Dawn Diary 3 (CD#11)

Original Publication Date: 1999

Ghostwriter? No. The books is dedicated to Betsy Howie. Betsy is Mrs. Winslow's first name.


Dawn is adjusting to having a baby in the house. She's bonded with Gracie, but of course a teething baby can get on anyone's nerves. She's craving something new and exciting, and feeling like she has far less to do in California than she would in Stoneybrook, where she had more close friends. So she's pretty thrilled when her favorite band announces it'll be playing nearby. Ducky scores four tickets to a special function with the concert that will allow him, Dawn, Amalia, and Sunny to meet the members of the band (Maggie doesn't care about the band). Dawn obtains permission from her dad and Carol to go with Ducky driving, and is willing to put up with Sunny for the privilege. She's been trying to reignite her friendship with Sunny lately, but it's not going so well. They put up with each other okay at the concert, until Ducky has a few drinks at the insistence of Sunny and a friend they meet up with, and then Sunny tries to convince him to drive anyway and Dawn intervenes and takes Ducky's keys (and rightly so). Dawn's dad and Carol are pretty upset with the situation, but do give Dawn credit for calling. Dawn's dad drives Ducky home too (Sunny was too angry and took the bus; Amalia went with her so she wouldn't be alone) and gives him a bit of fatherly advice, since Ducky's parents aren't around to dispense it.

While Sunny was absolutely in the wrong about the drinking, one can hardly blame her for being out of sorts. Her mother has come home...permanently. The chemotherapy is doing more harm than good, and she's receiving pallative care only. She's come home to die. The finality of this reality finally spurs Dawn and Sunny to restart their friendship, albeit with a heavy pallor cast over it.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Ducky):

Dawn's pretty opionated and pushy. Not only does she try to force Sunny to handle her mother's health problems the way Dawn thinks is right, she tries to force any conversation with Maggie to food and weight.

Mary Anne might visit over spring break.

Dawn's had tequila.

Ducky quit his job at Sunny's dad's bookstore in January or February.

Their Families:

Dawn's dad pays her to watch Gracie and Jeff, which I think is appropriate. I got money sometimes for watching my younger brother, although not every time. It was more that once in a while Dad would give me some cash because I'd watched him a few times.

Carol nurses Gracie in front of Dawn and Ducky, and it bugs Dawn even though she tries to tell herself it's natural. I know that a lot of mothers will nurse anywhere with varying layers of clothing, but being a pretty private person I prefer to have a light blanket covering myself and if I can, will go to a different room or less crowded area. But when the baby's hungry, the baby's got to eat! However, I can cut Dawn some slack because Gracie is old enough that a little extra time to sit at on the couch instead of across the table from Dawn's friends wouldn't hurt Gracie.

Gracie takes a bottle sometimes. It's not specified whether it has expressed milk or formula. Since she was born in June, she's eight months old. My daughter was eating a few foods by then; rice cereal and bananas and that sort of thing. I nursed her until she was 15 months old, though she was down to just once a day, at bedtime, by then.

Wow, Carol's been able to take this much time off work and doesn't have to go back for two or three months! Combined with her bedrest before Gracie was born, that's about a year off from work. Good for her that she was able to do that.

I have to say, I'm pretty annoyed that Sunny's mom used to smoke. It reads like the cancer is her fault. I'm not saying that people who smoke deserve cancer (because I would love for my grandmother to still be alive), but I really hate how it comes off as blaming the victim. While you can do things to mitigate your risk factors, when it comes down to it, diseases don't really care whether you've been a good person or not, and people will or won't get cancer regardless of how they've lived their lives.

EDIT 7/5/2014: I want to clarify the above. Please don't smoke. It's very, very bad for you. No one deserves cancer or STDs or hepatitis or other illnesses; and smoking, having sex, drinking, etc doesn't make you a bad person, but you will be healthier if you're careful with what you do. I just think it's pointless to shame people for poor health decision after they receive difficult diagnoses.

PSA Time:

Just to echo Dawn's dad's instructions: never get in a car driven by someone who's impaired. It's simply not worth the risk. Get the person's keys if you can, too.

It's just a bad idea to not get your own drink at a party or concert. If you get it yourself, you can be sure of what's in it more easily.


This book takes place from early February to mid March, although it wasn't published until April. Valentine's Day is on a Sunday in this book, although it was a Saturday in Abby's Un-Valentine. But it was a Sunday in 1999, and in Ducky's first diary.

This is the last book narrated by Dawn.

