We were at the dinner table waiting for the kids to finish their vegetables when Elena gave me one of those looks. It was one of those "I've just thought of something" looks that kids can't hide when they think they've found a way around us on something.
"What?" I asked.
"I can't eat any more vegetables Daddy. I just can't," Elena answered.
"I have a . . .," she started. She looked at Maggie for the word. Then she remembered. "I have a facial impact."
"What's so funny?" I asked. I looked at Elena's face. There was no sign of any impact at all. Nothing looked different except for the mischievous look in her eyes. "You need to eat your carrots."
"But daddy, I can't. I have a facial impact," Elena protested.
Maggie added, "she's got hard pieces of poop stuck in her anus."
I tried to shut the discussion down saying, "I really don't want to hear about this at the dinner table."
Kim, on the other hand, had figured out what Elena and Maggie had meant to say. She corrected them. "You mean fecal impaction."
"Whatever," said Maggie. "I read about it in Grossology. I showed Elena all about them."
"And now," said Elena, "I have a facial impact on my anus."
"Fecal impaction," said Kim.
"We're at the dinner table," I added.
For the next week we heard about facial impacts and anuses.
It always seemed to be that way. When Maggie was very young, she walked in on me as I was getting out of the shower.
"Daddy," she asked, "why does your butt look like a nose?"
I talked to her about giving people privacy in the bathroom and asked her to wait for me outside the door while I got dressed. She grew impatient and went to ask Kim why my butt looked like a nose and Kim explained the best she could to a two year old.
Now Maggie was armed with a new word: vagina. She loved that word. She particularly liked using it in front of Kim's parents because they got a look on their face. Maybe that's what's meant by facial impact.
Elena learned as much from Maggie as she learned from anyone. When she walked in on me in the bathroom, her question was a little different than Maggie's had been.
"Daddy," she asked, "why is your vagina bumpy?"
She and I had the same privacy talk. She never walked in on me again, but she did like standing just outside the door and talking to me when I was showering.
"Daddy," she would say knocking loudly. "I'm not coming in. But when you get out, can I help you grind the coffee this morning?"
"Sure Elena. I'll be out in a couple of minutes."
"O.K., I'll wait right here."
When Maggie was four she led her cousins and her toddler sister in the hokie pokie. After she had put her left leg in, taken it out, put it in and shaken it all about she was stuck. She didn't know any more verses but she didn't want to stop.
"You put your vagina in," she sang loudly. She thrust her mid section in. Her cousins looked at each other. Kim's dad looked over from the couch not sure of what he'd just heard.
She threw her midsection backwards and sang, "you take your vagina out."
Facial impact on her grandfather's face while her cousins weren't quite sure what to do. Kim called over, "Maggie".
"You put your vagina in," Maggie sang and looked over at Kim with a "what mom" look.
Kim shook her head meaning for Maggie to stop before she started to "shake it all about". It was too late. Maggie had done the hokie pokie and turned her self around. Kim had her stop the song and go on to another song.
Maggie smiled. That's what it's all about.