Everyone has that one object from their childhood that was with them through it all. Whether it was a blankie, a stuffed animal, a toy, or something else entirely, you are probably thinking of yours right now.
When I was a baby, I received a simple baby blanket that became my bankie. Throughout my infancy and childhood, this blanket was more than just my favorite thing in the whole world, it was a part of me.
I was a thumb sucker, and required my bankie to suck my thumb. There were several very important things that I needed from bankie in order to suck my thumb, though:
Most importantly, it needed to be cold. So after a while of sucking my thumb and my blankie warming up, I would put it in the freezer to cool it off. In the winter, I would even voluntarily let the dog out into and back in from the yard so that I could hang blankie in the wind for that icy chill.
Of course, it also had a certain blanket smell that could only be kept intact so long as bankie stayed not clean. When my mother would wash it, I would freak out. A lot. To find the blankie in the dryer after a good washing was the most horrific thing in the world to me. But in all honesty, it was probably pretty gross, so it makes sense now.
So I would hold bankie in my left hand with my left thumb in my mouth, while I pushed the blankie up to my nose in order to smell the blankie smell and feel the cool blankie feel. It was like Heaven to me.
I remember having a puffy spot on my thumb that I thought would never go away. One day while I was on the bus heading home from school, my next door neighbor Greg, who was a year older than me, was teasing me about the puff. I was in third grade and far too embarrassed to admit it’s origin. Thankfully, the puffy spot disappeared within months of my final thumb suck.
Often, the blanket would lose pieces of the edge, slowly shrinking a once large baby blanket. At one point in the life of bankie, it ripped into two pieces. One of which I tied into a knot. Both pieces traveled everywhere with me. One in the freezer; one in my hand. Switch. Repeat.
Regardless of my disdain for a clean bankie, there were definitely times that my blankie needed to be washed…or partially disposed of. One hot summer night when I was in second or third grade, I was spending the night at my aunt’s house. I had snuggled up on the living room floor in a pile of blankets, with my head laying off onto the carpet. In the middle of the night, I became violently ill, and the un-knotted piece of bankie was the unfortunate recipient of my stomach’s wrath (as was the carpet and one of the blankets.) I spent an hour trying to clean up my mess, embarrassed and unnecessarily afraid to tell anyone.
But the blankie was a mess. After mom tried to wash it, the stains would not come out and I was forced to part with another piece of my beloved blanket.
So, yes…I sucked my thumb. Until the 4th grade. When my mother took bankie away. She told me that she had no idea where it went. She promised to look for it. My gram bought me a replacement, but it was worthless to me. The bright seafoam green blanket was scratchy and unfamiliar. It was hardly worthy of my doll’s comfort. I found that no matter how hard I tried, I could not suck my thumb without my blankie. This proved to be the perfect solution to my mother’s fear that I would never stop sucking my thumb. But it was a sad time for me.