I have one verbal child and one vocal child.
Tigger was 2 when he came home from Russia, and he began repeating the last word in every one of my sentences immediately. Even when he didn't have a lot of words, he talked a lot. There was one miserable day where he said "Choo Choo" for four straight hours. Now that he's almost six, he's in the "why" stage, as exhausting as that can be, we have come to the conclusion that the way he learns has a lot to do with how much he talks. And for a Kindergartner, he has an amazing vocabulary.
Pumpkin was 3 when he came home from Russia, He had a lot more Russian than T did and I had more Russian than I had had two years prior. I talked to P in Russian as much as possible, and since T had no interest in it, it was like our secret language. But even though P has left his Russian mostly behind (sniff), he still doesn't speak a lot of English.
He understands perfectly, and when he speaks he can usually get his point across, but the middle of his sentences sometimes get lost. He has come a long way since coming home, he can now ask for help and express his frustration in words instead of yelling.
For a kid who didn't talk, he sure was loud. Sam Kinnison came back as my child (Oh! OOHHHHHH!!!!). He got me kicked out of a Baby Gap once. He was hollering in frustration because he wanted to get out of the stroller. The disapproving saleswoman came over to me looking for all the world like a shushing librarian, and asked if he was okay. Lamely, I said "He probably needs a nap." With the withering look she gave me, I knew I should have told her the truth. "What he really wants to do is get out of that stroller and tear apart your perfect store displays. Consider yourself lucky I'm not allowing him to do that."
As wearying as T's constant talking can be, I feel like I know him very, very, well. With P, although I feel very close to him, and I understand a lot of his nonverbal cues, he has been somewhat of an enigma to me. Thankfully, that's beginning to change. Just after I had a conversation with his preschool teacher about P not being ready for Kindergarten (yes, here we go again), he began to use more full sentences. Part of this is as a result of a concerted effort on our part and on the part of a number of the adults in his life to get him to use full sentences, but some of this is on his own.
If there was ever a child who decided when he was ready for things, it is the Pumpkin. He can be distracted and redirected with relative ease, but when it comes to major life changes like socializing, understanding sequencing, and toilet training, he is calling the shots, no matter what I tell myself.
With T, everytime I would worry about him not doing something, he would start doing it within a couple of weeks. I could literally see him making these giant mental leaps (in a good way) every couple of months, adding vocabulary, understanding, and skills to his repertoire seemingly overnight. P's progress has been sooo different. His understanding and motor skills have been at a pretty high level from the beginning, but behaviorally, and in the way he communicates, he often seems a year or more behind. His mental leaps are fewer and farther between, but with huge impact.
So the other day P was watching something on PBS and when I asked him what he was laughing at he said, as clear as day "The boy with the brown hair fell in the chocolate." And while he has been using full sentences for a number of weeks, this one was complex, with an adjective. And with his improved conversational ability, I do feel I'm getting to know him better.