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Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Easton’s Expressive Ensemble

02/10/2011 at 09:00 AM ET
Adam Hendershot

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.

In her latest blog, Röhm — who is mom to 2½-year-old daughter Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — laughs about Easton’s latest fabulous outfit and recalls her own childhood self-expressiveness.

 

“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

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Showing 34 comments

Allie on

Elisabeth, I remember from when you announced Easton’s birth that she has a different last name from you and your fiance. I’m really intrigued by that choice–has it caused you and Ron any issues since her birth, since she doesn’t share either of your last names?

Mommy of 2 on

allie-she doesnt have either of their last names?? why?? i didnt even know that.

victoria on

HA HA HA my 3 year old LOVES in her bathing suit too!!! i wonder what it is with them? =)

Kristin on

^ She had said “Anthony” is Ron’s other surname so Easton does have the same last name as her dad. Maybe he just uses Wooster for work or something?

Great blog this week Elisabeth, they really keep getting better and better. I’m relating to you more each week. Sometimes you have to let them make their own choices!

My boys went through a phase last fall where all they wanted to wear were their Halloween costumes. At first I was very resistant, but then I decided to just let it go. I told them they had to wear actual clothing to school, but that otherwise it was fine. I did end up with a Batman and a Spiderman accompanying me to the bank and the grocery store, but they got tired of it within a few weeks and it definitely wasn’t worth a fight. Plus, the smiles we got from strangers were pretty funny!!

Momof3girls on

My 4 year old loves these flowered pants that are about two sizes too small…there pretty much capri’s at this point…lol

There faded and horrible…but she wears them every day IN THE HOUSE!! lol

On a different note…Elisabeth is absolutely beautiful!!!

megan on

My 4 year old girl must where a swimsuit every time she takes a bath!!! Its a bit ridiculous cause we have to take it off to wash up at the end. Gotta love little girls:) I’ve learned to pick my battles…its just not worth it!

jessicad on

I LOVE that last sentence, very true.

My daughter loves to be naked or in a swimsuit, we are summer girls and so over the snow that keeps coming in the South! I remember one time last summer she kept taking off her swimsuit top and I told her it wasn’t appropriate to show other people her tummy or breasts, she then told me her skin feels better without clothes and I should try showing my boobies to the neighbors because it would make me feel better!

I couldn’t keep myself from laughing, and I remembered the day my mother told me I had to start wearing shirts outside and how much it upset me. I was around 4 years old and was definitely a tomboy, it didn’t make sense to me because my brother could play outside without a shirt and I couldn’t, it was so unfair. So I decided to let her be a little more free while she still can and I stopped worrying about what the neighbors think:) She’s only 3!

Beka on

My daughter has three pairs of boy pajamas and Thomas shirt that she is in love with. She also is obsessed with a pair of “comfty” jammies that are white and have purple flowers all over it.

Em on

Her daughter’s name is “Easton August”, first and middle name. August is not her surname.

I think that picture is lovely…

Shannon on

Ahahaha that is so cute! Glad you didn’t crush her spirit!

heather on

very cute! So far no clothes drama for us with my two and half year old son but I do remember that my sister had a “poofy” slip that she wore when she was about 2 or 3…it started off white but was a lovely shade of yellowish brown by time she finally would get rid of it. She would wear that slip EVERYWHERE, lol…my mom would have to put a shirt on over it and jeans on underneath it but my sister didnt care as long as that “poofy part” was showing, lol!

Jill on

Em, Her daughter’s last name is Anthony.

