Things I Said While Babysitting Four Grandchildren At Once

Let me say it was never my intention to babysit four of my grandchildren at once. First, my son texted on Wednesday requesting I babysit his two girls (7 & 6) on Friday night. I texted back, “Sure,” making that a done deal. Later that evening, my youngest daughter (who lives on the opposite end of town) asked if I could see about her six-year-old daughter on Saturday from about 9 -3. The three cousins love each other and it seemed the practical thing was to bring the six-year-old with me when I went to sit at my son’s home. Friday afternoon, my daughter called to ask if I would also keep her one-year-old daughter. I confess to a long pause before replying, “the more the merrier right?”

Without further ado, these are some of the things that got said:

  1. “Don’t pick up the baby!”
  2. “Take that out of your mouth!”
  3. “Don’t give her that!”
  4. “Do you know the meaning of tattle-tale?”
  5. “No hiding upstairs.”
  6. “Put the baby down!”
  7. “If anybody else tattles, you’re all going to take a nap!”
  8. “Don’t spin the baby around!”
  9. “Stop standing on the chair!”
  10. “Would your mother let you do that?”
  11. “How did you break it?”
  12. “Because I’m the adult!”
  13. “No, you can’t go home.”
  14. “Put the baby down.”
  15. “Injury time-out!”
  16. “Nobody likes a tattle-tale!”
  17. “What were you thinking?”
  18. “Call me again, but not for a few weeks!”

Special guest comment from the kid’s grandmother. “He’s watching them all at once? Oh my!”

Fly Girl… Fly Girl… Fly Girl… Fly Girl

Thirty years ago today, the “Fly Girl” was born at Winter Park Hospital in Winter Park, FL. The doctor was determined that I needed to cut the umbilical cord which would “help me bond” with my daughter. While I needed no such mechanism to create a bond with the small creature before me. I did it anyway just to keep things moving.

A couple of days later, she got her first nickname, “Fly Girl.” One might think she was named after the dancers named The Fly Girls appearing on the television show, “In Living Color?” They would be wrong. In reality, it came from the horror movie, “The Fly” where a man tried teleporting himself and his body got mixed up with a fly accidentally trapped with him in the chamber. Two figures emerged; a human-sized fly with the features of the fly except for a couple of small human parts and a small fly with the head of the man. At the end of the movie, the fly with the human head was trapped in a spider-web with the spider rapidly approaching. He cried out in a pitiful small voice, “Help Me! Help Me!’ The sound the fly made was the exact sound Lauren Ashley Spivey made at two days old and that is how she got the name.

There were many songs dedicated to the Fly Girl over the years. With the shamelessness of P. Diddy, songs were stolen and revised to meet my needs in honor of the Fly Girl. Among the songs appropriated were, My Girl by the Temptations, Darling Nikki by Prince, I Believe I Can Fly (now removed from the rotation) and my personal favorite, Can’t Touch This by M.C. Hammer.

In honor of this day, I give you the lyrics:

My, my, my, my, Fly Girl hits me… so hard

Makes me say, Oh My Lord

Thank You, for blessing me

With a girl so fly and so pretty

It feels good when you know you’re down

A souped-up Fly Girl from the O-town

And she’s known… as such

This is a Fly Girl

You can’t touch!

Happy Birthday, Lauren. Always the Fly Girl!

I Didn’t Get My Way Today!

I don’t always get my way

Mostly, but not always

I don’t like it when mommy tells me no

She used to give in when I cried

Then she started acting like she couldn’t hear me

I used to throw tantrums and layout on the floor

She learned to step around me

She wants me to use my words

I do sometimes and she still says no

What was the point

I will come up with a new plan

I want what I want

The day’s not over yet

Going To The Park With Grandpa

When I go to the park with my mommy

I slide down the slides

I swing on the swings

She chases me and I let her catch me

I have lots of fun

When I go to the park with my grandpa

We have different rules

I remind him I’m not supposed to get dirty

He tells me, “Mommy won’t mind”

When there’s water on the slide I slide thru it anyway

When I go on the swings I go higher than ever before and I’m not scared

Grandpa pretends to be a monster

When he almost catches me, I pretend to be the monster and chase him

I climb in trees when Grandpa takes me

Mommy doesn’t let me climb in trees

I hang on the rings until I fall

Grandpa catches me

I pick flowers to bring home to my mommy

Two ways I know when I’ve been to the park with grandpa

I take a long nap

I leave a ring in the bathtub

Changing Of The Guard

My youngest daughter has always been my greatest protector. I am not alone in that regard. Her brother was once involved in a minor traffic accident and from a thousand miles away she harassed everyone in the family until he went to the emergency room to get checked out. He was fine, except for the $200 deductible he shelled out but there would have been no peace had he not gone.

