One of the hard things about caring for a baby is not being able to communicate in any significant way. The only way for him to get his point across is crying, which is super annoying for the parents. Now that Sam's a full-fledged toddler we're making some strides in that department. He's to the point where he understands a lot of what we say. So if I say "milk" he looks at the refrigerator and if I say, "Do you want to turn the light on?" (one of his favorite activities at the moment) he looks at the light switch. Sometimes if I ask him to do something ("Come here," "Hand me the fork," "STOP!") he'll even do it. It's awesome!
He's not talking yet, though he's starting to parrot some of the sounds I make. The first I noticed was "All done!" He says something that sounds remarkably like it (to me), but there's no meaning behind it yet. He says it all the time, even when he's obviously not "all done." But even without real words, he's definitely communicating. He'll grunt and point at the bananas when he wants one (which is all the time), he'll try to lunge from my arms when he wants to get down, he'll stand by my legs and lift his arms when he wants to get up. Again, it's awesome.
We're also to that less-awesome toddler stage of EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE ON THE FLOOR NOW! Drawers and shelves aren't safe. Not that we have much of anything on shelves anymore. The lone surviving bookshelf in the house is in our bedroom and I have to monitor it very closely when Sam's in the room. I said, "Those are Mommy's books. Mommy's books stay on the shelf." about 1,000 times this morning while I was getting dressed. And since I still can't trust Sam in the house by himself while I shower he pulls every last towel off the shelf in the bathroom EVERY SINGLE DAY.
The good thing with second kids is that you have concrete evidence that it's just a phase. Ben doesn't pull my nicely folded towels off the shelf anymore. He can even put books BACK onto shelves now (though ability has no connection to willingness). It's still not fun to put towels away after every shower, but I can breathe and know that eventually it will end.