Should we be worried about baby milestones?

You can find a million and one web pages and books dedicated to listing what your baby should be doing and by what age. It’s almost as if people spend more time reading about milestones than they do actually trying to teach their kids the required skills to achieve them.

Mum: I’m panicking, I’m panicking! he should be clapping by now!
Other person who talks sense: Don’t worry all babies do things at their own pace.
Mum: But people are going to think he’s stupid!
Other person who talks sense: Well what does he do when you show him how to clap?
Mum: I don’t know because I spend all day on BabyCentre freaking out. Surely they just learn it from cbeebies anyway? They never seem to stop bloody clapping on that (true).

What i don’t get is why people are so concerned with all the boring, run of the mill milestones anyway. Yes clapping’s nice but I’d much rather have a timeline of events detailing when they might start to f*ck me over.

To be honest I couldn’t give a rats arse when my son masters the pincer grip, how about someone tells me when he will start nicking money out my handbag?


I know roughly when I might expect to hear the word ‘Mama‘ but why do none of the books tell me the average age i might expect to get daily threats of violence against my person.

Who cares when they start sitting? What i want to know is when do they start hitting!

At 6 months they might cut their first tooth but when will they bite hard enough to draw blood?

Stacking cups is all well and good but what age might you expect them to swear at you in public?

Whoop dee doo they can grasp a toy!


I want conversations like this to be more socially acceptable…

Other mum: Our sons look similar ages, how old is yours?
Me: 16 months
Other mum: Such a great age isn’t it.
Me: SO great.
Other mum: He’s started putting 3 words together now, it’s pretty amazing.
Me: Yep pretty amazing. Can he drag a stool over to the front door, unlatch it and let himself out?
Other mum: um, no…
Me: hmm sounds like a bit of an idiot then.


The only advice i have to offer is that if by 18 months of age your kid has not smashed the screen of your iphone by throwing it across the room in a furious rage then maybe its worth getting them assessed for developmental delay.



P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


52 thoughts on “Should we be worried about baby milestones?

  1. Notmyyearoff

    Haha my mouth fell open pretty hard when I saw z drag his garage over to the fireplace and stand on it to help himself to the car keys, then try to throw them out the letterbox. I also may have bought him a pair of scissors when I read somewhere he should be able to cut paper by 3. You should have seen his eyes light up. I did regret it a bit when I couldn’t prise them off him.

  2. Yvette @ BigTrouble

    Very funny! And true as well, the milestone competitive business drives me bonkers. Oh and my son still doesn’t clap, at almost 14 months… I think he’s just too cool for that BS ;)

  3. Mummy Glitzer

    So true!

    I was horrified when Harry let himself out the front door (back when we lived in a house thankfully on a quiet road) and when he started quoting me back AT me. No one warned me about those sorts of things!

  4. TalesofaTwinMum

    Haha I love that shot of the door and the stool. My boys mastered that at a similar age. That and phoning the police using the hall phone whenever grandparents were babysitting, and stealing money to post down the gaps in our floorboards. I’m getting worried that E hasn’t shown any signs of trying to use her brothers to climb on to the worktop to get to the biscuits or trying to open the high window in the living room so she can throw all of her toys into the front garden. Girls are so slow! x

  5. Olivia FitzGerald

    Ha HAAA!! I like this perspective. According to your milestones, my kids are doing great. They’re experienced cookie thieves and last week, my daughter tried to steal a pink pearl necklace from the supermarket. Now I can feel proud. Thank you! :o)

  6. Katie Haydock

    BRILLIANT post!
    I don’t look at *those* websites… as long as she is healthy she can sausage roll everywhere until she’s 18 if she likes.
    However, escaping at 16 months is pretty damn cool #rockonkid

  7. Tom Briggs

    Ha! Brilliant! I was out and about with my two year old the other day and he demonstrated that he has surpassed a number of bad behavioural milestones. He tried to pickpocket someone, attempted to run in the road several times and gave at least three people dirty looks when they said hello to him. Sounds like we’re all doing okay in that case. ;-)

  8. pottymouthedmummy

    HA this is awesome. I actually unsubscribed from Baby Centre as it was doing my head, plus once they’re over 2 I find it odd to count age in weeks/months. Thanks for making me laff x

  9. Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork

    This has made my day. You’re so right about how they should come with warnings rather than milestones – my little boy has just started lobbing toys in all directions with a MEAN aim and it’s terrifying! And I stopped reading Babycentre months ago too. I wanted to punch the screen every time I went near it, which I took as a pretty bad sign.

