Chapter 4

February 1, 1997,

My baby brother Prince is due any day now and the anticipation is driving dad crazy! He’s still shopping for some more supplies because he’s been so busy performing shows; he has not had time to. I don’t think he means to forget about me but, lately he does. Sometimes it’s good for me though, because I’m becoming more independent! Plus Grace gives me a lot of attention when dad is busy working or preparing for the baby to come.

It was a half an hour before my bedtime and dad was just getting back to our hotel room after his concert. He came into my bedroom and sat on the edge of my bed. He said “I brought you a cup instead of a bottle because you don’t need baby bottles anymore! I asked “why?” He said “because next month you’ll be three and you’ll have a baby brother to give your bottles to! I said “I already let you throw away my pacifiers; I don’t want to give up my bottles too! He sounded sympathetic and said “listen; I know you don’t want to but, drinking from a regular cup is not as bad as you think it is!” I asked “can I just use my bottle for one more night daddy?” He sighed and said “no, let’s just get this over with!”

When I realized I wasn’t going to get my way, I reluctantly took a drink from the cup. Grace walked in the room and said “I’m glad to see that daddy threw away those baby bottles, it’s about time!” I said something that pulled on dad’s heartstrings. I said “you took away my pacifiers and my bottles; I hope there’s nothing else you can take away from me!” He asked “aren’t you glad you don’t have to be three years old and still look like a baby because you still used all that stuff?” I said “yeah; I guess you’re right!” He kissed my forehead and said “I can’t believe how big you are getting!”

February 13, 1997,

When I woke up from my nap this afternoon, I was in a hospital room. I looked around and Debbie was laying in a hospital bed with dad sitting next to her with something in his arms. I climbed off the chair that I was sitting in and once he saw me he smiled. I got onto his lap and he said “this is your new baby brother Prince!” He moved the blanket away from the babies face and that was the first time I saw Prince! I leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He didn’t look anything like what I expected him to; he was a lot cuter! Dad looked at the both of us and said “now I have two beautiful angels!”

Debbie looked exhausted as she fought to keep her eyes open, dad said “well; I think I’m going to take Alanna and Prince to the house so you can get some much-needed rest!” She waved goodbye as we walked out of the room. Even though dad tried his best to keep Prince’s birth hidden; somehow it got out and the paparazzi had surrounded the hospital! The bodyguards had to carry me to the SUV because if I walked I would have gotten trampled. The flashes from their cameras were so bright that dad could not see where he was going. They even tried to ask me questions but, I had been taught from a very young age never to respond to them.

Once we had safely made it home, I unbuckled my car seat and hopped out. I walked inside and dad shut the door behind us as he carried Prince in his car seat. I went into the living room and sat on the couch. Dad asked “do you want to hold Prince?” I shook my head yes and he passed him to me. Dad said “let me help you hold his head up because if I don’t he will get hurt.” He helped me support his head and I said “he is so cute daddy!” Dad smiled and said “you’re so cute too!” I said “okay; daddy I want to go in my playroom now and watch a movie! Will you help me put a tape in the VCR?” He said “I can’t sweetie; I have to feed Prince his bottle but, I’m sure if you ask Grace she will help you!” He took Prince from me and Grace and I went into the playroom.

Grace sat down on the floor and asked “you know that you have a whole bunch of new Disney movies that you got for Christmas right?” I said “oh yeah; I forgot about those. What ones are new movies?” She grabbed a stack of five movies off the top of the big TV that was in the room and put them down in front of me. She said “you have Toy story, the lion King two, the sword in the stone, the jungle book, and 101 Dalmatians.” I asked “have I seen any of these before?” She said “no, I picked them out for you because you haven’t seen them yet!” I picked up the toy story case and asked “will you watch this with me; since daddy’s busy with Prince?” She said “yeah, it looks like daddy has things covered with Prince!”

I guess I am going to have to get used to not having my dad’s full attention when he is home! Ever since I’ve been born he has done his best to teach me everything in life that I learned this far. He’s realized that he can’t be there for every sneeze, crazy dance move, and to run around the hotel room and playing hide and seek you with me. I don’t know how this week is going to go because dad is taking some time off to spend with the baby before he has to do some more concerts. He is happy though because he is bringing in so much cash so he won’t have to tour for a very long time.

