Special Needs Hack: DIY Toddler Topsy Tail Tool

We are naturally let-your-hair-just-do-its-thing people. As my hair stylist says, “You don’t even try to make it do what it doesn’t want to do. You just accept it for what it is!” Code for, “Your hair is difficult, so thank you for realizing it and not asking me to work a miracle.” I actually love my hair. Always have! I love that it is crazy and wild and sometimes wavy and sometimes straight and mostly full of lumps and never ever ever does what I ask it to do. I have accepted it.

Graham inherited my crazy hair. His hair is just an extension of his personality. Difficult, adorable, amazing, and unmanageable.

And Adelaide. She inherited my crazy hair gene, too. Except hers is very thin. Her hair is absolutely gorgeous when you first wash it and brush it. Then, within minutes, she fills with drool, milk, and food. Nightmare. And she gets insane knots. She mostly crawls and rolls and thrashes her head from side to side.

We need to get it out of her face, but she eats everything we put in her hair. Headbands become chew toys. Bows become teethers. Ponytail holders get hidden in her little chipmunk cheeks.

“Oh my gosh! This lady just used this thing that looked like a hook thing and she made a ponytail thing with it!” Dave rushed into the room to tell me what he had seen on Disney Junior at his mom and stepdad’s house. It was a Topsy Tail. My husband didn’t know that they were invented back when I was a kid. That I had one. No, I had two. And I loved them. But I had completely forgotten about them. I tried to just use my fingers to replicate the Topsy Tail look in Adelaide’s hair, but she screamed so loud I thought the police would arrive and arrest me for 1st degree Hair Assault. We needed a Topsy Tail tool and we needed one fast!

I looked on Amazon, but the wait time was 5 business days. I looked at some local stores, but they carried everything else bun, braid, and claw related. No Topsy Tail tool.

A friend posted a Youtube link to make my own. Duh. I didn’t even think about how easy it would be to make something that looked like a large crochet hook. My sis-in-law gave me a metal hanger, I gathered up the materials from Dave’s wiring belt, and got to work.

I modified this tutorial and made a very small Topsy Tail. In 2 minutes.


And then, I put Adelaide in her Bumbo, turned on a VeggieTales movie, and fixed her hair. It took another 2 minutes. Graham documented some of it for you.


{That last photo is his entry in the Time Life Photography contest.}

So, here is Adelaide with her first Topsy Tail hairdo. Adorable.


And her hair still has that free-spirit look. Which I love with all my heart.


I used the other side of the hanger to make one for the diaper bag. Woot!

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3 thoughts on “Special Needs Hack: DIY Toddler Topsy Tail Tool

  1. […] one of those hair things we saw.” A practical answer based on what I shared with him. So, I made the topsy tool and started fixing her […]


  2. […] DIY Toddler Topsy Tail I made is great, but it can’t prevent all the tangles. Adelaide spends a lot of time […]


  3. […] tried everything to keep Adelaide’s long hair. Sprays, products, brushes, everything Pinterest had to offer. But Adelaide’s medication changed the texture of […]


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