Jessi's Baby-sitter (RS#36)

Original Publication Date: 1990

Ghostwriter? No, Ann wrote this and dedicated it to the memory of a Eugene Dougherty who she explains taught her to make writing exciting. Mallory has a creative writing teacher named Mr. Dougherty.


Jessi's mom is starting a full-time job, which means Jessi's Aunt Cecelia is moving in to care for Jessi and her siblings. There's still tension about the whole Becca-getting-lost-at-sea incident, and the girls are not looking forward to having to obey their strict aunt. She treats them younger than their parents do (for example, picking out their clothes for school) and doesn't let them have the same privileges (she even keeps Jessi home from a BSC meeting!). The girls respond by playing practical jokes on her (shaving cream in her slippers, fake spiders on her pillow) in an effort to make her leave. Of course, the problems are finally smoothed out when the girls--gasp--talk to their mom and dad about the issue. Aunt Cecelia also plays a few pranks on them to even things out.

Jessi is prompted to talk to her parents after helping Jackie Rodowsky enter the school science fair turns into her doing the project for him. (Stacey helps Charlotte with a project about the effect of music on plant growth; Kristy helps David Michael with one on the solar system; Mallory helps Margo with a display about colonies on the moon) She sees how easily wanting to help someone and have the person do well can lead to taking over. Aunt Cecelia admits that she was worried she wouldn't be as good a sitter as Jessi (of course) and that she worries that the girls will have to work twice as hard to prove themselves because of their race. I knew an officer in the Air Force who said that about being female; wasn't a fan of her (but it was in training environment; I wasn't supposed to like her).

Also of note in this book, the Pikes combine their books into library. My older brother and I briefly (as in, for part of an afternoon) tried that. I still find little squares of paper taped inside many of my books, to hold the check-out slips.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Planter's Peanut Bar under her armchair, Neccos

Jeez, there is even MORE foreboding about Stacey's health. #43 can't come soon enough.

Mallory and Jessi are still working on their gum wrapper chain.

Claudia doesn't like purple Necco wafers.

Dawn has an upcoming trip to California planned.

Shannon still exists (she even gets a sitting job). It's also mentioned that she's going to Hawaii over the next school break.

Their Families:

Cecelia is Jessi's paternal aunt; she's her dad's older sister. She's also a widow, but Jessi only mentions her uncle's death in passing.

Jessi has long eyelashes but her mom doesn't, just like my mom and me.

The Pikes all like to read, and Nicky still has a particular fondness for dog stories (first referenced in RS#9).

Whatever car Jessi's dad drives has a trailer hitch. At least, I hope it does, because he hooks a U-Haul trailer to it.

Stacey's mom likes Vivaldi.

The company Mallory's dad works is having financial problems.

The Club:

Jessi hates writing in the notebook, which makes sense since she describes herself (in RS#16) as a terrible letter-writer.


Jessi is still the only black student in sixth grade at SMS.

PSA time:

Squirt takes a bottle to bed with him, but of water, which is a much better choice than milk or juice. The latter two could cause teeth or gum disease or fall behind the crib and go bad. Nothing like a bottle of yogurt that used to be full of milk.


Why do most of the girls all have armchairs in their rooms?

I think it's hilarious that Jessi thinks no one else at Jackie's school will enter a volcano in the science fair. Those were one of the most popular things when I was in school.

Geez, and Mallory suggests getting a REPTILE book to look up information on a FROG. I guess she wasn't kidding when she said on the previous page that science isn't her strongest subject.

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 3

Halloweens in 8th grade: 1 (plus one in seventh)

Summers after 8th grade: 2

BSC Fights: 5

SMS Staff: 15

Students (other than the BSC): 35 8th graders, five sixth-graders, five unspecified

Clients: 24

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 40 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, Cheese Doodles, a chocolate bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers, cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, Fritos, gumdrops, Gummi Bears, Heath bars, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, M&Ms (regular and peanut), Mallomars, marshmallows, Mentos, mini candy bars, Necco wafers, Oreos (Double Stuf), popcorn, Planter's Peanut bar, pretzels, pretzel sticks, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, taco chips, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Twinkies)

Crushes: Claudia-5 (Guy, Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-1 (Parker Harris), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-5 (Toby, Pete Black, Pierre D'Amboise, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas), Kristy-1 (Bart Taylor), Mallory-1 (Ben Hobart)


Mom said...

"Why do most of the girls all have armchairs in their rooms?"

Could be worse... I know a girl who had a love seat sofa in her room!

LauraTheWonderTart said...

THank you for the shout out about milk/juice in bottles. I can't tell you how many little kids and even babies the dental office I work at have had to do fillings, pulpotomies (baby root canals) crowns and even extractions on because of "bottle rot."

Parents, learn from the mistakes of others. You do not want to be "that Parent" that got referred to the pedo oral surgeon to knock your five-year-old out to extract a primary tooth and then do a filling on the permanant tooth *underneath* the exctracted tooth that has only barely begun to break gum surface.

Donica said...

I guess I was one of the weird kids and had an arm chair/ La-Z boy rocker in my room. I loved that damn thing! (And then got a new one and the old one got moved down to the basement where my playroom moved)

SJSiff said...

I know some people have/had armchairs in their rooms, but it seems like all of them do!