Dear Ellen: The joys of potty training

Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Poor-quality photo taken by A. Marie Silver because that’s what she does. She takes poor-quality photos and posts them on the internet. Sometimes she capitalizes Internet. Other times she doesn’t. She’s not sure who decided Internet should be capitalized, but she believes it’s a silly rule.

Dear Ellen,

The other night, my son had an accident in his diaper.  I guess that’s not really an accident considering he was in his nighttime diaper and we put him in it for that very reason.  But, the next morning I overheard my kids discussing that accident and a few other things.

Baby Girl: Brother, what was all the ruckus about last night?

Baby Boy: I inadvertently produced a bowel movement in my diaper. Upon realizing it, I contacted Momma, requesting her assistance.

Baby Girl:  You produced a bowel movement in your diaper?  Momma’s been making me sit on the potty for weeks now.  I didn’t know we still had the option of putting bowel movements in our diapers.

Baby Boy: I believe, Sister, that Momma and Dadda would prefer if we did not urinate or put bowel movements in our diaper.  I think they would prefer if did all of our potty business on the potty.

Baby Girl: Good to know, Brother. Here I am, feeling the need to produce a bowel movement.  Now I know I should seek out Momma’s assistance in using the potty.

Baby Boy: My goodness, no.  There’s no need to tell Momma you need to use the potty.  Just wait. Momma’s internal clock will alert her to your needs.

Baby Girl: Really?  That’s odd hypothesis considering that Momma is always telling me that I should tell her when I need to use the potty.

Baby Boy:  She’s just trying to make us feel independent.  But really, it’s unnecessary. I feel quite independent. After all, I’m able to urinate and poop without Momma’s assistance. I’ve been doing it my entire life.

Momma:  Okay, Baby Girl, it’s time for you to use the potty.

Baby Boy: See, Sister, I was right. 

Baby Girl: Indeed you were, Brother. 


A. Marie

Dear Ellen: It’s time they learn!

Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Duplo Police Officer
Duplo Police Officer

Dear Ellen,

My children spend a lot of time watching me fold their laundry and put it away.  One evening, I told my two-year old that in the very near future it would be up to her and her brother to put their own clothes away.

The next day, I overheard them having the following the conversation about this topic.

Baby Girl: It was most disturbing, Brother.  Momma actually wants us to organize our own belongings.

Baby Boy: I couldn’t disagree with you more, Sissy.  I actually believe it would be in our best interest to put our own belongings away.  That way, we’ll put them where we think they should go. Did you know that for nearly two years, Momma put my socks and pajamas in the wrong drawer?  It nearly drove me nuts.

Baby Girl: She did? Where were they supposed to go?

Baby Boy: The socks were supposed to go inside of the right drawer and the pajamas were supposed to go inside of the left drawer.  Momma had everything all reversed.

Baby Girl: How did you correct her behavior?

Baby Boy: One day, as I watched  – with great aggravation – Momma putting my clothes away, I reached up and pointed to the right drawer and said, “Socks!” Momma then understood and immediately switched the contents of the drawers, rectifying the situation. So you see, Sissy, putting our own items away might be for the best.

Baby Girl: It’s certainly something to ponder. However, I must say I do foresee a problem with this.

Baby Boy: What?

Baby Girl: For the past several months I’ve been trying to store my Duplo people inside of the refrigerator.  Momma continuously relocates them to the toy box in the living room despite my protests.

Baby Boy: Try placing them inside the cupboard with the cleaning supplies.  She only goes in there when company is coming over so she isn’t likely to notice them.

Baby Girl: A most excellent suggestion, Brother. I shall try that.

For the record, Ellen, I resent that last comment. I go into that cupboard more often than they realize. It’s just that – well – by the time I get done putting away the toys they shove in there, I forget why I was in there to begin with and move on with something else.


A. Marie


Dear Ellen: I have a strong homicidal urge

Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

The two year old - before the coffee table attacked her.
The two-year old – before the coffee table attacked her.

Dear Ellen,

Last Friday, there was an unfortunate incident in my house.  My coffee table violently assaulted my two-year old, cutting her eye.  I told my husband about it when he returned from his guy’s night out. Concerned he asked, “Did you give her lots of hugs and kisses?”

“No,” I said, shaking my head.  “I tossed a towel at her and said clean yourself up and shake it off, kid! There’s no crying in baseball.”

