9 Things Every Baby-Sitters Club Fan Knows To Be True
In honor of the 30th anniversary of The Baby-Sitters Club — Ann M. Martin’s beloved book series — landing on bookstore shelves for the very first time, we’re reliving some of our all-time favorite BSC moments, melodramas, and memories — including this list of things that every Baby-Sitters Club fan knows to be true. And at upwards of 176 million copies of the YA novels sold, there are a lot of you BSC fans out there.
The series, which follows a group of teens and pre-teens who operate a babysitting club for their hometown of Stoneybrook, Connecticut (like I really need to recap for you) was a staple of my bookshelves growing up — and since most of the titles in the series were published by Scholastic Books between 1986 and 2000, they were essential reading for basically every Millennial girl with a library card. So essential, in fact, that we were all willing to overlook the fact that Scholastic Books allowed Ann M. Martin to spell “babysitters” with a hyphen. (We could quibble all day about whether or not there should be a possessive apostrophe before the “s” in “sitters”, but really, why spoil a good thing?)
Punctuation aside, we love the girls of the BSC, and our young reading lives wouldn’t have been the same without them — and that’s what really matters. Here are 9 things every Baby-Sitters Club fan knows to be true.
1. Babysitting is SO not as easy as these gals make it look.
I don’t know if Stoneybrook, Connecticut was just the most wholesome town in America back in the day or what, but even the bad kiddos weren’t all that bad (OK, except for maybe Betsy Soback, who actually broke Claudia’s leg during a practical joke and still didn’t improve her behavior.) The kids I babysat for growing up were nothing like the young charges (as Kristy called them) that the BSC looked after — and no matter how cool a Kid Kit I put together, all they ever wanted to do was eat the junk in the fridge that their parents normally refused them, and watch the off-limits TV channels. And convincing them to do otherwise was A LOT of work. Like, well above my pay grade.
2. We’re still waiting for someone to make us a Kid Kit.
College care packages from mom came pretty close, but all the mac ‘n cheese and magnetic poetry in the world doesn’t quite measure up to the coloring books, acrylic paints, and make-up crayons that the gals of the BSC toted around from job to job. Plus, there really is some truth to the idea that someone else’s old stuff always seems a lot cooler than your own old stuff.
3. Dawn had the best handwriting of all the babysitters — even though Mary Anne was secretary.
One of my all-time favorite elements of The Baby-Sitters Club series was the hand-written journal entries that came at the beginning of chapters in each of the books. I spent countless hours of my young life trying to emulate each babysitter’s handwriting — much to the chagrin and confusion of my teachers. And while each sitter’s penmanship had its own unique flair, Dawn’s was my absolute favorite. Even her handwriting had that laid-back, Cali-girl vibe. One that to this day I’m still trying to reproduce in my own writing.
4. Stacey moving away was, hands down, the saddest part of the entire series.
I know, I know, it seems wrong to even say — what with Claudia’s grandmother passing away, and Kristy’s struggles with her father, and Stacey’s illness, and Jesse’s friend Danielle having cancer, and Mary Anne’s house burning down. But there was just something so gut-wrenchingly relatable about Stacey having to say goodbye to all of her best friends. Especially if you’d ever experienced a best friend moving away when you were growing up. It was just the worst. Luckily, a few books later she got to come back.
5. The books taught us some of our earliest lessons about friendship.
Something that was so essential to the success of The Baby-Sitters Club series was the fact that each of the babysitters were so different from one another, but were still able to make their club and their friendships work. Some of the girls were better friends with one another than others — and that was perfectly fine. They each cultivated their own identities instead of becoming clones of one another — which is not easy to do when you’re 13-years-old. Sometimes they disagreed or even got into fights — but when necessary they learned to put their differences aside for the greater good of their small business. No matter what they were always there for one another when someone really needed something. The lessons I learned in these books basically laid the foundation for the types of friendships I formed in my own life.
6. We wanted to be Claudias, even though we were probably Mary Annes. Or vice-versa.
No matter who you were growing up or what you were interested in, there was probably one babysitter you identified with the most — and chances are it wasn’t necessarily the babysitter you most wished you were like. For me this dynamic existed between Claudia and Mary Anne — I was a complete Mary Anne (the only difference being that my mother is still very much alive.) From the shyness, to the outfits, to the impeccable organizational skills, to the braided hair, I had it all. But the girl I most wanted to be was Claudia (no surprise there) — the gorgeous outfits, her creativity, her passion for art. As an adult I’ve (thankfully) managed to merge the two — but growing up Claudia’s hoop earrings, glittery leggings, and fedoras would have been way outside my comfort zone.
7. The fact that Mary Anne was the first babysitter to have a serious romantic relationship gave us all hope for ourselves.
For shy girls with bland wardrobes everywhere, this was a shining beacon of hope and encouragement that someday, somebody, somewhere was bound to want to take us out on a date. And I don’t know about you, but I really needed that reminder in the eighth grade.
8. No matter how old we get, Kristy will still always be a little intimidating. Yes, even though she’s fictional.
Is it just me, or is Kristy Thomas just a little bit scary? In an I-better-do-what-this-girl-says-or-I’m-going-to-get-in-some-serious-trouble kind of way? I mean, there’s a reason that Kristy is the president of the Baby-Sitters Club, and there’s also a reason that most of the club’s best ideas and innovations come from her — and there’s no way the BSC could function without her organization, leadership, and take-charge attitude. But she’s still super intimidating, amirite?
9. Thanks to Stacey and Dawn, some of us just had to have multiple ear piercings. Immediately.
There was a lot of discussion about the ear piercing choices of Stacey (who wanted two piercings in each ear, but whose parents wouldn't allow it) and Dawn (who had multiple hoops dangling from just one of her ears.) And thanks to the two fashionable blondies, I have not just two, but four piercings in each of my ears. That's right, I took their fashion sense to the extreme. Why stop at two piercings when four is clearly better? Thanks BSC!
Image: Baby-Sitters Club Wiki (2); Columbia Pictures; Giphy (4); YouTube