By Dr. Tina Lepage Dr. Tina Lepage is the owner of Lepage Associates Solution-Based Psychological & Psychiatric Services, a group practice in S. Durham/RTP. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Parenting Page: Getting Outed

By Dr. Tina Lepage Posted July 15, 2014 at 6:00 am

This is a parenting page, about parenting Page. I am a child psychologist and a mother. So I specialize in children, yet I am human, thus I am full of knowledge and yet as full of emotions as any other parent. So I decided to write this Parenting Page since it might be informative and funny for others to take an insider look at a child specialist raising her child. I also wanted to create a way to show Page when she grows up, if she chooses to have children, a real-life view of the experience. I hope you enjoy these stories and musings.

Kids learn a lot of things at school and summer camps. Not necessarily the things you want them to learn. Oh, I don’t mean things they shouldn’t be doing kind of stuff… I mean, they learn information you may have been keeping from them…

One day in preschool at pick up, Page jumped into the car and said to me in her most perturbed voice, “Mom, FRUIT IS NOT DESSERT! YOGURT IS NOT DESSERT!” I said, “Of course fruit and yogurt are dessert, bugaboo.” But she was having none of it; she was furious. She went on (in a tone of voice she is not supposed to take with me), “NO! NO! They’re not dessert, mom. Cake is dessert! Cookies are dessert! The other kids told me!” Oh. Damn. I’d been outed. No going back; she now knew I had been giving her healthy desserts, which she now refused to even call dessert. She had tried to tell the kids she had fruit in her lunch for dessert, and they assured her fruit was something you eat but it was decidedly not dessert, going on to show off their cookies and such. Though I continued to give Page fruit and yogurt for dessert, she would now and forever moan and groan about how that was not really dessert and I was such a difficult mother. We did go through a stage where I threw in a little granola, thus transforming the ingredients into a parfait, which she agreed was dessert.

Another day years later I got a call from summer camp from a yet again annoyed child. “Mom, my phone doesn’t do A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G!” she moaned. “What are you talking about?” I inquired. She groaned, “You know what I mean! It just calls people! It doesn’t play games, or text, or have apps, or anything!” I had bought her a cheap, simple, disposable phone for emergencies. Apparently, realizing its limitations was an emergency since she called me.

As our children age and get real world information from other children, we parents are often called out on anything we might have been doing that is in any way “less than” or “different than” the perceived norm. It’s funny how as humans – probably of all ages – we are often quite content with what we have until we learn there is something more to have. I use these instances to try to point this out to Page, though she is rarely as interested in this philosophizing as I am. She just wants cake and a better phone.

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