When I was a kid, I read all the time. Like, ALL THE TIME. A few months ago, my mom was telling me a story about how she was in a waiting room, quite obviously deeply involved with her book (dirty), and someone wouldn't stop trying to have a conversation with her. I was all, "MOM. You used to do that to me all the time!" and she was like, "Well, JENNIE, if I didn't talk to you while you were reading, I'D NEVER HAVE GOTTEN TO TALK TO YOU," because that's how much I read, you guys. TRUTH.
Anyway, I also had this problem in that I thought everything I read was true. I mean, I think I knew that I couldn't really travel to Narnia through a wardrobe and that Ramona Quimby (age 8) was not actually a real person. It was more like I wanted the real world to be more like books, all the time. I wanted to write to Mr. Henshaw and I wanted to run around with Maniac McGee and I dearly, dearly wanted to go to Wayside School, even though it was falling down.
Mostly, though, I wanted to be in The Baby-sitters Club. I went back and forth between which character I wanted to be. Sometimes it was Claudia, with her "keen" fashion sense, but I didn't want to have her mean sister. I did try that thing she did, where she hid food all over her room so she could have fun snacks any time she wanted, but it turns out if you do that in real life, your parents catch you and get mad at you because when they asked you where all the snacks were going, you told them your sister was probably eating them and that, my friends, is called lying and I guess parents don't really like lying or something. But I digress.
Sometimes I wanted to be Mary Anne, but I was already desperately shy and bookish, so that was no good. And sometimes I wanted to be Stacey, but not really because man, she was a Grade-A beeyotch if there ever was one, right? Mostly, I wanted to be Dawn, but only because of her beautiful, long hair and the fact that she lived in a house with SECRET PASSAGEWAYS. I knew our house wasn't anywhere near as old as Dawn's house, but that didn't stop me from searching for secret tunnels in the basement.
But the Club sounded fun, no matter which member you were. Probably because there was absolutely no adult supervision and parents had no problem sending ALL the neighborhood kids off on adventures with 13-year-olds, like remember that one time they all got shipwrecked on an island? I mean, they weren't there long enough for it to get all Lord of the Flies, but still...who sends their kid off on a boat with a 13-YEAR-OLD?!
Unfortunately, I didn't have a boat, but I still thought I'd be a good member. Screw that Red Cross Baby-sitting class I took, I learned way more from The Baby-sitters Club. True story. OK, not really, but they did have those super awesome Kid Kits, full of all sorts of fun stuff to keep little ones occupied. I COVETED those Kid Kits, which I know is a sin or something but there are worse sins so just be glad I'm not out there murdering people or building shrines to the Flying Spaghetti Monster or whatever.
I still sometimes wish that real life was more like books. Less work, more play. Adventures that last pages and pages. Kid Kits. But last night, as I was getting my bag ready for volunteering, I rummaged through some of the stuff I'd collected for it. Stickers. Markers. Play-Doh. Bubbles. And wouldn't you know it? It turns out I'd made my very own Kid Kit, albeit about 15 years late. Maybe this real life thing isn't so bad after all.