Seriously!  He should know better to ask a silly question like that. Of course I gave her lots of hugs and kisses.  I gave her hugs and kisses right after it happened. I gave her hugs and kisses as I cleaned up her eye and then while I was giving her Tylenol.  She got more hugs and kisses after the Tylenol and then while I was putting her to bed about an hour after the incident.

“Of course I gave her hugs and kisses! And now,” I continued, “if you’ll excuse me, I have a strong urge to assassinate our coffee table.” I grabbed the keys off the wall hook. “I’ll be right back.”

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“To the grocery store to buy an axe.” I started out the door but stopped.  “What aisle would I find that in?”

“An axe? At the grocery store?” He looked puzzled.

“Yes,” I said, tapping my foot. “Would it be in the same aisle as that bag of black chunky stuff that you use to cook with on that thingy that’s in our backyard?”

He scratched his head. “Are you talking about charcoal for the grill?”

“That’s it,” I said, snapping my fingers.  “How come we never buy that stuff anymore?”

“Because our grill uses propane,” he said.


“Honey,” he began, “why don’t you go upstairs and take a shower and leave murdering the coffee table to me?”

“Okay. Just make sure you give it a few extra whacks for me.”

The problem is, Ellen, that my husband never followed through with his promise.  I regret to inform you that the coffee table is still alive and sitting in our living room.  But don’t worry, I have a hit list and that coffee table is on it…along with the filing cabinet that assaulted the four-year old, the kitchen chairs that knocked both the kids of off them and the toaster…..for looking at me funny.


A. Marie


Dear Ellen: A cure for the case of the Mondays!

Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

Have you ever had a really awful day? One of those days where you wish you’d stayed in bed?  Did your four-year-old forget to tell you that he needed to use the potty for four days straight? Did your two-year-old decide that eating out of the trash can would be fun?  Did your cat ever give you strange looks like she was planning your untimely death? Did all of the plugins in your website mysteriously uninstall and forget to tell you, rendering your website useless?

If so, you might be having a case of the Mondays.  Don’t worry, Ellen, I have the perfect cure. Check out this video. I guarantee you it will make you smile.



A. Marie


I have no idea what she was growling at.

Dear Ellen: The problem with technology is…

Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

My curling iron hates me. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “curling irons can’t hate people, A. Marie, they’re inanimate objects.”

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of

But the thing is, Suzy – my curling iron – does, in fact hate me.  Just the other day, I turned her on to let her warm up and then left the bathroom so that I could simultaneously fight the four-year-old onto the toilet while dressing the two-year-old. It was just a normal day at my house.

When I was done (I felt like I needed a shower from that workout) I went back into the bathroom so I could begin curling my hair.  But upon closer inspection, my fancy curling iron was off.  Why? Because it comes with one of those automatic shut-off features – which is really nice if you forget to turn it off.  But in my case, I needed it to be on.

Frustrated, I turned the curling iron back on and then went downstairs to bring up the laundry. I’m not sure why I felt the need to bring the laundry up.  It had only been in the basement for a month. A few more days wouldn’t have hurt it.  I lugged the laundry up to the second floor of the house, set it on the bed, told my kids to stop killing each other and then went back into the bathroom to use the curling iron – which, once again, was off….and cold.  The cold temperature was a bit of a concern because even if the automatic shut-off feature turned the iron off, I’d still expect the curling iron to feel somewhat warm.

“Great,” I thought. “I just bought this thing and it’s already broken.” Curling irons aren’t cheap…well…at least those worth buying aren’t. So I picked up the curling iron and felt the cord drop to the ground. And that’s when all of the light bulbs went on inside of my head.

Ellen, the problem with technology is that it generally requires some kind of power source before it can work. In this case, Suzy wasn’t plugged in.  Oops.


A. Marie

Dear Ellen: On this day, four years ago….

Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

Four years ago today, it was a Friday the 13th – I know it was a long time ago, but trust me on this. I was in the hospital, trying to be induced because, despite the numerous eviction notices I sent my son, he refused to vacate my uterus.

Baby Boy Facebook

Darn kids!

After spending all night at the hospital, waiting for the pitocin to kick in, the OB came ordered another ultrasound to see what my baby boy was doing. As fate would have it, the little stinker was just hell-bent on staying inside of me to the extent that he changed his position and was now laying across my pelvis instead of head down.


