I bet if you have a toddler, or have ever interacted with a toddler, or have even ever seen a toddler, you've wondered how much of what we say gets through to them. For goodness sakes, they barely even speak English, how could they possibly fully comprehend the language?
It's been really interesting to observe little glimpses of understanding over the past few months. Ethan will follow simple commands (i.e. - Get your duck! Take this to Mama! Go find the other sock!) on a daily basis. During our flight to Dallas, we kept Ethan from melting down by recognizing the tantrum warning signs and quickly asking him to "turn on the light" as a preemptive strike. Sure, the constant on and off clicking of the overhead reading light may have bothered other passengers, but probably not more than a screaming baby would have!
We've also focused a lot on stairs safety. We spent a good portion of our holiday vacation trying to keep Ethan from running full steam towards one of the many stairwells at Mima and Poppa's house. The "Backwards Slither" technique wasn't working, so we switched tactics to the "Sit and Scoot" technique. By the end of our vacation, Ethan was automatically dropping to his bottom a few feet before the first stair, and scooting down slowly and safely. Hurrah! However, perhaps we emphasized this a bit too much. What we've seen as a result is a complete over-generalization of his newfound skill. Whenever Ethan encounters two surfaces with even the slightest degree of grade change, he drops to his cute baby bottom and scoots to safety. We're talking carpet to tile, concrete to gravel - you name it, he scoots across it! He eventually does figure out which surfaces are safe to step over/around/onto, but in the learning process he's completely wearing out the seats of all of his pants!
Oh well, better safe than sorry!