After a several-day lapse in posting, I have a miniseries for the weekend: children's brains. This is based on several articles from one of my favorite language/linguistics websites, ScienceDaily.
First, consider an article about two-year-olds and grammar. The conclusion of a study done at the University of Liverpool is one of those common-sense ideas that make you say, "Oh, I knew that" only to realize that you actually did not. The research "suggests that infants know more about language structure than they can actually articulate, and at a much earlier age than previously thought."
My 22-month-old, who I am perfectly willing to concede is probably more intelligent than average, definitely has an understanding of some complex grammar. (He is also now an active trilingual, clearly choosing English, French, or Spanish words depending on whom he is talking with.) He rarely goes beyond the 2-year-old benchmark given in the article of stringing more than two words together, but on occasion he does. He also carries on intense, extended conversations of baby babble that simply make one laugh with sheer joy at the beauty of a small child trying to communicate. Perhaps the sounds coming out of his mouth mean something to him. Perhaps not. At any rate, grammar is alive and well in his brain and definitely not a boring subject drilled into and giving headaches to students.