Marvin Hayes had not missed a day of school this year and never played hooky, but his perfect attendance record was marred this week.
On Wednesday, his mother let him miss a day to play doctor -- helping her deliver her fifth child on the living room floor of their Southeast Baltimore rowhouse.
"She said her stomach hurt. . . . She told me to get some scissors and some covers," 9-year-old Marvin said, relating the story that enthralled his third-grade classmates the next day at Graceland Park-O'Donnell Heights Elementary. "I wasn't scared. I was excited.
"I was the doctor and the nurse," Marvin said, with a proud, gap-toothed grin.
Marvin was the only coach 28-year-old Dominique Daniels had as she went into labor shortly before Marvin and his younger brother would have left for school.
"Marvin was really calm," Daniels said. "He kept saying, 'Mommy, are you ready to push now?' "
Daniels said she was waiting for the baby's father to come home from work in Towson so he could watch their 1- and 2-year-old daughters while she went to the hospital. But the baby wouldn't wait.
There was no telephone in the home, and she did not want Marvin to leave her side. "He was coaching," she said. "He was a brave son."
Marvin said he boiled the scissors and spread out covers before his mother asked him to hold her hand as she had contractions.
Marvin said he watched the 6-pound, 8-ounce baby just "shoot" out.
Daniels said her son was shouting, "Oh, Mommy, it's a baby, it's a baby," and Marvin was the one who started crying.
"I was happy and sad," he said. "[My mom] said, 'You don't have to cry, Marvin. It's just a baby.' "
But then there's no such thing as "just" an umbilical cord.
Dibs on the cord-cutting were supposed to go to Marvin's 6-year-old brother, DeMario Hayes. But as DeMario peeked down the stairs and saw his mother on the floor, he issued a definite "uh-uh." Daniels said she was too afraid to cut the cord herself.
So Marvin, in what Daniels described as true big-brother fashion, did the honors.
Timmaroe Chase was born at 10: 25 a.m. By the time Daniels' fiance, Charles Chase, arrived home about noon, she and Marvin had tidied the room and had the baby cleaned and dressed in her older sisters' baby clothes.
The couple sent Marvin to a pay phone to call a cab that would take Daniels and the newborn to a hospital -- and that just added to the adventure.
Marvin said that when he reached the pay phone, he found he had the wrong change -- only a Susan B. Anthony dollar.
He ran into three policemen, and they wanted to know why he wasn't in school -- so he brought them to his home in the 1300 block of Broening Highway to see his excuse and provide the help his family needed.
"They were like, 'Whoa,' " he said. "They said, 'Good job, Marvin.' "
An ambulance was called, and the mother and baby were on their way to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The mother was sent home Thursday, and yesterday afternoon the family brought home tiny Timmaroe.
Daniels said she's seen television shows where young children helped their mother deliver a baby -- but those children are usually on the telephone talking to a 911 dispatcher or paramedic while an ambulance is on the way.
"He learned how to deliver a baby," she said, "and he learned in an important situation to be calm, not nervous."
Daniels said Marvin excels in school, which is why she hoped the teachers wouldn't hold this one absence against him.
Quite the contrary. His teacher, Kimberly Hill, said Marvin's excuse has made the school proud -- and made him something of a celebrity.
For his bravery, Marvin was wearing a large red and yellow paper ribbon that boasted, "Special Person: I delivered my baby sister."
"This is a neighborhood where they hear about so many tragedies," Hill said. "It's great to hear about an accomplishment from someone from our school."
The students were working on a newspaper project, and many made "9-year-old delivers baby" the front-page headline in their personal version of The School Times.
"I think he was a hero," said 8-year-old Joshua Howell.
And Samora Hall, also 8, observed: "I was just shocked 'cause I never had a classmate deliver a baby before."
Pub Date: 5/23/98