"'Diddle diddle diddle diddle dum dum dum, hasn't he got lovely legs?' said the rapturous mother. 'H'm 'm 'm' m'.' simmered [her sister-in-law], burying her lips in the little fellow's fat neck, by way of kissing him. 'H'm 'm 'm 'm 'm,' simmered mamma, burying her lips also in his fat round short legs. 'He's a dawty little bold darling, so he is; and he has the nicest little pink legs in all the world, so he has;' and the simmering and the kissing went on ... A regular service of baby worship was going on ..."
Years ago, so I recall, when we were looking around Queen Victoria's Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, I was surprised by all the little marble carvings of the hands and feet of her children, made when they were very young.
I felt that the whole business was just a little bit weird.
Recently, I noticed this obiter observation while revisiting GK Chesterton's Orthodoxy: " ... the modern world (even while mocking sexual innocence) has flung itself into a generous idolatry of sexual innocence -- the great modern worship of children. For any man who loves children will agree that their peculiar beauty is hurt by a hint of physical sex".
Hmmmmm. Interesting. GKC characterises (twice) Child Worship as "modern". Is he right?
And what GKC while still an Anglican noticed as an odd inconsistency in 1908 is even more remarkable nowadays. On the one hand, we are constantly bullied to accept any and every sexual "orientation" ... but Paederasty, alone, is viewed, by those selfsame bullies, with horror (or so they say).
Christians, of course, view every sort of sexual activity with disapprobation, unless it is between a man and a woman within the holy estate of Matrimony; and, even there, if it is contra Naturam. But the World denies every element of this Christian analysis ... and yet regards paedophile activity with what one can only call hysteria.
Another aspect of this cult is found in news items which tell us that an airliner has crashed with the loss of 463 lives "including eight children".
My instinct is that the Cult of the Child substantially began with the Victorians (I don't think that earlier Greek social patterns have any relevance).The Chronicler of Barchester acutely described the rituals of Baby Worship; do similar passages occur in pre-Victorian writers?