Monday, June 16, 2014

BSC #45: Kristy and the Baby Parade

By Ann M. Martin, ghostwritten by Ellen Miles. Published July 1991.

The actual float looks nowhere NEAR this good.
During a boring afternoon of baby-sitting, Kristy gets David Michael and Emily Michelle working on collages. While Kristy is looking through the newspaper for things to cut out, she sees an ad for the Stoneybrook Baby Parade. There are four different divisions, two for strollers and two for floats. Sounds like serious business. Kristy starts staring at Emily Michelle, and gets a Great Idea™. She could enter Emily Michelle in the baby parade! And maybe Jessi would want to enter Squirt! And there are lots of babies the club sits for; it could be a great activity for the whole club!

Kristy doesn’t get a chance to mention it at the next meeting, though. Mrs. Prezzioso calls, and needs a regular sitter for a month. However, since it’s for both girls, she wants the sitter to take an infant-care class at the community center, she’ll even pay for it. Kristy gets the job, but all of the girls think the class is a great idea, and sign up for it, too. This is probably one of the best ideas in the entire series.

The girls go to their first class, and seem just a touch weirded out by being in a room full of pregnant women, but they get over it. There are also dads-to-be, and some new mothers with their babies, which the girls get all squealy over. The teacher, Anita, is super happy to see the club, of course. They start to get down to business, when one of the babies starts crying. They use this as a learning experience. They go through all sorts of possible reasons why he’s crying, but it takes super-sitter Kristy to suggest maybe he needs his diaper changed. Wtf? Isn’t that one of the first things you check?

By the next chapter, it’s graduation day from the class. Anita said they could bring guests, so the BSC families showed up in full force. I would be so embarrassed by my family at that age. The week before, they had written and practical evaluations. Everyone passed, but today they find out how well they did. There are two people with perfect scores. The first is one of the dads, and he’s the first man to ever score perfectly! And the other is Kristy. Of course.

Kristy has her first job at the Prezzioso’s, and finds out she’s not actually a super-sitter. It’s apparently harder to watch a baby and a four-year-old. Well, no shit. Every time she and Jenny start to do something, they get interrupted by Andrea crying. Well, them’s the breaks. It appears to be wearing on Mrs. P. a bit, too, because she and Jenny aren’t dressed up nearly as fancy as they used to be. Oh, no! When Mrs. P. comes home, she’s excited, waving a flyer for the baby parade. She wants to enter Andrea, but isn’t sure she’ll have the time. So she asks Kristy for her help. Kristy says she’s not sure she’ll have time either, since she wants to enter Emily Michelle. Mrs. P. says to thinks about it for a few days.

Claudia sits for Jamie and Lucy. And..nothing really happens. It’s just an excuse to put another baby in there.

At the meeting that day, the girls go over all the kids they sit for that are under the age of three, who would be so great to have in the parade. And then Kristy gets another Great Idea™. They can enter all these kids together in the float division! And then she can still help Mrs. P. with the stroller division for Andrea. They call all the parents, ask to kidnap their children for their own devices, and I guess they all say yes.

The girls have a planning session for the float, and come up with some ridiculous ideas. I bet you can guess who thought of what. Baseball, surfing, the Three Little Kittens, New York, Misty of Chincoteague, and a woman gives birth to baby on Mars. Since there’s no ballet theme, I’m sure you can figure out Jessi didn’t offer a suggestion. Anyway, they do decide acting out a nursery rhyme would be good, and they come up with The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. But they only (ONLY!) have five babies signed up. They need more. They’re baby-greedy. Slow down there, little Michelle Duggars. Then they remember all the moms in their class. Of course they have their numbers, so they call them to kidnap their babies, as well. So they have nine babies. That sounds like a fucking nightmare.