February 25, 1997,

Grace left for a few days yesterday, so she could check on her sister. It’s been just dad, Prince, and I since she has been gone. Dad is starting to feel overwhelmed, but he’s trying his best to keep his cool. I don’t think I’m making it any easier on him though!

I had just gotten up from my nap and went into the living room in our hotel room. That’s when things started to get on dad’s nerves! He had just put Prince down for a nap in his bassinet and went to go get me a snack. The second he thought he was clear to leave the room; Prince started crying! He rushed to put some cheese doodles in a bowl and quickly passed it to me. He picked up Prince and tried to comfort him. Luckily he fell right back asleep but, I wasn’t going to let him relax by any means.

I said “daddy, I want to play light sabers with you!” He said “okay; go get them and we will!” I ran to my bedroom and grabbed them. As we were play fighting with the light sabers I decided it would be funny if I poked in the eye… So I did! He jumped back and asked “why would you do that? That hurt really bad! I chuckled as he washed his eyes with a washcloth and he said sternly “it’s not funny Alanna, you could have really hurt my eye!” I didn’t respond and he started to get irritated. He said “you need to at least say sorry to me!” I said “okay, okay, I’m sorry daddy!” He hugged me and said “it’s all right; just don’t do it again!”

March 18, 1997,

Dad was just arriving back to our hotel room after his concert and he was clearly exhausted. When he walked in the door Grace said “it has been a long day Michael!” He asked “let me guess, Alanna isn’t behaving for you?” She said “Yep” and picked up Prince. He said “I’ll go talk to her in her room!”

He walked down to my room and sat next to me on the edge of my bed. I said “hi daddy!” He asked “hi; how was your day?” He said “Grace told me you weren’t listening to her at all!” I said “you said you are the boss, not her… So I don’t have to listen to her!” He said “hey, you’ve got it all wrong! I am the boss but, when I’m not here she is in charge!” I said “she can’t make me listen to her!” He said “if I hear that you are not listening to her and behaving, you’re going to be in trouble by me! He asked “why are you not being good when I’m working!” I said “I just wish you were here more, I miss the times when you’re at home with us all day!” You could hear the sadness in his voice when he said “I wish I could be here all the time but, I have to work!” I rested my head on his shoulder and asked “how much longer till we can go back home and stay there?” He said “about a month and a half but, I promise you after that I’m not touring for while!” I said “okay, I just want to go back home!” He said “I know; me too sweetheart!” He kissed me and said “I want you to go apologize to Grace for not behaving today!” I walked up to her and gave her a hug. She asked “what was that for?” I said “I’m sorry for not being good and not listening to you today!” She said shocked “well, thank you for saying you’re sorry!”

March 20, 1997,

The phone rang and dad picked it up. He was getting ready to perform a concert in New Zealand and was wondering who could be calling him at this time. He said “hello!” Grace said “your daughter won’t go to sleep, I don’t know what else to do!” He said “you’ve got to be kidding me; it’s almost 10 o’clock at night! Have one of the bodyguards bring her down here and you stay with Prince.” She said “okay; I’ll get her ready!” She had no idea what dad was up to but, she was so exhausted she was willing to try anything!

Grace said “get your jacket; you are going to see daddy!” Dad’s bodyguard Joe picked me up and said “we will be back after the concert.” He took me out to the SUV and drove me to the concert arena. When we walked inside he took me back stage and said “wait here; I’m going to get your dad!” There was a mattress set up on the floor and a small TV with a remote. There was also a stack of VCR tapes near the TV. I was definitely wondering what was going on and wanted to know what was taking dad so long!

Dad opened the door to the room and he looked upset. He asked “why are you not listening to Grace?” I didn’t have an answer for him and he made me feel guilty. He said “you’re going to sleep here and I’m going to take you back to the hotel after the show is done! You can watch the movie until you fall asleep but, I expect you to be asleep when I come back here for the intermission!” He put a Star Wars movie in the VCR and said “go to sleep… I mean it!” When he shut the door I could hear the screams of the fans and was still amazed by what he does! I want to do exactly what he does for a living when I grow up!

