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When Your Child Believes in Magic

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A few months ago, my stepdaughter Chloe got really into Harry Potter and his incredibly charming world. And when I say “really into” Harry Potter, I mean this girl watches these movies back-to-back. She has no problem watching the same Harry Potter film for days at a time and has added Ginny Weasley’s wand to the very, very top of her wish list.

My husband and I happen to be pretty big Potterphiles, ourselves. Our honeymoon last October took place at Universal Studios in Orlando where we spent most of the week starry-eyed in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section. Our veins are probably pumping around 30 percent blood and 70 percent butterbeer by now.

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We’re happy that Chloe has become so enamored with this make-believe world, because, for a while, Chloe was against any and all magic. (Except for Santa Claus, obviously. The big SC usually gets a pass on things like this.) If we talked about dragons or witches or wizards, she would shake her head, saying, “Those aren’t real. They’re just make-believe.”

“No,” we told her, “they are real! Just because you haven’t seen something in your own front yard doesn’t mean it isn't real. Magic is real.”

Nope. She wasn’t having any of it. Magic tricks were just that—tricks. Stories about wands and ogres and giants that live at the top of beanstalks weren’t even entertaining to her. She truly just didn’t believe in any of the fairytale things that her daddy and I desperately wanted to be part of her childhood. It was kind of upsetting how quickly she could shoot down any of our stories with a, “Nope, magic isn’t real,” especially when her impressionable little brother was really into castles, knights and dragons.

I guess we could always tell her she’s a Muggle, right?

I gave up after awhile. She liked hearing these stories, yes, but she wouldn’t get caught up in the excitement and, well, magic of it all. I had to remind myself that she was not going to be like me as a kid (a kid who believed in Santa until she was nearly 15 and would’ve bet money on unicorns and dragons existing at one point).

And then, we introduced her to Harry Potter, and her entire world flipped.

She watches scenes with Voldemort through her fingers, memorizes spells and incantations from Hermione and spends hours running around the house with a plastic fairy wand. We are thrilled that she is so into magic and so excited about the possibilities her imagination holds. There’s just one little problem.

What are we supposed to do when, you know, she can’t really do any magic?

We’ve gotten away with it the last few months. We’ve told her that she doesn’t have a “real” wand, so her spells won’t work. We’ve told her that she would have to go to Hogwarts and be trained before she can become a witch. We’ve told her that dragons live far away, but now she’s convinced herself they all live in England—where my grandmother lives—and that we will see one when we go visit her. You guys, she believes in magic now! It’s just ... there’s really no magic to behold around here.

I’m nervous. I want to keep this love of wands and wizards going in our house. I want to tell her stories about ogres and sea monsters and brave witches with frizzy hair that always save the day. I want her little heart to remember that anything can and will happen; you just have to believe in it. I don’t want her love of magic to go away.

RELATED: The Importance of Toddler Imagination

But I also know Chloe. And I know that our excuses will only go so far before she realizes that her wand isn’t really a wand. I’m terrified that will start a domino effect and, before we know it, she’ll be packing up all of her magical obsessions for something else like make-up and boys. Ugh.

I guess we could always tell her she’s a Muggle, right? And then maybe we’ll make some of our own butterbeer.

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