In which Claudia thinks the world revolves around her and her actions.
Peaches and Russ, Claud’s aunt and uncle, are moving back to Stoneybrook now that Peaches is pregnant. They move in with the Kishis for a month while waiting for their new home to be ready, and Peaches constantly wants Claudia to do things with her, even encouraging her to not do her homework. After Claudia gets in trouble after Peaches takes her out for a midnight pizza and doesn’t leave a note, she and Peaches snap at each other, both saying some hurtful things. When Peaches miscarries a short time later, Claudia thinks their fight was the cause. She and Peaches make up and Peaches and Russ vow that there will be other pregnancies.
Meanwhile, Natalie Springer from the Little Sister books is a new client for the BSC, who try to force friendships between the friendless Natalie and the neighborhood kids. Eventually, Claudia helps her write some friendship rules and she starts jumping rope with Charlotte and Becca.
I will be adding a vlog to this post when I post the next entry, so check back. It’s just really awkward creating a vlog entry in someone else’s house. Plus, I don’t have my crazy peaches!
The cover: Claudia and Peaches were way ahead of trend with their phony ‘staches:
Oh, and this actually happens in the book, down to the outfits and mustaches.
Claudia’s motto: If you can’t eat it or wear it, paint it. What does that say of her junk food art? And the fact that, two sentence later, she says she paints clothing? I think there’s a flaw somewhere in her logic. Maybe that should read: Even if you can eat it or wear it, paint it.
Mrs. Kishi tells Claudia to come straight home, as she has a phone call expected at 4pm. In an earlier book, we established that Kristy and Bart have time to watch two movies and do homework before dinner, so school must get out pretty early at SMS. Oh, well, this is Stoneybrook, where the theory of relativity really gets stretched. Time is extremely relative here.
Heh. Claudia says she’s ‘slogging through Jell-O trying to keep up with everyone, simply because it’s Monday morning. I feel like that this morning, or anytime I have to do a clopen (close the store one night, open it the next morning.)
Claudia’s uncle Russ “isn’t Japanese. He’s American-American.” I think it is interesting how, when you have a clear ancestry and/or recently immigrated parents, society makes a point of saying so, yet the rest of us are just American. (This also has something to do with race, not just ancestry. I was writing a report not long ago about the Yukon and the problems in the native villages with drugs and alcohol, and writing Native Canadian a bunch was really weird, yet we don’t think twice about Native American or African American.)
I think the title quote is Claudia’s real life motto.
Peaches actually has a really cute method of telling Claudia she’s pregnant. She says that Claud needs to put her on the list of BSC clients. Even though she doesn’t live nearby, she’s obviously listened to Claudia when she talks about her life. It’s kind of sweet. (Plus, she IS moving back to town.)
There’s something really funny about Claudia listing all of Stacey’s crushes in chapter 2, but I can’t figure out WHY. Maybe it’s the pot calling the kettle black? I think she left a few out, though, as the list seemed short.
Claudia’s cleaning when the BSC shows up for their meeting, and they all have some kind of crack to make about that. Shannon’s is the best: “Claudia, who are you trying to kid? I know that’s not a real vacuum cleaner.” (Claud aims it at her, so Kristy tells her to put her weapon away.)
Oh, good night. Claudia calls the BSC to tell them Peaches is moving back to town, and they all have advice or words to say that are completely going with the one-dimensional nature the BSC starts to take on at this point in the series. Mal suggests a journal; Jessi suggests classical music. Kristy wants to help Peaches stay fit and active while Shannon suggests speaking French to the baby so it becomes bilingual. (Wouldn’t Japanese be a more fitting choice, honestly?)
Claudia spelling! Frase, inventted, describ, Nataly, sollid, awile, sugested, freind. Oh, and she’s not kiding.
Claudia and Natalie play ‘Lovely Ladies,’ Karen’s favorite game, but Natalie doesn’t really know how to play. It’s really sad that she really wants to play this game because she’s heard Karen talk about it, but never seen it played or anything. We all know a little girl like Natalie…and some of us were that little girl. (I did love it when she said that Pierre—the name of her poodle in the game—was also her first husband’s name. That’s hilarious to me as an adult, but where in the name of all that’s holy did Natalie ever hear something like that?)