So the doctor said it was time for us to have a little chat that went something like this:

Doctor: Here’s the thing. We can wait and see if he’ll change his position again. But I have to tell you that in my 12 years of experience, that’s never happened at this stage. And, if we wait, odds are high that we will have to perform an emergency C-section which means you (pointing to my husband) won’t be able to come into the delivery room. Then there’s option B – we schedule a C-section for this morning which means you (again, pointing to my husband) will be allowed in the emergency room and any risks to your wife and son will be reduced.

My husband and I looked at each other for a moment.

Husband: What do you think?

Me: I’m 41 weeks pregnant.  I think I’m done.

Husband: We’ll take option B.

Doctor: Good choice.

Two hours later, my husband and I were introduced to our beautiful baby boy:

Baby Boy - born on Friday the 13th
Baby Boy – born on Friday the 13th

He was born on Friday the 13th and we’ve been the luckiest parents.

Happy 4th birthday, Baby Boy!


A. Marie

Misadventures in Editing: The Romantic Dilemma

Ever wondered what a writer goes through when editing a work-in-progress? Here’s your chance to find out. Take a look at some of the things that happened while I’ve been working on one of my novels. If you’ve ever had something like this happen to you, please tell me in the comments.

My daughter's first selfie. Isn't her hand pretty?
My daughter’s first selfie. Isn’t her hand pretty?

“Oh my word!” Celeste slumped back into her seat, rubbing her temples. “How many times do we have to go through this with her?” she asked me.

“Apparently a few more,” I replied. Amethyst found out that I was working on a new novel that focused on the slow-growing romance between the two central characters and she was….both jealous and annoyed, to say the least.

“I want to know why!” Amethyst huffed. “Why is it that some other character can have a romantic relationship but I can’t?”

“Love ain’t all it’s cracked up to be,” Celeste said.

“Yeah,” I commented. “Besides this is a five book series I’m trying to write,” I continued, “if I were to write you into a romantic relationship, eventually I’d have to Shonda-Rhimes it.”

Celeste and Amethyst toward each other with baffled looks.

“You’d have to what?” Celeste asked.

“What’s a Shonda Rhimes?” Amethyst asked.

O. M. G. How is it that my own characters don’t know Shonda Rhimes?

“You don’t know?” I asked. It felt like my whole body was going into shock.

“Nope.” Amethyst shoot her head. “Enlighten us, oh wise one. What is a Shonda Rhimes?”

“She’s not a what. She’s a who. How do you not know who Shonda Rhimes is?”

***Shonda Rhimes is the mastermind behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder***

“Probably because you never told us,” Celeste replied. “We only know what you write down.”

“Figures.” I shook my head, annoyed. That’s so typical for fictional character to blame their ignorance or poor education on the writer. Can’t they stream Netflix like a normal person?

I sat down at my computer typed up a paragraph and then printed two copies of the document. Pulling the paper off the printer I passed them out to Celeste and Amethyst. “Your homework assignment, ladies.”

Celeste and Amethyst looked at the instructions.

“You want us to binge-watch television shows?” Celeste asked.

“Yup.” I nodded, grabbing my laptop and purse from the table.

“Where are you going?” Amethyst asked. “You can’t leave. You haven’t done anything with us since 2015.”

I shook my head. “I can’t focus. I’m a little traumatized that you don’t know what it means to Shonda-Rhimes a relationship. Do your homework and I’ll be back in two weeks.”


Dear Ellen: Chugga, Chugga, Choo, Choo!

Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

Saturday morning was a dismal and rainy day. I’m not sure who ordered this crappy weather, but I wish they’d quit. It’s spring time – time for warmer, drier weather.

Because of this crappy weather, my husband suggested we take the kids to the B&O Railroad museum which shocked the crap out of me because I mentioned doing just that the day before and that meant he was actually listening to me and not doing that “guy thing” where they shut their ears off the second their wives start talking.

Anyway, we took the kids to the museum and my almost four-year-old went nuts when he saw all of the trains.  He loves trains. Loves, loves, loves trains! He loves to build trains, he loves to play with trains, he loves to watch videos of trains on YouTube and of course, he loves riding on trains.

The museum is actually a really nice setup.  They have all kinds of trains housed in a large, circular shaped room.  Some of the trains are even sent up so you can walk through them.  In between a few of the trains are playing areas for kids that have train tables with wooden trains and tables like this one:

A little piece of heaven
A little piece of heaven

The kids went nuts over these displays.  We couldn’t tear them away.  I turned to my husband, smiled and said, “Well would you look at that. We just paid $70 in admission fees so that our kids could play with the very same Duplo blocks they have at home.”

