Flea and the great bobble mystery

Where did all that hair come from?? Now that Flea has started school, we find ourselves at the mercy of The System. There are rules and stuff, which we're not altogether used to.

One of the rules at Flea's school is that if children's hair is longer than shoulder length, it has to be tied back with a plain blue slide or bobble, to match the school uniform. Now, Flea's hair has grown a LOT since September and it's probably a good three inches past her shoulder – so we're in bobble land.

Flea has never worn a bobble before but it turns out that she knows it to be an undeniable truth that BOBBLES ARE FOR GIRLS. And Flea, as some readers may remember, is not keen on being a girl (we actually had to call her Aiden or Thomas for most of 2008).

So we have entered the bobble wars.

On Day One, I put the bobble into Flea's hair. "It hurts, Mummy," she said, using the patented Small Kid Sad Face.  "Oh, I'm sure you'll get used to it," I replied. Flea wore the bobble until we were getting into the car after school, when I said she could take it off, and she 'accidentally' dropped it in the car park, never to be seen again.

On Day Two, we put in a fresh bobble, and Flea tried the power of reason. "Mummy, did you know that boys do not have to wear bobbles?" I replied that it was a school rule that children with long hair had to wear bobbles. "But my hair is not long at all, in fact," said Flea, victoriously. "It is very short."

That day, when I collected her, she was wearing a different bobble. Apparently, the original bobble was 'lost' at playtime, and Mrs W (Flea's teacher) had used one of the spares she keeps in her desk.

On Day Three, Flea decided to try negotiation. "Mummy, I think that I would really, really like to wear a hair slide," she said. Thinking I'd cracked it, I took a hair slide out of the drawer. Flea took a brief look at it. "I don't think I can wear one with a butterfly on it, though," she said, sadly.

Today, Day Four, was non-uniform day. "That means I don't need a hair bobble, Mummy."

"No, you definitely still need a bobble, so your hair isn't in your face when you're working," I told her. (I don't think that's true, I just made it up, like most of my parenting "wisdom"). "Let me just get one."

I opened the drawer where yesterday, there had been the remainder of a pack of 10 Tesco hair bobbles. Empty. Frankly, I had my suspicions. "Where are the bobbles?"

"Do you know Mummy, I have absolutely no idea where they could be," she told me, keeping an impressively straight face. So having tried sympathy, reason and negotiation, she has basically reverted to evil subterfuge. Nice.

And kudos to the kid's hiding skills, I haven't been able to find the bloody bobbles. So today she has won the battle, and isn't wearing a bobble. But Mummy will win the war – from tomorrow, we're keeping the bobbles in the car.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 20th November 2009 / 11:18 am

    Flea is a GENIUS. I hated wearing bobbles too. I wonder where she’s putting them?
    Would she be happier with a hair cut do you think? My mum always kept mine short so as to diminish the battles and because long hair scared her – she was never very good at all those fancy plaits and stuff. Thank god! Although the pudding basin style that was her alternative was not such a good look…
    P.S. After typing that post did the word ‘bobble’ begin to look really funny?

  2. 20th November 2009 / 11:32 am

    Oh my mother won the bobble war, as soon as I refused bunches, plaits or ponytails out came the sissors. I hid all the photo’s from that period as I looked like a BOY. Short, short hair and not a piece of girls clothing unless I was forced in to it!!
    MaxiMad has haor below the shoulder, but his school doesnt stippulate bobbles, I do insist on having his fringe cut, only so it doesnt get in his eyes when swimming.
    I look forward to seeing who wins the war!

  3. 20th November 2009 / 11:40 am

    I had, what my mother always referred to as an ‘urchin’ cut as a child. I was so desperate to have long hair and everytime we went to the hairdressers, she said she would ask him to ‘cut it long’. Not surprisingly it never grew.
    I envy Flea her bobbles… wherever they are.
    Hang on, I think I heard them calling from inside the microwave. Go take a look!

  4. Vic
    20th November 2009 / 1:14 pm

    Put her in an elastic band for the day – she’ll never complain about those bobbles again!

  5. Liz (LivingwithKids)
    20th November 2009 / 9:19 pm

    I don’t want to worry you but when No 1 Son was about three I noticed that his chubby crayons seemed to be disappearing at an alarming rate. About a year later we took him to hospital because he was complaining of very severe earache and it seemed to be bleeding. Turned out to be a big fat red chubby crayon he’d stuffed down his ear.

  6. Treasa Earls
    21st November 2009 / 10:05 am

    Why not get her a bobble with footballs or with a boyish theme and dont call it a bobble, call it a gogo as they used to be called when I was a child.PS this is my first ever blog & I’m a mother of 6 and aged 40something!!Really am envious of all you modern mums and the support networks available to you!

  7. 21st November 2009 / 3:04 pm

    Maybe collect some pictures on the internet of men with their hair tied back? Is there a particular reason why she doesn’t want shorter hair? That would sort the problem as well, of course.

  8. 21st November 2009 / 7:00 pm

    LOL clever little thing isn’t she eeer he uuuh she.

  9. 21st November 2009 / 9:24 pm

    I would never have this: Eleonore is already eyeing my hot pink strap 2 inch sandals. And never leaves the house without something pink in her hair… ! This said, we don’t have dress codes or uniforms here @ school in the Netherlands, so who knows, if she had to she probably would not want to any more 😉

  10. Sally
    21st November 2009 / 10:22 pm

    @Josie – yes, a haircut would probably be the sensible option but I confess I like it longer – I’m always bothering her by playing with her hair! (Also: yes, bobble looked TOTALLY weird. I even tried replacing it with hair band, but that’s something different, I think.)
    @MadHouse – I always win the war. Rule number one in our house is “I am Mummy and I am the boss of you”.
    @Dawn – no joy on the microwave. They were actually inside a box of Shredded Wheat. Which shows a level of criminal cunning that I find worrying, frankly.
    @Vic – ouch!!
    @Liz – Oh my goodness! How???
    @Treasa – Welcome and thanks for commenting. Can you really get bobbles for boys??
    @Mwa – GENIUS. I’ll definitely give that a try, thanks.
    @Lindy – yes, he is. Doesn’t get it from me, sadly.
    @MummyMug – haha! I think I got off lightly. For all the tricks, I don’t think I could cope with a pink fetish in the house…

  11. 24th November 2009 / 11:25 am

    She is going to be a lot of fun when she’s older..good luck:) Maybe try a little blackmail i.e a haircut or a bobble?

  12. 30th November 2009 / 3:57 pm

    How about a trip to the hairdresser instead?!