By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
Harry Potter is as real in our house as Grandma who lives 4 states away. I came to the series late; I waited until the 7th book came out before starting the series and then read the entire thing in a week. Since then I've read it to my kids, with my kids and now my 8-year-old just finished the books on his own. But while we regularly yell "Wingardium leviosa!" at each other (hasn't worked yet but you never know), we won't be in the audience for the last movie. Why? I like to keep my kids culturally clueless, cuts down on teen pregnancy later in life. Kidding! My kids, 8, 7, 5, and 1, are too young. I may be the last parent on the planet who thinks kids should be 13 to see a PG-13 movie but there you go.
And then there's the issue that just like any adored relative, there are still some things I don't want my kids to learn from the boy under the stairs.
1. Snogging. I know it's British slang for kissing but it sounds like there's snot involved. Snot and kissing do not go together unless you're Spiderman being kissed upside-down in the rain by Kirsten Dunst. And even then they were trained professionals.
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2. You can't trust your parents. Things starting to go hinky at your owl-besieged boarding school? Hide everything from the adults whose job is to protect you. Brilliant!
3. Steak and kidney pie. My kids asked me to make this so many times, but when I finally did, they cried. Beans in pie crust: death of a dream.
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4. You can't trust your teachers. I suppose this is a hazard when at least once a book one of your teachers tries to kill you but when my 1st grader refuses to play soccer because he thinks his P.E. teacher has Voldemort under his hat, it's gone too far.
5. Moms use magic to do chores. I know I make it look easy, but that still doesn't get you out of doing the dishes, kiddo.
6. You can only trust your friends. Even exceptional 12-year-olds are still 12-year-olds.
7. PTSD is a party trick. Maybe it's the muggle in me, but boy did I ever want to get Harry and all the Hogwarts kids in some good post-trauma therapy.
8. Obese children are evil and deserve ridicule. The only fat child in the book is Dudley Dursley, for which he is routinely and cruelly mocked by Harry.
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9. Preparation is for wimps. Anyone else ever want to shake Harry and tell him to pay more attention when Hermione is lecturing him?
10. Pets take care of themselves. Hedwig is smarter than half the humans in the books so of course she finds her own food and cleans her own cage. That bunny in the pet store? Is an idiot.
Do you have any Potter pet peeves?
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.