Janine is asking Claudia a question about how much chocolate someone named Gertrude would need if she was going to make eight cookies. I personally think eight cookies isn’t enough, but I eat four cookies at a time. Claudia hates Gertrude right now. She wants to know why Gertrude is making cookies. She had a craving for cookies, Claudia. I think Claudia is upset Gertrude isn’t real and she won’t be getting any cookies. She also wants to know why Gertrude has to measure the chocolate. Seeing as I snarked Claudia and the Recipe for Danger, I find this amusing. Claudia’s basically the type to improvise when she cooks, I guess, but her creations don’t come out very tasty. Claudia also hates the name Gertrude. It’s not my favorite name, either.
Claudia gets the answer right and Janine praises her. Claudia realizes that she hasn’t introduced herself and goes on a spiel about herself and the family. I wonder if Janine is used to Claudia zoning out like this. I like to imagine the BSC going, “Oh, I haven’t introduced myself yet. Let me tell you my life story,” and start saying this in their heads because they’re talking to an imaginary audience. Meanwhile, while the BSC is busy telling us all about themselves, the kids they’re babysitting for made a gigantic mess and Jackie caused a house fire. I have to wonder about Claudia hiding Nancy Drew and junk food in her room. Do her parents not just come in her room sometimes? My mom comes in my room all the time. My brother keeps his door locked and keeps the key with him so no one can get in his room. Claudia hides some of her Nancy Drew books under a pile of dirty laundry. Does Claudia do her own laundry, then? I guess this means she doesn’t have to worry about her mom coming in her room to get her clothes so she can wash them.
Claudia has a really important math test coming up and Janine is helping her study. It’s a rule that someone has to help Claudia with her homework. Claudia’s favorite helper was Mimi because Mimi never made her feel stupid. I think Mimi should have been Claudia’s permanent helper-she was able to help Claudia without making her feel stupid and Claudia responded well to her. Janine is different. I like how Claudia acknowledges that Janine isn’t mean or anything, she just doesn’t understand how hard school is for Claudia. Janine likes school and would go to school eight days a week if she could. I’m going to read this as Claudia exaggerating and not an indication as to why she’s in remedial math. Janine also takes complicated courses in college. Claudia thinks Janine probably thinks she’s dumb. I don’t think Janine thinks that. Claudia wishes she didn’t need Janine or anyone’s help. Yeah, I hate asking for help, especially if I’m the only one to ask. I just feel stupid and helpless when I need to ask for help. There’s always this paranoia that the person I’m asking for help thinks I’m stupid. I’m especially paranoid if they say something is easy, because then I feel like I have to learn it right away or I’m a moron.
Janine asks how Claudia likes Mr. Zorzi. He isn’t her regular teacher, but her regular teacher is recovering from an operation. I wonder what operation he had. When I was in tenth grade, we had a long term sub because my English teacher got her tubes tied. Claudia doesn’t have an opinion on Mr. Zorzi because she’s too busy trying to understand the work. Claudia gets kind of sick of her teacher’s expecting her to be a mini- Janine. I have to say, it would be pretty annoying to be constantly compared to your older siblings. That’s why I’m glad I’m the older one in my family. I don’t think teachers should expect their students to be clones of their older siblings. They should recognize that younger siblings might be different from their older siblings and that’s okay. Janine goes on to explain another problem and Claudia starts to zone out. I do this too. I know I should be paying attention when someone is trying to explain something to me, but I just don’t care about some subjects. Math is one of them. Janine realizes that Claudia is daydreaming. Claudia isn’t going to tell Janine that she was planning her outfit for tomorrow. Janine usually wears white blouses, plaid skirts, and a red cardigan. Since when does Janine wear color? I guess she decided to spice up her wardrobe.
Claudia believes that you are what you wear. Now I’m imagining the BSC wearing costumes and getting turned into those costumes. Claudia prefers this saying to “You are what you eat,” because she would be a Snickers Bar if it’s true. I thought Claudia would like to be a Snickers Bar. The only problem is that she might eat herself. Claudia is going to wear her lucky earrings tomorrow. I love how she has to specify that the earrings have phony emeralds and phony diamonds. I wouldn’t let my kid wear real diamond and emerald earrings to school. I’d let them wear them on special occasions and I’d still tell them to be very careful. Claudia is going to wear green and blue tie-dyed T-shirt dress over green leggings. That doesn’t sound very outrageous to me. Maybe this is a tame outfit or I’ve just gotten used to Claudia outfits.
