Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Jeepers Peepers

Over the weekend, my daughter, TQ, mentioned rather casually that a boy in her 5 yr old pre-K class "showed us his penis." Then she informed us that while she didn't actually GET to see it because her friends were in the way, she did, in fact, WANT to see it.

Trying as hard as I can to be relaxed and not freak her out (or laugh, because despite the "serious” subject matter, it was kind of funny), I asked where this happened. "In the yellow tube on the playground" she replied. Basically, I grilled her about the whole thing to make sure it wasn't an exaggeration or tall tale and it seems that it isn't.

The boy, a classmate, did in fact show his thang to three little girls in the yellow tube. He told another girl to go get them because he wanted to "show them something funny." In they went and there it was, except TQ got gypped because she couldn't completely see IT. Nonetheless, she seemed to think the whole thing was rather comical.

Hubz, on the other hand, was pretty ticked and I had to nudge him and tell him to chill. Why? Because while I'm not thrilled to think about pre-K peepshows happening at an excellent private school to which we pay a small fortune each month, I'm glad that she told me at all and I praised her for it. If I started ranting and raving or making a big stink, I'm fairly certain that she would be savvy enough to not mention this sort of thing next time, should it ever occur again. I'd like to keep those lines of communication open for as long as possible.

After she told us the whole story, I explained to her, as casually as I could, that anything inside your underwear is private and that nobody should be showing it and nobody should be looking at it or touching it. My daughter has seen her baby brother naked so she knows what little boys look like and they ARE small children. Curiosity is natural and normal. To that end, I really don't want to start making body parts naughty or taboo and I don't want to be responsible for my child having a bunch of weird hang-ups as an adult.

I’m still not sure how to address the whole thing with the school. I know that telling the teacher will create a big ordeal and spur on an “investigation" that will serve no purpose but to make them feel like they've properly addressed “the situation.” And if I mention it to the boy's mother, it might not be well received and then my daughter could be labeled a liar or troublemaker. It just seems like a lose-lose situation and I don't like either option.

I've told my daughter what she needs to know about situations like that and I believe that she clearly understands. Beyond that I’m in a holding pattern while I think it over. TQ's teacher had a death in the family and she'll be out until next Monday so I won't be able to speak with her until then anyway.

If your child came home and told you something like this, what would you do and why?

(I don't even want to THINK about what kind of google searches this post is going attract...)

***PS: Don't forget about the contest at Red Stapler The winner will have their entrance fee to this years Blogher conference paid for so go check it out! (after you post here...lol)***

29 Comments:

  • Great blog. I have been aNanny and a pre-k teacher for 10 years. So my advise to you is to inform the director of the school and the teacher. As a mom you did the right this.

    By Blogger Katkat, at 3/14/2006 06:05:00 PM  

  • :( Sorry I meant thing. And I bet the teachers will keep an even closer eye on the tunnels from now one.:)

    By Blogger Katkat, at 3/14/2006 06:07:00 PM  

  • Yes, I think the teacher should get an FYI as well. As uncomfortable as it may be, and it STINKS that it is YOU that has to say it, it is important.

    Who would have thought that they might have to incorporate the "private part" talk in Pre-K? This world is getting scary.

    By Anonymous rhonda, at 3/14/2006 06:34:00 PM  

  • I think it's normal for kids to be doing this. I'm just glad I have boys and girls and that takes the mystery and intrigue out of it. Isn't this Mom stuff hard sometimes?!

    By Blogger Marcie, at 3/14/2006 07:07:00 PM  

  • Eep! Tough call. I mean if I was one of the other moms that the kid had not told that she saw a penis, I think I would want to know, so that I could open the lines of communication with my daughter. And if I had a son, whipping it out, I would want to talk to him too! Hmmm but your arguments for not telling are strong too! Tough call!

    By Anonymous chelle, at 3/14/2006 07:09:00 PM  

  • I've got a nephew in Kindergarten who has done such a thing and a 3-year-old boy who is very proud to show me his penis, so I guess this is natural, to some extent. I don't know where else this comes from.

    So, yes, you should discuss it with a teacher, especially if no one else said anything and no adults, who are in a position to talk to the boy in question, are aware.

    I know I've had my talk with my son about keeping private parts private. I just hope it happened before any major flashing incidents.

    By Blogger BlueBabae, at 3/14/2006 07:44:00 PM  

  • I think you need to tell the teacher, but I'm sure your tone will determine whether this is considered an "incident" or just something the teachers should be aware of.

    In first grade I had a boy ask me to show him "mine". We were siting in the back row. I turned up my nose at him, and I remember thinking that I was being so clever, said "only if you show me yours first." I thought that would be the end of it, but 2 seconds later there it was. I probably would have found it funny, but my MOTHER was the substitute teacher that day. Hello? The kid was obviously stupid.

    I'm amazed how I can always turn comments around to go back to ME.

