Thursday, January 28, 2010

SS#11 The Baby-sitters Remember

It's still summer, and the BSC is having a sleepover at Kristy's. All of the SMS students have been told to write a "What I Did Over the Summer" essay, and all the girls (except maybe Mallory) are kind of dreading it. They all agree that the topic is boring, and start throwing out some other ideas. Jessi is the one that comes up with the "most vivid memory" suggestion, which gives all the club members a lot to think about over the next few weeks.

Kristy remembers the first time she ever baby-sat for David Michael, when she was 10. The Thomases had this housekeeper at the time who was less than reliable, and one day, neither she nor either of the boys were free to watch David Michael after school. Kristy begs to be allowed to sit, since it'll only be for a couple of hours, and Mrs. Thomas agrees. She recruits the neighbors to call and check in on the kids; Mimi even comes over. Kristy does well, and the rest is history.

Stacey's memory is from the beginning of 6th grade. She's full of big plans for the school year; she's going to get good grades, join the soccer team, and make new friends. At first, everything seems to be going well. There's a new girl at school, and she and Stacey start getting pretty friendly. Stacey even invites Allison to have lunch with their group, much to Laine's dismay (she's usually the one who approves new group members). There's one problem, though; Stacey hasn't been feeling quite right lately. She's been super hungry and thirsty, but in spite of her appetite, she's lost weight. She and her parents just chalk it up to a growth spurt, and don't think anything of it (Stacey doesn't tell them that she also feels shaky and dizzy) Then, disaster strikes (well, disaster for a 6th grader). Stacey's group of friends gets together for a slumber party one night, and because there isn't room for everyone's sleeping bags on the floor, Stacey and Laine end up sharing the bed. In the middle of the night, Stacey wets it. Laine wakes the whole house, and Stacey ends up calling her parents to take her home. The following week, the McGills take her to a shrink, who figures out that she has diabetes. Once they have a diagnosis, Stacey misses a lot of school, and her "friends" certainly won't let her forget the bed wetting. That's why Stacey doesn't mind at all when her parents tell her they'll be moving to Connecticut. Since her New York friends reacted so badly to her illness, Stacey decides to keep it a secret from her new friends. The BSC members turn out to be such good friends, though, that Stacey eventually comes clean.

When Claudia was six, her art teacher assigned her class he task of drawing a self portrait at home. Claudia draws a butterfly, using as many of her crayons as possible, but when the teacher looks at her picture, she scolds Claud for not following directions. Every other kid drew a literal picture of themselves, and Claudia is embarrassed. She cries to Mimi about it when she gets home from school, and Mimi marches her right back there and tells the teacher that Claudia was the only kid who truly understood the directions.

Jessi's memory comes from the summer after 4th grade. The Ramseys are awaiting the arrival of Squirt at this point, but Jessi has a secret; she doesn't want another baby. She doesn't want to say so, though, since her parents are looking forward to it so much. They'd had two misscarriages after Becca, and they're still keeping their fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong with this one. Mrs. Ramsey ends up going into labor early, so Jessi, Becca, Aunt Cecelia, and Mr. Ramsey have to kick things into high gear to get them ready for the new baby. When Squirt first gets home, things are just as bad as Jessi thought they'd be. The worst part is that he cries ALL THE TIME. He's got colic, and when Jessi reads that it can last three months, she's not happy. At first, she tries to ignore Squirt by tuning him out with her Walkman. One day, though, she realizes that she's the only one around who's hearing him (Mrs. Ramsey is asleep). Jessi goes and picks up her little brother and sings him to sleep. They bond.

Logan remembers meeting and falling for Mary Anne. Basically, his chapters are Logan Likes Mary Anne! from Logan's perspective.

When Mallory was 10, her favorite author was Amelia Moody. Mrs. Pike takes Mal to a book signing at Washington Mall to meet Ms. Moody, and Mallory is totally prepared. She picks a bouquet of flowers from the Pikes' yard, and has this whole speech planned out. When she's face-to-face with her favorite author, though, Mal loses it. All she can do it cry. Plus, the flowers look horrible compared to the fancy bouquets that others kids brought. Mallory is disappointed that she couldn't manage to say all the things she wanted to, but she never forgets seeing what kind of impact an author can have on a reader.

Shannon's memory happened at the beginning of 8th grade. Sally White had just transferred to SDS, and she caused quite the buzz. She's rich, knows all sorts of famous people, and just seems awesome. Over the first few weeks, Sally chooses one girl to be her particular friend, basically ignoring everyone else. When it's Shannon's turn, she's just as flattered as all the other chosen ones were. Even though she's supposed to be studying for the astronomy club's entrance examination, Shannon spends most of a day at Sally's. When Sally calls the next day and asks Shannon over again, Shannon manages to refuse. That's the end of Shannon's time as "chosen one"; by the time the next week rolls around, Sally's moved onto someone new. That kind of turns Shannon off to new girls in general, hence her early treatment of Kristy.