Umm, why is Mrs. Springer so happy that Claudia is willing to let Natalie come over and help clean? I think Natalie must be so much happier because she has a ‘friend,’ but Mrs. Springer must realize that hanging out with 13-year-old Claudia isn’t the same thing as Natalie having a real friend her own age. It’s actually kind of similar to #77, when Dawn is keeping an eye on Whitney while telling her they’re friends. The difference, of course, is that at age 12, Whitney had a lot more in common with Dawn than Natalie and Claudia have in common. Whitney wasn’t a ‘pity friend,’ like I think when I read about Claudia being willing to spend all this time with Natalie.
It’s sort of cute that Russ won’t let Peaches help unpack the car because the doctor told her not to lift anything too heavy (as in, Peaches says, a piano or a bus.)
Peaches takes Claudia baby shopping, which she enjoys. What gets me, though, is that they don’t just buy furniture and a swing and stuff like that. They actually pick out clothes and bedding. (Peaches’ bedding pattern is hideous.) Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until they’ve moved into their own house to buy stuff like that? I mean, what’s the point of having the crib sheets if you can’t even set up the crib yet. Also, knowing that Peaches will eventually miscarry, she can’t have been too far along in her pregnancy. It seems to be putting the horse before the cart. I know plenty of people who don’t even tell people they’re expecting until they hit 20 weeks.
I see Natalie’s logic when it comes to friends. She thinks that she can’t be friends with someone because they already have friends. She can’t be friends with Haley or Corrie because they are usually with other people; Leif and Lindsey who live on her street are BFFs, so she can’t be friends with them. It’s hard to be shy and socially awkward, especially when you start with the mindset that you can’t join an already-made friend group. When I was Natalie’s age, my two best friends were the new girls who moved in that school year, because they didn’t have friends and neither did I.
Stacey suggests that if all their babysitting charges were like Natalie—stopping by and calling all the time—they’d have to wear disguises and hide out in order to have privacy.
Mary Anne really enjoys the knitting lesson she gives Claudia…because Claud is terrible at knitting. Sounds perverse, but she just likes seeing Claud not be awesomely perfect at something artsy the first time around. (Although knitting is more craftsy than artsy.)
Oh, and then MA and Claud make really bad knitting puns…so bad that I’m not even going to repeat them.
Peaches may be fun, but she’s really a bad influence. She quit her job even though she’s barely pregnant, but she gets bored sitting around. She keeps getting Claudia to help her with one caper or another by telling her “you can just do your homework later.” A good aunt would help Claud with her homework so that it’s done and the two of them could get into mischief later.
It never occurred to me before that the art supply store in Stoneybrook is named Art’s to be punny. I thought that the owner was named Art.
When Shannon calls the Pike house, the triplets answer and they all want to say hi to her. Did they pick up the phone together, or did they find out who was on the phone and insist upon all getting on to say hi before giving the phone to Margo?
Shannon’s attempt to invite all of the other kids over and make them be friends with Natalie doesn’t work, and the BSC can’t figure out why. Natalie’s being extremely bossy the whole time; it’s like she doesn’t know how to act with the other kids. Some kids just don’t know how to do things without being taught; sounds like someone needs to teach her social skills a little.
I wonder if the BSC ever babysits for Natalie again after this book. I know she shows up occasionally, playing with Charlotte and Becca, but I don’t recall them ever actually sitting for her.
Claudia finally decides to help Natalie write some friendship rules so that she knows how to behave with her friends. Proof once again that Claudia would make an excellent teacher.
More Claudia spelling. And Natalie spelling to boot! Claudia: freind, shar (share), misstaek, sory, meens. Natalie: freind (only sometimes…Claudia spells it wrong every time), lissens
Claudia: backwards suspenders (not going to ask why or how), tuxedo pants and tie dyed t-shirt; jean vest covered in safety pins and plastic charms (I had one like that…in 1986. When I was five.), jean skirt, red cowboy boots; baggy jeans with extra-long belt, white shirt, pinstriped vest, purple hightops, black derby with pink and purple band
Next: We get to start May with the seasonally-inappropriate Mystery #17: Dawn and the Halloween Mystery.