    By Anonymous reluctant housewife, at 3/14/2006 08:04:00 PM  

  • Show me yours I'll show you mine is very normal. The best thing about your post is that you realize that the harmful effect of this little show and tell would come from it stifling your daughter's communication with you and your husband. If you want to bring anything up, I'd just tell your daughter how glad you are to hear EVERYTHING that happens at school - like what happened with Boy X, about the snack, about the art project etc. It is different, but you want her to feel as comfortable telling you about 'strange' events as normal ones. I promise at some point she is going to see ONE OF THOSE and you won't be the one she tells! (but that is years away!) GOOD LUCK.

    By Blogger Amy, at 3/14/2006 09:06:00 PM  

  • I think it's great that she told you and I would tell her so. You know the whole difference about secrets and all that crap. And seriously, I would tell the teacher. Right away.

    By Anonymous Kristen, at 3/14/2006 09:13:00 PM  

  • This is a toughie. I do think the whole curiosity about body parts is normal at this age, but I also think the school needs to be aware of it. I'd mention it to the teacher and possibly the director, in a non-accusatory way (because honestly, they cannot be there every moment, and things like that will happen) -- but they definitely do need to know.

    By Anonymous Nancy, at 3/14/2006 09:45:00 PM  

  • Hah! This happened to me when I was in first grade, only it was TWO boys pulling out their wangs, and wiggling them back and forth, each saying it was the (female, nun) principal's head. I never told, but one of the other girls must've, because I remember getting called in from recess to corroborate her tale.

    Definitely the teacher should know, because if this were your boy, would you want him doing this unchecked? Curiosity is normanl, but there have to be limits in school situations, y'know?

    By Blogger Mrs. Harridan, at 3/14/2006 09:50:00 PM  

  • I think a FYI to the teacher and school is good, but make sure you let them know that you don't want them to make a big deal out of it. Should this happen again, at least they have a record of it and can inform the boy's parents.

    Children at that age are just curious, and you have to be sensitive to that curiosity.

    By Anonymous Rob In China, at 3/15/2006 02:29:00 AM  

  • My sons' Pre-K 4 teacher (he just turned 5), asked if he could "pee" when in the bathroom, asked another girl who thought he could "peek".

    I was informed of this at a parent-teacher conference. I immediately asked, "WHAT? THEY USE THE SAME BATHROOM?" Apparently I did not know that they DID use the same bathroom, right across the hall from the classroom. Separate stalls, closed from eachother, though.

    The boys now walk down the hall to their OWN potty. No more mistakes and misunderstandings.

    But I agree, a little curiosity is normal. I remember (in horror, though) when this kind of thing happened on our kid heavy street. But a pre-K flasher? That's a little off the scale in my book.

    By Blogger Chaotic Mom, at 3/15/2006 07:18:00 AM  

  • Just had another memory/thought to add!

    My first son was two when diagnosed deaf. In the same couple of months my car was hit by another and pregnant me started bleeding in a not good way. Hubby had a hernia and could not participate in getting the home ready for a move. I was overwhelmed.

    One fine sun shiny day my son was on my bed watching some kiddy show. I went to my bathroom, closed the door for a private, pregnant potty break. Son opens door as I'm wiping, immediately notices I didn't have a "wee wee" like his.

    I WAS CRUSHED! I had NO CLUE how to talk to this newly-diagnosed-deaf boy about the boy and girl differences. You can imagine the pantomimes I did that day. And I found a good book with pictures to help. He was potty training, and curious. It happens.

    By Blogger Chaotic Mom, at 3/15/2006 07:23:00 AM  

  • I agree that if I were the boy's mom, I would want to know he was whippin it out. But not in an accusatory way, cuz I think it is (or at least can be, if it's relatively isolated) pretty normal. I remember seeing lots of wangs in kindergarten.

    By Blogger MrsFortune, at 3/15/2006 08:24:00 AM  

  • This sounds like pretty normal behavior to me, given their ages. I think you handled it well with your daughter--it's very good that she felt comfortable talking about it with you. I would talk to the teacher about it pretty much like you told us about it--that you don't want to come down too strongly about it and make it taboo or forbidden, but that perhaps she should have a general chat with the class about keeping private parts private. They'll probably outgrow their curiosity soon, anyway, and consider the opposite sex "yucky."

    By Blogger Arabella, at 3/15/2006 10:13:00 AM  

  • I definitely wouldn't have a one-on-one with the other mom. I would probably tell the teacher or director.

    By Blogger Chag, at 3/15/2006 10:41:00 AM  

  • I think you handled it perfectly with your child. You definately don't want to send shameful messages but at the same time make sure she knows those are HER private parts. As for letting the school know, I think I would hold off. But if it happens again, then the little boy will certainly need to be called out to the school so they can "handle it."

