8/30/13

BSC: The Club

BSC clients: 38

Addisons (before they moved away), Arnolds, Barretts and DeWitts, Brewers, Braddocks, Brooke, Brunos, Craines, Delanys (before they moved away), Felders, Gianellis, Harrises, Hills, Hobarts, Hsus, Johanssens, Kents, Kormans, Kuhns, Marshalls, Martinezes, Masters, McNallys, Newtons, Ohdners, Papadakises, Pikes, Perkins, Prezziosos, Ramseys, Robertses, Rodowskys, Salems, Shafers, Sobaks, Springers, Thomases, Wilders, and Willises

The original four members are Kristy (president), Claudia (vice-president), Stacey (treasurer), and Mary Anne (secretary). Dawn joins as alternate officer at the end of #4 Mary Anne Saves the Day. Logan is added as an associate member in #10 Logan Likes Mary Anne! and Shannon in #11 Kristy and the Snobs. Mallory and Jessi join as junior officers in #14 Hello, Mallory

Dawn has an extended absence when she has an six-month stay in California from #67 Dawn’s Big Move to Super Special 12 Here Come the Bridesmaids (which is followed by #81 Kristy and Mr. Mom). Mallory is also gone from the club for a long time due to mono from #69 Get Well Soon, Mallory to #73 Mary Anne and Miss Priss. Stacey quits/is fired in #83 Stacey vs. the BSC and returns in #87 Stacey and the Bad Girls. Dawn moves to California permanently in #88 Farewell, Dawn and from then on is an honorary member who takes jobs when visiting. Abby joins in #89 Kristy and the Dirty Diapers. Mallory becomes an honorary member when she joins a boarding school in #126 The All-new Mallory Pike. Logan, Shannon, Jessi, and Abby all quit due to life being too busy in the first Friends Forever Super Special Everything Changes, although some of the Friends Forever series have Abby as an honorary member.

Kristy got the idea for the BSC on the first Tuesday of seventh grade. They advertise in the Stoneybrook News, by calling the families for which they already sit, and by making fliers. When Claudia first designs the BSC logo, it seems that she spells it correctly without help. The original four meet for the first time the following Thursday at 5:30, just to plan. Not sure when they decide go to Monday-Wednesday-Friday. In most books, Official BSC Time is that which is displayed on Claudia’s clock. In #74 Kristy and the Copycat it’s Kristy’s wristwatch. 

The first official meeting is held on the second Friday of school, during which Sam pulls the “This is Jim Bartolini. Have there been any calls for me?” prank, which I think is a pretty good one.

Stacey gets the first job, for David Michael. Kristy gets the second, with the infamous Pinky and Buffy McKeever, the job that leads to her ban on pet-sitting. (The ban is lifted in #22 Jessi Ramsey, Pet-sitter.) Mary Anne gets the third, for Karen and Andrew Brewer. Claudia doesn't get a job during the meeting. Mrs. Newton calls afterhours and Claudia takes it on the spot, which seems fair in a way, especially since no one established that she couldn't.

Kid-Kits start in #3 The Truth about Stacey, in response to the threat of the Baby-sitters Agency. Kristy also starts wearing a visor during that book.

The first emergency meeting takes place in #2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls and is held because the sitters fear the cat burglar will strike during a sitting job. This is when they make up the “Have you found my red ribbon?” code.

It is during the Buffy and Pinky job in #1 Kristy’s Great Idea (the two large dogs she sits for, unaware until the job starts that the charges aren't human) that Kristy decides to start the notebook, which Hello Mallory! indicates is also used to record important club meetings. She earns $3.50 while thinking it up, sitting for at least an hour. And Claudia only misspells one word in her first entry. 

Mary Anne forgets to record the first two jobs in the record book until Kristy hands it to her…not quite a mistake. The Secret Life of Mary Anne Spier reveals that the club notebook is a spiral notebook, not a binder as I’d imagined. The mystery notebook debuts in Baby-sitters Beware, compiled by Mallory. In the same book, Claudia gets to fill in as president when both Kristy and Abby are unable to make a meeting.

Stacey has the idea for officers, and the offices are decided unanimously by all four girls.

As late as #115 Jessi’s Big Break, Claudia fields phone calls outside of the meetings from time to time, technically one of her duties as vice president.