Her mother and I divorced when she was a preteen and sometimes I wouldn’t see her for days and when I traveled for business, up to 5–6 weeks. Whenever I saw her next she would always inspect me up and down, always noticing any new scratch I might have obtained since I saw her last. In those days I played a lot of basketball including in a church sponsored league where I often took her with me to my games. Despite the religious affiliations of most of the teams, many of the games were quite physical and as my team’s center, I received (and dished out) my fair share of contact. When one particular team which included their church pastor and several deacons, went too far in my daughter’s eyes. She yelled out, “Bow ’em daddy!”

Years have gone by and my daughter now has children of her own, demanding much of her attention. I was at the Birthday Party of her 1-year-old at which her 5-year-old daughter scraped her arm when playing outside and came in crying. I called her to me and comforted her, negotiating cleaning her wound first before applying a band-aid which she was convinced was “going to hurt.” The wound got cleaned and bandaged up, the crying had almost stopped when suddenly she noticed a cut on my thumb she hadn’t seen before. She asked, “What happened?” I told her I had accidentally cut myself with a knife cutting some peppers.

“Did it hurt?”

“A little bit, I cleaned it and put on a band-aid just like yours.”

“Be careful papa!”

“I will… you too!”

She got down and went back outside to play. My daughter never noticed the cut on my finger, something she wouldn’t have missed at one time. But her daughter had taken on the responsibility. Should any new injuries present themselves, there will always be some explaining to do.

Donald Trump: Family Man

The most recent explanation for why Donald Trump paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in the days leading up to the 2016 election is that he, “did it for his family.” We apparently are to believe that Donald Trump, with no ulterior motive, gave away $130,000 to a woman he claims he “never had an affair with,” because of his overriding concern for his wife and family. He obviously wasn’t thinking of his wife when he slept with a porn star, without a condom, for a few moments of pleasure.

a a a a a a a a a a a fammilldeer

Way back on January 27, 2017, when Donald Trump requested a private dinner with James Comey. Trump allegedly brought up the “golden showers thing” in Russia. Asking Comey to investigate, saying it bothered him if “there was even a 1% chance” his wife Melania thought it was true, according to Comey. That’s our President, always looking out for his family. It’s entirely possible Trump was concerned about the inconvenience to himself of having to face an angry wife that already stayed in a separate bedroom, maybe even a divorce and the loss of assets that go with it. I’m sure any thoughts of his family were limited to the drama it would cause and how much of a headache he would have in dealing with things.

Reflecting back on how Donald has treated his family. He cheated on first wife Ivana with Marla Maples who ultimately became his second wife. Donald leaked to the media that Ivana’s breast implants “didn’t feel right” and that Marla Maples, “suited him better.” Trump even secretly brought Maples on a “family” ski trip at Aspen, culminating with Maples introducing herself to Ivana saying, “I’m Marla, and I love your husband. Do you?” Miss Maples for her part told the tabloids her trysts with Donald provided, “the best sex I ever had.” During his first marriage, Donald had not matured enough to be concerned about his wife.

a a a a a a a a a a a familtey

After divorcing Ivana, Trump married the side chick Maples in 1993. Their marriage lasted 6 years on paper although they were separated after 4. To be fair, there were few allegations of cheating by Trump although he demonstrated little class in a 1999 Howard Stern interview where he declared he, “got rid of her just in time,” based on changes in her appearance.

