Poop demons

Babies scare me, if I’m honest. There’s no way 10 billion neurons could genuinely be that cute and uncoordinated. I feel they’re hiding something. Kinda like how Jar Jar turns out to be a Sith Lord #spoileralert

However despite a wary respect for these tiny poop-demons (herein referred to as PD), as a medical student and doctor, people will shove their PD in front of you and ask whether it’s normal, and you’re expected to say something a little more informed than ‘ew no’.

literally every baby ever

Developmental milestones are something I found really tricky to learn, and so I wanted to devise a way of making the information more memorable. There are a lot of milestones and average ages of accomplishment, as well as ‘limit ages’, at which you’d start to pay attention if the child hasn’t started doing them yet. I reckon it’s not massively useful to learn each in isolation, since in reality you’re going to have to determine whether said PD is performing adequately in all departments. What I figured is most useful is to have a few ‘model babies’ at a few key ages, to keep in mind, and see if the kid in front of you is more or less skilful than the model. The best way to do this is to actually see real babies – I know, terrifying – to use as your comparison points. However if you don’t want to/are too scared/don’t like going outside, then the following descriptions might help anchor them in your mind a little better.

The story of the psychopath poop demons and their quest for world domination

Poop demon #1

PD1 is pretty useless to be honest. At a solid 6 weeks, he hasn’t exactly put much effort into doing much other than eating, pooping and screaming. He can’t do many evil things yet, so he spends his time trying to inconvenience you, and unsettle you with inappropriate eye contact.

  • He holds his head up – important for holding eye contact while pooping – it shows dominance
  • He follows objects visually – so he can continue to maintain this eye contact while you back away in fear
  • He smiles – to demonstrate his enjoyment of this socially awkward interaction

Please see this terrible video to get an idea of what I mean

Poop demon #2

PD2 is considerably more accomplished than baby number 1. At 6 months, he’s had some real experiences in life, and is now able to:

  • Sit upright, although a little slumped over – for vertical pooping
  • Grab things – to begin destroying the things you love
  • Put food in mouth – to fuel the pooping habit
  • Coo and babble – communicating to his overlord in demon-speak

Poop demon #3

PD3 has developed several new skills at the ripe old age of 12 months, including some murderous tendencies. This little horror story is what made her famous:

Baby number 3 unsteadily walks into the room, occasionally using pieces of furniture to keep her balance. In her pincer-like hands she’s gripping her trident, which she’s transferring from hand to hand while laughing like a maniac. She mutters a few words, but these are not the usual ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ that you’re used to hearing, these words sound evil…

She takes a menacing sip from her infamous sippy cup, and waves bye-bye before sending you to your doom.

These 12 month olds are infiltrating our society, ready to pounce. Do not trust them


Poop demon #4

PD4 is now 18 months old. He has grown out of his petty murdering phase and is now intent on world domination. He is massively aided by his ability to walk more steadily, and he has mastered the concept of making seemingly incoherent marks on a piece of paper with a crayon (actually demon writing). He can say a few more of your pitiful human words, and humours you by pointing at his nose when you ask him to, but ever since he gained the ability to feed himself with a spoon his need for power has become worryingly apparent, and he’s begun prepping his teddies for revolution.

Another laughably terrible video

The final Poop demon #5

At 2-3 years of age our PD is on the verge of taking over. However she’s realised she cannot do it alone, so she has begun collaborating with her fellow PDs, taking turns to act out their diabolical plans with dolls and bricks. Now that she can control when she poops during the day, she has much more time in the day for evil-doings, and is able to give commands using a few simple phrases. (usually ‘kneel to your overlord’). She’s been building towers out of six blocks and gleefully watching it crash to the ground.

Here is one of her evil co-conspirators in an elaborate distraction exercise, while she steals cookies from the cupboard:

Remember – they’re not as innocent as they look.

The milestones can be broken down into four main categories:

  1. Gross Motor
  2. Fine motor and Coordination
  3. Language and Verbal
  4. Socialising and Behaviour

Simple enough.

The tricky bit is remembering the average ages at which each bit of the development is achieved:

Gross motor:

  • newborn – limbs flexed, lying supine, with marked head lag on pulling up
  • 6-8 weeks – can lift head to 45 degrees when prone
  • 6-8 months – sits without support (6m rounded back, 8m straight back)
  • 8-9 months – crawling
  • 10 months – cruising around furniture
  • 12 months – walks unsteadily with a broad gait
  • 15 months – walks steadily

Fine motor and coordination:

  • 6 weeks – turns head to follow moving object
  • 4 months – reaches for toys
  • 4-6 months – palmar grasp
  • 7 months – transfers toys from one hand to another
  • 10 months – mature pincer grip
  • 16-18 months – makes marks on paper with pen/crayon
  • 14m – 4 years – Building towers
    • 18 months – 3 blocks
    • 2 years – 6 blocks
    • 2.5 years – 8 blocks/makes a train shape
    • 3 years – copies bridge
    • 4 years – copies stairs
  • 2-5 years – drawing (6m earlier if allowed to copy)
    • 2 years – line
    • 3 years – circle
    • 3.5 years – cross
    • 4 years – square
    • 5 years – triangle

Language and Verbal:

  • newborn – startles to loud noises
  • 3-4 months – coos and laughs
  • 7 months – turns to soft sounds
  • 7-10 months – first words/sounds to indicate parents
  • 12 months – 2-3 words other than mama/dada
  • 18 months – 6-10 words, can demonstrate 2 body parts
  • 20-24 months – simple phrases
  • 2.5-3 years – consistent 3-4 word sentences

Socialising and Behaviour:

  • 6 weeks – smiles responsively
  • 6-8 months – puts food in mouth
  • 10-12 months – waves bye-bye, plays peek-a-boo
  • 12 months – drinks from cup with two hands
  • 18 months – holds spoon and gets food safely to mouth
  • 18-24 months – mimics feeding pets/symbolic play
  • 2 years – dry by day, pulls off some clothing
  • 2.5-3 years – plays with others, takes turns

Then we have the so-called ‘limit ages’, when children should have achieved the given milestone:

Gross motor:

  • Head control – 4 months
  • Sits unsupported – 9 months
  • Stands independently – 12 months
  • Walks independently – 18 months

Fine motor and coordination:

  • Fixes and follows visually – 3 months
  • Reaches for objects – 6 months
  • Transfers – 9 months
  • Pincer grip – 12 months

Language and verbal:

  • Babbles – 7 months
  • Consonants babble – 10 months
  • 6 words with meaning – 18 months
  • Joins words – 2 years
  • 3-word sentences – 2.5 years

Social behaviour:

  • Smiles – 8 weeks
  • Fear of strangers – 10 months
  • Feeds self – 18 months
  • Symbolic play – 2-2.5 years
  • Interactive play – 3-3.5 years

Well done on getting this far, you’ve earned this

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