The silencer...aka the pacifier.
The pacifier, acting as silencer, is a double edged sword.
On one hand, the pacifier is almost wholly responsible for getting Parker to sleep. Never mind that I've spent close to hundreds of dollars on pacifiers so that, no matter where he is in his bed, there is one within finger distance (heck, probably within mouth distance...there are so many in there all he really has to do is pucker his lips and POOF, one will magically pop in there!). (One time I picked Parker up from a nap, and when I went to change him out of his pajamas I found, not one, but two pacifiers inside his pjs.) The pacifier can keep Parker quiet in the car, in the grocery store, and while he is playing.
On the other hand, the pacifier tends to keep Parker a little too quiet while he plays. It allows him to get into things that are off limits without me honing in on his normally constant baby noises. These things include the cat food, cat water, litter box, trash can, toilets, food pantry...the works.
Then there is the issue of having a play date with other babies who also use a pacifier. It's just a fight waiting to happen ("binky battles," if you will). Parker just crawls around, trying to grab other children's pacifiers...out of their mouths. And if the other kid is dumb enough to leave it on the ground, Parker will haul ass from across the room to snatch it up. I've seen Parker actually try to put another poor, unsuspecting baby's binky in his mouth IN ADDITION to his own pacifier, which is already in his mouth. Then he gets all bent out of shape that he can't suck them both at the same time.
This is especially malicious because Parker only uses one specific type of pacifier, the Soothie. Despite this, he indiscriminately steals pacifiers of all types and shapes.
I really think that when they are old enough to fight over pacifiers, they are probably old enough to give them up. I think the "need to suck" has passed when the priority becomes pathologic pacifier hoarding. And that is what Parker is...a pacifier hoarder. Is this how people become "adult babies," aka the world's most disturbed and disturbing group of weirdos?
Alas, despite the fact that I know that Parker is probably ready (in theory) to give up the pacifier, I will not get rid of it. Let's be honest, that thing is as much for my sanity as it is for Parker's comfort.
I used to see toddlers, walking around with their parents, sucking on their pacifiers (the kids, not the parents), and I would think to myself, "wow. Those parents really need to bite the bullet. That kid is able to TWIRL the pacifier 360 degrees."
Then you have the toddler with a true pacifier addiction, such as this little girl. If you notice, she has true signs of an addict: she has dependency (she needs several pacifiers to satisfy her, not just one), she also has fully dilated pupils, suggesting that the pacifier has acted as a gateway drug, to other, more hardcore substances. Such as pixie sticks.
Now that I have my own little pacifier addict, I say to you parents, good for you for encouraging your child to become dependent on their pacifier. Who gives a crap that your kid looks absurd walking around holding his own iphone while sucking his binky (or binkies)? Is it allowing you to run to the store for dinner without a total meltdown?
Then carry on.