English is crazy, and my hat's off to anyone who has ever had to learn it as a secondary language - because if I didn't already know it, I'd probably just use flailing arms and hand gestures and exaggerated facial expressions in hopes of getting my point across. We have some confusing rules: like the plural of "mouse" is "mice" but the plural of "house" isn't "hice" - it's "houses." Every word has like ten bazillion meanings: "tissue," for example - it can be the thing you blow your nose on or the thin paper you wrap stuff in or the muscles and fat that make up our bodies. And if you drop a letter, a word can completely change - as in, "slaughter" becomes "laughter," which are entirely unrelated. Unless you're a deranged murdering lunatic.
Anywho, it's that last bit of English-language weirdness that led to a recent misunderstanding with my six-year-old.
He got a skateboard for Christmas, and as luck would have it, it was warm enough here so he could go outside and play with it. He's super into skateboarding right now, and is versed in all the skater terminology; I, on the other hand, literally can't even stand on one without falling (seriously, I busted my ass so bad), so I'm not hip to the lingo. Which is why, when he came bursting through the door, glowing with excitement and smelling of winter, I nearly fell over because he said this to me:
"Mom! Guess what?! I was out there grinding on a ho!"
He's SIX. And outside of a questionable Justin Bieber video I made him turn off one time, I don't think he's ever seen any kind of dancing that could be considered "grinding," let alone know what it was called. And I was positive he didn't know the meaning of "ho" (and would know far better than to use that word even if he did). Still, I was flabbergasted. Kids can pick up choice phrases from anywhere, and fast. They don't hear "pick up your dirty underwear" but the second someone says "bitch" or something they're all over it.
I wasn't sure what to say, but standing there with my mouth agape wasn't solving any problems. My mind flashed back to the time I accidentally taught my son a less-than-choice word for male genitalia, and I didn't want to make the same type of mistake, so I just repeated him for clarification. "You were ... grinding? On a ... ho?"
"Yeah!" he chirped enthusiastically. "In the garage!"
Only then did my poor caught-off-guard-Mom-brain begin to put two and two together. Garage. Gardening tools. Hoes.
Thankfully, my son demonstrated, hopping on an imaginary skateboard. "We don't have any rails to grind on so I used the handle of the hoe. It worked great!"
I was flooded with relief. Yes. A grind is a skateboarding trick, not just dance-floor humping. And he was saying HOE, not HO. Crisis averted.
... Damn confusing English language.