Parenting is an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, and time to yourself can be absolutely crucial for catching up on some much-needed sleep. Unfortunately for one Los Angeles-based mom, however, sleep wouldn’t come. Because of this, she decided to make her daughter’s nap time equally fun for herself. You’ll never see another baby as cool as this.
Laura Izumikawa is a photographer based in California. Four-month-old daughter, Joey, meanwhile, is clearly the apple of her doting mother’s eye.
The reason that Izumikawa could never drop off to sleep while Joey was napping was, in fact, that she was enraptured with the cute infant’s face. All day and night, she would stare at her daughter with loving eyes – and that’s when she had an idea. Little did she know, however, that it would soon make Joey a viral sensation.
While Joey slept, Izumikawa dressed her up in all sorts of amazing costumes – from Slash and Sia to Bjork and Beyoncé. She took photos of each costume, which she then posted to her Instagram account, @lauraiz.
The costumes weren’t all musicians, of course. Little Joey also happily dressed up as fictional television and movie characters, like Dragon Ball Z’s Goku – though admittedly, she has no say in who her mom decides she’ll be cosplaying as next.
At first, Izumikawa only took the photos to send to Joey’s grandparents. “Because Joey slept so deeply, I thought it’d be fun adding little props on her just to send some hilarious pictures to our parents,” she told The Huffington Post. “It was a way to memorialize her growth and little milestones.”
But as Izumikawa posted the photos to Instagram, her follower count began to grow. And when she dressed Joey up as Eleven from the hit Netflix show Stranger Things – complete with the character’s signature nosebleed – her fan base ballooned.
In fact, Izumikawa’s Instagram account rapidly rocketed to 30,000 followers. And, as she continued to post more images of her cosplaying baby, those stats continued to rise.
Izumikawa now has nearly 350,000 followers on Instagram. Her photo of Joey dressed as Star Wars heroine Princess Leia – alongside a perfectly-sized Darth Vader plush – received over 42,000 likes.
The speed with which Izumikawa’s photos gained attention actually caused the mom some concern – at least at first. Indeed, in her “mother-bear” panic, as she described it, she even considered halting the photo series.
Thankfully, the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the photographs gave Izumikawa the confidence to carry on. When Joey dressed up as Pikachu, for instance, other Instagram users were full of praise, calling her “awesome” and the “cutest thing ever.”
And, when The Huffington Post wrote about Joey’s delightful photographs, even the response on that website alone was a sight to behold. The 2,000 comments posted in response hailed Izumikawa’s work as “adorable and creative.”
It’s clear that a lot of thought and hard work has been put into the details of Joey’s costumes by her mom – even for those which don’t depict fictional characters or celebrities. Take the “Apple Genius” costume above, for instance, which even has the world’s cutest name badge draped around Joey’s neck.
Most moms would probably be aghast to hear that Izumikawa would risk waking her sleeping baby – such is the difficulty of getting a child to sleep in the first place. And while Joey has woken up a “couple of times” while her mom changes her outfit, she reportedly just drops right back to sleep again, with no idea of what’s going on.
It’s probably a good thing that Joey is oblivious to her mom’s work, however: some of her costumes aren’t exactly age-appropriate. Her Imperator Furiosa outfit, for instance, comes from last year’s critically acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road – hardly proper viewing material for a four-month-old.
Nevertheless, Izumikawa hopes that when Joey is older, she’ll be able to look back at her infancy with fondness. “I really hope she’ll see the photos and videos in the future and have a good laugh,” Izumikawa told The Huffington Post. “Hopefully she’ll see how loved she was.”
Not all of her costumes are immediately recognizable, but they can be appreciated for their amazing craftsmanship. The leather straps and mass of hair and fur above, for instance, perfectly capture Game of Thrones hero Jon Snow.
Part of Izumikawa’s aim with the project is to inspire other parents to have fun with their kids. Indeed, she advocates retaining a sense of humor into parenthood and wants to discourage fellow moms and dads from getting too caught up with the serious side of raising children.
And if the reaction online is anything to go by, Izumikawa has certainly achieved that goal. She told The Huffington Post, “I started receiving messages from countless people who said that the photos and videos were the highlight of their day.”
Joey may not know it yet, but at four months old she’s already become a viral sensation. Indeed, thousands of people all over the world share in the joy of her crazy costumes. You have to wonder if, 20 years from now, we’ll find a grown up Joey on the cosplay circuit. And if we do, she’ll only have her mom to thank.