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What The Baby-Sitters Club Means to My Daughter

My Daughter Also Loves The Baby-Sitters Club, So I Did Something Right

THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB, front from left: Zelda Harris, Stacey Linn Ramsower, Tricia Joe, rear from left: Larisa Oleynik, Bre Blair, Schuyler Fisk, Rachael Leigh Cook, 1995,  Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

Before I knew which lady on Sex and the City I was (Carrie, like everyone else), I knew which member of The Baby-Sitters Club I identified with most. (Stacey McGill, obviously.) I read all of Ann M. Martin's books about Stacey and her friends Claudia, Kristy, Dawn, and Mary Anne. And I may have been a Stacey, but I had a crush on Logan, just like Mary Anne. And I loved Claudia's grandma, Mimi. I remember taking those paperback books into the bath with me circa 1990 and disappearing to Stoneybrook, CT, while I soaked. Flash forward nearly 30 years, and my 10-year-old daughter is as obsessed with The Baby-Sitters Club as I was (and is maybe more exited for the Netflix Baby-Sitters Club TV series reboot than I am), so now my life is more or less made.

My firstborn actually got into the series via the graphic novels that author Raina Telgemeier has created using the original series as inspiration. So far there are only six books that have been adapted for today's audience, but more are on the way. In the meantime, my daughter has taken up reading the original books that I read as a child. We had to order them on Amazon because I never even considered holding on to my books, though now I desperately wish I had. A friend of mine had the smart idea to keep all of her Baby-Sitters Club books, and now her daughter is reading her original copies . . . if only I'd had that foresight! Or storage space.

But in any case, I love that my daughter is reading the same books that I read when I was her age. Sometimes I'll snuggle in bed with her and we'll read them together. I get to relive the first time Logan and Mary Anne meet; I get to laugh at the antics of the Papadakis kids all over again. It. Is. Awesome. I'm especially fond of the time when the babysitters go to New York City.

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Here's what I love most: while social media, screen time, bullying, and other upsetting things seem like the hallmarks of modern kids' experiences, Stacey, Mary Anne, and their co-club members' wholesome experiences are still relatable to this generation. Even though their phones are connected to the wall, the challenges they face, their worries, their triumphs, their fears, are all still relevant today. My daughter giggles like I did. She worries at times that the club might disband, just like I did. The friendships are still real. That yearning to be older is real. The family struggles — real. In a world of Momo and other superscary stuff kids come in contact with, The Baby-Sitters Club is safe. Stoneybrook is safe. I love that my daughter can go there, just like I did, and be OK.

There's this too: we recently watched The Baby-Sitters Club movie on Netflix. It rocked! I'm not sure who enjoyed it more: me or my daughter! All I know is that every time she laughed or looked concerned, it connected us. I may not get all the things my soon-to-be middle schooler is into — Fortnite, Squishies, emoji, slime — but I get the sitters. We can talk about whether Janine is indeed mean or if I have an opinion on Jessi as an original babysitter. And I'm so excited that we'll have the chance to dive deeper into the club when Netflix revives it for a 10-episode TV series.

So yes, my daughter and I may exist in different worlds — I had a typewriter for God's sake! And she still can't believe I couldn't fast-forward through commercials on TV. But we have The Baby-Sitters Club in common, which gives me all the feels. Life truly has come full circle.

Image Source: Everett Collection
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