Getting kids to go to sleep is a tough job. But it’s especially difficult when your baby will not settle down until he has his special bedtime comfort object: a mannequin head. Yup, for Ilarni Clark’s 14-month-old, Harry, the bedtime ritual isn’t complete until he can run his hands through the hair of a startlingly realistic mannequin head—and it’s just as unsettling as you’re imagining.
Take a look:
You’re probably (and quite understandably) wondering how this came to be.
“It started because Harry wouldn’t settle unless he was twiddling with my hair. He’s done it since he was a baby,” Clark said. “I couldn’t leave him with his dad, because he doesn’t have any hair to play with and he just wouldn’t sleep at all.”
This isn’t an uncommon issue. Babies are grabby when they’re learning to use their hands, and anyone with long locks who has ever held a little one has felt that yank on their scalp, right? It makes sense that some babies—especially those who were breastfed by moms who have long hair—associate the feeling of hair in their hands with comfort and security.
Someone Photoshopped teeth onto adorable newborns, and it's the stuff of nightmaresBut how is a parent supposed to get anything else done during nap time if they’re stuck caught in the iron grip of their sleeping infant? Enter the mannequin head. Desperate to get Harry to sleep, Clark took to Facebook to ask what she could do. Someone suggested she get one of those heads trainee hair dressers use to practice on, and the rest is history.
“He took to it straightaway—he absolutely loves it,” the mom from Sunderland, England, said. “Then it started getting weirder. He carries it around everywhere he goes. He won’t eat his breakfast or his meals unless the doll’s with him.” And she has the photos to back it up:
Harry has even named the head Baba, so she’s basically a part of the family now. While this may not be the weirdest bedtime soother (a full-size chair in their bed may take the cake), it’s definitely on the creepier side and might get you some weird looks in public. Clark even said she’s been freaked out by the head on more than one occasion. “I’ve gone over and given the doll a kiss by accident instead of Harry. It takes about half an hour to get back to sleep, because you get such a shock” she said.
For now, the head is the only thing that will let Harry sleep, so that occasional shock may just be the new normal for this, uh, innovative family.