Better living through The Baby-Sitters Club

Bsc The thing I miss least about being a kid is all that longing to be someone else. Oh to be anyone but grotty swotty ginger-haired me!

Like many younguns, I found my escape in books, particularly The Baby-sitters Club series. I didn't want to join the Babysitters Club so much as I wanted to shed my own skin and be one of 'em. I deliberated over whom I aspired to be; which one I most resembled. Kind of like the shrieks of some women in the late 90s: OMG I'm totally a Carrie! No I'm the Carrie! You're the Miranda!  Except less fecking annoying.

When I was ten I wanted to be Stacey. She was so cool, hailing from New York City and all. She also had diabetes. Every time I was busting for the loo I'd think, Dude I must be getting the diabetes like STACEY!

Then I had a Dawn phase. She had blonde hair cascading right down to her bum. I went for a haircut and the lady wanted to give me a bob. I said "sure!" then instantly died inside. CRAP, I was sposed to be growing my hair like Dawn's!

And of course there was my favourite, Claudia. Artist and master accessoriser. We had nothing in common but the desire to stash candy under our beds.

I thought long and hard about this stuff, I tell you. Here is a handy chart to summarise my pre-teen ponderings: (click pic to view full size)

Baby-Sitters Club chart

The only BSC character I actually had anything in common with was Associate Member Mallory Pike – she had red hair, was insecure about her appearance and wanted to be a writer. But she was also very annoying. And she liked to read horse stories. Horse stories! I did not want to align myself with that.

In my research I found out that after I bailed out of the series, Mallory got an Australian boyfriend named… BEN HOBART. I will be bwahahaha-ing over that morsel for months.

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49 thoughts on “Better living through The Baby-Sitters Club

  1. I was so obsessed with BSC, my mom still has all the books I collected. I wanted to be Mary Ann, we are both brunettes and she had a boyfriend. I wanted a boyfriend….oh my how I was obsessed!

  2. @FatBridesmaid – indeedily, I linked to it in the entry

    @PQ – i knooow! how many times must they have done the 7th grade!?

  3. Ah the memories *nostalgic sigh*

    Totally girl-power, for the pre-Spice Girl generation.

    I sort of wanted to be Dawn or Stacey (blond and pretty and popular), but in reality know I am more of a Cladia for:

    a) crazy wardrobe
    b) hidden chocolate
    c) trashy reading material: exchange Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer for Nancy Drew, and we have a match!

  4. When I was growing up as a chubby only child of divorced parents, I wanted to be Nancy Drew (rich, beautiful, brave blond). And I wanted a roadster and a boyfriend named Ned Nickerson too!

  5. @Margret – you just proved right there how much you were TOTALLY like Claud! hehehe :)

    (only fly in the ointment – where to buy Ding Dongs in Cowra!?)

  6. I never had the opportunity to read this series. Infact I never read much at all…so I’m going to the library to get some! (I’m an avid reader now) Any favorite ones I should start with or are they all in order?

    Cheers – Nikki

  7. If you live on a farm and aren’t allowed ‘junk’ food, you have to make do with sneakily mixing some cookie dough and hiding it in a bowl under your bedside table. Certainly nothing as luxurious as a Ding Dong, hehe.

  8. Obsessed too! Like fatbustermack I wanted to be Mary Ann for the exact same reason…she had a boyfriend! After I outgrew the series I would be so excited when I’d babysit for someone who had the books, I’d read them after the kids went to bed.

  9. That really was the JOY of the BSC, tryng to decide who you were most like. I remember their little boxes of fun they would take with them. I once tried to make a box but it was really lame cuz I wasn’t allowed to take any of the games or books out of the house for fear I would lose them. I felt like a Claudia but thought I should feel more like Dawn cuz she was a California girl too!

  10. Hilarious! Just what I needed this Friday afternoon!

    “What Claudia Wore” has me suppressing laughter until I’m in tears. A must for the recovering BSC junkie :)

  11. Shauna,
    I was also obsessed with the BSC! I wanted to be Stacey. And sometimes Dawn. And Mary Anne. Never Kristy. I had the entire collection, and then my parents donated them to a school when I left for college. So sad!

  12. You know, I think that longing to be someone else and the fantasties I could concoct imagining I was someone else is one of the things I miss MOST from my teen years. I don’t lose myself like that in fiction anymore.

    Loved BSC. Not as much as Sweet Valley High though. :)

  13. There is so much to love about this post — thank you so much for it. I recently took a “What BSC member are you” quiz on Facebook and it said I was Stacy. I was so happy I nearly died. I was also relieved that it didn’t say I was Kritsy. I always thought she was a b*tch.

