Wednesday, 29 April 2009


My hairdresser Sara has a four year old boy named Marshall. I've never met him but I know a lot about him. I love hearing stories about children through their parents' perspectives. They're usually funny tales laced with a bit of frustration.

But at my last appointment, the frustration was aimed somewhere else. Marshall goes to daycare one day a week, and spends the rest of the time his parents are working with his grandparents.

The daycare hasn't been too happy with Marshall lately and have made this very clear to Sara and her husband. Apparently Marshall likes to pretend he's a character from one of his Wii games named Timbok.

One morning after he was dropped off, when one of the educators said good morning, he replied:

"I'm not Marshall, I'm Timbok!"

The educator shook her head and said:

"No, while you're here, you are Marshall."

This upset Marshall and he argued it a bit. When he saw that she wasn't going to call him Timbok, he put his hand down his pants and comforted himself by holding his penis. The educator without hesitation got down to face level with the four year old and calmly but firmly said:

"We don't do that here Marshall, please take your hands out of your pants."

"Why?" he asked.

"We just don't."

Sara heard this story secondhand from her husband. He was the one whose turn it was to pick Marshall up from daycare. All this was reported to him by the educator without apology or even much affect. She wrapped up her account by asking him this question:

"Is there anything going on at home that we should know about?"

Sara's husband Jay being a man of very few words mumbled something like:

"Not that I can think of."

He then grabbed Marshall and his coat and drove home.

This daycare is a government funded operation - not a home daycare centre. I won't tell you the name of it but it's not much different than the question Marshall asked when he was told not to grab his penis.


  1. OMGosh. I have NEVER, EVER heard of a young boy holding his penis. The child is clearly a freak. Boys (and men in general, actually)never show an interest in their penises. How bizarre.
    You should tell your friends they should get some serious psychological help for Marshall.

    Also? That pretending to be a Wii (or TV) character is completely normal. Just today I had to tell Grant to stop telling people he is Sonic.

  2. I worry for that young boy. This educator should have been more sensitive in her treatment and remarks to Marshall. His parents need to look into everything that is going on at the daycare. I hope all works out for this little boy.

  3. Wow...I also worry for the other children at that daycare center. The providers need to take a refresher course in how to properly address those kinds of situations, they probably made poor Marshall feel ashamed about his anatomy. Especially since they scolded him.

    Also what child doesn't play "pretend"?! Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I thought that it was healthy for kids to imagine.

    I agree with Septembermom, his parent's should check out what goes on during the day while he is under their care. I think that I would randomly drop in unannounced or something.

    I don't blame his parent's one bit for being frustrated over all of this.

    Thanks for the comment on my diaper post. I look forward to reading your post about the whole breastfeeding topic.

    We really enjoy living in Tucson too. I'm quite the desert rat - plus I cannot handle the cold weather! What part of Tucson did you used to live in?

    I would really love to see more of Canada some day. Whenever I was 17 my family went on vacation to Toronto & Niagara Falls - and that's the only area that I've ever seen.

  4. Hi Kim,

    I hope this child gets the help he needs.

    On a positive note, I wanted to say congratulations on the award. Visiting from Septembermom's site.

    Take care

  5. Wow - that daycare sounds like a major buzz kill. The kid should be allowed to call himself Susan if it makes him happy. This is why people grow up to be judgmental. Sorry, I'll get off the soap box now.

  6. Last week at Noah's daycare, they called him Mitch one day, and Jack the other. ALL day. Why?
    Because Noah was pretending to be a landscaper we know called Mitch, and his sister's big friend is Jack. He adores both people, and thought he might like to pretend for the day.
    He has been Noah ever since, and has also had a bit of a feel of his special little friend, south of the border, should I call the Authorities?

  7. All previous comments sum up whatever I would have to say. It's so hard to put others in charge of our kids, it makes us parents realize our "bad" is not all that "bad".

  8. Imagination and pretend are the first steps in cognative thinking and not enough children do it. It should be encouraged - maybe the parents can do that at home. I have a grandson who didn't drive little cars with sounds - he wanted his parents to move the car - now he can not figure out how to write a story to get out of highschool. imagination.

    the penis thing - I just don't think 4 years olds think of it as a sex organ... it was a perfectly natural reaction to distress - like sucking his thumb.... I know I will get bam blasted for that but is true. He is able to understand appropriate behavior - I think this is why they call pre-school - a socialization. A quick question to your pediatrician can answer all your questions about appropriate age behavior.
    **all the rock stars touch themselves while singing... not particularly age appropriate.....but little ones see it and understand what is being touched.

  9. I completely agree with everyone that a child's imagination must be encouraged. Also, touching your anatomy is not inappropriate at this age. Thank goodness Sara knows this and is planning to have a discussion with the educators at the daycare.

  10. So what? they don't allow immaginations to be used. Wow..
    My son always always used to put his hands in his pants when he was three..(if he knew i'm posting this he'd kill me) in Nursery school the teacher would calmly just redirect him. Hands' out of your pants..N...
    He surely doesn't do it

  11. Kim, I am impressed with the wisdom and knowledge coming across in these comments. As a child behavior consultant, I agree that with the positive view and support for your friend's family. I wish them well in their discussions with Marshall's teachers. Maybe these educators will learn something. :)

  12. ...nope, not having kids


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