Mixed Signals

Exploring their curiosities

Your 9-month-old tosses his plate onto the floor.

baby throwing food on floor

You think: He doesn't like what I'm feeding him.
What's actually going on: So maybe you're not the next Rachael Ray. But unless your little one also sticks out his lower lip and tongue and spits out his food (both are ways a baby displays disgust), chances are your meal is just fine. Your baby is just exploring and being curious. "Babies throw things to see what happens to them," explains Dr. Brown. "It's that simple."

Parents also often misread this action -- along with the throwing-toys-out- of-the-crib game -- as their child's way of testing limits. But that's not it. "Babies throw because it's fun, not because they're being manipulative," says Dr. Acredolo. If you need a break from the flinging, try filling a tissue box with old washcloths and hankies, then let your baby pull and throw to his heart's delight.

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