I can basically start this review with “What would I do for a night’s sleep” and the answer is anything. And then anything again. Because basically anything.
So would I share a bed with a creepy doll with a weird face that clicks and gasps for air like a dying zombie? Yes, yes I would.
Let’s be real – I would share my bed with a possessed demon or actually an actual dead person if it meant my child who hates sleep with the fire of a thousand suns would actually FLUFFING* sleep. So yes, if a doll with a death rattle soothes my child, then I’m pleased I can just get a Lulla Doll and I don’t have to actually kill someone.
And really, it’s my husband I’m going to kill isn’t it? And that’s not great for the family if he’s goneburger.
So I’m going to begin this review by saying Thank You Makers of the Lulla Doll and Sleepytot NZ because they’re the ones who sent me the doll, and they’re the ones you need to order one from if you want one. Thank you for saving my marriage by keeping my husband alive. Because the Lulla Doll’s heartbeat (terror clicks) and recorded breathing (death rattle) actually keep my child asleep at night. Which means for now, my husband gets to live. How nice for everyone but especially him.
So quickly – what’s a Lulla Doll? It’s a soft doll that has a heartbeat and breathes and it is meant to mimic a “caregiver”. Unfortunately you can’t leave your kid with it to go boozing and pretend you live a child-free existence. Not that I tried…
The heartbeat and breathing is a recording of “a mother at rest” and at first I thought this was impossible because “mother at rest” is a thing that has never actually happened in the world. But then I thought, oh yes, you do rest when you’re dying. Oh sweet death.
But then I found out that the breathing is the breathing of a yoga teacher.
And her name is Gudrun.
And Gudrun has four children.
And now I can’t stop wondering what Gudrun’s life is like. Is she recognised for her breathing everywhere she goes now? Is she stopped by groups of mums who excitedly say ‘DO THE BREATHING! DO THE BREATHING!’ Is she typecast now? There must be so few roles in Hollywood for “just breathing”. But surely she’d be popular for horror movies? Does Gudrun have any friends? Do people just fall asleep around her all the time? Can you imagine that life? You start talking to someone and they fall asleep, you go your whole life feeling abandoned and unloved and then you go to therapy and you are telling your therapist everything, from the moment your mother fell asleep giving birth to you, to your future husband or wife falling asleep along with the celebrant and all of your friends and family at your wedding, you talk about how you’re completely uneducated because all of your teachers have always fallen asleep, how work is pretty easy really because your manager sleeps through all of your performance reviews, but you literally cannot talk to anybody by phone….and then you look up and your therapist is asleep.
Is her partner the most well rested person on the planet?
Are her children always asleep?
Has anyone considered the kidnapping risk involved here? What if I stole her, I mean what if someone stole her, and just made her lay next to their kid all day and night, or wedged her into the buggy so they never had to change the batteries on the damn doll?
Because that is a messed up idea I know, but it is kind of a good idea right? Kind of?
Because this is the problem with the Lulla Doll – it works, until the batteries run out and this is what happens when that happens:
PRESS THE DOLL’S CHEST
*more whispered screaming*
PRESS IT AGAIN! YOU’RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT!
I AM. I PRESSED IT OK. I KNOW HOW TO PRESS A DOLL’S CHEST I AM NOT USELESS!
JESUS JUST GIVE IT TO ME YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT!
YOU TRY THEN IT’S THE BATTERIES!
YOU DIDN’T CHANGE THE BATTERIES I ONLY ASKED FOR ONE THING OK FOR YOU TO CHANGE THE BLOODY EFFING BATTERIES I MEAN JESUS CAN YOU NOT DO ONE THING!
YOU CHANGE IT. WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO CHANGE IT?
WHERE IS THE FLUFFING MOTHER FLUFFER FLUFFING FLUFF SCREWDRIVER (this is a review so I’m trying not to say fuck)
YOU MOVED THE SCREWDRIVER IT WAS RIGHT THERE
*louder whisper fighting*
WHY WOULD I MOVE THE SCREWDRIVER???? WHY DIDN’T YOU CHANGE THE BATTERY
I DID CHANGE IT
NO YOU DIDN’T
This usually goes on until you get the new batteries in and Gudrun starts breathing again.
Then you’re like:
The good batteries can last up to a week – maybe 10 days if you’re only using it at night (we use it for naps too), but there is no way to know when the battery will run out, so it will always be 4am when you really need to sleep.
When we first got the Lulla Doll (who we have affectionately called Creep Gundy) we were just like, wow, this is creepy as Hell. Then we put it on and were instantly relaxed. The death rattle is really relaxing. Which is weird because hospices are not relaxing. Damn, I took this to a dark place and now I’m not sure where to go with it.
Can I start again? Like, I am super tired all the time so could fall asleep literally at any moment so I don’t need much – but the doll made both me and my husband feel like we were being hypnotised.
The doll was for Ham who was 11 months old when we got it. When Ham first met Creep Gundy it went like this.
Me waving Creep Gundy at Ham: Look at this thing! It’s doing a thing! Go to sleep with it!
Ham: *stops screaming*
Imagined internal monologue of Ham:
What the Hell is that thing?
I don’t want to sleep with that?
Why is it making that noise?
Is it dying?
