The tempo of her words correlates with the interest and excitement of her subject/observation, similar to many of us. Although her modulation remains the same and she continues to use inflection, which helps me follow along, I lose the trail when the enunciation disappears. I am lost and frustrated, aching for her to slow down.
I don’t mind listening, but sometimes doing so requires herculean efforts. I believe Aubry’s brain fires much faster than she can form the words and share the concepts of her discoveries, opinions and observations. So often her words tumble out in a kind of mish-mash, and I feel as though I have been set into a bowl of oatmeal.
Such an incident occurred again last week, and it wouldn’t stand out from any of the others except for one thing. I asked Aubry to please slow down and then try again more slowly. After the third request she played a new card. One I didn’t think I would ever hear within my family. The ethnicity card.
She slowed waaaayyy down, carefully enunciating, “You can’t understand me because I’m Chinese.”
Her response took me by surprise, “What does you being Chinese have to do with not being understood? Aubry, your not being clear is why I can’t understand you.”
“Well, sometimes I speak Chinese, so you can’t understand it.”
“Actually, your birth language is Mandarin, not Chinese. You don’t speak Mandarin. Your first language is English.”
“Would you like to learn Mandarin?”
“Yes you are and you are also an American.”
“Yes, I’m Chinese-American.”
Josi, silent and listening to the entire conversation, just rolled her eyes, turned and walked away. I was still absorbing the exchange, trying to understand why my daughter fell to her ethnicity to explain why I couldn’t understand her.
I think it has to do with her search for identity. Aubry will most likely continue to play some interesting cards now that she has begun, but I’m ready to call her on them and help her work through what she is feeling, perceiving, expressing. Game on, my sweet.