the best friends you’ll never have

Browsing in baby-sitting

I am not a fan of the sitting chapters, really. I liked them as a kid, because I was reading about people my age, but now I find them kind of tedious. Maybe it’s because I know that baby-sitting is not as fun as they make it out to be.

I think, though, that my favorite sitting charges are Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold. This is because two of the major plots involving them contain two of my favorite things: fashion and interior decorating. So if I have to read sitting chapters, at least these ones involve going to Bellairs and room-decorating.

Did you know that Lois Lowry has a blog? So does Meg Cabot. Meg’s blog is very relatable, because she talks about things like the latest episode of Gossip Girl. Tuesdays (or Wednesdays, depending) are often reserved for serious discussions of CHUCK BASS around these parts.

What other middle grade/YA authors do you know who have interesting blogs?

Speaking of Lois Lowry, I have been rediscovering Anastasia Krupnik lately. I think one of the things that make Anastasia books so enjoyable–besides the fact that they’re laugh-out-loud funny, so much so that my mother has commented on it while I was reading on the couch–is that her family just seems so cool. You read it and think, “Now this is the family I should have had!” (Not that I don’t love my family or anything.) Harvard professor dad, illustrator mom, cute and smart little brother… all witty and understanding. Plus, they live in a really cool Victorian house with a study full of Great Books.

Who is your favorite fictional family?

Also, I feel a little harsh in my treatment of Dawn Schafer in my recent post. So soon I will write about what I like about Dawn. She was, after all, my favorite character for a while in my childhood, and there are certain ways in which I really relate to her now.

Five minutes earlier, Lynn’s parents had finally left. My uncle Russ practically had to shove my aunt Peaches out the door. “What if she starts running a fever?” Peaches asked, clutching Lynn as if she couldn’t bear to turn her over to me. “What if she falls out of her crib?”

“Claudia knows what to do,” said my mother soothingly, putting an arm around Peaches. (They’re sisters.) “She can handle any situation that comes up. Remember, she’s a professional baby-sitter.”

I nodded. “That’s right,” I said. “Lynn will be in the care of a full-fledged founding member of the BSC.” I grinned proudly. I didn’t have to explain to Peaches and Russ about the BSC. They know those initials stand for Babysitters Club, and they know what the club is all about. You can’t find better, more experienced sitters anywhere.

“Not to mention the BSC member’s sibling and parents,” added my older sister, Janine. “Well be here too.”

Thank you, Janine, for remembering that someone besides Claudia has the capacity to take care of a baby. Did John and Rioko forget that they successfully reared two children to adolescence? Or were they just trying to give Claudia something to feel good about? This passage in Claudia and the Terrible Truth has always annoyed me. So often, the BSC were treated as if they knew more about children than actual parents. Sorry, but just because you organize carnivals doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about children and are the most expert at childrearing in the world.

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!!!!!”