Ilarni Clark of Sunderland, England recently revealed that her 14-month-old son, Harry, has shocked her and her partner with his newfound fixation for a life-size, female doll head that the young mom introduced to stop her son’s habit of pulling her hair.
"It started because Harry wouldn't settle unless he was twiddling with my hair. He's done it since he was a baby,” Clark told The Sun in a Nov. 14 interview. "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.”
"A week ago, I put something on Facebook saying I needed some help because I constantly had a headache and couldn't sleep because he was pulling my hair out in the night,” the 22-year-old said. “Then one of my friends messaged me saying she had a spare hairdressing doll if I wanted to try it.”
Explaining that the doll’s auburn tresses are the same shade and length as her own, Clark said that she suspects that Harry doesn’t realize there is a difference.
"He took to it straight away. He absolutely loves it. Then it started getting weirder,” she said.
Little Harry has named the doll “Baba” and insists on bringing it wherever he goes, the parent said. The toy has even scared Clark and partner Callum Mackay during the night, as their son refuses to sleep without it.
"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,” Clark recalled.
"I've 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.
Though the doll is certainly freakier than the average toy, Clark has admitted that Baba is helping Harry become more independent as he learns to fall asleep on his own.
"At the weekend, my partner's mom rang me and he'd fallen asleep on his own. He's never done that,” she revealed. “I normally have to rock his pram to go to sleep.”
"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,” she added.
For other parents desperate to get their little one to go to bed without a struggle, Clark said the answer is simple.
"This is the secret," she said, "get a creepy hairdressing doll.”