Just catching up on the 4 year old and pacifier issue... I was "lucky" in that my kids both had a "favorite" that wore out at 3 months and they would not accept a "different" one....one horrible day of crying and spitting out the substitutes and it was over. BUT they both did drink out of bottles around the house (and water at night) out of bottles until they were 5. That was partly me not wanting to worry about stuff getting spilled on the rugs...I could hardly insist they could only drink at the table when I was sipping my iced tea in the living room. And frankly it didn't bother me at all...talked to the dentist and he said if they weren't drinking milk at night (and rotting their teeth) it wasn't going to be a dental problem. When they were approaching 5 we had a nice rational discussion about trading giving up an afternoon nap for giving up the bottle. Figured we should get that over with before kindergarten (they had already figured out not to drink out of one when friends were over). They were both still taking an hour or so nap then...one just played quietly in bed but the other really slept...and he was the one who felt it was most demeaning to have to nap! So the day after the 5 year old birthday party was the big day....some slight increase in crabbiness, especially for the kid who really had been napping, but no big deal.
I have to say though that if it had been a pacifier I'd have just let nature (and other kids' comments) take its course. Way easier to remove a pacifier than amputate a thumb... And these days pacifiers are designed not to cause dental problems, unlike thumbs.
Sherry should pick her battles, and the ability to "self soothe" in psychologists' lingo is not a good one. Who does it hurt? Only the blood pressure of people who don't like the look of a child with a "plug" in their mouth. Kicking a stranger's seat, now that's a battle to pick!
Re ME, why on earth would she NOT be upset about Prop 8? It just happened, and it affects her very personally! Unless you think guests who sing should do nothing but sing?