New mums and dads will try all sorts of tricks to get their little one to sleep for a few precious hours. Unfortunately, babies aren’t always willing to play ball.
First-time mum Ilarni Clark, from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, had been helping her baby son Harry get to sleep by letting him play with her hair. However, after this led to Ilarni getting headaches, she knew she had to come up with a plan b.
After chatting with mates online, the 22-year-old reception manager was contacted by a trainee hairdresser who had a mannequin head going spare. The doll had hair similar to her own, and it seemed like the perfect solution; allowing Harry comfort while giving Ilarni’s head a much needed break.
Unfortunately for Ilarni, this plan worked a bit too well and the 14-month-old quickly became besotted with his new sleep companion.
Harry reportedly insists on eating lunch and napping with ‘Baba’ the severed head. He even likes to bring it along on family shopping trips.
However, Ilarni isn’t quite as keen on Baba, and has confessed to having been left ‘terrified’ by the disembodied head on various occasions, getting the disquieting sensation of someone being in the room with them.
Illarni has even accidentally kissed creepy Baba the mannequin head goodnight after mistaking it for young Harry or partner Callum Mackay, 21.
In our bed, there’s me, Callum, Harry – and the doll’s head. It has given me a few frights in the middle of night. For the first couple of nights I shouted ‘Callum, there’s someone in the room!’ We’ve both done it.
He carries it around everywhere he goes. He won’t eat his breakfast or his meals unless the doll’s with him. We went to go to town [on Monday] and I said ‘come on, we’ll go in the car’ and he was halfway through the door with it.
I refused to take the doll’s head with me and he had an absolute meltdown and screamed. I had to distract him with something else.
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.
Despite having a rather ghoulish appearance, Baba has certainly had a soothing effect on little Harry, even helping him to settle all by himself.
At the weekend, my partner’s mum rang me and he’d fallen asleep on his own. He’s never done that. I normally have to rock his pram to go to sleep. He needs to be moving to sleep normally.
I’ve tried everything to get him to fall asleep on his own, but yesterday he got on the sofa, got his doll head and fell asleep for an hour and a half. This is the secret – get a creepy hairdressing doll.
Somewhat eerily, Ilarni has revealed Harry has previously screamed after she tried to part him from his beloved head:
He does normally sleeps through the night, but last night he was a nightmare. I took the doll head off him because I don’t let him sleep with it while I’m asleep in case the hair goes round his neck. He woke up and noticed, then screamed for about three hours.
So there you have it. If lullabies and teddy bears aren’t helping your baby drift off, maybe try introducing a sinister mannequin head to their crib.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.