Bob the Bobble

Here’s a question for you – what do you do when you have a child with long hair who doesn’t like it touched?

Genuine question.

PK has long, curly hair and he hates it being touched, let alone combed. We tried the Tangle Teaser thing. Still screams like a banshee if you go anywhere near him with it. It’s a constant battle, which I cannot bring myself to inflict on him more than a couple of times a week. He gets genuinely very distressed by the whole thing.


Added to this conundrum is his love of gymnastics. All three children go to a local gymnastics club for two hours every Monday morning. Quite rightly, the club insists on long hair being tied back. At his old gymnastics lesson (a group for preschoolers at a sports centre) they let him get away with it, but he now goes to a proper club and they don’t let him get away with, not even for a second. Believe me, he’s tried.

And so every Monday morning, we’d arrive at the lesson and I’d have to put his hair back as he tried to get away and he’d scream the place down for 10 minutes or so, begrudgingly let me do it, and rip it out again the very second the class was over. 

A friend takes her boys to the same club and her eldest boy has hair that needs to be tied back. He was also reluctant, although admittedly not as much as PK. She showed me her solution – dinosaur bobbles. She’d hunted round and found dinosaur buttons which could be attached to thin hair bands and her son loved them. They have a whole tin of various designs now – cars, trucks and dinosaurs, all things that her two boys are happy to have in their hair.


We decided to give this idea a go with PK. I hit the internet that afternoon, found a selection of designs of suitable buttons and asked PK to choose. We now have a box of buttons with dinosaurs, wild animals, construction themed and glittery hearts. When they arrived, he chose the button that looked a bit like Bob the Builder, and I dutifully added to a hair band. He immediately asked me to put his hair back. After about half an hour, he’d had enough, and asked me to take it out again. Still, big progress.


A couple of days later it was gymnastics again, and PK, after donning his club t-shirt brought me Bob the Bobble and said “don’t forget to put up hair up Mummy”. I nearly fainted! So, his hair went back before he’d even finished getting dressed. We drove the half hour to gymnastics, he completed the class, he came out …. and never mentioned his hair. Neither did I. We drove back towards home and went for lunch with our friends. Ten minutes or so after arriving, PK asked me to take his bobble out. Three and a half hours, and he asked nicely if he could have it out now. No tears. No screaming. No shouting. No flinching. Plenty of showing everyone who’d stand still long enough that he had a Builder Bobble.

It’s a revelation. And a cheap one. A packet of 8 themed buttons cost me £2.50. If you have a child who is picky about bobbles, or doesn’t like their hair back but needs to have it back sometimes, I highly recommend finding buttons they love and making them into bobbles they’ll love.


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