We feel pretty confident that he understands almost everything we say to him now. If I notice he isn't responding or he seems angry I will get down and make direct eye-contact, slow my speech and try to simplify whatever I am saying. If that doesn't correct the attitude problem then it usually isn't language related. He doesn't seem to be grasping abstract feeling words yet though. For instance, even though we say "I love you" a million times a day he doesn't seem to know that it means anything. We even say it in Thai and try to act it out by saying it to each other and giving hugs and kisses. I say it to the cat with a big funny hug that he loves! My parents say it on skype and touch their hearts. He will mimic all the motions but his eyes have that blank look I have learned to recognize and he never repeats the sounds. We did have one "abstract" breakthrough though. He learned what "hurt" means. He was pulling and pulling on his teeth and I kept talking to him about "hurt teeth" and suddenly I saw the light go on. Now he points at the orajel and his teeth and screams "hurt!"
He says lots of nouns but like most children his age he can't really say compound consonants so truck, train and trash all basically sound like slight variations of "tuck" but he applies the noise to the object in question at the time so we know he gets it. He says: car, egg, milk, cup, dog, book, ball, duck, socks, pants, shoes, toes, bread, keys, teeth, hair, hat.
His verbs are pretty limited. He screams "eat" like a guest star at Medieval Times so we're pretty sure that's his favorite word. He says, "a walk" to mean "let's go", or "I want to leave this place" or "take me outside". So it's sort of a verb/command/all purpose wish for him. He also says "play" and "bath." His baths are definitely an activity so I'm putting that on the verb list.
His proper nouns are limited to: Mama, Dada, Bopa, Gaigai and Gilbert (the cat) who he screams for frequently by shouting "Baber." The cat does not respond. Oh he also calls Elmo "Lalala" because of his stupid song. So I guess that's another proper noun... unfortunately.
He has no adjectives yet except for "wow" and "ah-oh" but he says them so cutely that I am pretty sure he can get through life with just those.
His sound effects are developing well too (an integral part of the healthy toddler brain). He cannot whistle but he makes a fake whistle sound when we whistle. Yep, it's cute! He makes about 10 different animal noises which he can match correctly to the named animal!! He makes a honk noise when he drives the little car Duchess bought for him. He makes a vroom noise for the truck and a "choo-choo" for the train. Neither of these sound right but he is working on it!
We are so proud of our Button-Boy who is working incredibly hard to communicate with us!