  14. Oh my God, what a blast from the past! I *loved* the BSC. I always wanted to be Claudia with her cool artistic candy-eating ways. In reality, I think I was a combination of Kirsty (who I didn’t actually like), because of her leadership skills and love of sports, and Stacey because she loved maths.
    Which probably means that I was a bit of a geek. Anyways, I’ve been following your blog for a little while and I’d just like to say how much I enjoy it.

  15. Oh man, BSC. Was a huge fan, though I HATED babysitting in real life. I was probably closest to Claudia (and still really like that name), I had crazy clothes and accessories, candy hidden in my room (or my mom would eat it), and I was always doing art (how I ended up in such a left brained job right now, I have no idea).

  16. I have never heard of the Babysitters Club but when I was young, I really really wanted to be George from the Famous Five. (Not Ann. She was girly and a bit pathetic.) George was a cool tomboy and she had a cool dog too. I always slightly despised Julian for liking Ann when she was always so sensible and responsible.

  17. I think I wanted to be like Kritsy, except less bossy, but was more like Maryanne without the crap clothes. Pigtails and the like.

  18. Ooooh I thought Stacey was sooo cool and interesting because of her diabetes – I am embarrassed to admit I totally wanted diabetes when I was young as she made it sound so exciting :D I think BSC were my fave books for years – I even had a few of the videos.

  19. So glad that you mentioned this. I was a fanatic, but hadn’t heard about Mallory’s boyfriend. That’s a riot. I hadn’t thought about the BSC books in forever!!! Thanks for the memories. :)

  20. Hahaha that’s so funny, farm girls makin’ do with junk food. I used to sneak downstairs and “make” cookies and divide everything by like, 1/10th, so I wouldn’t have too much. Pretty good for a grade 2 or 3 kid to do that, perhaps that’s how I learnt my fractions???

    …not that I’m going to admit that :P

    I still occasionally make some chocolate chip cookie dough… flour, sugar, butter, brown sugar… chocolate chips, egg… lard if there’s no butter… Um – that’s about all you need :P

  21. I was SO obsessed with BSC! There were times when they were kind of my only “friends”. Aww. Dawn was my favourite, although I always wanted diabetes so I could be like Stacey.

  22. I think this might be a thing that most of US shared.

    I was an avid reader – and am not implying that reading is bad – but I have noticed through the years that weight loss bloggers read a LOT as kids.

    For me it was totally a means of taking my mind out of my circumstances and transporting myself to some where totally different.

    I read to the point of excess, It was my coping mechanism and I was definitely hiding from the world.

    But I have always thought that it helped keep me sane in living with my dad. He was very disfunctional and caused a lot of anxiety. In my books, I was able to relax.

    I knew I was older than that series – but looked it up – “The Baby-sitters Club is a series of children’s books, written by Ann M. Martin and published by Scholastic between 1986-2000, which sold over 175 million copies.” In 1986 I was already 3 years out of college.

    My go to series was Trixie Belden. (“Trixie Belden is the title character in a series of ‘girl detective’ mysteries written between 1948 and 1986.”) There used to be a darling blogger with that name.

    And in 6th grade – a really rough year for me – the librarian challenged me to read the biography/autobiography SECTION in the school library. I literally started with A and read my way through. And it did help.
    I had to look up

  23. I can’t believe you made this chart! You’re hilariously adorable :) I, too spent many an afternoon immersed in juicy BSC preteen drama. I remember wanting to be Claudia but have nowhere near as detailed memory of the time as you do. Thanks for revisiting!

  24. The BSC is the reason I print my lowercase a’s and e’s the way I do to this day… loved those books! Maybe we should all reread them for nostalgia’s sake.

  25. Oh I LOVE the chart! I’m so glad you graphed it all out for us, though I think Excel would have saved you some time. I’m too old for the BSC, but probably would have been most similar to Mary Ann and would want to be Claudia.

    I think Margaret Cho had some joke about anytime there’s three women (like in Charlie’s Angels) there’s always 1) the smart one, 2) the pretty one, and 3) the ho. That’s how I always categorize people now.

  26. WOW. That is the first Baby sitters book i ever had! Kristys big idea. Lol. Love reading your blog even though i dont really comment. Its wonderful to read about your life and be able to relate. :) Thanks again DG. x

  27. Whoa!! I totally loved the BSC! I had my own club in 4th grade (I was Kristy of course) and there was another group of girls with a BSC and we were like rival gangs. Even though we weren’t old enough to babysit yet. That wasn’t the point!

    Thanks for the blast from the past!

