Well I'm happy to say that M walking last week was not a fluke! She has continued practicing every day in the living room and is getting better. She is attempting to stand up independently, without holding on to anything. She has been trying this for a while now, but I think it is just recently that she has realized what exactly it is that she is trying to do!
Mealtime is going so much better lately, as well. I have started bringing up eating about 30 minutes before it is actually time to eat. This is giving her time to think about it and know that it is her decision to eat instead of being forced. Even if she isn't ready a half hour later, I let her wait and tell me when she wants to eat. I just have to be careful not to let her fill up on liquids, as she would do this all day long most days given the chance! Her favorite meal lately has been my own adaptation of my favorite sandwich which we call "turkey guacamole." I simply put a few slices of quality turkey lunch meat, an avocado, a small ripe tomato, and a little fresh chopped cilantro in the food processor and blend til it is almost a puree, but still thick. I often had organic baby cereal- rice or oatmeal- to thicken the mixture even more. M likes a thick, but smooth texture the best. We are slowly adding a few more textures and slightly larger chunks of food every couple of weeks to slowly transition her into learning to chew solid foods. We are also working with chewy tubes to practice the chewing motion of her jaw. I try to make it into a game so she doesn't feel like she is always working so hard! Sometimes it seems like everything is work for her, besides watching TV or drinking her cup.
It often makes me sad to think that maybe she isn't truly experiencing being a kid. Only adults should have to go through the trials and tribulations she has had to deal with in her first few years. But then I see her smile from ear to ear, and hear her laugh and giggle for no apparent reason; and God reassures me that she is happy as can be. My heart quits tugging and mind goes back to work figuring out how to give her the world.