For some time now, we've suspected that Tess has an auditory processing disorder. She's slow to respond to sounds. Sometimes she doesn't appear to register them at all. We narrate her day, singing, "Okay Tess, let's walk walk walk," or "Want to eat? Eat eat eat?" I'm sure we sound like nutballs.
As we say these things, she does them. But they're part of her daily routine, so they're automatic; she does them even when we stay silent. We've wondered like hell: how much of what we say is getting through to her?
Why am I telling you this? Because of what happened the other night at bedtime, or as we tell her, "night-night." Tess had been flipping herself out of her pack and play. My wife was in the room with her, watching. Each time, Tess would reach the outer defenses--a pair of giant cushions in an L-shape, walling her into the corner. Then my wife would pick her up and put her back in the pack and play.
The idea was to teach Tess that it's bedtime and she needs to stay in there. She wasn't learning. My wife had to put her back in roughly twenty times. Eventually my wife said, "Tess, it's night-night. Get back in your bed." After that my wife said nothing. Waited. Watched. Tess stood there, processing. It was quiet. A standoff ensued. A tumbleweed blew through. A full minute passed.
And then, Tess slowly turned around, grabbed the rail of her pack and play, and flipped herself back over, into bed.
She's hearing us. Now we know we have to be much more consistent in giving Tess directions, and then giving her the time she needs to process them. She's getting it.