This episode is about Sonia Black & Pat Brigandi's The Baby-Sitters Club Notebook. Topics include bad jokes, bad recipes, and bad page economy.
I’m a bookish nerd on a mission. I’m rereading the books of my ‘90s childhood: The Baby-Sitters Club, Goosebumps, and Fear Street. I’m Amy A. Cowan and this is Rereading My Childhood - The Podcast.
For a list of every Baby-Sitters Club, Goosebumps, and Fear Street book review I have written, go to RereadingMyChildhood.com. To listen to the official podcast, just visit the website or search for “Rereading My Childhood” in your favorite podcast app. For more information about me, Amy A. Cowan, visit my website AmyACowan.com or follow my Twitter: amyacowan.
Neon Laser Horizon by Kevin MacLeod
Hey! Hey you! I see you there, browsing the internet while 12-year-olds steal income through babysitting. Why would people choose a 12-year-old over a capable adult like yourself? Those 12-year-olds have something you don’t — The Baby-Sitters Club Notebook. For today only, its secrets will be revealed and you too can make a dollar an hour babysitting in your neighborhood! Don’t let this financial opportunity slip through your texting fingers!
I wouldn’t call this a complete guide — more like a partial pamphlet that cost too much money even by today’s standards.
The Baby-Sitters Club Notebook by Sonia Black and Pat Brigandi promises you that “everything you always wanted to know about the business of babysitting is right here in this book.” Literally everything you want to know about babysitting is in this 62-page book. It’s so short, it’s more of a pamphlet, and most of the pages require you to fill in the information yourself! You can learn everything about babysitting in about fifteen minutes, then stick it to those 12-year-olds when you steal their babysitting jobs.
The first thing the book instructs you to do is to be prepared. How do you prepare? You read another book, of course! Page two states, “read up on child care and babysitting.” “But you said that this book has everything I wanted to know about babysitting!” you say. Shut-up, stupid! I’m the expert here — I read the book, and the first step is to read another book.
An important step is meeting the children.
“Be friendly but don’t overwhelm the kids with too much friendliness.”
That’s right, keep the relationship friendly and fun, but also professional and cold. Ask them their names and potential business prospects, but no smiling. You are an adult. Don’t smile at children.
Your “Kid Kit” is a special pack of tools to deal with children. You can fill it with anything you like, but playing cards, crayons, musical instruments, and a portable tape recorder are the book’s recommendations. This book has a whole page where you can write your own ideas. Pro tip not in the book: some things to avoid in your Kid Kits are fireworks, knives, meth, and guns. No guns because the house guns should be just fine.
The book also goes over some “Do’s and Don’ts.” “Do arrive on time or even ten to fifteen minutes early for last-minute instructions from the parents.” This one might be difficult for those of you who like to waltz into English 102 twenty minutes into class, but you need to work for that dollar an hour — there’s always a punctual 12-year-old stalking you, waiting for their chance to swoop in when you’re late.
One “Don’t” is “Don’t argue with the kids.” Even if they insist that Hemingway’s contribution to literature is minimal at best, despite popular literary opinion, and you know that Hemingway paved the way for word economy in literature, you shouldn’t stand there and argue with the children. We all know they’re wrong; we just have to hope they grow out of their ignorance and respect Hemingway’s biting, concise prose.
This comprehensive pamphlet that in no way tells you to read another book at the beginning also goes over fun games for the kids! They suggest a wide range of activities including cards, Simon says, red light, green light, and jacks. Add your own! For example, I’ve added, “Just let them play with their phone.”
Are the children bored with their phones? Then tell them a joke! This book suggests some top-notch Knock Knock jokes to get those kids howling. But this special offer will tell you the best ones for the low low cost of nothing!
Knock, knock.Who’s there?Dwayne.Dwayne, who?Dwayne the tub, I’m drowning!
Murder and speech impediments are always hilarious. How about this one?
Knock, Knock.Who’s there?Shelby.Shelby, who?Shelby comin’ ‘round the mountain when she comes!
Hahaha! Vaguely obscene pioneer songs are a great way to relate to modern children.
After the jokes, force the children to do what the book calls a “Creative Play.” The children perform for you using their dolls and toys as characters. Remember to adequately review them in the local newspaper. “Little Timmy’s Big Bad Wolf was pedestrian, but it can hardly compare to the amateur directing of Susie. Her casting choice of a Bratz doll as the second Little Piggy proved to be a wrong move that was amplified by the cartoonish background and bare set design. This reviewer will think twice about attending another performance by the Thompson Family.”
Need something to feed the kids? During this special offer, I will give you two actual recipes from this book.
Peanutty Apple SnackCarefully cut out the core of an apple.Fill the center with a mixture of peanut butter and raisins.Cut the apple into sections and munch away.
And here’s the other recipe, sure to get those kids hopped up on sugar and on their way to helpless addiction by combining two things with no nutritional value:
Chocolate Soda1 ½ cups of milk½ cup of chocolate syrup or instant cocoa½ cup of club soda4 scoops of chocolate ice creamPut the milk, syrup and 2 scoops of ice cream into the blender and carefully mix well.Put 1 scoop of ice cream into each of two glasses.Pour the mixture into the glasses until they’re ¼ full.Then pour in the club soda.This makes two “cool” drinks.
If you are babysitting for more than one child, choose your favorite one and give them the Chocolate Soda. If the other children protest, say, “Maybe next time you won’t flub your lines during the Creative Play.”
After the children are asleep, the book suggests you clean the house. If you’re still going to be paid, you should work.
“Do a little extra, such as straightening out the kitchen.”
After your stellar job, remember to charge for maid services.
Oh no! It’s an emergency! The book goes over nightmares, injuries, visitors, and fights — in that order. Nightmares are definitely more important than injuries. Just remind the child that nightmares aren’t real! That’ll shut ’em up so you can go back to your side job cleaning. As for injuries,
“If the child stops crying in a few minutes and goes back to what he was doing before, it’s probably not a serious injury. But if after a while the child is still crying hard or holding the injured area in a peculiar way, call for help.”
That’s right — if a child is injured, wait to see if they eventually stop crying. Even if it looks like their leg is not attached to their torso, wait to see if the kid stops crying and hops back to playing. Everything is fine if the child stops crying. He’ll stop crying. We all stop crying eventually.
Page 29 is a form for the babysitter to keep track of their jobs, pay, and clients. In this handy guide, the last thirty pages are dedicated to record keeping. The forms include important information: Day, Date, Time, and Notes, complete with lines to fill out this information! Can’t make this in a standard word processor.
The Baby-Sitters Club Notebook is in no way a blatant cash grab that explicitly tells you to read a different book for better information. This is 29 pages of information in 20-point font followed by 30 pages of blank lines! You can’t get this great babysitting information anywhere else! (Except every other book longer than 60 pages on babysitting at your local bookstore.) This book is not an attempt to capitalize on a book series that was growing in popularity. This is an opportunity to stick it to 12-year-olds while making some money.