Claudia tries to distract Janine by pointing to another problem. She snarks on the word problem in her head. Yeah, my response to word problems was basically, “Who the fuck cares?” She gets the answer right and Janine praises her again.
Janine gives Claudia some test taking advice and leaves. Claudia turns the radio on because Janine doesn’t like the radio when she’s helping Claudia study. I don’t like the radio blaring music, but I don’t like complete silence either. That’s why I like the second floor of my college library. It’s quiet enough for me to study, but I don’t feel like I’m isolated from everyone. I also feel like I can shift around on the second floor. The fourth floor is so quiet that when I shift in my seat I feel like I’ve just turned on a radio with really high volume. Claudia calls Stacey and Stacey assures her that she’ll do fine on the math test. By the BSC meeting is over, the test will be done. I use the “by this time tomorrow, or even in an hour, this unpleasant event will be over.” This mention of the meeting prompts Claudia to tell us about the BSC. I wonder why Ann always has to mention that Mary Anne and Kristy look alike and they’re best friends or that Mallory and Jessi look nothing alike and that’s one of their differences despite them being best friends. Does Ann think people become best friends because they look alike? Why is she focusing on appearances when describing best friends? My friend is white and I’m black and we both like to read. My friend also dyed her hair red, so I guess she’s Mallory. However, I can’t dance, so I can’t be Jessi. Ann never focuses on Claudia and Stacey’s looks when she talks about their friendship, except for the fact that they bonded over clothes.
Claudia talks about Dawn and says you’d know her for a Californian girl the minute you saw her because she’s a gorgeous blonde. I’m not sure if you can tell if someone is from a certain state just by looking at them. I’m pretty sure there are blonde people that aren’t from California. I wonder if there are any Californians reading this that aren’t blondes and felt insecure about that portrayal. Claudia calls Dawn mellow. Claudia, that’s not how you spell obnoxious, self-righteous, sanctimonious twat. Seriously, I don’t think a mellow person would get personally offended because someone liked junk food. Dawn also thinks there’s a ghost in her house. Stacey is Claudia’s best friend, but she hasn’t been looking very well lately. Nothing else of importance happens.
I notice that Mr. Zorzi doesn’t take any anti-cheating measures such as having the kids spread out or using A and B tests. I also notice that he doesn’t give a no-cheating speech. I just got used to teachers having us spread across the room or using two different tests to prevent cheating or warning us not to cheat. Claudia looks at the test and has a moment of panic when she sees all those problems. I get test anxiety sometimes, but it depends on the subject. I’m always anxious when I take a math exam, even if I studied. It’s like the problems on the test are completely different than the ones I studied in my math book. Claudia remembers Janine’s advice to take a deep breath if she gets nervous. She also remembers to do the problems she knows first. My teachers told me the same thing. I should do the problems I know I can solve first, instead of spending ten minutes on problems I don’t know. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to solve a problem and then I fall behind. After that I usually panic and start circling whatever answer.
Claudia sees a problem she knows how to solve. By the time she solves that problem; she’s calmed down and is able to work through the test. She takes her time so she doesn’t make any stupid mistakes, like adding two and three and getting six. I hate it when I make stupid mistakes like that on a test. It’s embarrassing and I lose an easy point because I was in too much of a rush to read the question correctly or check my work. I think I made a mistake like that on my midterm. I got a D, but if I paid more attention to a question, I think I could have gotten a low C. Claudia feels confident that she did well on the test and walks out of class grinning. She thinks it makes her look like a jerk. Does she mean jerk as in stupid or jerk as in mean? I wouldn’t think Claudia looked like a jerk because she was grinning as she walked out of a classroom. I would just assume she was talking to her friends, had fun plans, or had good news. If I knew she had finished taking a test, I would just assume she did well on it or that she was happy it was over. I see no problem in grinning after a test is finished. If I had any energy I would have been grinning after I finished all those stupid standardized tests. My friend and I actually skipped when we finished chemistry class. I’m sure we looked like bigger jerks than Claudia. My English teacher told us a story that she had to take a really long exam with only a twenty minute break and she was laughing like a hyena by the time the exam was finished. So I wouldn’t blink twice at Claudia grinning.
