The clever scheme tried to simulate the mother's presence so the toddler would be none the wiser to her absence

By Benjamin VanHoose
December 17, 2019 10:37 AM
Credit: Courtesy Neji Sato

Two Japanese parents found a clever way for their young son to never miss his mommy again — even when she’s not at home.

Sharing the unique experiment on Twitter, the child’s father explained that his 1-year-old would cry for his mother every time she’d leave the room. That’s when the dad came up with the idea of testing out a “life-sized panel mother.”

Kept out of reach so the child couldn’t expose the stand-in’s two-dimensional physicality, the stand-in mother figure was placed behind a children’s safety gate to watch over the playful tot.

Recording how the scenario played out, videos show that the toddler bought the cardboard imposter, seeming comforted as he glanced back at the cutout for reassurance, then back to his TV show or toys.

Mom cutout
| Credit: Courtesy Neji Sato
Mom cutout
| Credit: Courtesy Neji Sato

Two life-size cutouts were used: one of the smiling mom standing, and another depicting her knelt down as if she’s ready for playtime with her son.

The stand-ins weren’t used as a replacement for actual live supervision, but instead as a way for the toddler to feel as if he and his beloved mom were never too far apart.

One clip documenting how the cutout worked in action appeared to show the child catching on to the ploy.

As the boy sat in his high chair at the kitchen table, he began speaking toward what he thought was his mom. When the cardboard, naturally, didn’t move or respond, the toddler appeared slightly alarmed, and reached out for his father, who was sitting nearby.

The cute clips have since gone viral, and have been viewed more than 2 million times.