the best friends you’ll never have

I started reading BSC right after the end of first grade. For many years afterward, I dreamed of starting my own BSC and baby-sitting. I am sure that nearly all of the kids who read BSC felt the same way. It came as a great shock to me when, years later, I began baby-sitting and discovered that it was terrible, thankless work. Kids couldn’t give two shits about Kid-Kits or carnivals; they just want to watch tv, run around screaming, do dangerous things, and bop their siblings on the head. Things that almost no BSC client ever did and things that every kid I baby-sat did.

Are the BSC just super jedi master baby-sitters, and I was a crappy one, or is there something more sinister? Something that hints that BSC books do not adhere to realism in any form? I am sure that there are real kids that adore their baby-sitters, and the fact that the girls spent most of their free time sitting helped them to wrangle the clients, but the fact is that there seemed to be very little conflict to begin with. Does anyone agree with me and feel that the books present a false image of baby-sitting and how fun it is, an image which is soon shattered the first time you have to stop kids from killing each other one minute after the parents leave?

Speaking of kids, today I discovered that scholastic set up a message board for BSC. The main posters seem to be middle schoolers who love exclamation points. People seem to mostly want friends.

“hey _rae12amm whenever i get on here nobody is ever on so i don’t really know how 2 have conversations anyways but oh well i still like this site it’s fun and cool and safe!!!! unless people are stupid and come on here just 2 do bad stuff!! once i got on here cause i was showing my 8 year old sister this site so she could get on and there was a girl on here and her name was really bad it was horrible so on the message board i put that emily should do something and i don’t know what she did but she either told her 2 pick a diffrent name or get off the site because i haven’t seen the name or heard from her that said she had 2 pick a different name so i don’t know if she is still on here with a different name or what??? if somebody out there has had 2 change their name leave me a message saying what your name was and why you picked it!!!!!! i really want 2 know because i was going 2 start a survey today or a week from now!!!! bye love ya!!!!!”

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puck said, August 17th, 2007 at 7:05 am

i think that the idealization of babysitting is kind of like all the other fifteen million plot holes… but yeah, i wonder if ann just forgot about those things in the “LOT” of babysitting that she did, or if she was such a SUPERAWESOME babysitter that she truthfully didn’t face those issues. it’s fascinating how when kids *do* act up, it’s always for a Very Important Reason (e.g.: marshall trins, early charlotte issues, etc.). of course, without those VIRs there would be no story (as also mentioned in your last post:).

DSharpe113 said, August 17th, 2007 at 11:09 am

Hmmmm… I didn’t do a whole lot of baby-sitting growing up, but when I baby-sat it was usually for one kid..and it was pretty easy… though there was hte four year old that didn’t have a bedtime (WTF?!?!) I was 13 at the time.
Hardest sitting job? When i did a mary anne and was a backstage baby-sitter for nine kids…all on my own. Mary Anne almost made it seem easy. Believe me… it wasn’t. I had to keep 7 kids entertained as they were only in one scene, and the other two kids were the main kids in the show (south pacific) and they came and went as they were needed onstage. One of those kids HATED ME!!!!! oh good times.

greer said, August 17th, 2007 at 11:17 am

@DSharpe113: i had a steady sitting job 2 years ago for these 2 holy terrors whose parents allowed them to do things like slide down the stairs on a mattress a la jessi and the troublemaker and slide around on soap bubbles on the back porch. i didn’t want any lawsuits so i quit.

cpennylane said, August 18th, 2007 at 8:59 am

I was so excited to start baby-sitting, mostly because of these books. My first shock was that kids did not want to play fun games. My second was that they NEVER, EVER went to bed when they were asked too. I don’t understand how the BSC can get the kids into bed so easily. It’s weird.

Virjo said, March 15th, 2008 at 9:29 am

i babysat when i was about 11, for 5/6 -year-old kids, but the thing was, i didn’t really “babysit”. i joined them in their games. we usually played we were a family and i was the mother and/or the father. and the big animals where the kids rode on, like a horse, a whale, or a dolphin. it may not sound like fun but it was^^ lots!

Kylie90210 said, May 28th, 2008 at 1:16 am

Yeah, BSC does warp ideas about baby sitting :(

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