Whoever owned this book before me wrote "Drohan" on the inside front cover. I'm assuming it's someone's last name, and from the handwriting could be either a child or an adult, maybe a teacher who had BSC books in the classroom. One of my cousins who teaches grade school keeps BSC books on her shelves.

In general, I try not to call people before 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning and not after 9:00 at night. A few people, like my grandparents who stay up late, I know I can call later, but generally people are up for phone-answering between 9:00 and 9:00.

Most juice isn't all that healthy. It's not really a good substitute for a piece of fruit. If you compare sugar contents on a lot of it, you may as well have pop.

Dawn mentions a restaurant called the Tea Shop, at which "you can buy an awful lot more than tea there, and I don't just mean food." Curious.

Speaking of babies, I was going to put this post up on Thursday, but I had a baby instead. She was a week early like her older sister and is doing well!

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 9

Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 3

Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate, not just reference): Christmas-3, Hanukkah-1, Kwanzaa-2

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 3

Summers after 8th grade: 10

BSC Fights: 11

SMS Staff and Faculty: 67

Students (other than the BSC): 209: 119 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 26 7th graders, 47 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.

Clients: 37 families

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 130

Mary Anne-2


Jessica said...

Congratulations on your new baby!!!!! Happy mothers day!!!!!!

SJSiff said...

Thank you. I've had a good Mother's Day. At church this morning my older daughter (2 1/2) gave the baby a kiss during the sign of peace (part of the mass after the Our Father and before Communion when you hug or kiss or shake hands with people around, based on well you know them, and wish them peace). It was very sweet. And the girls gave me candy which is exactly what I wanted.

Happy Mother's Day to if appropriate, and happy Sunday regardless.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your new baby!

I'm glad Dawn did the responsible thing and called her dad instead of letting Ducky drive.

I don't understand how Dawn can't be more compassionate to Sunny. So she's not dealing with it the way Dawn is dealing with it. For one thing Dawn doesn't know how she'd really handle that situation. And Sunny needs her friends now more then ever.

Mo @ The Baby is Fine said...

congrats on the baby!! i hope everyone is doing great :)

i like that they had dawn call her dad and that he was upset but didn't totally freak out - good message for kids about how to handle a situation like that.

was dawn implying that the "tea shop" was like a front for a marijuana dealer or something?! not that that's not possible/realistic, just odd for the BSC to reference/hint at!

SJSiff said...

Thanks guys. Little A is actually on a bilibed right now, because of jaundice. Fortunately we have it set up at home and not in a hospital, but it's still a lot to deal with. But her levels have dropped already and she's eating really well, so fingers crossed that she'll be done with soon.

Yes, Anon; Dawn does seem to forget that Sunny is going through something very different than Dawn has ever experienced. And I'm with you and Mo that Dawn did at least thing right by calling her dad.

Mo, yeah, it seems like the Tea Shop might sell weed...

Michelle said...

I'm sorry, I have to say something, because even with all your "PSA" sections, you're promoting some dangerous ideas about health. The fact is, the way you treat your body has a very real impact on your health. If you eat junk food, your body will not function as well as someone who eats healthfully; the same thing goes for regular exercise, and practicing some form of mitigating stress. Yes, disease can happen to people even when they eat well and exercise and take good care of themselves -- but for you to say that smokers would get cancer "regardless of how they've lived their lives" is just plain ignorant. There are certain activities that affect certain parts of the body -- just as alcoholics are habitually abusing their liver, smokers are habitually abusing their lungs. There is a difference between taking good care of your body, which shows understanding of anatomy and basic cause-and-effect, and hoping that being a good person will protect you from life's eventualities. Yet you seem to suggest that living a healthy lifestyle is just wishful thinking, and people are just fated to get lung cancer regardless; and that is categorically untrue. Yes, sometimes nonsmokers get lung cancer, and sometimes smokers don't -- but the statistics and correlations remain simply too strong to dismiss. You're practically encouraging your readers to smoke with your laissez-faire dismissal of science, and that's just dangerous.

SJSiff said...

Michelle, I will edit it for clarity. I don't mean to imply that smoking is fine and has no ill effects. I mean that once someone has cancer, what's the point of shaming them for poor health decisions. No one "deserves" any disease regardless of any risky behaviors--although we should all avoid risky behavior.

As an analogy, say you leave your car door unlocked and someone breaks in and steals stuff. True, you probably should have locked your car door. But that doesn't mean you deserved to have things stolen.

SJSiff said...

Adding to the above, when I wrote the bit about "regardless of how you live your life" I meant that you might be a good person, helping people, doing philanthropic things, and so on, or be a rotten, base, waste of a human being, and the disease wouldn't care either way. Not that you can willfully ignore medical science! :)