People loved their kids. The idea a lot of us today have, that parents weren't so attached to their offspring when they knew they'd lose a few in childhood, is as jb says a myth influenced by some outmoded research from the 1960s. Obviously there were some neglectful and abusive parents, as ever, but there's also an incredible amount of tenderness expressed from parents writing about their children. One of the most striking and recurrent things about the parent-physician letters I've read is all the ways this comes across - parents rushing to physicians because their child swallowed a coin, riding five hundred miles on horseback to see an ill child at boarding school, ending letters with "can anything more be done for my sweet lassie?", describing how many words their toddlers understood, describing their three-year-old running to see his father when he came home. I've read one letter from a grandparent who spends two pages describing how incredibly handsome and clever and talented the young child in question is, this one time he picked up a fiddle and he could play it without even being taught!, before even mentioning his illness. They loved their kids.
incessant: I CANNOT BELIEVE ANY OF YOU CAN LOOK AT THOSE PICTURES AND SAY "Oh yeah sure, those're just like playpens today -- what's the big deal?"
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