The Baby-sitters Remember (SS#11)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? No, this one's all Ann


The BSC has a sleepover, and the topic of memories comes up. What's your most vivid memory?

Kristy: her first sitting job, for her brother. Her mom has a housekeeper who is unreliable (she can't afford anyone better) and one morning the housekeeper cancels and Kristy's brothers are unavailable. She's 10 at the time. She does such a good job that her mom fires the housekeeper the next day and Kristy and her older brothers watch David Michael.

Stacey: the time just before her diabetes diagnosis. It's the beginning of sixth grade, and she's part of an exclusive clique. Then comes the fateful sleepover when she wets the bed. She is eventually diagnosed with diabetes, but she's out of the clique. Oh, and the memory prompts her to write to her dad about the experience. "Dear Dad, remember when I was horribly embarrassed?"

Claudia: her first homework assignment. It's from her first grade art class, and the students are to draw a self-portrait and bring it the next day. Claudia uses most of the colors in her box of 64 crayons to make a butterfly, but gets chewed out by the teacher when everyone else draws people. It's really mean of the teacher, too, berating six-year-old Claudia in front of the class for not taking things seriously when Claudia honestly believed she'd done a good job with a metaphorical portrait. Mimi understands completely, and puts the teacher in her place. Claudia still has the drawing, on which she wrote her name: "CALUDIA."

Jessi: when Squirt had colic. Jessi's parents have a healthy baby after losing two. They know the sex of both babies (boy then girl), so unless there was testing done on the tissues, the babies died in the late second or even third trimesters which would make these stillbirths. Anyway, Squirt is born and very colicky. Jessi's resentful of the disruption at first. But then she finds that she's the only one who can calm her baby brother, and bonds very closely with him.

Logan (not at the sleepover; Mary Anne told him about it): first meeting Mary Anne. It's basically a summary of Logan likes Mary Anne! from his perspective.

Mallory: meeting her favorite author. When she was ten, Mallory got dressed up and went to a book signing of her favorite author, bouquet in hand for her hero. Since she's Mallory, she gets a serious case of shy and can't speak, instead breaking down in tears.

Shannon: a bad experience with a new girl. She gets burned in eighth grade by the jerk new girl, this prompts her to shun Kristy later.

Dawn (written in a letter since she's out West): her parent's divorce and the move to Stoneybrook. It's pretty much what you'd expect, culminating in meeting Mary Anne.

Mary Anne: a sitter she had at eight years old. Mary Anne's worried the sitter will be strict, so Mary Anne is allowed to have Kristy spend the night (her dad's on a business trip). But they find out when they play some pranks that she's pretty fun-loving, so it works out great. Mary Anne remembers the good humor the sitter had and uses that to be a good sitter herself. Pretty forgettable story, in my opinion, but noseinanovel has some good points about it in the comments.

(Mine, by the way, is probably when I hurt my knee badly at a military training encampment. It pops up randomly in my head. Or, if you count what I can picture exactly as it happened, it's a few months ago when I was having some trouble adjusting to motherhood and was holding my two-month-old daughter, feeling down. She looked up at me, put her tiny hand on my cheek, and smiled.)

Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my next answers

-Least Favorite Super Special: I never read Baby-sitters' Island Adventure as a kid, so when I read it for the first time a couple years ago I just couldn't get over how unrealistic it was. It was still entertaining though; I like Super Specials in general. However, if you include the Super Mysteries, then it's a tie for all four because I just don't like the mysteries very much.

-Favorite Minor Character: I can't think of a good one; I'll have to come back to this

-Least Favorite Minor Character: same, I'll have to come back to this

-Favorite Sitting Charge: Henry and Grace in New York would be fun to sit for. And the Pikes would be exhausting, but fun also. Andrew Brewer always seems really sweet and good-natured.

-Least Favorite Sitting Charge: Betsy Sobak. Really? You broke your sitter's leg badly due to your idiocy, kinda halfway apologize but really make excuses, and then everything's supposed to be okay?

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: none mentioned

The reason Kristy wants to be in charge and do everything for herself is that she wants to be like her mom. Awww...

When Kristy is trusted to watch David Michael alone, Mary Anne still has sitters herself. Although, I think in most states now it's illegal to leave ten-year-olds home alone.

The girl (Marty) who switched schools in Stacey's memory goes to a boarding school in Massachusetts. I wonder if it's Riverbend Academy...

Claudia can't read in first grade.

So, in Kristy and the Baby Parade, Jessi doesn't know what colic is. Yet her most vivid memory is about colic...Squirt should have had a different ailment.

Mary Anne once wrote a fan letter to Louisa May Alcott.

Their Families:

When Mary Anne, Kristy, and Claudia were young Janine used to walk them to school. She can read and walk at the same time.

