He says around 12 words or so and understands a lot, knows body parts, can point to mom, dad, grandma, etc.
Im wondering if this is "normal." Anyone's child not doing this yet?
I think this sounds perfectly normal. Does you LO have other siblings? I have a friend with a two year old that understand basically everything...but refuses to actually talk! She just points and makes 'mmm' sounds. I think once the child is 2.5 years old is a time to be a bit more worried, but for now I think it's normal.
We taught DS sign language for yes--he was shaking his head "no," but couldn't figure the nod, and yes in sign language (basically make a fist and "nod" your fist up and down) was really easy for him and he caught on right away and started doing it almost immediately. Might be worth a try!
Can't speak to whether or not it's "normal", but for what it's worth, DS didn't do it either for the longest time. He started nodding for "no" way before "yes" (probably around 18 mos?), and is still not that great about saying or nodding yes. I wouldn't worry about it, but if you want to encourage it, be sure to practice it a lot and really ham it up...that seems to help.
I wouldn't worry so much. They all develop at their own pace. I knew a little girl who is very social and bright now as a 5 year old, but when she was younger was extremely shy and wouldn't answer people unless she knew them really well. She also refused to wave. That was one thing noticeable that she refused to do and she's perfectly fine now.