Dawn remembers her parent's divorce, and her subsequent move to Stoneybrook with her mom and Jeff.

When Mary Anne was 8, she was used to be being baby-sat. After all, her dad worked quite a bit, and not even in Stoneybrook are 8-year-olds allowed to stay alone. Most of the sitters are weird, so when Richard tells Mary Anne that he'll be going away for a whole weekend, leaving her with a sitter, she begs to stay at Kristy's or Claudia's. No dice, but Richard does allow her to have her friends spend that Friday night with her. Mrs. Tate (the sitter) is waiting for Mary Anne when she gets home from school, and she definitely doesn't look any different from the other old lady sitters her dad usually hires. When she won't let Mary Anne have a brownie as an after school snack, since she's having pizza for dinner, Mary Anne escapes to Kristy's to complain. Kristy is outraged on her behalf, and decides to get revenge on Mrs. Tate later at the sleepover. First, they put pepper in her salad. Rather than get mad, though, Mrs. Tate just makes another one. Then, they nail her slippers to the floor. Again, no anger from Mrs. Tate. After that, they hang a scary mask over the light in the refrigerator to try and scare her. By this time, the girls aren't even trying to hide the fact that they're playing pranks. After all, Mrs. Tate seems to be enjoying them, too. She even tells the girls about the old plastic wrap over he toilet seat gag, and gets them good the next morning when she tries to serve them a breakfast of junk stew.

Rating: 4.5

Thoughts and Things
  • At the beginning of the book, Kristy says that the essay they've been assigned is two pages. By the end of the book, though, it's changed to only one page.

  • I was always a bit surprised by how informal Mary Anne is with Richard in this book, considering how things were for her in #4, before he loosened up.

  • The back of the book says that Dawn's memory is meeting Mary Anne. She mentions that, but as a footnote to all the divorce/moving drama.

  • I know that lots of people think the Logan chapter is boring, but I like seeing #10 from his viewpoint.

  • Remember when I said that SS#9 was the last one to be published that was written by Ann? I think I might have lied. This book doesn't list a ghostwriter, either. It's dedicated TO Jahnna and Malcolm, but it doesn't say that the author thanks them for their help in preparing the manuscript.

  • The ad for this book that was in the back of the last one said that it was supposed to come with a pin. Did anyone actually get a pin? Mine had a necklace....
  • It was nice of Mimi to defend Claudia and everything, but I highly doubt that Claud was trying to be all abstract and deep when she drew a butterfly as a self-portrait. I think she just didn't understand the directions.


  1. In my heart, I want to believe that Claudia understood the directions and was being all brilliant and abstract. I know that's not it though.

  2. I actually liked Claudia's self portrait idea. Normal self portraits are so boring. But then I'm still burned over this one time in school where we were supposed to draw self portraits of our faces and the first color I reached for was the green paint because it looked cool and the teacher was all, "No" and I got directed to the peach/pinkish colored paint. But I'm not even white! OK, random story over.

    Shannon had to take an entrance exam for an afterschool club? You'd think the astronomy club would be dying for new recruits...

  3. Geez, Sadako, what a terrible art teacher! And why did she direct you to the pink/peach paints? I must have been a little PC-Maven when I was a kid because I was furious about the crayola crayon called "flesh" (which they no longer make). I was like, "MOM! Why is this called flesh. Everyone has different color flesh!" I was fucking indignant, I tell you. And this was from the whitest white girl in the whitest white town.

  4. Mary Anne was also informal with her dad in her portrait...hugs, saying "I love you," etc.

  5. Nikki, I know, right?! It was a long time ago--I was around four or five, but still. It's like, dude, do you want me to be self hating?! This totally makes me want to go back and do a self portrait where I have a green face, Claudia Kishi style.

  6. I didn't get a pin, but there was a necklace in mine. It was a pendant that said Babysitters Club in block letters on a gold chain. I never wore it though, since I thought I was too old for the series. I might still have it at my parents house though.

  7. I got a necklace, too.There was no pin, but I think my book said there was. *Runs off to check book cover* Yeah. It said there was a pin in there.

  8. Mine doesn't say anything about a pin or necklace, though i was always fascinated with how the club members names were raised on the cover :D (Easily amused)

  9. Nailing slippers to the ground, how are you able to do that? On which type of floor? I never read this so I will never know

  10. Mine had the necklace. Which I liked better than a pin!

  11. The Logan and Byron chapters in the series are always my favoritel!