Nathan Briscoe was about 3 months old when his dad, Army Sgt. Chase Briscoe, was deployed overseas. Briscoe is on a 9-month deployment in Poland, but little Nathan has a piece of his dad with him every time he goes to sleep.
"Before my husband got deployed, he would put my son to sleep every single night," Nathan’s mom, Deanna Briscoe, told CBS News. "[Nathan] had a hard time falling asleep after he left, so I thought about getting a ‘Daddy Doll.’"
Briscoe explained "Daddy Dolls" are plush toy replicas of military dads, like stuffed animals that look like fathers in uniforms. She thought a "Daddy Doll" might help Nathan, who is now just over 6 months old, fall sleep.
"I saw there was an option to put a voice in it, and I decided to do that because any time my husband can call us, Nathan goes crazy over it," the new mom said. She had her husband record a sweet message for Nathan and created the "Daddy Doll" for the infant with his dad’s voice inside.
Last month, when Nathan was just five months old, Briscoe gifted him with the doll and caught his priceless reaction on camera. When he first lays eyes on the doll, Nathan’s whole face lights up.
The video shows Nathan on his back, playing with his feet, when he catches a glimpse of the doll. Nathan’s "Pop," who Briscoe describes as her "American dad" first shows Nathan the doll replica of his dad, and the infant becomes captivated. The baby appears to immediately recognize who the doll is, and he begins to stare in wonder with a huge smile on his face. The priceless reaction has been viewed nearly 2,000 times on Briscoe’s Facebook.
Briscoe, who is Australian and met her husband while traveling in the U.S., says the voice message inside the doll "basically says, ‘Nathan, Daddy loves you, I’ll be home soon.’"
"We give it to [Nathan] when he’s upset and when he hears my husband’s voice, he immediately stops like in the video," she said. "And I put it in his crib every night."
She didn’t expect the video of her son’s reaction to the doll to go viral. "I took the video to send to my husband," she added. "I sent it to Chase right away, and he was like, ‘Oh my gosh, Nathan does recognize me.’" She put the video on Facebook so her husband’s family members, who live in Indiana, could also see the genuine, happy reaction from Nathan.
Nathan will hopefully have his real dad back soon, Briscoe said. After his deployment in Poland, he is set to come back to Fort Hood. "Hopefully he wont be gone for a while, but we don’t know with the military," she said. Until then, Nathan has his doll and can see and hear his dad no matter how far away he is.