Re: Solids, not sure where to go from here
My older daughter's favorite first food was spicy fishcakes from our local Korean restaurant. My younger daughter's fave is Channa Masala from the Indian place. Kids are often a lot more spice-tolerant than we adults give them credit for, and the sooner they start building that part of their palate the better, IMHO! The only spice I would be cautious with are hot peppers, both dried flakes and the whole varieties. Those can really burn, and if you've ever chopped a jalapeño and then rubbed your eye... Babies don't know enough not to do that, YKWIM?
9 month-olds are definitely hand-to-mouth eaters. If you preload a spoon and give it to a baby, she will sometimes maneuver it into her mouth- and sometimes she'll fling it across the room. You can start giving your LO utensils at any time, but don't expect her to actually use them until at least a year. And she's unlikely to use them routinely/preferentially until she's closer to 2.
Formalized meals can wait until age 1, at least. At this point, having your LO spend part of your meal-time in her highchair or on your lap at the table- the social aspect of eating- is equally if not more important than what your child eats or how she eats it. There's no need to overthink this- just offer your LO some solids to play with when you're having a meal, and allow her to self-feed. As she gets older, believe me: she will let you know when she wants to sit down and eat!
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"