Ella is a talker.
I don't realize how much until she's around other children her age.
But she says tons of words, repeats almost everything, has incredible comprehension, and strings together phrases like it's no big deal.
She will bust out with full sentences, too.
It kind of shocks people because she actually looks really young for 19 months - she doesn't have a ton of hair; she's quite short, and she has a round, cherubic face like her father.
Couple this with the fact that she is, quite literally, always under my feet and a mimicking queen, and she's kind of a ticking time bomb.
When she throws a tantrum, it's not just screaming. It's "No, mama, no! I wanna walk! Walk now! Down and walk! Walk walk! Pease walk! Down!"
Or, when she asks for lunch, she demands, "Hungy, mama! Soup, pease! Soup issss hot! Hot hot! Nummy soup! But hot! Now, mama, hot! Soup, pease!"
Still, I'm used to it.
So, on the way out of our Mommy & Me gymnastics class Tuesday, I had to pee. Again.
I'm 35 weeks pregnant. I always have to pee.
So we hit the locker room, walked into a stall, and closed the door.
I was wearing a dress and leggings, so after thoroughly papering the throne, I had the oh-so-graceful job of foisting up the dress and sitting down, while holding Ella's hand as she repeated after me, "Yucky potty! No touch! Yuckies!"
Soon enough, though, she was distracted by the giant pale belly of yours truly.
"Sissy! Sissy, mama! Dat's Sissy! Sissy baby in dere!"
Not so bad, right? Heck, it's even kind of cute.
But, as she poked and patted and hugged my belly, I knew where this was going.
Pretty soon, she lost interest in the baby and moved on. Down South, to be exact.
"'Jina, mama! Mama's 'jina!"
Now, I firmly stand behind the fact that we call all body parts by their basic, anatomical names. She's a child; it's just a name for a body part. A nose is a nose. An elbow is an elbow. And a vagina is a vagina. I don't want to give it a nickname and create some kind of shame or cloak of secrecy around it. It's a part of the human body.
But still. In public, with her little, clear voice projecting off the tile walls of the restroom - which I already knew was not empty - I was tempted to crawl into a toilet and hide.
But OK. I've lived through worse. She's just pointing out a part of the body we've taught her when she asked during showers and baths and other trips to the potty with yours truly.
Then, it happened.
"Ella's 'jina!" she said, pointing at herself.
"Yes, that's right," I told her, figuring I might as well go with it.
"Dada's penis! Dada gots penis! Penis penis penis! Dada's penis!"
I should have seen it coming.
With her recently deployed father now home, she had taken to following him around, too. Right into the bathroom.
And she asked. And he answered.
And it was no big deal. Find of funny, even, because for several days after she learned the difference between boys and girls, she walked around pointing at the crotch of the hubs, the dog, and every baby doll she owned, yelling, "Penis!"
And maybe I'm no better than a 12-year-old boy, but man, it's funny anyone yells that word for no good reason.
But then the genitalia brouhaha died down, and life returned to normal.
Until the gym bathroom.
When, after screaming at the stall walls about her father's member for a good two minutes while I tried to wrangle up the diaper bag, my leggings, and my dress, she proudly pranced through the door out into the greater bathroom area, not a care in the world, straight into the dagger stares of at least three other moms who, frankly, looked shocked and appalled.
"Have a nice day!" I managed to chirp, following Ella out, who was back to sing-song-ing about "Sissy baby."
Ugh. Their faces alone said exactly what they thought of Ella's potty talk.
Nice one, kid. Nice.