How much does Ellie understand?
We haven't undergone formal language testing in nearly three years, and the last time Ellie was far from cooperative. (Hint: At the time, she had 75 words/approximations. She used the following - "no," "no thank you" and "all done.")
But I would assume that Ellie understands more than many people guess.
* She CLEARLY understood that baby sister would be coming. She did everything from try to give sister away to prepare her room. And for the record, Caroline's room has purple everything and Ellie's has pink. Ellie picked out almost every item in Caroline's room that is not a hand me down.
* Moving threw her off and we moved less than two miles away. (Virtual house tour coming soon!) When we stopped by our old house to grab a few things we'd left, Ellie was in tears walking around just repeating, "It's empty. The old house is empty."
* Friends who move break her little heart. We live in a very transient area. This happens a lot. We get bad behavior and tears for a few weeks each time.
* Ellie also has been aware that "Mommy has an ouch on her tummy" and that's why I can't do a lot right now. She's also been able to articulate (or repeat a few days later) that "Mommy is happy but Mommy hurts."
So I think she understands a lot but doesn't always have the language to explain her feelings fully. The times she understands and can't explain, we see an increase in negative and clingy behavior. Moving, friends moving, getting a sister.... those are all big changes going on right now for her, and we've seen some acting out. But overall, Ellie has done a great job with a new baby around, giving Caroline lots of hugs and being as gentle as she can be.