My Daughter, Harry Potter Orphan

Few things have underscored how much my life has changed as a result of having a baby as this week’s release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

My wife and I are older than many new parents, so we’d already given up many of the trappings of our single life — we didn’t go out dancing all night or go on unplanned weekend getaways. We were already domestic. I’d even started driving a station wagon — well before we were planning a family.

But there’s one aspect of our wild youth to which we cling like a Venomous Tentacula:

Harry Potter

Every time a new book was released, my wife and I would take a long weekend in a cabin on the coast up north, where, shrouded by fog and cut off from the world we would read the entire book, cover to cover, out loud.

As the books got longer, this became quite a production. We reserved and picked up the book at midnight on the way to the cabin so that we could read in the car by flashlight. After we arrived, one of us would cook in the cabin’s kitchenette while the other read. We’d take turns eating. Trying to get through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I even raised my voice to keep reading through the door when my wife went to the bathroom.

Fast forward to 2007 and the seventh and final installment in the series. Boobaby is 18 months old, and she hasn’t yet spent the night away from us. If we traveled with her, chances are that she wouldn’t sleep that well, so we’d miss out on valuable Harry time.

And so we’ve decided that this Harry Potter weekend will be spent here, at home, sneaking in chapters during naptime and after she goes to bed. We’ve enticed some friends over to do a few hours of babysitting, too. Nonetheless, it seems that we probably don’t have a chance of finishing the book in our usual three-day out-loud word orgy: it will probably take us a week.

So, no spoilers, please, and if anyone else feels like taking Boo to the playground this weekend, let us know!