Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Easton’s Expressive Ensemble
Thanks for welcoming our celebrity blogger — Elisabeth Röhm!
The actress, 37, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, has a busy 2011 ahead of her.
She can be seen on the big screen in the upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Abduction, and plans to continue her role as spokesmom for Juno Baby.
“Mommy, can I sleep in my bathing suit?”
“Why can’t I be naked at the party?”
“This baby bonnet fits! It does!” (Says the 2½-year-old…)
“I want blue, red and purple nails.”
Just another day in the life of a mom! These requests remind me of the many eccentric expressions of my youth. Like when I wanted my head shaved at the age of 12 … or the entire decade that I insisted on wearing non-matching earrings. Of course, it also makes me recall a story my mother told me about kindergarten and a particular dress that I was fond of — we’ll get back to that later!
I have to tell you about my date night last night! Not the grown-up one, although that was fun too. I mean my date night with Easton. We’ve grown fond of our weekly dinner dates. So, as I was pulling myself together and making sure my ensemble had a catchy look, Easton calls out to me, “Mommy, I’ll get my coat and shoes on. Be right back!” “How very mature,” I thought as I put the finishing touches on my face: lipstick and a little blush. It was date night after all!
Afterwards, I went to her room to help her with her shoes only to discover that Easton had her own fashion agenda going on. She had put a sweatshirt over her top and was systematically pulling out other shirts, coats and dresses from her closet to get a layered look.
She said, “This one please” as she pointedly directed me to put a sweater on over her blouse and sweatshirt. I obliged. “This one please” and she passed another jacket to me before topping it off with a pink fur coat. Get the picture? She had about five layers of clothing on and she’d only just begun!
Next, she wanted me to help slip her cute little feet into some high-octane glitter heels. She was as pleased as punch with herself as we left her room and headed towards the front door. So what’s a mom to do? We are going to a fabulous new restaurant together to have our weekly outing, but who really cares if we get a few looks? Isn’t that the point of fashion?!
Right before we exit she says, “Wait!” and runs back to her room. She skips through the living room back to me and hands over her grand finale — a bright fuchsia dress with colorful fireflies on it in blue, green and purple. Easton struggles to get it on over the many other layers. “I want this!” she insists. Not wanting to burst her bubble I say, “You’ll never fit into the car-seat with all these clothes on, honey. This dress is going to make it impossible.” She looked at me as if to say, “You just don’t get it!”
This is foreshadowing of teenage years to come, isn’t it?! Knowing that we have to pick our battles wisely I say, “Okay, but we’ll never be able to put the buckle around you.” She gives me a look an insistent look. So I do what any mother would do, and snugly pull the dress on over her three jackets and shirt. And so we waddled out the door!
It was hilarious actually — she was determined that the look she created was fabulous, perfect and splendiferous (to use a Fancy Nancy phrase)! And so it was! As we maneuvered to the car, the moment made me think of my mother and the many stories she had shared with me about my own absurdities as a child. As you can imagine I was pretty outlandish myself, future actress and all!
In that moment I so wanted to call my mother — who recently passed away — and laugh with her about Easton’s independence. Instead, I thought to tell Easton about when I was little, actually just a bit older than her and in kindergarten. I told her that I too was very expressive with my wardrobe and that I appreciated her style, even though I was still pretty sure that we would not be able to strap the snug car-seat straps around her Michelin Man bulges from those extra layers!
I remember Mom told me long ago about a scandal I created for her through my particular fashion preferences. I guess, as the story goes, that I had a favorite dress. It was white cotton with red piping and ruffles. A real party dress! It was a charming, thin and flowy summer frock. As it turns out, I didn’t just like the dress or fancy it — I was obsessed with the dress.
It seems that I insisted on wearing it for months straight. Something like September, October and November. My poor mother had to wash it every night and as it got colder — I grew up in New York — she even had to go so far as to add snow pants and a parka to the ensemble so that I would not freeze to death. Can you imagine?
Finally the school called her in for a parent/teacher conference. They gently asked her if she was having financial difficulties because it concerned them that I was wearing a summer dress in the chilly fall months. As my mother told it, she was thoroughly embarrassed thinking she’d made an error indulging me for so long.
Then she decided if faced with the choice again, she would always lean towards allowing me to express myself freely. The dress was clean, wasn’t it? She washed that dang thing every day for months! It makes me laugh thinking of it now. Easton just barely fit into that car-seat last night, readers!
As we drove to the restaurant I decided not to think twice about my darling daughter’s expression of herself. I stifled a laugh as we walked in to have dinner and she awkwardly shuffled through the bustling dining room, turning a few heads as she went. When we got to the table, she struggled to get up into her seat. She looked at me and said, “Mommy, help me.”
As she settled into her booster I guess she realized that her ensemble was not as practical as it was fashionable, so she peeled off a layer or two just to get comfy. We understand completely, right moms? Sometimes our most fashionable looks are not at all comfortable or practical — like our treasured high heels for instance!
So, to the question, “Can I sleep in my bathing suit?” I suppose the answer is, “Yes Easton, you can sleep in your bathing suit.” Why not?! PEOPLE.com readers, I’m curious to hear your child’s latest or most absurd act of expression. We could all use some inspiration from our little ones on how to live more freely — long live irreverence!
– Elisabeth Röhm