About six weeks ago, when Quinn's Chinese school teacher announced that all her students would participate in the school's annual speech competition, my stomach did a little lurch. Speech competition? As in, sentences? Spoken on demand? Quinn?
On top of the idea seeming a little far-fetched, the speech itself seemed crazy long:
I am Jianrong.
I am four years old.
I am a boy.
I know how to count.
(Then he counts to 10.)
This child is FOUR YEARS OLD! He spoke his first word at 26 month, strung together his first mangled sentence at 3, is so delayed in his speech that he qualifies for special education services, is still considerably short of what you could call conversational.
Tomorrow is the speech competition.
Quinn knows his speech by heart and willingly recites it on command. His Mandarin is clear and beautiful.
Truly, I am in awe of this child.
I don't know what will happen when he gets up on that stage, looks into the crowded audience and has a microphone shoved in his face. But I know that, no matter what happens up there, one mama, one baba and one nana in the crowd will be fiercely trying to hold the cameras steady through the tears.