Something that I haven't shared here before is Mini's habit of chewing.
He does it a lot. There doesn't seem to be a pattern, and I'm not therefore sure if it occurs just when he's anxious and stressed and is an attempt at regulation or whether it's just a bad habit or if it's some kind of sensory processing disorder. It might even be related to having a bottle for too long, or it just might be because he's Mini...there are so many possible reasons and I know lots of children chew - pencil tops, jumper sleeves, but how do you stop it?
I'm starting to find it difficult to deal with as I find myself so often calling out "take that out of your mouth Mini". And then in response I get a mumbled "No", as chewing becomes more important than refusing to chew! Dollop is starting to copy, and it's bad enough keeping things out of her mouth anyway. And it's becoming so much more frequent.
Mini's mouth can be a treasure trove and on many occasions I have removed lego men, uninflated balloons, whoopee cushions, marbles, sleeves, straws, pens, coins, fingers with virtually no nail left, empty toilet rolls, toy cars and little green toy soldiers - sadly many have become limbless and/or headless and have gone to recycling bin heaven. All this from his mouth, or even worse, covered in saliva and held in a firm grasp as Mini refuses to give up his gnawing bone. Then when I finally retrieve said chew toy, it slips from my grasp leaving a trail of wet gobby gloop across the floor, and I am left with a screaming, disregulated, dramatic child declaring his 'need' for the slimy headless soldier.
Clearly in these situations he does need something to chew on, it helps him and doesn't appear to be doing any damage to his teeth. But the above items aren't safe and I have visions of x-rays showing poor lost lego man heads, or even worse a marble run around his vital organs!
So tangles for children who fidget or need stress relief. But what about children who have an oral fixation? Mini would happily chew on toffees or chocolate eclairs if I let him, but then there really would be some damage to his newly forming adult teeth He could have gum, but at 6, I'd really rather he didn't. I don't think he'd go for a teething ring and in any case, with big teeth coming through I don't suppose it'd be too long before he was through it. Perhaps with the Theraplay it might just resolve itself as Mini becomes more able to regulate and more in control of his emotions.