diaphragmMost every night, my daughter and I read in her room before bedtime.

We’ve been doing it since both of my kids were so young that I had to read to them. My son is now almost 15 and most nights would prefer to be in the privacy of his own room with the door shut. That’s fine. I get it.

But my daughter is 12 and she still wants to spend the last 30 minutes of every day with me, which I love.

And last night was no exception.

I had just started reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot. And she is a few books deep in to Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series.

The thing I love about reading books while sitting side by side with her is that she’ll ask me questions. A word will come up that she doesn’t know how to pronounce. Or know the definition of. Or just plain doesn’t have a clue as to what it is.

Like this:

Kid: Mom, what’s a diaphragm?

Me: (Not sure if she means the body part or the other one.) Read me the sentence.

Kid: “Whatever happened to her diaphragm? … I found it once in the shower…”

Me: (Ok, so I know that she doesn’t mean the body part.) It’s a form of birth control.

Kid: Well, how does it work? It says in the book that the girl used it as a birdbath for her Barbies.

Me: It’s rubbery and kind of looks like a miniature frisbee. (Hoping we can stop here.)

Kid: Ok, but what do you do with it?

Me: (Here goes. Honesty is best, right?) You put it in your vagina and it covers the cervix.

Kid: (Interrupting me…) Oh, you mean it stops the penis from going in too far?

Me: (Totally laughing inside.) No, it stops the sperm from going past the cervix. First, you put spermicidal jelly in it. (Wait, shit, why did I take it that far?)

Kid: What’s that?

Me: A gel that kills the sperm so that they can’t make it past the diaphragm.

Kid: How do you get it up there?

Me: Well the diaphragm is very flexible so you fold it in half and insert in to your vagina. It opens up and lies against your cervix.

Kid: And, um, how do you get it out?

Me: Same way you got it in. With your fingers.

Kid: You put your fingers up there? Ewww. How do they fit?

(I’m thinking, “Kid, you have no idea.”)

Me: Well, if a baby’s head can come out of your vagina, a few fingers can definitely go up there.

Kid: (Makes a grossed-out face.) Did you ever have one?

Me: Yep, once.

Surprisingly, that satisfied her curiosity and she went back to reading.

I, of course, starting think about the one and only diaphragm I ever had. I got fitted for it after she was born. And never, ever used it.

When she was three years-old, her father and I got divorced.

And four years after that, I found the diaphragm, still in it’s original box, when I was cleaning out the cabinet on my ex’s side of the sink to make room for my soon-to-be second husband’s toiletries. I had no need for it. I had an IUD. So I threw it out.

Just another conversation with my kid.

P.S. Think I’ll save Fifty Shades of Grey for when I’m reading alone. For the same reason that the Story of O is hidden in my bedside drawer. Imagine the types of questions she would have if she read over my shoulder. And the horror I’d have answering them.