#36: Jessi’s Baby-sitter

If you recall from Super Special #4, Jessi’s Aunt Cecelia came to stay for the weekend while Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey were away and Becca was stranded on the island with Dawn and Claudia. According to Jessi, Aunt Cecelia is too strict, doesn’t trust her, and smells funny. At one point Jessi says she hates her. Well, imagine Jessi’s joy at learning in the first chapter of this book that her mother got a job in advertising and Aunt Cecelia will be moving in with the Ramseys to help with running the house and watching the kids. She is pissed.

Maybe that’s why she’s in a weird headspace and convinces Jackie Rodowsky to enter the science fair by building an erupting volcano. Jackie, the walking disaster. Really, Jessi? Meanwhile, at the Pike house, all the kids decide to combine their books and make a lending library that they and their friends in the neighborhood can use. That I can get behind! (I did the same thing as a kid. Libraries 4ever.)

The day arrives – Aunt Cecelia moves in with the Ramseys. Jessi is… displeased, to say the least. Cecelia’s stuff overflows the guest room and is tucked into the living room, den, and even Jessi’s room. Cecelia immediately becomes “Aunt Dictator” to Jessi and Becca, micromanaging everything they do. Jessi is offended that her parents think she needs a baby-sitter; after all, she is a baby-sitter (as the book’s cover so helpfully points out). Jessi decides she and Becca should get back at Aunt Dictator by pranking her until she wants to leave on her own. They short-sheet her bed, put shaving cream in her slippers, and put a fake spider on her pillow. Surprisingly, Aunt Cecelia doesn’t react. Jessi doesn’t know what to make of that. (Hey, Jessi, pro tip: if you want your parents to think you’re mature enough to not need a baby-sitter, maybe don’t do the most immature things you can thing of, k?)

Jessi’s also got some competition in the science fair now: Mallory is helping Margo, Kristy is helping David Michael, and Stacey is helping Charlotte. Is this the Little Miss Stoneybrook pageant all over again? Well… no. Turns out Jessi’s the only one who thinks it’s a competition, and she’s helping Jackie waaaay too much… to the extent of doing it for him. Whoops.

Jessi is ten minutes late getting home from the Rodowskys one day and Aunt Cecelia punishes Jessi by not letting her attend the BSC meeting. Jessi is furious and the only way she can get back at Aunt Cecelia is by having the BSC call her fourteen times during the meeting, driving A.C. crazy and making it seem like it’d just be easier to let her go to the meeting.

The science fair finally rolls around and Jackie’s volcano explodes just like he wants it to! But… he only knows the things in the speech Jessi made him memorize, and he can’t answer any other questions about volcanoes because Jessi’s the one that learned it all, not him. Womp womp. And now she realizes that she treated Jackie just like Aunt Cecelia treats her – as if she can’t do things on her own and needs to be bossed around. She decides it’s time to talk to her parents about Aunt Dictator.

So she does. She explains things pretty maturely, and her parents have a conference with her and Cecelia and acknowledge that Jessi and Becca are capable of doing a lot of things on their own. Aunt Cecelia concedes that she was just trying to show them she cares, and even says she was afraid she wouldn’t be as good a sitter as Jessi. Then she fills Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey in on the pranks Jessi and Becca have been playing. Everyone agrees that from now on Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey will approve the girls’ plans so everyone will be on the same page. And Aunt Cecilia gets revenge on Jessi and Becca by short-sheeting their beds, putting shaving cream in their slippers, and putting fake flies and mice under their beds. Guess they’re all even now.

P.S. All of the under-thirteens in this book kept using the word fresh to mean “cool” and it sounds SO dated and dorky as shit. The nineties were amazing.

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