March 29, 1997,

Dad had Grace, Prince, and I go back home to Neverland while he finishes his last week of concerts. Grace told me he would be back home one week from today, so I’m just waiting for him to get here. It’s not the same not having him here. I’m not used to him not being around. There have been times when I call out dad’s name and then realize he’s not here!

I was up in my room playing and watching TV when I heard the front door shut. I didn’t pay much attention to it and continued to put my action figures into fighting poses. Grace yelled my name and said “come down here, I have a surprise for you!” I walked downstairs and said “yeah?” She stepped out of the way and dad was standing behind her. I ran to him and said “my daddy!” He smiled as he bent down to pick me up and I asked “are we going to stay here for a long time now?” He kissed the top of my head and said “yes, for a long time!”

After dad had gotten settled in at home, he went upstairs to check on me. He stood by my doorway staring at me trying to moonwalk. I didn’t notice he was watching me and he said “you’ll learn how to do that; it’s really hard trust me!” I said “daddy; I want to be a singer and dancer when I grow up!” He thought about it for 5 min. and said “you can do anything you want to do when you grow up but, promise me you’ll stay my little tomboy for as long as you can!” I kissed him and said “I love you daddy, besides; I like being a kid right now!” He said “good” and smiled.

April 4, 1997,

I was playing outside and dad was watching me on the patio while he drank his iced tea. He got up from his chair and looked at something in the garage. He pulled a tarp off my bicycle and asked “do you want me to take the training wheels off your bike for you Alanna?” I said “I don’t know how to ride my bike without them on though!” He said “I’ll teach you how after I take them off!” I was hesitant to say “okay” but I really wanted to have them taken off my bike. I was scared more than you could imagine but, I tried not to let that show because normally I’m very brave and fearless!

I watched him take the training wheels off and hoped that something would go wrong so I wouldn’t have to ride my bike. After he had taken them off he said “alright; get on your bike!” I reluctantly got on to it and he pushed it to the middle of our long driveway. He said “the gates closed and I’m not going to let you get hurt so, you’re safe!” As soon as I started pedaling I said “daddy I’m scared; don’t let go!” He said “don’t worry I won’t let anything happen to you!” He saw my hands shaking as they held on the handlebars!

I started to get the hang of steering the bike and dad had to run to keep a hold of me. I started to laugh because when I looked back at him his pants had fallen down because he wasn’t wearing a belt! He let go of me and I was able to keep control of the bike by myself. He blushed as he quickly hurried to pull up his pants because the Neverland staff was staring at his polka dotted boxers! I rode past him and said “nice underwear daddy!” He shrugged his shoulders and laughed.

April 8, 1997,

I was just arriving at Neverland after spending the weekend at my grandma and grandpa’s house. I walked in the doorway and grandma followed behind me. She looked at dad and said “she had fun!” They both laughed and grandma shut the door as she left.

At dinner dad sat down next to me and said “did you have fun when you were with grandma this weekend?” I said “yeah but; I missed you a lot daddy!” He kissed my cheek and said “I missed you too AJ!” He took a bite of his food and I asked “daddy what does damn it mean?” I thought he was going to start choking when he heard me say that because his eyes widened like I had never seen before! He struggled to say while forcing down his food “where did you hear that word?” I said “grandpa was really mad and he was screaming it at grandma.” The look on his face was something I’ll never forget. He turned bright red and whispered “I can’t believe he was yelling at her in front of you!”

He got up from the table and grabbed the phone off the counter. He said “Alanna, go to your room; okay!” He dialed grandma’s phone number and they talked:

Grandma: hello

Dad: hi mother; I need to talk to you!

Grandma: what’s wrong Michael?

Dad: why in the world was Joseph swearing and yelling in front of Alanna?

Grandma: I didn’t even know she was listening!