Claudia can’t wait to tell everyone how she did on the test. I would get paranoid if I knew lots of the answers on the test, but I get anxious about a lot of stuff. I’d be worried that maybe I made a bunch of mistakes or did something stupid or misunderstood the whole test. Claudia is too excited to do anything while she waits for the rest of the BSC to come for the meeting. Kristy is the first one to arrive and this prompts Claudia to reminisce about how the BSC got started. I get a little creeped out when I read that the record book has detailed information about the clients. Exactly how much information does the BSC need about their clients? I can understand wanting to know about allergies and other medical conditions, but why the hell do they need to know that the kids only eat peanut butter and bananas? That could be a phase. I went through phases when I only liked to eat one thing, got sick of it, and then liked it again. The BSC are only babysitting for a few hours. They aren’t nannies or certified caretakers or pediatricians. They don’t need to know when the kid first started to walk or when the kid got their first loose tooth.
Apparently Dawn has done everyone’s job at least once. If she did Claudia’s job once, I guess that means she was in charge of snacks. I can just see Dawn trying to shove her health food down their throats because she loves shoving her personal beliefs on others. I bet she’d be so focused on showing off how superior her eating habits are that she’d make the health food sound really unappealing. Mallory and Jessi don’t have offices. I think Kristy was pushing it with the alternate officer position anyway. Claudia’s least favorite thing about the BSC is the notebook. This is because she gets embarrassed about her spelling. It’s also because the notebook is a lot of work. That’s very true. Suppose nothing of importance happens on a job? I can just write three sentences like this: I babysat for Karen. She wanted to play Let’s All Come In. Andrew got a shit part. But I bet Kristy would make them write a minimum of two paragraphs for an entry, even if nothing happened. If you babysit for certain clients a lot, I think you’d basically be used to what they like to do. And I am quite sure everyone skims the entries in the notebook because nothing of importance usually happens on a sitting job. Am I really supposed to care that Jenny didn’t want to play a game or that Jamie is afraid of monsters? It’s a miracle that Kristy doesn’t quiz them on the notebook.
Claudia tells the rest of the club that she did well on the test and they’re all happy for her. Mary Anne is more cautious and tells Claudia that she should wait to celebrate until after she finds out her score.
Mr. Zorzi has the tests graded but he’s handing them out at the end of the period because they have a lot to cover and need to focus. I personally wouldn’t be able to focus when I was waiting for the test results of an important test. Claudia is feeling nervous because of what Mary Anne said. She knows Mary Anne didn’t mean to upset her. Yeah, it really sucks when someone ruins my fantasies or hopes with logic. If Mary Anne knew she upset Claudia, she would start crying and then everyone would comfort her. Mr. Zorzi finally passes out the tests. One kid tells him to give him his test upside down because he doesn’t want anyone to see his grade. My teachers usually handed tests out to students so that the other students couldn’t see their grades.
Claudia gets an A on the test and is really happy that she really did do well and didn’t just imagine it. I love it when I ace a test in a subject I’m not good in. I feel like I kicked ass that time. I especially love it if I studied because then I can say that I know the material and earned the grade. Mr. Zorzi goes over the test but Claudia is too busy being happy about her test grade. Yeah, I wouldn’t give a shit about anything but, “I got an A in a subject I suck at! Not a low C or any other low passing grade, but a high passing grade!”
Mr. Zorzi calls Claudia and Shawna to his desk after class is over. Claudia figures he wants to congratulate her on her good grade. I would probably think that as well. Claudia can’t figure out why Shawna got called to the desk because she’s a good student. Mr. Zorzi shows them the test papers and says that they both got the same grade. He also shows them that they got the same questions wrong in the same way. I think that when you cheat off someone you try not to copy their answers word for word or else the teacher will get suspicious.
Claudia isn’t realizing what’s happening. I would probably be in some sort of denial if I was being accused of cheating. Mr. Zorzi finally says that someone must have copied the other and he looks right at Claudia when he says this. I know that it looks bad for Claudia because she’s a poor student and Shawna gets A’s, but I don’t think Mr. Zorzi should just immediately look to Claudia without even hearing from her. Shawna just says that Mr. Zorzi isn’t her regular teacher so he doesn’t know her that well, so he doesn’t know she wouldn’t cheat. But if he doesn’t know her, how is he supposed to know if she’s a cheater or not? He doesn’t know her.