Sigh. It wasn’t a complete waste of money. As I said before, my son loves, loves, loves trains!  He was so excited to be surrounded by all of those trains that he peed himself. And of course, we didn’t have any extra pants for him. That pretty ended our time at the museum.


A. Marie


Watch where you step.

Dear Ellen: The Force wins by default!

Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

I'm out of quirky captions.
I’m out of quirky captions.

Dear Ellen,

The talking toddlers have struck again. Their conversation took place right after a shopping trip this evening. Here’s what they said.

Baby Girl:  What are you doing with your new shoes, Brother?

Baby Boy: Hiding them.  They’re hideous and I’m NOT wearing them.

Baby Girl:  Ah.  I see you’re dilemma however I’m not sure hiding them inside the refrigerator is a good idea. Momma is sure to find them in there when she goes to get the milk for our cereal.

Baby Boy: Excellent critique, Sissy. I’ll hide them in my laundry hamper instead.

Baby Girl: Just curious, Brother, why don’t you like your new shoes? I heard Momma and Daddy asking you which pair you wanted. Didn’t you advise them not to purchase those shoes?

Baby Boy: I thought I had, Sissy.  The shoes I preferred were the red Spiderman shoes. However, there was a four-year-old with pigtails in the next aisle over, so I was a little distracted. Apparently Momma and Daddy grew frustrated and chose for me.

Baby Girl:  My goodness, Brother. A little girl with pigtails? Are you planning on courting her?

Baby Boy: No.  I was trying to assess the best approach to use when charming her out of her Oreo cookies.

Baby Girl:  Double Stuf or original?

Baby Boy: Does it matter, Sissy.  A cookie is a cookie.

Baby Girl:  That is quite true.  So….who are the characters on your new shoes?

Baby Boy: I’m not sure, Sissy.  But I heard Momma and Daddy both ask me if I felt the power of the Force when I wore them.

Baby Girl: And do you?

Baby Boy: I’m not sure what they mean by the force, Sissy.  I feel the force of gravity, that is for certain.

Baby Girl:  Brother, instead of hiding your shoes inside of your laundry hamper, might I suggest an alternative?

Baby Boy: What do you recommend?

Baby Girl:  Let’s try flushing them down the commode.

Ellen, have you seen my plunger?


A. Marie

Dear Ellen: Beware of the Writer!

Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

This is Leonard. Plastic eggs give him indigestion.
This is Leonard. Plastic eggs give him indigestion.

Dear Ellen,

Let the games begin! Spring cleaning at the Silver residence is about to take on a whole new meaning.  My husband and I are having our master bathroom renovated.  Big time! Walls are being moved, shelves are being installed.  We’re going to tile places and places that specialize in bathroom stuff.  Of all the places we’ve dragged are kids to, the bathroom store was their favorite. You’ll be happy to know that every toilet in the building has a lid that opens and closes. Every. Single. Time. Both kids made sure to test that feature.

My almost four-year-old also had a blast climbing into and out of all of the tubs that were on display.

The general manager of the business that’s doing the renovation for us came out to our residence a few weeks ago to give us the final estimate on the project. He seemed like a real nice guy and gave us this long spiel about how important it was for him to know his crew treated us right and did quality work because he assumed that if they didn’t, we’d tell everyone we knew not to do business with this company.

I cleared my throat and interrupted him. “Yeah. Let’s talk about that one for a minute,” I said. “You’re absolutely right. If your team doesn’t do quality work, I will tell everyone I know. AND! I’ll also tell my very good friend Ellen about it.”

“Who’s Ellen?” he asked.

(My husband is snickering in the background)

“Ellen DeGeneres,” I said. “We’re BFFs.”

His face lit up. “You know Ellen DeGeneres? You’re pulling my leg!”

I shook my head. “Nope. Despite what my husband, my mother, my office supplies and my therapist say, my friendship with Ellen is not all in my head. It’s very real and I write to her every single day. So if the work you do isn’t quality, I’m gonna tell Ellen all about it.”

“Fair enough,” he smiled.

“Oh but wait!” I said. “There’s more! Not only will I tell Ellen, but as a writer, I reserve the right to put you and all of your employees in my novel and give you an incurable case of halitosis…..and crotch rot.”

Right after I said that, he pretended to check his cell phone and then left our house real quick. We haven’t seen him since. It makes me wonder if it was something I said.

What do you think, Ellen?


A. Marie