Dad: I’ll make it very clear to you that I don’t want him screaming profanity at you while my daughter is around, because of what he said she just asked me what damn it means! It’s nothing against you mother but I don’t want AJ around that stuff!

He hung up the phone and went upstairs. He walked in to my room and sat next to me on the floor. I looked at him and he said “let’s talk about that word you heard.” I asked “what does it mean?” He said “well; that is a bad word… Only some grown-ups can use those words. Kids aren’t supposed to say those words!” I said “okay; I won’t say that word anymore!” He said “it’s okay that you said that word this time because you didn’t know it was a bad word!”

May 21, 1997,

Dad was outside with me playing in the pool when he asked “do you want me to teach you how to swim without your life jacket?” I said “no, I’ll drown!” He said “you know I won’t let that happen AJ!” He took my life jacket off and said “don’t be scared!” He picked me up and placed me in the pool. I said “I’m going to drown!!!” He laughed and said “I am not going to let you drown!!!” I walked up the steps and said “please don’t make me daddy!” He said “alright, but I hired a swim instructor to come tomorrow and teach you, so you’re not off the hook!!!”

July 17, 1997,

Dad was just walking in the door after finishing some last minute work to get all the money he earned on the history tour. He looked around the room and asked “what’s going on here?” Grace said “Alanna is driving me nuts!” He asked “what do you mean? What is she doing?” She said “well; to start off with she was so loud I couldn’t get Prince to sleep!” He said: “I’ll go talk to her!” She rolled her eyes as he walked up the stairs.

He walked into my room and said “hi AJ.” I hugged him and said “I missed you!” He said “I’ve told you so many times that you need to be good when I’m not here and you won’t listen!” I tried to say something and he cut me off. He said “since I’m now working for a while Grace is going to go on vacation and I’m going to stay here with you and your brother. I’m not going to let you get away with this stuff, you will be in trouble… No not just standing in the corner!” I asked confused “what do you mean? He said “I’m going to start taking your toys away and go to you’ll have to earn them back!” He sat down next to me on the floor and said “no matter what I’ll always love you though… You’re my first baby and I don’t want you to grow up too fast!”

He stood up and grabbed one of my action figures out of my toy box. I asked “where are you going with that?” He said “I told you, when you don’t listen a toy gets taken away!” I looked at him shocked and couldn’t believe that he was actually following through with it!

July 20, 1997,
Dad walked through the front door and looked around for Grace, Prince and I. He went upstairs and could hear Grace say “we’re in here Michael!!!” He opened the door to the bathroom and Grace said “I know you need to go AJ!!!” He asked “let me guess; potty training isn’t getting any better?” She said “listen; I need to go feed Prince….will you stay here with her?” He sat down on the floor and said “of course!!!” She took Prince downstairs shutting the bathroom door behind her.

Dad asked “what’s up?” I said “I’m not going to go potty!!!” He said “we aren’t going anywhere until you go….I’m getting tired of changing those diapers.” I said “I’m still not going to go!!!” He said “that’s too bad because I bought you something at the toy store.” I got excited and asked “is it the Spiderman web shooter daddy?” He took it out of the bag he was holding and said “as a matter of fact it is!” I tried to grab it from him and he said “if you use the potty you can have this!!!” I said “but if I do I won’t be your baby anymore daddy.” He said “I don’t know where you came up with that!!! It doesn’t matter if you’re 3 years old or 300 years old you’ll always be my baby!!!” I said “pinky promise?” He stuck out his pinky finger and said “pinky promise!” I looked at the toy and then looked at dad. He said “all you have to do is…….” He heard the noise of something tricking and he gasped. I smiled and he said “GOOD JOB!!!”
A few minutes later we walked downstairs and Grace was still feeding Prince. I was carrying the web shooter and she asked “where did that come from?” Dad said “let’s just say I don’t think she’ll be giving you a hard time when it comes to the bathroom!” She said “wait….she went? No way!!! But how in the world?” He laughed and said “don’t question the king; just accept it!!!

