"Mommy, what's bondage?" My six year old son asked me this question the other day.
I'll have to say that kids have a way of catching you off guard. When my son was first learning his letters a few years ago, he was writing random combinations of vowels and consonants and one day he wrote the letters A-S-S... in chalk... on the driveway.
"Mommy, does this spell something?" he called across the yard. I walked over to check it out.
"Um, yes, it does. It says 'ass', which can mean either 'a donkey' or 'someone's backside', though the word 'ass' meaning 'backside' is considered bad manners to use around adults when you're a child." He thought about this for a second.
"Oh, okay, then I guess that we better say that it means donkey." Good idea, kid, but we'd better hose it off the driveway anyway. Honestly, though, I secretly think it's pretty hysterical that my son's first real written word accidentally turned out to be "ass." Still, I'm not telling the in-laws about that one.
And then there was the day when he and his brother were playing right after Christmas last year and I heard him emphatically say,
"Look at Santa's SACK!! Santa's SACK'S so BIG tonight!!!" (Gee, son, I hadn't noticed, I was looking at his face.) My son took offense to the fact that I was laughing so hard at him for seemingly no reason. Maybe it wasn't funny. Maybe I was just really tired and delirious. Either way, tough titty toenails, kid. You caught me off guard.
So, what's bondage, eh? I always answer my son's questions as truthfully as possible, but I felt that I needed more information.
"In what context?" I asked.
"In the Wizard of Oz pop-up book, it says that the house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East and released the Munchkins from bondage." Ohhhh, well... that one's simple.
"It means that they were slaves and had to do whatever she told them." He looked satisfied with the answer.
Whew. I'd hate to think that he was going to ask for a pair of handcuffs for Christmas.