Me: Helena, promise me that when Zoe goes off to college next year, you’re not going to go off the deep end.
Helena: I’m pretty sure I’m not the one who’s going to go off the deep end, Mom.
Me: Be that as it may, I’m worried that without your sister here, you’re going to feel some sort of void in your life and you’re going to try to fill it by acting out for attention and hanging around with the wrong crowd in middle school and letting your grades drop and, God forbid, turning to drinking or drugs.
Me: Promise me you won’t have sex and get pregnant.
Helena (mouth agape): MOMMMMM! STOP IT.
Me: Just promise me you won’t wind up pregnant and never graduate and live in our basement with my grandkids for the rest of your life.
Helena: I’M TEN! And besides, our basement is gross. It smells.
Me: You’re ten now. You won’t be ten forever. Do you remember all the things we discussed about sex?
Helena: Mom! You’re the only one who’s going to lose her mind when Zoe goes to college! I’m going to stay normal.
Me: Humor me, OK? Tell me what we discussed about sex. Go ahead.
Helena: I DON’T WANT TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION.
Me: Do you remember all the stuff we talked about?
Me: You don’t remember anything? Nothing? At all? None of our talks? Penis? Vagina? Sperm? Egg? Any of this ringing a bell?
Helena: OH MY GOSH. Can you stop talking now?
Me: What does it mean when you get your period? You know it’s going to happen to you soon enough, right? So, what does it mean?
Helena: STOP IT.
Me: Answer me and I’ll stop it.
Helena (covering face with hands): Kill me now.
Me: I’m waiting.
Helena: UGH! It means you can have a baby. OK? Can we just go to Starbucks now?
Me: And how do you …
Helena: YOU JUST SAID YOU WOULD STOP IT.
Me: And how do you make a baby? Explain.
Helena: I bet none of my friends have to do this. I bet they get to go to Starbucks like normal people. And I bet they get to watch Glee. Why can’t I watch Glee?
Me: Never mind that. Explain sex to me.
Helena: How come we can talk about sex but I can’t watch Glee? Hmmm?
Me: You are evading the question. And don’t ask me what evading means, you know perfectly well what it means.
Helena: MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM! UGH!
Me: I can wait all day. You know I can.
Helena: OKAY. OKAY. OKAY. FIIIIIIIIIIINE.
Me: What? What did you say?
Me (in a sing-song voice): I can’t hear you!
Helena: UGH!!!!! I SAID THE “P” GOES INTO THE “V.”
Me: And the correct terminology would be …?
Me: Why can’t you say “penis” or “vagina?”
Helena (covering ears): OH MY GOSH.
Me: Helena, you’re being ridiculous.
Helena: NO, I’M BEING TEN!
*pulling up to school*
*Zoe and her friend Nicole hop into the car*
Zoe: Hey, Mom. Hey, Helena. So guess what? Today, I was going to biology and … wait. What’s wrong?
Zoe: Helena? Mom? What’s going on? Am I in trouble?
Helena: Mom wants to have the sex talk again.
Nicole: Again? Wow.
Zoe (rolling eyes): Why? Was Glee on last night?
Helena: Hah! I knew that’s why you won’t let me watch it! Geez, I can talk about sex but I can’t watch Glee. This world doesn’t make sense.
Zoe (sighing): So who slept with who last night? Who’s pregnant now? Who is glamorizing sex and setting a horrible example for the rest of us? What happened?
Helena: I KNEW IT!
Me: What happened? I’ll tell you what happened. You went to college and left a gaping void in Helena’s life which she will attempt to fill with illegal substances and the hot lacrosse player down the street. Oh, and your sister can’t say the words penis and vagina. Just a heads up.
Zoe: I’m not going to college until next year, Mom. And I think we all know who’s going to have a gaping void in her life. Why can’t you say penis, Helena?
Helena: That’s EXACTLY what I said. I mean, about the gaping void thing. That other word is just gross.
Me: Look, I simply want to make sure we are all on the same page.
Zoe: Mom, we’re ALWAYS on the same page. We’ve been reading the same book FOREVER.
Nicole: That was funny, Zoe.
Me: I’m just making sure. Would you rather I be the kind of mom who freaks out at the mere mention of sex? Want me to be Amish?
Me: Wait. I meant Mormon. Didn’t I? Wait. I did mean Mormon, didn’t I?
Zoe: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Helena: Neither do I.
Nicole: Same here.
Me: Never mind. Now, what do I always say about sex? Do you have to be married to have it?
Zoe & Helena (rolling eyes and answering in unison): No.
Zoe & Helena & Nicole (in unison): But you highly recommend it.
Me: What can happen if you have unprotected sex?
Helena: You can get pregnant!
Zoe: You can get an STD!
Nicole: You can get crabs!
*everyone looks at Nicole*
Nicole (surprised): What? You can! I read it somewhere. They’re like lice in your pubic hair. Look it up.
Helena (eyes bugging out of head): OH.MY.GOSH. EVERYONE STOP TALKING.
Zoe: I think Nicole should get a prize for best answer.
Me: When are you ready to have sex?
Nicole: Prom night?
*I have a seizure*
Nicole: Kidding! Just kidding! You guys have the best conversations.
Zoe: UGH. Seriously Mom?
Me: The longer you delay, the longer this goes on. Treat it like a Band Aid. The quicker you rip it off, the quicker it’s all over.
Zoe & Helena (rolling eyes and answering in unison like robots): You should have sex when you are in loving, committed, monogamous relationship and you’re old enough to be responsible for all the possible repercussions of having sex, including pregnancy, disease and surprise YouTube videos.
Me: Which is when?
Zoe & Helena: When you and Dad are dead or we’re thirty, whichever comes first.
Me: See? Was that so bad? Now, who’s up for some Starbucks? Unless someone wants to explain to me how a condom works first? Didn’t think so.