The Parent’s Guide to Understanding 2023 CLUSTER-F Guidelines for Infant-Toddler Milestones

Christina Grout
5 min readJan 18, 2023

Let’s talk milestones! Sure, your 8 month old is walking to work, but what about milestones that impact longitudinal success for young children? What is the relationship between a child failing to be published in a scientific journal by 18 months, and does that outcome impact other areas of basic developmental skillbuilding such as mechanical engineering?

Fortunately, the Centers for Language Understanding Self-Promotion Teaching Early Reading Fabrication (CLUSTER-F) produced guidelines Monday based upon the latest research correlating outcomes for early childhood success to metrics such as, how early parents thought their baby was talking, and whether or not it was published to TikTok.

If you are reading this and thinking, but my son is so far from their PhD, will they ever catch up? If my three year old needs a math tutor, does that spell failure for them as a young doctor at 12? CLUSTER-F’s data shows a correlation between parental aspirations and childhood outcomes.

Pen and ink portrait of Ms. Com’pleate Bhulsheit the moment she was awarded her third PhD at age three in 1767. Note the encyclopedia shaped placenta is still attached to her arm.

So, how do you know if your baby or toddler is on track? Milestone guidelines for Birth to 48 Weeks will be available in a detailed guidance document called “One Upping Up to One.” The guidelines for 8 week olds are as follows:

By 8 Weeks, Babies Should:

  • Demonstrate basic gross motor proficiency such as pulling to stand for their graduation, cruising along their Tesla, and engaging in athletic abilities such as run and jumping easily, and walking upstairs unassisted.
  • Be aware of physical sensations for voiding bladder and bowel, and communicate clearly to a caregiver whether or not more toilet paper is needed in the washroom.
  • Self-care with minimal assistance, including dressing and bathing. Note: It is not expected that children below the 200% for height will be able to reach the tap for their own bath nor wash their hands without a learning tower. Minimal assistance can include a caregiver purchasing a learning tower with the toddler’s research grant funds or investment earnings (if over 2 weeks old).
  • Be able to recall quickly basic algebraic formulas such as the quadratic formula and the factorization x 2 − a 2 = (x + a) (x − a), and geometric formulas such as for the area of a circle and the volume of a cylinder.
  • Apply the rules of Spanish and English grammar plus one additional language to a variety of babble and jargoning, and with 90% accuracy say aloud in at least two languages (e.g., ASL and English) 3 word sentences.
  • Interpret and critically evaluate books of at least 20 pages in length of various genres, forms, and historical periods.
  • Recognize atomic structure in relation to chemical bonds, macromolecular structure, sub-cellular biochemical reactions, and the transfer of energy.

These rules differ significantly from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) child development guidelines. Notably, the CDC views walking unassisted as a milestone for nondisabled toddlers anywhere from 12 months to 18 months in age. The CDC sets no academic guidelines at all for babies or toddlers, and instead focuses on rudamentry skills like flashcard recognition that any TikTok parent will tell you is mastered by the time your dolphin midwife leaves your home birth.

Research Director Youvea Gott Kid-Me, PhDX10 states, “The CDC guidelines are crafted specifically for parents who are not on TikTok. If your baby has a Twitter handle and is reading or walking, you need to use the appropriate metrics to gauge development.”

What does the research say about the future for children who as babies were not meeting the CLUSTER-F guidelines?

In a cohort study of 0, researchers concluded babies who did not obtain an advanced degree (masters or higher) by 18 months had a less than .25 in 1,000,000 chance of a doctorate degree by 15 years of age.

“We now know the importance of flashcards. TikTok parents have been raving about flashcards, showing their babies solving simple word puzzles, and it turns out they were onto something and not completely and utterly full of self important garbage” says toddler researcher, Evan, a Kindergarten student at Oak Tree Elementary and doctoral candidate at Harvard.

Evan’s mother, who responds exclusivley to her TikTok handle @BraggingPerson, says she sees a difference between her two children’s development.

“Evan is three and is on track to defend his dissertation for his PhD in four scientific subjects by the fall, but our first born Marcus is five and cannot even drive. I struggle as a parent knowing that if I had just forced Marcus to do flashcards, he would have been on track with the CLUSTER-F guidelines. Instead, he’s just a kid enjoying being a kid. I try to not let it get to me, but sometimes it’s just really hard seeing him pretend play with lizards and dolls, and make cakes out of play-doh while his younger brother cures cancer.” — @BraggingPerson, 21 year old “mama” of two

This subject is very personal to me and my family: I am a mother of two (4 years old, and 18 months), and neither of my children are looking towards a post-doc this year. As a new mom, I opted to support their interests, provide a safe environment and lots of love. I read to them, we went to parks, and I showed them Zaboomafoo and Reading Rainbow, but not Mrs. Rachel. I never realized failing to drill my kids on recognizing a butterfly on a rectangular piece of paper would set them so far behind. I also have never used a sing-song high pitched voice “for the children.”

Thankfully, using tips from TikTok pros, my youngest finally graduated last weekend with her B.A. in English.

Speaking of screentime, researchers revealed startling conclusions about Cocomelon. In a study reviewing 100 hours of children’s programming, only Mrs. Rachel used the correct pitch and timbre of voice to ellicit learning. Again, TikTok parents already knew this. “Her voice it’s not for you, it’s for the children” says @BraggingPerson.

***This is Satire, so help me if anyone DMs me raging that this is fake…of course it is. Except the mocking of flashcards. I stand by that! ***



Christina Grout

Disabled neurodivergent Jewish mom’s (she/her) hot takes on parenting. Ableism is trash, take it out of parenting. ##SayDisabled IG: @AbleismIsTrash