"Hey El!" I lift my daughter into my arms.
"Dada!" she squeals excitedly.
Since Christmas, when she took her first steps, Ginny's letters have told me she's improved greatly and is now toddling around by herself, and has also improved at talking.
Two months later, on her first birthday, I see what Ginny means.
As soon as I set her on the floor, she toddles off. "Mama! Dada back!"
Ginny comes flying in and hugs me tight; an impact on my legs tells me that Eloise has just thrown herself at us to join the hug.
The family come over at various intervals to see her - George and Angelina are last, and they stay longest, because Eloise and Perry are great friends. They toddle round and play happily together in the playpen while we talk.
"How's Hogwarts treating you Harry?" asks George.
"Wonderful, actually, but the students are a pain."
"All of them?" laughs Ginny.
"Pretty much - except for the Prefects and Head Boys and Girls, who are so desperate to do well it's painful."
I shudder. "I hate to say it, but yes."
They all laugh.
After about two hours, Perry gets bored, and they depart. Eloise looks upset.
"Don't be sad, sweetie," Ginny lifts her up. "Daddy's invited us to Hogwarts for the day. You'd like to see Hogwarts, wouldn't you Eloise?"
"Shall we go now?" I ask.
"Yes." says Ginny firmly, and we step into the fireplace.
We Floo directly into my office. As we walk down the corridors, Eloise squirms in my arms. "Dada! Want down - want see!"
"I know El, but you'll see in a moment. We're going to the Great Hall - and you'll see everyone."
We follow the crowd to the Hall, attracting quite a few stares from pupils. I take my usual seat at the staff table and Ginny sits in the chair that McGonagall draws up for her with a smile. Eloise perches on Ginny's lap.
She points at McGonagall. "Hat!" she says, and starts to giggle. When McGonagall places it on her head, and it droops right down over her eyes, she giggled even more. She keeps it on while we eat. Ginny has to lift it up when she feeds her bits of food.
"Oy, Professor, I didn't know you were married!" yells one Slytherin student.
Eloise lifts the brim of the hat and points at me. "Dada!" she says firmly, and drops the hat again. The Hall bursts out laughing.
I catch Eloise's hand and put it back down at her side.
"Good birthday, El?"
"Birfday," Eloise pauses. "Birfday, Dada, me like birfday."
"Well, that's good." Ginny smiles.
When we leave, Eloise is reluctant to give the hat back but we promise her one of her own.