  28. Baby Sitters Club and The Gymnasts! I used to read one of those books a day starting on my long bus journey home and finishing it late into the night. I so badly wanted to be any of them but it was a stretch in outback NSW :)
    Ben Hobart, ha ha – thank you Shauna, I have no need for anything else in life now.

  29. Best table EVER, Shauny!

    I want to concoct a ‘Barriers’ list now for every desirable thing ever.

    I think I read two Babysitters Club books, when they became popular when I was about 11 I’d moved into the fast lane of Sweet Valley High that I hurtled down for a couple of years. I remember the crucial turning point early year 7 of going from thinking that Jessica Wakefield was a slag to wanting to BE her.

  30. Hi Shauna- Although I did read a bunch of biographies in 6th grade like one of your posters, I’m too old to have read the BSC at that age so I have a question. Why is a boyfriend named Ben Hobart funny? Thanks- love your posts!

  31. @Karen – Mallory’s Australian boyfriend was named Ben Hobart, and Hobart is a city in Australia. So that’s like having an American character named Johnny New York or a Chinese character named Amanda Shanghai. HILarious.

    @krissie – yes! I never went for blondes but Logan did look dishy on the covers!

    @momo – yes! there comes a time when you realise Elizabeth is a squae and Todd is hella boring and Jessica is having all the fun!

    @Runningwriter – THE GYMNASTS! I loved that series too! :)

    @vickie – loved that… I always wanted to live near a library. they are the ultimate refuge!

    Thanks for your comments everyone… BSC nerds unite!

  32. @Vickie – I love Trixie Belden as well, and Trix and I even shared a birthday (but I don’t have older brothers. I always wanted older brothers)! I remember myself as being “too old” for the BSC, although I was only 11 in 1986, and thus not really too old, but I think I had already extracted permission to start reading in the adult section of the library by then (I finished all the Trixie Belden books by then). I’m intrigued by the idea of reading all the biog/autobiog section – I have been into reading those recently, and find so many of them inspiring (and some just make me wonder WHY?)

    I… I feel sort of left out by all this BSC love. :/
    It’s ok, I’ll live. :)

  33. omg I loved the babysitters club, the gymnasts and sweet valley high also. Think that makes us approximately the same vintage.
    Me and my friends used to read BSC to each other in american accents.
    We even fantasised about forming our own BSC!!
    I got up to number 23 before I grew out of it.
    Those girls must be pushing 30 now…..

  34. Oh…my…gosh! I was just thinking about BSC yesterday.

    I think I have BSC partly to blame for my food issues. Claudia made hording food cool and whenever I would read about her pulling a bag of M&M’s from her sock drawer I would start drooling. I wanted to be Dawn because she preferred health food (the concept was and still is foreign to me) and because she had an underground tunnel connecting her house to her barn. Or is that a different series? Oh! AND I wanted to be Dawn because her best friend (Mary Anne) became her stepsister, which I thought would be awesome if my best friend, Sara, could somehow become my stepsister without our parents divorcing and marrying each other.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Shauna!

  35. Think I helped feed your BSC habit, Shauna. We own the bookshop where you grew up. Remember you and Rhiannon coming in regularly. My daughter, Annette, was similarly obsessed. We did a stocktake once and were missing 26 BSC books. We found 23 of them in her bedroom!

  36. i LOVE the bsc. i would want 2b mary anne. cuz im shy&VARY, VARY senstive. i would melt if i meet any one like LOGAN he sounds soo cute!!!!! im 13 (but im in ″lowly 6th~) as mal said. im starting 2 read the bsc 2 my 2 younger sisters. i have 9younger siblings. i can tell u my sory in a min. ready??? when i was bout 7/8 my parnts got devorisd then my mom my 2 sister moved (my 2 older bros) stayed w my dad. a cople years later my dad got married & her name is lucy &her 5 kids moved 2 s.d w us (then she had 1 baby but he died then 1yr later (bout) got anther baby boy his name is roy.) now just last wen, she gave birth 2 my new baby bro. my biggest bro is getting married the month:) as i said my sory will only b a min. lol. well i tell u who they all r
    ethan-19
    tyrel-17
    annaliese-13
    brandt-11/12 (step bro)
    joni-10(step sis)
    sylvia-9
    kirsten-7(step sis)
    laura-7
    vivian-5/6(step sis)
    scott-7hrs old he is the 1 that died)
    roy-1(half bro)
    axle-few days old(half bro)
    ohhh… 4got 2 tell u bout my real mom. lol. well we moved 2 n.d then mom got married (again!!!) 3/2 later got devoried we moved 2 minn thats where we r now.they think that mal has a big fam well i have 12 (13 scott died) b&bf (big&blened family)