July 28, 1997,

Yesterday dad took me shopping because he was able to have the manager closed the store for the day. When we were in the store I saw a toy that I really wanted but; dad told me that I couldn’t have it because he had just bought me a toy last week. I threw myself on the ground and had the worst temper tantrum that dad had ever seen. He had never seen me this mad in my life. He was really embarrassed by the way I was acting and we ended up having to leave because I kept trying to hit him.

Today dad had a behavioral specialist/therapist come over to the ranch to see if there was more to the way I am acting. He knows that it can’t be me just being the typical three-year-old and wants to get to the bottom of whatever is going on. She told him that after evaluating me that she had diagnosed me with oppositional defiance disorder. That means that I don’t think about something before I do it and that most of the time I get so caught up in my attitude that I don’t remember what I had done wrong. She also told him that there is not much she can do to help the situation and that dad is going to have to be patient but also very strict; especially as I get older because it’ll probably only get worse! All I remember dad saying is that he is committed to helping me deal with this and keeping me out of trouble.

August 12, 1997,

One of the bodyguards let Debbie into the house and she heard me trying to argue my way out of doing something. She walked into the living room and sat down on the couch. Dad said “you know it’s not okay to call people names!” He knelt down in front of me and said “all I’m asking you to do is put your crayons back in their box so nobody steps on them.” I said “I don’t care about the crayons you stupid head!” He picked me up and said “I told you not to say that word anymore!” He put me in the corner of the living room and said “you stay here until I come get you because you weren’t being nice!”

He sat down on the couch next to Debbie and said “that’s her third timeout today and it’s not even noon.” She said “well; I have some good news to tell you!” He asked “what?” She said “I’m pregnant again!” He said “oh my gosh… I’m going to have three kids!” I walked up to dad and he asked “what are you doing out of the corner?” I said “I have to go potty.” He said “okay; but you have to promise me not to say stupid anymore because it’s not nice and it hurts my feelings!” I said “I’m sorry; I won’t say that anymore!” He said “that’s okay; I don’t want to hear you say that word again!”

While I was in the upstairs bathroom dad and Debbie talked. Debbie said “I found out yesterday that I was pregnant!” Prince crawled up to dad and he picked him up. Dad looked at her and said “it’s so unreal; my first baby is pretty much not a baby anymore and my second baby is already seven months old!” Debbie looked at him as tears filled his eyes and she said “look at it positively… You’re going to get to have a newborn that is totally dependent on you again!” He said as he rubbed his eyes “it’s not that!” She asked “what’s wrong then?” He said “it hit me yesterday that Alanna isn’t a baby anymore! She hardly ever asks me for help; it’s been like that all week long! It went from her saying daddy I can’t do it by myself to daddy leave me alone!” He got up and said “I know she’s only three but; it hard to let my baby go!”

Debbie hugged him and said “she going to grow up to do bigger and better things than the little milestones she’s reaching now! I know it’s hard but you have to let it happen!” I came downstairs and walked up to dad. He knelt down and I hugged him. I whispered something in his ear and he said “I’ll help you.” Debbie said “I’ve got to head out now; I’ll call you when I have my first ultrasound in a couple weeks so you can come.” He kissed her on the cheek and said “alright; I’ll see you then.”

September 9, 1997,

Dad was just getting back to the ranch because he had gone shopping to get some Christmas gifts. He walked into the living room and Grace said “listen; I can’t watch AJ anymore!” He looked irritated and asked “what; why?” She said “because she will not listen to me! She thinks it’s funny when she doesn’t do what I ask her to do!” Dad said “I don’t know what else you want me to do; you know she has oppositional defiance disorder!” Grace said “I know she doesn’t really mean to be so disobedient but; I just can’t deal with her and Prince with Debbie having another baby soon on top of that!” He said “I’ll make a deal with you; if I can get your to at least somewhat behave for you when I’m not here will you watch her again?” She said “I don’t see how you going to do that but; if you can pull it off more power to you!” He said “I don’t plan on going out on any big trips for it while so I won’t let her get away with being disrespectful to you!”

