Thursday, February 23, 2012

Five Antique Postcards that Make Me Say 'Whuck?!'

Last weekend in celebration of Mr. Louise’s birthday I executed an elaborate plan to drop the kids with my in-laws and whisk him away to a tiny, picturesque New England town for a grown-up weekend of fun. It. Was. AWESOME. The unexpected highlight (get your mind out of the gutter) was a stop at the local antique store. We rummaged through dust and junk and found some extraordinary discarded treasures…a decrepit cuckoo clock, a beautiful, chipped china set, and dusty a box of antique postcards from all over the world. I always feel a bit guilty looking at old postcards, like I’m riffling through someone’s private mail. But oh Dear Maude, it was worth my uneasiness because I found five postcards from as far back as the turn of the century that illustrate the lowest lows of parenting.

“I Can’t Keep it Quiet”
No schmidt, Sherlock. That same expression of sheer terror/confusion was plastered on my face for the first three months of my daughter’s life. Newsflash: they only get louder.

“I’m Going to Change My Will in the Morning.”

This one is amazing because it truly captures the irrational 3am negotiations a parent makes with a crying infant. I maaaaybe once promised my daughter a pony and a new car when she’s 16 if she’d just go to SLEEP. Meh. The dad in this postcard took it one step further and went for a straight-up threat, though. I sure hope that kid wasn’t in line for a trust fund.

“Good morning! I passed a restless night till I caught up to a happy thought of you.”

OK, this one is actually pretty sweet. Except that if my kids were having a restless night they wouldn’t quietly toss and turn until they had a happy thought of me…they would release an ear-piercing howl quickly followed by an hour charade of complaining that the room is too dark/light, the blankets are “itchy”, there is not enough water in the bedside cup, there’s a stuffed animal missing from the bed, etc. Conversely, if I was having a restless night I might think of my kids, but it’s more likely I’d probably settle down at the fantasy of all my laundry being folded. By John Hamm.

“I’m Putting Something in the Kitty.”
WHUCK?!?! Um, no. Just NO. I hope I never, EVER hear one of my kids say this under any circumstances. Gah!

“One little darling, all my very own, / Noisy of course it is, but bone of my bone!”
This one, mailed in 1908, freaks me out the most. I suppose it was intended to be a PSA about how you should be kind to your baby even when it’s loud, but to me it just looks like this guy is going to eat his own baby. It was addressed to a Mr. W. Henchey in Northampton, MA with no message written on the back. Poor Mr. Henchey. I’m a little worried if you’re taking parenting advice from this dude...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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