In checking to see if he was a better father than a husband? Trump admits than first wife Ivana raised his kids; Donald Jr, Eric, and Ivanka. Donald had little to do with them save Ivana until after they graduated and could “talk business.” When Donald Jr was 11, he stopped speaking to his father for a year because Donald Sr kept trashing his mother in the press during their divorce. In 1998, while technically still married to Marla Maples, Trump began dating model Melania Knauss. They got married in January of 2005. In September of the same year, Trump was caught on tape talking about how “when you’re a star, they just let you do it.” He was describing walking up and kissing women, even “grabbing them by the pussy.”

a a a a a a a a a a a family

The year 2006 was a busy year for the family man. He was alleged to have begun a year-long affair with Karen McDougal, had a fling with Stormy Daniels and witnessed the birth of his third son, Barron. Between then and now, a total of 19 women have accused Trump of sexual assault and in one case, a then 13-year-old accused him of rape. Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said through one of Trump’s lawyer’s, Marc Kasowitz, he paid off “hundreds of women.” Another “fixer,” Michael Cohen, is responsible for the payouts of $130,000 to Daniels, $150,000 to McDougal, and other payments to women are alleged. Whatever you may believe of Donald Trump, that he is willing to sacrifice for the general welfare of his family, probably shouldn’t be one of them.

a a a a a a a a a a a famillleee

Note: The featured family photo needs to be updated ad Vanessa and Donald Jr are divorcing because Donald Jr fell in love with one of the contestants on Celebrity Apprentice. When Donald Sr heard about the affair he told Junior to, “cut it out.” Since he never led by example, his words went unheeded.


When Your Son Becomes a Father


You were there at his birth. You raised him as a child. And now he has become a man and father. As Father’s Day approaches. The true gift is being able to live vicariously through one’s children. I have two daughters’ and a daughter-in-law as well. They all three are outstanding mothers, putting all that they are into their seven total children, all girls. Perhaps on Mother’s Day I will discuss them, but today I speak on my son… the father.

I watch him now in the same way I observed his soccer games in his youth. While his mother was screaming, “That’s my baby!” I was normally quiet, yet watching his every move. He was an outstanding soccer player, generally the leading scorer on his teams. He had size, strength, and speed. Most importantly he had character.

He generally played over his age group which called for him to demonstrate a little more maturity than he otherwise would have. That didn’t stop him from being just a kid sometimes. In one rainy game there was a huge puddle in one area of the field and during a pause in the action, for no particular reason he jumped and stomped with both feet in the middle of a large puddle spraying water everywhere. I will encourage his children to do the same.

alan soccer

He was always responsible. Headstrong at times, he could not be punished into compliance, it took negotiation. At various times during his childhood, he had to be given privileges back so that something could be taken away. Even in those times he was respectful and soft spoken. I remember thinking, one day you’ll have children and you’ll see! He now has children.

Somehow, seemingly instantly. He gained a maturity I know I didn’t exhibit at that age. He was tall, athletic and handsome (he’s still all three) yet he proved capable of self-control in an environment with options. He handled himself well in relationships and learned from mistakes much more quickly than his father.

I first met his future wife as I was taking my youngest daughter to college in New Orleans, passing through Tallahassee where my son was in college as well. We met at a restaurant and he brought his girlfriend along so that we could meet. He and his sister were as close as any two people in life and they spent that lunch almost exclusively in conversation with each other to the exclusion of the other two present. The siblings love each other dearly still, but now his wife is properly in the lead place.

alan and jessica

I remember the day he came to dinner and asked if he could see me privately. We went into another room and he explained that he was ready to take a wife and wanted my blessing. He talked of how they loved each other even when they had nothing, and he was certain their love would only grow stronger. He was logical, concise and confident. I gladly blessed the union with no regrets then or now.

Then came the time, they announced a child was on the way. It was slipped into the middle of a conversation and they watched as the news sunk in. I was not worried that he was ready for the responsibility because that was perhaps his greatest strength. He was to become a father.

alan and jessica cute

One day in late November, a call came that they were headed to the hospital. It was way too early, the baby was premature. My own experience with premature children was mixed. I was a premature baby though one would never suspect it to see me now. Another child of mine that would have been a girl didn’t live. Attempts were made to delay the birth as long as possible to give the baby a chance but to no avail. Both of these were on my mind as I went to the hospital, determined to be there either way.