When Kristy gets to her next job at the Prezziosos’, Mrs. P. has got Andrea’s costume figured out. She’s going to be Queen Andrea. Of course. All Kristy has to do is figure out how to make the stroller into a coach, using what she can find in the sewing room. Easy peasy. Kristy gets it done, but she says it looks ridiculous. But Mrs. P loves it. All afternoon, Jenny displayed her different “talents”, saying maybe she can do them in the parade. Kristy has to keep telling her it’s just for babies.

Jessi takes Becca and Squirt over to Claudia’s to see how work on the float is going. The girls aren’t talking to each other. Claudia is working on making a gigantic shoe out of chicken wire, and Stacey is mixing up a paint color that’s going to clash horribly with the costumes that Mal is designing. Jessi doesn’t say anything, though. Throughout the afternoon, the other girls show up with their own sitting charges, including a bunch of babies. There’s a lot of crying.

Two days before the parade, the girls are all conveniently sitting for babies again, and converge on Claud’s yard, again. The float looks horrible, and Claud says it’s because she was trying to use everybody’s ideas. Then Mal shows up with the unfinished costumes, and they look like clown outfits. And they do indeed clash with the float. Dawn even calls them stupid. Kristy asks where the BSC costumes are, and Mal freaks out, saying she doesn’t have time. Seriously, she already made nine costumes, and now you expect her to make seven more? Who knew Mal even sewed? Anyway, they all start fighting with each other, so there’s screaming baby-sitters and crying babies. Sounds like fun!

On the day of the parade, it’s obvious this is going to be a mess. Charlie, who’s pulling the float (they’re paying him), is finally embarrassed to be helping them out. The babies’ costumes all look terrible. Except for Eleanor Marshall, who Dawn dressed up in a nice dress. Kristy is the only BSC member who obviously dressed to match the theme, as the Old Lady. Dawn dressed as a beachcomber, Mary Anne as Raggedy Anne, Jessi in ballet clothes, Stacey in a New York sweatshirt, Claudia in a dress of Mimi’s, and Mallory in her regular clothes. Jesus, girls. You’re a hot mess. Nobody speaks to each other.

So yeah, the parade goes pretty badly. People just seem confused by their float. Especially since Claudia made signs, and nobody had time to check her spelling. So you can imagine how well THAT went. Charlie’s friends recognize his car, and start yelling and making fun of him. It’s not like it’s exactly cool for a bunch of high school guys to be watching a freaking baby parade anyway, assholes. By the end of the parade, Eleanor has paint on her dress, Emily gets sick, and a bunch of the babies are crying.

Then it’s time to announce the winners. The BSC monstrosity gets nothing. Shocker. But Mrs. P and Andrea win first place in the stroller division. Yay.

On the way home, the BSC is still not speaking. Kristy asks Charlie to just take the float to the dump.

After Kristy gets home, she realizes the float went so badly because they hadn’t communicated with each other. And she doesn’t want to fight anymore. Turns out, neither do the others. The evening is spent with everyone calling everyone else to apologize. Yay.

At the meeting on Monday, they all agree they need to work on communication and working together. But most importantly, they a couple of new clients from parents in the class. Make that money, girls.

o   At the class, one lady says she figures raising a baby is probably different from raising puppies. Anita says yes, you don’t have to worry about babies chewing on your shoes. I call bullshit. One of my favorite pictures of my niece is of her chewing on a shoe when she was a baby.

o   I learned Elmo wasn’t on Sesame Street very often back then. That CERTAINLY was not the case by the time my nephew was born. Stupid Elmo.

o   I’ve always wondered where they got the trailer for the float.

o   It still just astounds me that all these parents would let their babies be put on a moving vehicle, watched by teenage girls, whom some of them hardly know.

o   Seriously, are baby parades a real thing?

o   It really is refreshing having the girls fail at something. Does it make me a bad person for thinking that?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (Typo above)

    Yeah, my thirteen-month-old just got her twelfth tooth, and she loves stealing her big sister's shoes to chew on!

    1. Ha! Good to know my niece isn't the only little weirdo!