He's been awesome about understanding what we say to him for a while now, and mostly compliant. Sometimes he really really really wants to do something else/not to do what we ask him, and that leads to tantrums. But that is not a failure to understand what he wants. It's just that we are thwarting him.
He had been pushing away stuff we offered (food, drink) that he did not want and starting to point (whole hand) towards the stuff he did want, which is ambiguous a lot of the time. But this whole word thing is new and very exciting. He had been saying bu (bubble, usually), ba (ball, usually) and a bunch of other stuff, but not as a request, more as an observation.
Altho now that I think about it, one the ways I get him to get out of bed and hang out with his papa is by suggesting various things he might like to eat or drink. Ketchup usually gets him gone, and he'll often repeatedly say tetcha, which may have qualified as a request (but he never said it completely spontaneously).
It isn't that I was worried, so much, as I was wondering if I was going to be worried. I am no longer worried about becoming worried. Well, other than to worry about whether this qualifies as neurotic.