Kristy's dad took off before she learned to ride a bike without training wheels. My dad helped me learn, which makes that fact about Kristy's growing up seem extra sad.

Stacey's parents might screw up some things, but I have to say that they do a good job trying to get to the root of the problem right away.

Jessi's family doesn't know the sex of Squirt before he's born, so that cements it: the previous pregnancies ended in stillbirth and her mom had to go through labor. Most places even today (in the US) won't do a whole of lot testing until a woman's had three miscarriages, so the babies must have been developed enough and big enough to tell the sex by looking. If I were to ever be in a situation like that, God forbid, I don't know if I could bear to be conscious during labor. I know Jessi's parents are fictional, but I feel terrible for them right now.

Jessi's mom is a strong advocate of (are you ready) breast feeding!

Logan's mom can knit (so can Mary Anne).

Shannon implies that her parents don't love each other.

It's possible that Dawn's dad was having an affair. He's always out late, he doesn't keep his stories straight...Although her dad says "our lawyers will cite irreconcilable differences."

The Club: nothing new.

SMS: nothing new.

PSA Time:

Reusing things from the first baby for your subsequent ones? Great idea. However, for the carseat, make sure it still complies with safety regulations and if it's more than five years old, the plastic may have degraded to the point that it's no longer safe.


In the Chapter Two, Kristy lists the BSC members in a sentence that ends "Logan (associate member), and Dawn (our ?)" I wonder if that's an editing error. Maybe the question mark was meant to be a placeholder until Ann M. Martin (no ghostwriter for this book) could think of the right descriptor. But the question mark works too, so I don't know.

In Stacey's story, she mentions how Laine created a group of friends at school. When one girl switches schools, Laine says they'll have to replace her. This reminds me of when my best friend and I were discussing apostolic succession (basically, the reason the Catholic Church has a pope and cardinals and bishops and all that) and whether it had a basis in the Bible. I brought up how the apostles had replaced Judas after his defection and death, and she said, "Yeah, it would be weird if when I moved, my friends all decided to elect someone to take my place."

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 45

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 95

Mary Anne-2


noseinanovel said...

This is my favorite SS and one of my favorite BSC, period. I can't count how many times I read this one as a kid. Mary Anne's story was always my favorite, as you could see her break out of her shyness mold a little here. And thanks to this one, and Mary Anne's Book, I practiced reading while walking when I was nine until I could circle my block reading "Ramona Forever." I'm not sure why I thought that was such as important skill to have :)

Laura said...

Great name, noseinanovel!

In all the 17 years since I first read this book, I've never decided on my most vivid memory. Maybe I will someday. It might be the time I was at my grandparents' house for Christmas and we were making popcorn balls. We were making pan-popped corn (as opposed to air- or microwave-popped corn) and all of a sudden the popcorn kernels started shooting around the whole room! We had to tell others to "Watch out for flying popcorn kernels!" We then kept repeating that at random intervals during the remainder of the the holidays.

We fans always make fun of Claudia for misspelling her name on her self-portrait but I kinda give her a pass on it. She's only six, probably just learning to spell - even though Jamie Newton could spell his own first name at four - and totally has (misdiagnosed as no/none) ADD. And Claudia might be a more difficult name for someone who faces those challenges.

Least fave SS - probably Shadow Lake. It was just very boring to me. (I haven't read SS 13-15 though. Nor have I read SM 2-4 either but I like the Mysteries and Super Mysteries.)

Fave minor charac. - Pete Black, seems/ed really cool and fun and nice.

Least fave minor charac. - maybe Shawna Riverson. I hate her for cheating (and feeling like that was her only option) and FOR LETTING CLAUDIA TAKE THE BLAME AND CONSEQUENCES! And how did she turn from one of the smartest/most popular students to one of the dumbest in 12 short books?

Fave sitting charge - Henry and Grace Walker, they are just adorable. I love the picture of Grace on the cover of Stacey's Mistake. (Though Henry should've been the one getting the look.) And if I could sit for the Karen and Andrew of KGI, I'd love to do that as well. (Well, I'd really sit for Andrew anytime but I just thought Karen was a sweeter and more realistic 5 yr. old in that book.)

Least fave sitting charge - Betsy Sobak, definitely.

My heart just breaks for the Ramseys as well.

I hate to think of anyone having an affair/cheating but I concede it's possible Jack was having an affair. Maybe his and Sharon's differences were over whether or not he was allowed to 'date'?

SJSiff said...

noseinanovel, I never thought of Mary Anne's memory in that way. I like it more now, thanks!

Laura, you're right, Claudia's only six and already having trouble reading. It's so jarring to read this sweet story of Mimi coming to her rescue and then, "Oh, and Claudia could never spell" tacked on at the end. And of course nothing's ever said outright about the specifics behind the Schafer's divorce, but it's not too far-fetched.