I found exactly the right person to talk to, and I'm feeling better now. Sometimes talking helps.
Not to perpetuate gender stereotypes, but sometimes I am sooo very much a woman. :)
Meanwhile, everyone is excited about AwesomeCloud's strides in language. He's been blurting out new words, sometimes two-syllable words, sometimes two-word phrases, sometimes in appropriate circumstances. For instance, this morning I was crouched down on the floor with my dustpan and brush, and he said, "Excuse me," as he pushed past me.
Actually it sounded more like "Hoo hee." But I'll take it. His affinity for consonants is lagging behind his known vocabulary.
He also says "Thank you." He says it when he gets something he wants. Awesome.
I'm trying to reinforce that one by replying "thank you" instead of "you're welcome." I'm afraid that saying "you're welcome" will just confuse him, since he doesn't know anything about complex verbal exchanges like that one. And because, normally in other situations, if he says something and I'm pleased that he says it, I repeat his phrase back at him to reinforce it. So I should repeat "thank you" back at him too.
But it's so hard. I have to override a lifetime of automatic response conditioning.
There are some new challenges arising with him, too, but I don't feel like discussing them. I just wanted to share the "excuse me" and "thank you."