Mr. Zorzi just tells Shawna she can go. I’m pretty sure he’s already made up his mind that Claudia cheated and isn’t going to bother to give her a chance to explain herself. Isn’t this poor handling of the situation? Should you really just have one student say, “I didn’t cheat,” say “Okay,” and then assume that the other student cheated? Shawna could be lying. Hell, she is lying. But this seems like a he said, she said deal, because I can’t think of a way to prove that Shawna cheated. Claudia feels stupid for freezing up when Shawna spoke. She knows it’s futile because Shawna’s a good student so people wouldn’t believe she copied off Claudia. Shawna is also popular.
Mr. Zorzi basically tells Claudia that he’s seen her record and knows she struggles to get passing grades, but looking at someone’s paper isn’t the answer. So he’s not even going to give her a chance to talk? He just assumed that she’s a bad student so of course she’d cheat. This must really suck for Claudia. She worked hard and earned that grade but she can’t enjoy it because someone is saying the only way she could have gotten that grade was by cheating. Mr. Zorzi says that he’ll have to talk to the principal and her regular math teacher. The principal will also have to call her parents.
Claudia doesn’t think Mr. Zorzi is being mean. She figures that most people will just assume she’s the cheater because she’s the poor student. It must suck having someone make assumptions about you and not giving you a chance to talk. Claudia feels numb for the rest of the day. She doesn’t want to see her friends. I wouldn’t want to see my friends after I was so happy and excited over doing well on the test because I’d feel too upset and embarrassed at being accused of cheating. Claudia thinks that if she studies and gets accused of cheating then she might never study again. Yeah, I’d probably be a little bitter. Why should I study if someone is just going to insinuate that I got this grade by cheating?
I was a little annoyed at this chapter when I first started reading this book because I wanted to find out what was going on with Claudia. I didn’t care about what was happening at the Pikes. Mrs. Pike is trying to get Vanessa, Nicky, and Margo ready for a trip to the mall, but they keep jumping out of the car and saying they forgot something. They’re going clothes shopping. Vanessa does not need to have her green notebook for that. Mrs. Pike says she’s crazy for taking three kids clothes shopping at once, but at least it isn’t eight of them. Yeah, that would have been really head-ache inducing.
Claire wants to play hopscotch with Stacey. She tells Stacey she isn’t drawing the hopscotch squares right. Claire always has to have things done a certain way. Why does this sound familiar? Oh yeah, because Jenny Prezzioso likes things done a certain way as well. Notice that Stacey isn’t whining that Claire is a spoiled brat. The book just says that Stacey tried to be patient. She’s being way nicer to Claire than she would be to Jenny. You know that Stacey would have whined that Jenny was being so difficult because she wanted the squares drawn straight.
Claire also wants to get a special rock and go through an elaborate ritual to see who goes first. Then Stacey has to pretend to trip when it’s her turn so Claire won’t throw a tantrum. I usually can’t wait until my younger cousins are old enough so that I can play competitive games with them legitimately instead of throwing the game so they won’t throw a tantrum. Of course they might also be sore winners. My little cousin is seven and she was being a sore winner. I thought, “Is she old enough to hear that people don’t like sore winners? She is in school so that could annoy her other classmates. Whatever, I’m a little irritated and it can’t hurt to just politely ask her to stop it.” Notice how Claire is acting? This irritates me because Claire can get away with this behavior, but Jenny would have been demonized. I think that kids have specific ways of doing things and start fussing if things aren’t done their way.
Claire falls down. Stacey holds her breath because maybe Claire won’t make a big deal out of the fall if Stacey doesn’t. I’ve heard people say that they’ve seen kids fall and they’re fine, but then the parents start freaking out and the kid starts bawling. Claire starts crying because she skinned her knees and hand. Stacey takes her inside to clean her up. Then she hears a smash. It turns out that one of the triplets broke the window. They won’t say who did it because they just saw the Three Musketeers and won’t turn in a fellow triplet. Mrs. Pike comes home. She would ordinarily let this go, but this is the fourth window the triplets have broken. What was Mrs. Pike doing when they broke three other windows, then? Why would you let a broken window go? Did she even tell the triplets to be more careful? She grounds them until they tell her who the culprit is. I would have just grounded all three of them because I’m grounding the culprit and the others for lying and covering for the culprit.