  10. mummydaddyme

    Ha I was looking forward to reading this after your comment on my blog yesterday. So true. And therefore I should totally not be worried about LL not reaching certain milestones as she has got the scream bloody murder temper tantrum when she doesn’t get her own way down to a tee. She is obviously super intelligent. ;) x

  11. suzanne3childrenandit

    It doesn’t matter how many times we say it, a parent will ALWAYS compare their child to the one nextdoor, no matter what age they are…..unless they begin doing something unmentionable or socially unacceptable and then it all go very hush hush! Great post as always x

  12. brummymummyof2

    Mahaaaa! Oh bab why does a tiny boy bite hurt SO MUCH??? I don’t get it?! It is like actual death. You need a book of alternative milestones. I’d buy it bab xxx

  13. lifewithmunchers

    Lol Katie! It’s ruddy true though. I quite often picture myself beating the person with a shitty stick when they are seriously trying to make out your kids is ignorant cause they can’t clap yet. X

  14. josandelson

    Great stuff Katie. Hope iphone was insured. My nearly 3 year old let himself out of garden gate and walked to pub on his own crossing two roads before we found him. I nearly turned myself in to social services and him to AA

  15. Jude

    Hahaha! You’ve nailed it with this one. I seem to spend half my life lifting the18 month old off kitchen sides and the other half telling her to get off the table. The other day she climbed up and put the kettle on herself. Would have been grateful if I wasn’t bloody petrified.

  16. sarahmo3w

    Ha ha, love it! So true. My kids haven’t started nicking money yet (thank goodness), but my 18 month old niece does a pretty comprehensive job of emptying all handbags and purses. No swearing at me yet, either.
    But talking in grunts and ignoring parents kicks in at 12 FYI.

  17. cariemay

    Well as Kitty is adept at identifying the location of all chocolate in the house and working out what to climb on to reach it; and we had to take the high chair part off Elma’s chair because she kept using it as leverage to climb onto the dinner table I think my two are doing fine! I think there’s a place for being aware of milestones, but not to the point of obsession that it seems to get taken!!

  18. Hannie

    My baby is six days old. He claps. He only does it in his sleep and in the last few days it’s stopped. It was a fluke though. He’d startle himself and his reaction resulted in him clapping his hands together.
    He’s currently in the baby carrier strapped to Daddy who is coding at his computer. I’d like to pretend that he’s learning something but I think it might just be a bit too early lol.

  19. Complicated Gorgeousness

    Haha – look at that little rascal nicking from your purse and trying to escape. I loved it it when he hid your keys in the freezer. He is ace. You know my thoughts on milestones – screw them. Take it all a day at a time and enjoy the journey (mostly – but that’s why God invented wine and gin). xxx

  20. Jenny

    As always you have me in fits. So funny and so true too. I write about their milestones but then I think how silly am I to focus on something so little. It true isn’t that big a deal if they clap at 6 months or 16 months. Lol took me having a second one to realized this. I am so much more relaxed now with the second. I hate when parents compare children when you meet them. Or say oh well my child does this. Especially always asking if missy moo is walking yet. No she is not and I don’t really mind it. Lol but others sure seem to be obsessed with it. Lol great post. Loved it.

  21. Thao

    When they’re old enough to be your skivvy and fetch things for you is an actual useful milestone! I’m always getting the big one to fetch stuff I need for the little one :D

    1. hurrahforgin

      That’s an amazing one Thao! F often does the opposite of what i say though and would probably chuck what i wanted in the opposite direction ;) Hope you guys are all getting on well xxx

  22. Not A Frumpy Mum

    Very funny, I was generally quite relaxed about milestones apart from the walking one. It was getting embarassing when our friends kids who were 6 months younger were walking before O. However, he could kick a ball (and break stuff) from a much younger age! x

  23. franglaisemummy

    Brilliant. Just brilliant. After worrying about L’s slow speech development as a toddler (duh, she was trying to master 2 languages) I now worry about nothing with either child’s development, I just assume they’ll get there (wherever that is) eventually. L barely spoke until she was nearly 3, now age 7 you cannot get her to shut up ever. Why was I so worried?

  24. Del

    12mo. Son is walking fast enough that it’s time to put up baby gates at important areas. I put them up like a good parent. He just sits there and watches and bides his time. When I’m done he walks over and immediately tries to pull up the arm to unlock the gate. Only his lack of upper body strength kept my hard work from being an immediate failure. My first thought was “where the hell was that on Wonder Weeks!” Walking yes, speaking yes, complex thoughts, yes. Completely negating baby-proofing and locks in thirty seconds, uh no.

  25. Alice

    Finally at 2y4mo my second boy has smashed his first iPad, i was so worried especially as his brother had been spot on the 18month target; proof they all get there in their own time


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