Saturday, September 14, 2013

“The See-Saw Section”

In December of 2007, I read an interview J.K. Rowling stated that pre-Hogwarts (or Durmstrang, or Beauxbatons, or wherever) wizarding children are homeschooled by their parents. This got me to thinking what other “crunchy,” or attachment parenting, or natural family living practices the wizarding world would engage in. That led to the thought of homebirth, which in turn led to this piece of fanfiction:

The clock in the corner ticked inexorably toward nothing.  The hands didn’t tell time, five of the six hands stood at HOME, while the other pointed to WORK.  A redheaded woman stood in front of the stove, Christmas dinner bubbled over the fire.

Four red-haired children were asleep in front of the tree amid a pile of torn wrapping paper, chocolate frog cards and spent crackers.  Molly smiled at her sleeping children then winced as the baby kicked.  She patted her belly.  “Shush now Ronald,” she whispered to her mid-section.  “Shush now.”  She began to sway back and forth, crooning a lullaby to the unborn baby as she stirred the sauce that had started boiling.

Behind her, the one stray hand of the clock clicked suddenly to IN TRANSIT and then, as green flame erupted in the fire grate Arthur’s hand slid into place with the rest of the family’s at HOME.

“Arthur,” Molly said warmly and turned.  “So it didn’t take long, did it?”

“No Molly,” Arthur said, wiping his glasses and stripping off the threadbare traveling cloak.  “Not at all.  Not long at all.  You wouldn’t believe what some people believe is fun to do on Christmas.  The rotters had charmed a Muggle Christmas tree in Brighton to devour presents.  Took five of us to subdue the tree and then there were memory charms for nearly a hundred people—”

“ONE HUNDRED?  Arthur, why so many?”

“Well,” said Arthur “It was a Muggle orphanage Molly.  All those little children.  Nearly ruined Christmas for them … poor little blighters.  Made me sad to see them like that,” Arthur shrugged and dipped his head away from Molly.

“Arthur,” Molly said, brandishing the dripping sauce spoon, “what did you do?”

Arthur busied himself straightening plates and flatware on the table.  “Nothing really,” he said into his chest, “just a small charm really … no one will hardly notice …”


“Now Molly, what’s done is done, and there’s no use fretting.  How’s the baby doing?”

Molly softened immediately, her hands finding her belly.  Arthur came to her and placed his hands over hers and kissed her nose.

“Ronald was squiggling around early, but I think he’s gone to sleep now.  The midwitch was by after you had gone and left me some tea she wants me to take.”

Arthur took his wife into his arms and squeezed her.  “Molly,” he said looking into her eyes, “I want to talk to you about the baby.  While we were at the orphanage in Brighton, I was talking to the Muggle head of the place and she told me about the most wonderful thing that Muggle women are doing to give birth.  You, you simply won’t believe this Mollywobbles, and I know we have Hannah Hather as midwitch, but I want you to consider this Molly, as a favor to me.  It, it just is simply amazing what those Muggles do without magic!”

Arthur let go of Molly and started pacing the length of the kitchen gesticulating wildly as he spoke.

“These women, Molly, these women go into the doctor – I believe they’re called an Obbgynne – and this Obbgynne will examine the woman and her baby without any sort of magic.  They use a device called an uddersound and they can actually see the baby Molly.  Inside the woman … without any magic, mind you.  And then, when the woman goes into labour they go with the Obbgynne and see the sturgeon and the sturgeon will cut the woman’s abdomen and they’ll pull the baby out through that cut.”

Arthur stopped and looked at Molly expectantly.

“Arthur.  Absolutely.  NOT!  Whatever gave you the idea that I would ever agree to do something so completely ridiculous and reckless.  I will not put our baby’s life in danger by placing in the hands of some Muggle cutter-nutter who wants to slice into perfectly helpful women in order to rip a perfectly healthy baby from them.  Next you’ll be telling me Muggles still circumcise”

“But Mollywobbles—”

“Don’t you ‘Mollywobbles’ me Arthur.  Absolutely not!”

“But Molly, they have anastasia.  It’s a gas that puts you right out and you won’t even know it happened!”

“Won’t even— Arthur, tell me, what is the point of not knowing that a birth happens?  Tell me that Arthur.  What is the point?”  She took the sauce from the stove and tasted.  “There now, see what’s happened?  You’ve gone and gotten me so upset that I’ve burned the sauce and the Potters and Sirius will be here any minute now.”  She thrust the saucepan at Arthur.  “Fix this, and I don’t want to hear another word about this crazy Muggle tradition.”

“It’s called a see-saw section.”


“Nothing,” Arthur smiled.  “Nothing Mollywobbles.  By the way, I ran into Dumbledore at the Ministry and he said if you could promise that you could conjure a pan of your chocolate fairy fantasy fudge, he’d stop by.”

Molly smiled and opened the oven and let the aroma of chocolate fill the kitchen.  “Now, Arthur, I believe I hear your sons stirring in the front room, you better go see to them before they pull down the tree again.”

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