Fin­ger-suck­ing good

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

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - NEWS -

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!

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