sick (oho, a meme with a theme!), any healthy eating goes out the window. Yesterday, I ate n chocolate chip cookies and amorettinis. I also ate Chinese noodles (MSG heaven), toast with peanut butter and Nutella, and my husband’s stonking beef curry with bread. Clearly, I don’t lose my appetite when unwell. There’ll be no wasting going on around here.

3. Apart from having my tonsils removed as a child and one colonoscopy to find a non-existent bowel problem, I have never had any operations. I suppose you could call an episiotomy an operation, but since the need for that was caused by a bloody doctor (really, I do love doctors), it doesn’t count. Actually, I am as healthy as a horse. Many horses. (Just not today.)

4. My parents are also really healthy and have had no operations, except that both have genetic high cholesterol and about eighteen months ago, my mother had a triple heart bypass. (Note to self: time for another cholesterol test. But (whiny voice) that means going to a doctor! Yes, it does. Now off with you!)

5. I do, however, love going to homeopaths. I’ve only been a couple of times, but I love that they make time for you, ask questions and even seem to listen. They’re like psychologists, but with organic pills. I know about the placebo effect, but I’m still convinced that homeopathy and acupuncture cured my migraines. (Except now I have the Siberian perma-headache, so maybe not.) Perhaps doctors just need to learn from homeopaths and Spend Some Time Listening. If they can get their patients to sit still, that is.

6. I think sick-notes for stay-at-home parents would be a great invention, and job creation project. I asked my doctor for a sick note from my children yesterday and he laughed and said (auf Deutsch), “It is not possible.” Actually, it is possible – all you need is a registry of people who are home alone and bored like grannies and retirees, who you then call up when you have a sick note and they come around and cook nourishing meals and play old-fashioned card games with your children. (I realise that this scheme is full of holes, but allow me to dream.)

7. I don’t need a lot of sympathy when I’m sick: I need to be left alone. This means when others are sick, I’m not overly sympathetic. I’ll leave them alone and bring them the odd cup of tea or meal, which is what I expect for myself. This was dramatically heightened when I was giving birth – I Vanted to Be Alone, and became extremely irritable if anyone came from another planet to disturb the process I was working on very well by myself on Planet Childbirth. I apparently even kicked my lovely, sweet, gentle midwife when she got too close to me. Clearly for me, sickness and childbirth are things to be Borne Alone.

I’ll be off to bed then. Feel free to bring cups of tea, but don’t feel you have to stay.

(Oh, and I’m not tagging. But if you need some NaBlo content, here’s your meme.)