Family gathered in the waiting room. My son was in and out but mostly back with his wife as doctors were making decisions as to how to proceed. Their child was further along than the one I lost and there weren’t the deep concerns about life and death but they were concerned about the development of the lungs and wanted to delay the birth also. Ultimately, not long before Thanksgiving, a small healthy baby girl was born. She spent her first days mostly in an incubator. The baby stayed in the hospital for a couple days after her mother was released. The parents resisted the urge to kidnap their child and were finally able to bring her home. My son was now a father.

alan and baby gabby

I watched him as a father, in the same manner, I had watched him play soccer. I didn’t tell him what to do but if asked would offer my opinion. Fatherhood was a more severe test of character than soccer ever was. It, like other things, doesn’t create one’s character, it reveals it. Having a child is a test of patience and priorities. It’s a combination of love, fears, frustrations and incredible rewards. He and his wife have handled them all well. I’m sure not without growing pains but love and faith in God see’s them through. Several months later, in the midst of another unrelated conversation. An announcement about a new impending birth was made. This one went with less drama and now he stands alone in a household full of women.

alans women

My son and his wife have found their own way regarding how they raise their children. They have a partnership with roles. They each sacrifice in different ways. If he were to come to me and ask as he used to after his soccer games, “What do you think?” I would respond as follows:

  1. Embrace every moment: For all the things you’re striving for. The business you’re starting and plans for your family. Don’t let the small moments with your children pass you by. They go so quickly. Fatherhood is more than the responsibility you carry so well. It is also joy. Each hug, each time those girls run to greet you. Remember it all because those times are as important as the milestones.
  2. Maintain your own identity: In addition to the roles you have taken on as father and husband. There must be room to be you. Maintain some separate interests, friendships, and family relationships. A heightened sense of self will allow you to be better at the roles that if allowed would define you.
  3. Make time for your marriage: Work, children, and other responsibilities will consume 100% of your time if allowed. At least one of your babysitters sees those calls to give you some time, not as a burden but as an opportunity, so feel free to call.

I have no further advice. You’re doing just fine on your own. Parent’s want better for children than they had for themselves. They want their children to not only do well but be well. You have become a wonderful man and Father. I’m very proud. Happy Father’s Day!




There Were Always Cookies

There Were Always Cookies


I have always liked vanilla. I enjoyed it added to warm milk, it helped medicine to go down, I love Vanilla Coke. I never gave it a thought as to how I first came to enjoy vanilla, until I thought about my grandmother.

From when I was about four years old until I left Minneapolis to attend college at Fisk University in Nashville. I lived a few blocks from my maternal grandparents. My grandmother picked my brothers and I up every Sunday and took us across town to Zion Baptist Church where we went to first Sunday School and then the main service. We usually stopped on the way at the car wash where we all got out and conscientiously watched her Chevy Nova go thru the soapy bristles. When we were old enough we could go to her house by ourselves although we were always admonished to watch the traffic when crossing busy Portland Avenue.

We were never required to give notice when visiting. My grandparents were retired and most always home. The one constant was that anytime we visited, ever. There were Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies in a large shoe shaped cookie jar. They were straight from the recipe on the package of chocolate chips. Sometimes we got to help make them and of course lick the spoon and get every last bit of cookie batter from the bowl. The vanilla was one of the last ingredients to mix in. It was only a teaspoon and it was darker than the batter and we stirred it in until it disappeared.

My grandmother was an amazing woman. The matriarch of the family. It was only within the last few years that I discovered from my cousin Jacki that my grandmother picked her and my cousin Buddy up once a week to spend time with her which made it all the more remarkable that the cookies were always there.

In this age of programmable cell phones, many people don’t remember their own cell phone number. I do recall mine but the only other number I know in the universe is my grandmother’s. What I would give to be able to call her once again. She was blessed with long life and when she passed away it was Mother’s Day which was somehow fitting. On some days, I will remember her for her strength. On other days for her wisdom. Today it’s for her chocolate chip cookies.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


Today I Am A Dinosaur Fairy



Yesterday I was a princess

The day before a pirate

Today I am a dinosaur fairy


I build robots

The teachers need my help sometimes

The cheerleaders need me too

I’m three years’ old


Tomorrow is too far away to decide what I’ll be

I can be anything I can imagine

Today I am a dinosaur fairy



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