What is that clicking noise-I Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
So we created a shrine for Creep Gundy and we pray to her and give her offerings of Tupperware containers filled with the fresh blood of virgins and it’s really hard to find virgins when all of your friends have a million kids and were very experimental in high school anyway.
The truth is the Lulla Doll works sometimes, for some kids. But that would not make a great review would it? At various times I’ve gone to write this and my notes have been:
So good. Everyone should get.
Does not work. Fuck everything.
Definitely cannot live without doll.
Needs longer battery life.
Needs to not have a battery.
Need another one so I can wash first doll.
Just buy it.
How did I ever live without this doll?
This is why I have taken two months to write this. Because I have wanted it to be a fair review. And so here’s my fair review – the doll works for us. Before we got the doll, Ham woke every 45 minutes or so. He slept in bed with us, and we had to lay with him to get him through each REM cycle. But the doll does a really good job of either tricking him into thinking we are with him, or just keeping the environment the same so he can stay asleep. I don’t know what it is. But whatever it is, it’s working for Ham. It’s not a miracle – I can’t say he’s gone from that to sleeping through every night. But he has had waaaay less wake ups, most nights. So to me, that is totally worth it. Because there isn’t a product on the market (unless the boxes you leave babies in at Fire stations could be considered a product) that will get every baby sleeping through every single night.
I will share my bed with a creep for way less wake-ups and this good progress we have been having.
And thankfully, I don’t have to share my bed with Creep Gundy anymore, because Ham has started to sleep in his own bed. For the first time since EVER.
And I think that is due the Lulla Doll. I mean, there are obvious reasons why it would work – including that it’s seems to make Ham feel safe in the same way that Eddie’s teddy makes him feel safe. But there are also apparently SCIENTS REASUNS:
Lulla was designed in Iceland after many years of scientific research which shows how closeness improves sleep, well being and safety. Playing a real heartbeat and breathing continuously for 8 hours!
Lulla’s unique patent pending design was inspired by research on kangaroo care, the effects of heartbeat and breathing sounds, and the effects that smell, sight and touch have on babies and small children.
I mean that makes sense right? This is why people put babies on their chest as soon as they’re born, it’s why babies sleep so well in carriers and why so many parents have sex on the floor because their bed is full of kids.
So what would I change about the doll? I would somehow make it run without a battery. I have seen some people complain about the fact that the recording is only for eight hours but since my child never sleeps a full eight hours, that’s not a problem for me. You press the doll’s chest to get it to re-start the eight hours anyway, so I’m not sure what the issue with that would be. There has been a number of times when Ham has cried and we have realised the doll stopped and we’ve just pressed the chest again to get it started again. It’s not that much of a big deal, but I could see how it could be.
I asked Fiona at Sleepytot (she’s awesome!) about this and she said: “the new Lulla Doll (out in June) has a reset button which allows you to have another eight hours of continuous heartbeat and breathing. The current version will do eight hours all up (if its paused after a two hour nap, it will only go for the remaining six hours the next time you push the button)”.
To be honest, I never ever noticed this. I think I’m always just half asleep and turning it on. But for this reason, I’d buy the new one in June rather than buying a second hand one. And if I had the money I’d upgrade to the new one and then sell the old one. People are selling these things for hundreds on Trademe (way more than the recommended retail price) – basically because they’re hard to get.
There’s going to be a black market Lulla Doll I’m sure. Some industrious person is going to record their 100 smokes a day grandfather and make a killing. Or I suppose you could start a business where you hire out people with really bad asthma or bionic hearts to sit by your kid’s bed, but I feel the screening process would really derail the whole thing.
Instead you can pre-order the new one from Sleepytot New Zealand and get it as soon as it arrives. You can also lay-by it. And yes, I recommend it. I’m not saying it will work for every child, every night, or that it will be a miracle cure for your child’s awful sleep.
But, I will say though that my perpetually grumpy husband who hates everything loves the Lulla Doll. He accidentally left it in our cabin while we were on holiday and when he realised he literally ran faster than I’ve ever seen him run in his entire life to get it. So that’s something.
Big thanks to Fiona at Sleepytot NZ for hooking me up with a Lulla Doll. I like that she actually reads the blog and just emailed me like “do you want to try this?” and just sent it and that was it. Instead of other brands that are all like “We will send you this thing if you write 8000 words organically using the terms “Sleeperiser8000” and “StupidBrandLtd” and the hashtag #sleepingisreallygreatwiththesleeperiser8000fromstupidbrandltd and please organically say our slogan “the most fun you can have on your back!” Please also write it in the next three hours and we want to check the copy first and just make a few small edits, actually we could write it for you, but in your authentic voice and please don’t say we gifted it to you, can you pretend you bought it and also please post to all of your social media platforms”.
So thank you Sleepytot NZ, I like a company that is confident enough in what they’re selling to just send it and hope for the best. I am very pleased to say I am now be a card-carrying member of the Gudrun Fan Club/Lulla Doll Cult.
All Hail Creep Gundy.
OMG GUESS WHAT I was looking for a video for you to show you what the doll looks like and what it sounds like and I found this one and IT HAS GUDRUN IN IT! GUDRUN! In some kind of creepy basement. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. She looks like she has powers?!?!
*I tried hard not to say fuck while writing this review.