    By Blogger kfk, at 3/15/2006 12:14:00 PM  

  • I think you handled it perfectly. I think it's perfectly normal for children to do this, and to be curious.

    It was very smart to remain calm with your daughter. As you said if you had of reacted strongly, she may never have told you again when things like this happen. By reacting the way you did you kept the lines of communication open.

    I would definitely tell the teacher or the director of the school. Whoever is on yard duty at the school needs to know that the tunnels need supervision too.

    By Blogger Undercover Angel, at 3/15/2006 01:02:00 PM  

  • The same thing happened to me in kindergarten – though the boy wanted us to touch it. Also - the little boy in question did it more than once - and, as I ran into him several times as we went through school together (insular area) he soon developed a reputation for not being someone you'd want to be caught alone with. Now, looking back, I'd suspect something might have been very wrong at home.

    Do talk to the teacher. That person can then be aware of this, and watch for signs that all might not be well. It could be innocuous - but best not take the chance. Wonderful blog, by the way; and I think you handled the situation like a champ!

    By Blogger The Fat Lady Sings, at 3/15/2006 01:09:00 PM  

  • I don't think I would tell a teacher just yet. He obviously knows that his private parts aren't to be showed, or else he wouldn't have bothered to do it in the tube in "secret".
    I'm guessing that even if you did let the teacher know, you wouldn't be telling your daughter that you did so. It's good that she can tell you things like this without feeling that she's getting someone else in trouble. In fact, if you choose to make a little report (even a friendly one), you might consider not identifying the boy in question. It will definitely change the way the teacher sees him, and although teachers aren't supposed to talk about things like this between each other, we often do.

    By Anonymous kim, at 3/15/2006 01:21:00 PM  

  • I would definitely talk to the teacher so she can talk privately to the boy and his parents. But I wouldn't make a huge ordeal over it at this age.
    Your explanation to your daughter was great though - I'll have to remember that if we're ever in the same situation with our daughter.

    By Blogger creative-Type Dad (Tony), at 3/15/2006 01:27:00 PM  

  • OMG - that is crazy. I don't know what I would do, but I'd like to think I would stay as calm and level-headed as you. I think you were right about not making a stink. You want her to feel comfortable coming to you with anything. The teacher probably needs to know though.

    By Blogger J's Mommy, at 3/15/2006 02:42:00 PM  

  • It sounds like you handled this beautifully with your daughter. And I agree with many of the others here that you should talk to the teacher/director and let THEM talk to the boy's parents. My son's pre-school had an excellent week-long program (led by professionals from a local agency) about private parts, good and bad touch, and stranger danger-type stuff. It was excellent, and we now have that to refer back to if/when anything like this ever comes up.

    By Blogger Mrs. Davis, at 3/15/2006 03:20:00 PM  

  • Well done, Izzy. I hope I will handle these kinds of situations with the same aplomb. I agree with those who have said that the tone you take with the teacher is the most important thing. Let her know you're not pissed or freaking out over it, but also let her know that with her being the teacher, you assume that more information is better. It sounds like a teachable moment for the whole class!

    By Blogger stefanierj, at 3/15/2006 03:26:00 PM  

  • Yes - both Teacher and Directo need to knw. Not because the children are over-sexually aware - but the adults should be a bit more aware of what is happening at all times. Any time a group of children disappear anywhere? That's a sign.

    This way the natural Mom/Dad reaction gets transmitted through the Teacher/Director and they can address it with the boy and his family. - as well as all the other little girls who got an eyeful. Plus, Honesty with families is the BEST policy- Always!

    By Blogger Dawn, at 3/15/2006 07:43:00 PM  

  • I think what the boy did was pretty much part of normal development, although it probably shouldn't be encouraged in a playground setting. A word with the teacher would be good, but hopefully the situation will be dealt with diplomatically. You don't want the boy being traumatized.

    By Anonymous emma, at 3/16/2006 05:19:00 AM  

  • A similar situation happened in Z's class when she was in preschool. And we had a very similar conversation at home about the whole thing. I didn't want to freak out and not have her share those types of things with me. I did mention it to the teacher and evidently this was not the first time it had happened. Yikes! A serial preschool flasher!

    By Anonymous Nixie Knox, at 3/16/2006 06:17:00 PM  

  • I agree it is in all likelihood just the usual. But in my opinion, it's not a bad idea to tell the teacher so they know what's going on between the students in their classroom. If any of the other girls feels uncomfortable, it could change the dynamic. It also could help the techer to have a head's up in case one of the other girls' parents are upset about the incident.

    And just in case it is an indicator of further things to come from this kid, it gives them the tip-off just to keep an eye open for it. I think a seasoned teacher would surely have seen worse and understand this isn't in itself unusual, so she won't label him a perv right off the bat.

    And more kudos to you for your handling of it.

    By Blogger kittenpie, at 3/20/2006 11:29:00 AM  

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