On our way to Target last week:
Zoe (15 year old, passenger seat): Oh, you’re never going to believe what happened to L and me the other day.
Me (none of your business, driving): What?
Helena (9 years old, back seat): Talk louder! I can’t hear you!
Zoe: So L and I are in Target the other day and we’re in this aisle and this really old couple was in back of us. They were probably eighty or something. And they start arguing about something and they kept fighting really loud for a couple of minutes …
Helena: You and L were fighting?
Zoe: HELENA! Am I talking to you?
Helena: Apparently not. SORRRR-EEEE.
Me: Stop it, both of you. Go on, Zoe.
Zoe: So, they’re arguing about what kind to get …
Me: What kind of what?
Zoe (annoyed): If everyone would just stop interrupting me! I’m getting to it!
Helena: Mom, can I get gum there?
Zoe: Can you NOT interrupt me? Can you BE any ruder?
Me: No, no gum.
Helena: What? Did you say yes?
Me: I SAID NO GUM. YOU HAVE ENOUGH GUM.
Helena: I chewed it all up yesterday! And I am not being rude. You are. Zoe, I meant. Not you, Mom. You’re just being mean.
Zoe: So, L and I turn around and then we see what they were arguing about and oh my God! We died, Mom! We just died!
Me: What were they getting?
Helena: WHO DIED?
Zoe (yelling in back of her): HE-LE-NA! BE QUIET!
Me (yelling at Zoe): Stop yelling at your sister!
Helena (vindicated): YEAH!
Me: So, what was it? Hemorrhoid cream? Monistat gel? Fungal cream?
Zoe (pausing): Ummmmm ….
Me: Wart medicine? Enema bags? Jock itch stuff? Jockstraps?
Helena: Did you just say jockstrap? What’s a jockstrap?
Zoe: It’s like special underwear for boys.
Helena: Ewwwww. Did you have to tell me that?
Me (starting to screech from paranoia): Thongs? Laxatives? What?!?
Zoe: Ummmm ….
Me (eyes bulging out of my head): OH MY GOD, IS TARGET SELLING PORN?
Helena: Corn? Target sells corn? Can we get some?
Zoe and I (in unison): HELENA! BE QUIET!
Helena: What’s wrong with corn?
Me: Zoe, tell me right now or I swear to God, I’m stopping this car right …
Zoe: (whispering) . . . you know whats.
Me: I know whats? What the hell are whats?
Zoe (gritting teeth): You know! You know whats! For down there?
Me (clueless): Tampons?
Zoe (shouting): UGH, STOP MOM! Fine.
Zoe (looking behind her and whispering): Condoms.
Me (dubious): Condoms?
Zoe (outraged): Don’t say it out loud!
Helena (curious): What’s a condom?
Zoe (eyes rolling): Oh my God.
Me (smiling): Awww! That’s kind of cute!
Zoe (grossed out): How in the world is that cute?
Helena (insistent): Hello? Back here! What’s a condom?
Me: (lowering my voice, peeking back at Helena): Because it’s nice to know that they still … you know … get happy
Zoe (appalled): Mom! Did you hear me? They were old! Like, old! Older than Grandma and Papa old! Like, wrinkled and stuff!
Helena (frustrated): WHAT’S A CONDOM?
Zoe and I (in unison): NEVERMIND
Me (annoyed): Oh, I get it. So, older people shouldn’t … you know … ?
Zoe (mortified): Uh, nooooooooo! Hello? That’s is just … UGH.
Helena (resentful)): FINE! NEVERMIND! I’ll just be back here, ignoring you. SO THERE.
Me (remorseful): I’m sorry Peanut. Just give me a minute.
Me (laughing): And what’s so awful about it, Zoe? What’s wrong with it? Older people aren’t allowed to … get happy?
Zoe (disgusted): Oh, geez, Mom! C’mon! It’s gross! I mean, ewwwww.
Me (amused): So, once we have kids and what, turn forty? Fifty? That’s it? We’re cut off? No more … getting happy?
Helena (mouth hanging open): Umm, HELLO? I know what you’re talking about! This is not appropriate conversation! I’m telling Daddy! Oh my gosh.
Me: What are we talking about?
Helena: I’m not saying it out loud. Oh my gosh.
Zoe: Oh, please, Mom. C’mon, it’s not like you … I mean … you and Nate … you guys don’t … oh my God … (staring at me)
Zoe: OH MY GOD.
Zoe (cringing): You guys get … happ … OH MY GOD.
Me (defensive): Oh, give me a break, Zoe. It’s not like we’re killing baby seals.
Helena: I’M TELLING DADDY. OH MY GOSH.
Zoe (horrified): You mean you and … OH MY GOD … THAT IS JUST DISGUSTING! (eyes rolling in back of her head) I’m going to be sick.
Me (exasperated): We’re not dead, you know! Just because …
Zoe: NOT LISTENING, NOT LISTENING … STOP TALKING, STOP TALKING, STOP TALKING … NANANANANANANANANANA
Helena: WAIT. What exactly are we talking about?
Me (resigned): JUST FORGET IT! QUIT TALKING! EVERYONE!
Zoe (stunned, wishing Target never sold condoms): Fine.
Me (exhausted, wishing Target had just sold porn): Fine.
Helena (confused, wishing Target had just sold corn): So, can I get gum?