Eighteen months really marked a magical mental leap. It was like her mind reached out grasped a big new chunk of the world and ingested it (big proportional to her size; she’s still got a lot of world left to ingest), and she suddenly understood and could communicate all kinds of new things. She’s been like a qualitatively different creature ever since. I now recommend 18 months as the best turning point to all my friends with younger babies.
I have the same experience. Once Klara turned 18 months old, it became so much easier to take care of her because she dramatically expanded her vocabulary and can now simply tell me what she needs.
Whenever she points and does the “uh-uh” thing that all parents dread, I say, “Use words. Tell me what you want with words.”
And she says, “Ous-aye Covey park fing.”
And I immediately know that she wants me to take her outside to meet her best friend Chloe in the park with the swings.
Or she says, “Wokie poong monkey binka.”
And I realize that she wants me to get yogurt and a spoon to feed her favorite toy monkey whom we will then wrap in a blanket. And we’ll also feed the blanket because Klara is very generous.
These are complex thoughts, and there’s no way I could just guess what she wanted. The pre-verbal pointing and grunting stage was hard. I never managed to guess anything right and constantly felt like a failure.