"I want to wear a different shirt, Mama."

That is a complete sentence, uttered today. With a pronoun and an opinion. Her sentences are clear enough now that I can practically hear the punctuation.

For a while it was like the island of Elba at our house. This little Napoleon had come here to rule us, only we spoke mostly Italian and she spoke French. Lots of demanding, babyish French. We understood her tone and angry gesturing more than her actual words. And we did whatever she wanted because even though she was small, we were afraid of her. Like those poor people on the island of Elba.

And then, right around 15 months, her words became clear and her vocabulary large (mostly nouns and a few swear words). It was amazing. The list I was keeping topped out at about 225, and that was months ago. But, meh, just a list of words, right? Now we have...sentences. Logic. Memory. Concepts. Personhood! It is amazing what animals these babies remain to us until we can see the connections they are forming. As in recently when a stoplight changed, but I failed to notice because I was putting on lipstick in the rearview mirror. "Green means go, Mama." Backseat freaking driving means you are a PERSON.