I came downstairs and dad gave me a look that I will probably never forget. I knew that in some way, shape or form that I had done something wrong! He picked me up and put me on the couch. He sat down next to me and said “I know that you haven’t been behaving for Grace and I told you that I’m not going to let you act like this!” I said “but daddy; I didn’t mean to!” He said “I don’t want to hear it; just remember I’m here all day now so I hear and see everything that goes on in this house!”

He went upstairs and came back down carrying the pieces that go on top of my train table. He opened up the closet door and put them on the top shelf. I said “no daddy; I love my Thomas the trains!” He knelt down in front of me and said “you’ll think twice next time before you decide not to listen to Grace; won’t you?” I stomped my feet and he calmly said “that’s enough!” Grace said “welcome to my world Michael; this is what I deal with every day.” I tossed a couple of video tapes across the room and he said “I said that’s enough!” I looked at him as I reach for another tape to see if he would do anything and he asked “do you want to watch TV in your room tonight?” I said mad “yes!” He said “you better not throw that because you won’t be allowed to watch movies tonight!” I put the tape down and he said “thank you; it’s time for bed!”

I walked up to dad and hugged him. He picked me up and asked “do you want to watch cartoons on Disney Junior or watch a movie?” I said “I want to watch Scooby Doo!” He said “okay; go get your pajamas on and wait for me to get your toothbrush ready!” He put me down and for the first time in a long time I did what I was told.

December 25, 1997,

I woke up and walked down the hallway. I climbed onto dad’s bed and jumped on him. He opened his eyes and said “merry Christmas!!!” I said “merry Christmas” and jumped on him again. He said “okay; I’m going to get up.” He picked me up and said “we can’t go downstairs until Prince is awake.” He carried me into Prince’s room and put me down. Prince was standing up in his crib with his hair sticking out in all directions. Dad picked him up and grabbed me with his other arm.

Dad carried Prince and I down the steps and I could see the Christmas tree. He took us into the living room and put of us down. There were presents stacked all over the room and something with a blanket over the top of it. Dad asked “what’s under that blanket over there?” I walked up to it and there was a piece of paper taped to the blanket. I pulled it off and brought it over to dad. He said “it looks like a letter from Santa Claus!” Now that I’m much older; I know that Santa Claus isn’t real, but dad tried to keep the magic alive for as long as possible while I was growing up.

He opened the letter and read it out loud. He said “I hope you like your Christmas presents and I know you tried really hard to be good this year. You’ve grown so much since the last time I left presents under your tree and I’ve been watching you from the North Pole. I do think that you need to try harder at being a better listener. Every time you don’t listen to daddy you move closer to the naughty list. I’ll be back to see you and your brother next year. I can’t wait to see if the new baby is going to be a boy or a girl!”

Dad said “see Santa knows everything; so you better be good!” I had a worried look on my face and said “I will try harder!” I pulled the blanket off and underneath was the Jeep that I had been asking for all year! I got in and was about to put the key in when dad said “yeah; that’s more of an outside toy!” I went over to a tall stack of presents and he said “after we open all your gifts you can play with your Jeep.”

After about eight hours of slowly opening each gift, grandma showed up. I was upstairs changing out of my pajamas because I had been wearing them all day. I came back downstairs wearing a pair of jeans and my new red Star Wars long-sleeved sweatshirt with Anakin Skywalker and R2-D2 printed on the front. I walked into the kitchen where dad was talking to grandma and I sat down at the table. She said “you know Joseph really want to come here with me. I don’t understand why you don’t want him here!” He said “now that Alanna is in the room I think we should stop this discussion!” She said “you know I want to be here but; I’m going to go back to the house because I don’t him to have to be alone!”

Dad rolled his eyes as she shut the door and left without even getting to say hi to me. He came over with a few plates of food and sat down next to me. As he was cutting my food for me I said “thank you for all my presents!” He said “you’re welcome sweetheart.” He looked around the room at all of my new toys sprawled out on the floor and said “look at all these toys!!!” I said “I got so much Spiderman, Thomas the train, and Scooby Doo stuff!!!” He said “I think you got more Star Wars stuff than anything else. I can’t believe you got six different pairs of Star Wars pajamas!!!”