Mary Anne does make a few mistakes in scheduling but usually corrects them quickly. In Jessi and the Superbrat, she forgets to write down a sitting job and Dawn catches it. Jessi catches a similar mistake in Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic.

Mary Anne color-codes the schedule.

Depending on which book you read, sometimes it’s Mary Anne’s job to keep track of the members’ earnings, sometimes it’s Stacey’s. Mary Anne keeps track of how much each family pays.

While Stacey drops out of the club during her bad girls arc, Shannon fills in as alternate officer as she is conveniently more available. Dawn takes over the role of treasurer.

In #68 Jessi and the Bad Baby-sitter Jessi tells us that Dawn, as alternate officer has held each position at least once. Let's see...Kristy has missed meetings (for example, when her dog died), Claudia skipped some meetings to hang out with Ashley Wyeth plus was absent when she had a broken leg (although Dawn was treasurer during the latter), Stacey sometimes leaves for New York on Fridays and she lived there for a while, and Mary Anne skipped some meetings during the backlash over her haircut. Yep, checks out. The BSC also has to turn down a job in that book!

Dues are fifty cents when the club starts, but are raised to a dollar at the end of #5 Dawn and the Impossible Three so they can pay Charlie to drive Kristy to and from meetings. One thing that has never made sense to me: during the school year, why doesn't Kristy just hang out with one of the other members or at the library or something? I don't get she takes the bus home only for Charlie to drive her from home to Claudia's to home again.

Honorary and associate members are exempt from paying dues. However, Claudia owed back dues when she missed a Monday meeting…due to being hospitalized for breaking her leg while on a sitting job! The best friends you’ll ever have, indeed. (Mallory does NOT owe dues when she’s out with mono)

By #11 Kristy and the Snobs, Kristy has missed some club meetings mostly for reasons stemming from fights with other members and has in fact missed the most meetings of any member. Also, #12 Claudia and the New Girl tells us that since Kristy’s at the mercy of Charlie to get to meetings, she’s often late.

“Distant” as BSC slang for cool first appears in #38 Kristy’s Mystery Admirer. “Dibble” for incredible and “stale” for uncool come up in #39 Poor Mallory!

In Beware, Dawn! Dawn mentions that she’s glad she doesn't have to sit for all four Hobart boys at once…it’s unclear whether it’s a joke about Ben or if Ben indeed needs a sitter despite being eleven and sort of going out with Mallory.

Whenever the game Candy Land is mentioned, the sitter talking about it says she hates it.

In The Fire at Mary Anne’s House, the sitters are anxious about the results of a “best sitter” contest. No winner is revealed in the book or in the Friend Forever series that follows.

The BSC of the Friends Forever series is very similar to its earlier incarnation, but more relaxed. They still meet three days a week, but Kristy isn't so much a stickler for time. They take on fewer jobs and no longer advertise to bring in new clients. Sometimes Erica Blumberg, who becomes close with Claudia, helps with sitting jobs.

So, the deal with so many parties involving little kids? In The Summer Before, Stacey's surprise going-away party includes the kids she sits for in NYC, and the party Mary Anne plans for Kristy includes the kids they sit for.

I think it's weird that the girls refer to themselves as BABY-sitters when they usually watch older kids. I've watched kids for at least a decade and a half in various capacities from minding my younger brother to being a five-day-a-week nanny, and I refer to myself just as a sitter unless there actually is an infant. I've known little kids for whom it's very important that they not be implied to be babies.

5 comments:

Scarlett said...

I am so excited that you're done with the series and doing these wrap up posts! Thank you for keeping track of all these crazy details.

SJSiff said...

I'm glad you're enjoying them. It's fun for me! I hope I haven't made any egregious errors in any of the wrap-up posts. Next month I'll be posting details about the individual members, starting with Kristy on Sep 3. The posts are already written and I'll put them up every three days.

Scarlett said...

Ooh, looking forward to the ones on individual members!

Isabel Escalante said...

Wow! I love this blog. Your posts are detailed, entertaining, and always nice. It's definitely my favorite BSC blog.

SJSiff said...

Thank you, Isabel! That's really nice of you. I'm glad you're enjoying the posts!