Don't go there.
J-man has always had 'oral sensory seeking' issues. He has chewed on everything since he could reach toys. It was especially pronounced when he was younger, where he had to mouth every toy he interacted with before he could play with it. As he has gotten older, this 'sensory seeking' behavior has decreased significantly... to the point that I thought we might be over it.
But over the last few weeks it has come back with a vengeance. He is chewing on his hand, his blanket (gross!), his shirt (double gross!!), a variety of toys, and pretty much anything he can get his hands on. Our OTs have tried to shape this behavior to "chewy tubes" and other acceptable things to chew on, but the J-man is the definition of uninterested. The only thing that can interrupt this 'oral behavior' is the pacifier.
The dreaded passy.
Up until now, I never minded letting him have his passy. The way I saw it, it was a more 'normal' object to be sucking on than any of the other possible objects he might try to put in his mouth (like dirt, rocks, crayons, little people, cars, car keys, etc etc). A pacifier is 'normal'. However, the passy is starting to present some problems.
Firstly, he is getting a little OLD for a passy. I mean, he is a big boy, and I am sure he might look older than he is. So, while I could explain why a 2 1/2 year old boy has a pacifier, it isn't an easy sell. We are starting to get the sideways glances and disapproving looks... which does defeat the whole 'look normal' reasoning for using the passy in the first place.
Secondly, it is really hard to encourage vocalizations in a child who has a plug in his mouth. It is pretty easy for him to avoid making ANY noise whatsoever with the passy.
Of course, it is pretty easy for him to avoid vocalizing with his whole hand in his mouth too.
I am at a loss for what to do about this issue...except wait it out. And hope that he doesn't go to high school with a passy in his mouth.
Don't laugh, it could happen...