She’s a sucker for anything dairy and regresses to childhood by sticking her thumb in her mouth. It must date to when she was a baby, says Sophie White, who celebrates her unbreakable habit by turning to treats of yesteryear such as ice cream and milkshak
Ihave a self-diagnosed oral fixation. I suck my thumb. I started sucking my thumb as a baby and, despite my mother's best efforts to get me to stop, I have never waned in my enthusiasm for this little appendage. She painted the thumbnail with foul-tasting nail varnish, but I sucked through it and eventually acquired a taste for it.
She brought me to the orthodontist in the hopes that he would show me cautionary pictures of kids with buck teeth and braces.
However, some of the Canadian cousins already had train-tracks with cool, different-coloured elastic bands, so braces had become de rigueur in my eyes and were not the deterrent Herself had hoped.
In any case, the pesky dentist said that I had a narrow upper palette and that the thumb-sucking was actually remedying this problem and saving the need for traumatic surgery.
My sucking continued with increased intensity. I was never a secret thumb-sucker, either. No shame dogged my hobby. I was as comfortable sucking my thumb at home on the couch as I was having a thoughtful little suck at school or at a social gathering.
My teachers at secondary school would mistake the thumb-sucking for tiredness or boredom, but it is actually a powerful aid to concentration, I would haughtily tell them through a mouthful of thumb.
And what of the thumb itself ? Why the devotion? Well, for starters, I exclusively suck the left one. After years of being in my mouth it is thinner and softer than its counterpart on the right hand and fits perfectly. It also inexplicably tastes better. I would never dream of sucking on my right thumb — that would just be weird.
I blame (or credit, I should say) this life-long passion to being weaned too early. Yes, of course, it can all be traced back to the mother. Herself says that I was lucky to get the boob at all as it wasn't the fashion at the time and that she only (briefly) nursed me at my grandmother’s insistence.
I also believe that my abiding love of dairy has a direct correlation to this early childhood shock. Of course, I should mention that the thumb-sucking is also intrinsically linked to hair-twiddling and I rarely do one without the other. It is no accident that Himself has a particularly fine head of hair and I have never concealed the fact that the harmonious continuing of our marriage hinges heavily on his never going bald.
Day-to-day I twiddle my own hair, but when in the company of others, I also enjoy a little ‘hair holiday’ when I can sample new textures of hair. My own hair is straight and quite fine, with a tendency to be greasy, so I particularly enjoy different hair types, my favourite being ‘scrunchy’ hair (dry, damaged hair). It takes a while for me to make the transition in a friendship to the hair-twiddling level and I still have a few what I privately call ‘hair holy grails’. These are people whose hair I would love to twiddle, but know that rules of decorum would prohibit this (friends’ boyfriends and the like).
Anyway, back to my love of dairy. The arrival, some months ago, of Bunsen on Wexford Street brought me back to those early (and all too few) days of nursing. Their chocolate milkshake induces in me an infantile state of bliss. They wouldn't part with the recipe, but did tell me that it is all down to the quality of ice cream used so I have been experimenting at home with delicious results.
CHOCOLATE AND BANANA MILKSHAKE
Serves two. You will need: 1 banana 280g (10 oz) really good quality chocolate ice cream 200ml (7fl oz) milk This is an easy one. Place all the ingredients in a blender, blitz thoroughly, serve in a tall glass with a straw and enjoy!