As a tween girl devouring the Baby-Sitters Club series, I was always finding inspiration.
From the very first book, Kristy’s Great Idea, it was clear that there was gonna be some amazing fashion inspo: “Claudia was wearing a baggy yellow-and-black-checked shirt, black pants, red jazz shoes and a bracelet that looked like it was made from a telephone cord. Her earrings were dangling jointed skeletons that jumped around when she moved.” Yellow and black with red shoes and skeleton earrings?! Claudia, you icon of ’80s couture!
And of course, I was inspired by the BSC’s bag of babysitting tricks, learning from their successes and failures what I could do to market myself as the Best Babysitter Ever. (I had to earn as much spending money as possible. My Caboodle, after all, wasn’t filling itself with cheap cosmetics and Malibu Musk.)
Now that I’m in a time of my life when I’m all about finding a sitter, not being one — and no longer get my fashion ideas from Stacey McGill and Claudia Kishi — there are still ways to find inspiration from these girls I grew up with. I’m talking about BSC-inspired baby names.
But not just their actual names. Like Kristy Thomas’s trademark turtleneck-and-jeans combo, that would be too simple. There are other people besides the main characters, and there are places, and even last names that fit better into today’s baby-naming landscape. (Stacey, for example, was the epitome of cool … but her name, not so much these days. It peaked at #74 on the Social Security top 1,000 list in 1980, but fell out of the top 1,000 entirely after 2006).
Here are some of the familiar things from the series that could make cool names — beyond Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, Jessi, Mallory, and Abby.
BSC fans will recognize this as California-girl Dawn’s last name. But using a surname as a first name has a distinguished feel, and this one has the possibility of the cute nickname “Shae.”
This one’s a pretty obvious nod to what the series made us do in the first place: bury our noses in a book. But it’s also another takeaway from Dawn; her full name was Dawn Read Schafer.
The (enormous) Pike family were some of the Baby-Sitters Club’s favorite charges — and later the eldest Pike, Mallory, would join the BSC herself. Pike is a cute and quirky choice for a first name: It’s not Mike or Spike, but sounds close enough to not stand out as totally odd. And speaking of the Pikes …
In my personal favorite book in the entire series (#8, Boy-Crazy Stacey), we travel along with Stacey and Mary Anne as they tag along on vacation with the Pike family to — you guessed it — the Jersey Shore. The fictional Sea City, New Jersey was the spot of the Pikes’ annual summer vacation. And place names like Dakota are steadily being replaced with fresher-sounding names … like Jersey!
Another of Kristy’s brilliant ideas, Kid Kits were boxes of kid-friendly goodies that each babysitter hauled along to their respective sitting jobs. As names go, Kit is a perfect gender-neutral choice — and its association with hunky “Game of Thrones” actor Kit Harington doesn’t hurt its popularity, either.
Stacey’s New York-based (ex) best friend, the sophisticated Laine Cummings, ended up to be kind of a snobby asshole … but her name’s still pretty cool. It’s a form of Elaine, which means “bright and shining” — though it can be pronounced LIE-neh, which means “wave” in Estonian.
On the subject of friends in other states, there’s Sunny Winslow from sunny California: Dawn’s west coast bestie, a vegetarian with a rebellious streak and founder of the Cali version of the BSC, the We Love Kids Club. Sunny is a perfectly cheerful choice for either gender.
This one is, of course, in honor of Kristy’s super-wealthy (yet benevolent and kind!) stepfather, Watson Brewer. (Side note: in the books, he was around 37, which makes me feel totally ancient because I’m officially — albeit only slightly — older than Watson.) Thanks to being thrust in the spotlight by the son of “Teen Mom” alum Chelsea Houska DeBoer, Watson just made it onto the popularity charts this year, debuting at a strong #711.
Probably short for Quinton, but perfect as a standalone name too, Quint Walter was ballerina (and junior BSC member) Jessi Ramsey’s onetime crush — a ballet student who, after Jessi’s prompting to ignore his peers’ teasing, entered the prestigious Juilliard school of performing arts. This name is just different enough from the popular Quinn to make it a standout.
Logan Bruno was the southern-born, longtime love interest of Mary Anne Spier and an “associate member” of the BSC. He was a perfect gentleman except for his brief stint in a gang called “The Bad Boyz,” but hey, we all make mistakes as adolescents (I had a perm, sooo …). His first name, Logan, is a great choice too, but it’s super-popular right now: currently ranked at #10 of the top 1,000. Bruno, meanwhile, is much less used (#665) but thanks to singer Bruno Mars, it’s not a totally “out-there” pick. Kinda hits the sweet spot.
This romantic-sounding classic was actually the full name of Stacey McGill: Anastasia Elizabeth. And part of its charm is the vast selection of nickname possibilities, from Ana and Annie to Stacey and Stasia … or even just Sia.
The middle child of the Papadakis family who lives across the street from Kristy, Hannie was a regular in the Baby-Sitters Little Sister spinoff series featuring the shenanigans of Kristy’s little stepsister Karen Brewer. Her name was actually Hannah, but Hannie is a fabulous, peppy-sounding nickname.
Much to Jessi’s dismay, her aunt Cecelia Parker moved in to help care for the Ramsey children while their mother went back to work. Jessi hated it at first, but then developed a close relationship with Aunt Cecelia. This name — which can be used in its beautiful long form or shortened to cute diminutives like CeCe, Celie, or Celia — actually means “blind.” Maybe that’s why Aunt Cecelia wore glasses.
Full disclosure: My son’s middle name is Bradford, so I obviously really love the strong, noble feel this name imparts. But! In the Baby-Sitters Club world, Bradford Court was where it all began — the street on which Kristy, Claudia, and Mary Anne all lived when the BSC was formed.
If we know anything about Claudia besides her adventurous fashion sense, it’s that she loves three things: art, junk food, and Nancy Drew novels. Drew is a cute standalone name for a girl (hello, Drew Barrymore!), or can be used as a short form of Andrew … as in Andrew Brewer, Kristy’s stepbrother! Two references in one!
See? We may be too old now to get baby-sitting inspiration from the BSC (I’m OLDER than WATSON, omg!) but we can still find fresh ideas at this stage in our lives … and someday introduce our little Schafers and Hannies and Laines to the series that inspired us all.
Need more inspiration? Check out Scary Mommy’s baby name database for thousands of names and fun lists!