B.R on

I love read the blog and all the picture are just amazing. With my family it’s socks. They all go into the same load, never get matched up, and every morning is the same walk by the hamper grab two socks, regardless of what they look like and go on with your day. My 14 year old daughter and I love wearing funny socks, purple, pink, green, butterflies, frogs, just fun sock and you think my two sons and husband would mind, but no they just grab and go and I love it. There is nothing better then seeing two boys 16&15 and a grown man wearing one pink sock with butterflies and the other purple or green or white. It make me smile ever day, and we have been like that since we first became parents six years ago and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cindy on

That is so funny and cute. Thanks for sharing!

robinepowell on

My only thing clothes wise, is I would not wear jeans, for the longest time. Not until I was around 14, I think. Sweatpants and leggings. Not to mention I hated dresses. Today I live in jeans and save the dresses for weddings. ;)

Whitney on

I was in kindergarten and my mom took me school clothes shopping, I guess I hated everything on the racks. She called my dad and told him I was impossible to shop for and he said that I would just have to wear what I already had. It did not cause the world to end or any other disaster, However, I never learned because I am the same way at 28.

My four year cousin is similar, stubborn to the bone…. and to make matters worse – SHE IS A LABEL WH@#$! She knows that OPI is a top nail polish brand and even though she has every color of polish only wants me to paint her nails with an OPI brand polish. Really?? She heard us say the brand once and just put it all together in her mind herself that it was the “good stuff”. My mom never taught me how to put on make-up, in fact she once asked me how I learned how to do it. I guess being in musicals in school and getting my own make-up kit in elementary for the stage didn’t help my addiction to make-up. Now I teach my mom! I know my cousin is going to be the girl who wants to wear make-up to school and pick out her own crazy ensembles…

I agree with Elisabeth… and some other people who say, they don’t say no and that they are only (insert age) so why not – this is the time that they can get away with it and eventually they will learn that they cannot wear make-up to school at 8 or that they need to wear weather sensible clothing etc. If we are teaching them at 4 that things are NOT okay then they have this negative reaction to things as they get older.

It also is not even that they are learning from us, we are all born with unique personalities and sometimes they just shine through from the moment we are born. Why not embrace that? It seems Easton realized, without having to be told, that all those layers would become uncomfortable.

Wonderful blog – looking forward to the next one.

MiB on

Haha! I apparently refused to take off a pair of red rain boots for nearly two weeks when I was two. I even wore them to bed and only took them off to have a bath in the evenings as my mother insisted I could only take a bath if I took my rain boots off (I loved taking baths!).

There are also a couple of pictures of me walking around town dressed up as an easter bunny when I was four, my mother had converted my brown snow suit by sewing a bunny tail onto it and sewing bunny ears to my hat. It was only supposed to be for an egg hunt, but I got so upset when she removed the tail and ears that she sewed them back on again :)

Ladie Binkerton on

OMG these stories are so precious! I was one of seven children, and we weren’t allowed the freedom of self expression, probably out of a fear that chaos would reign. That being said, I love to see babies and children expressing their quirky, developing sense of fashion with abandon. I’ve see the halloween costumes worn well into the thanksgiving season, and the four year old being indulged with the “each fingernail a different color” experimentation. Gotta love it. I have no children of my own, but other peoples kids can be so amusing.

kim on

Seriously? Cute enough story, but I can’t help but think that this child needs a good dose of Vitamin N – “No.” No to sleeping in bathing suits. Yes, you can pick out your own clothes, but No not 7 pieces layered on top of each other.

lilly on

What a lovely picture. Beautiful duo.

Tammy on

Love the blog! I have five children and they have all experienced some fashion faux pas. My third son insisted on going everywhere in his Superman cape. He was about one and half when it started. I would try to say no or compromise and say he could wear it in the car but when we got where we were going he’d have to leave it in the car. Sure, that worked – not! Some battles just aren’t worth fighting. We had lots of looks and he made a lot of people smile. He was always getting talked to about how brave he must be. He even wore it a few times to kindergarten. Now he’s a first grader and doesn’t need it as much and I am a little sad. He’s growing up!

maggie on

my four year old daughter, audrey, will still only wear three specific shirts and two pairs of pants. she has plenty to chose from, but she only wants certain clothing:) it’s pretty funny to watch her try to dress herself. her favorite outfit is her hawaiian tiki princess dress paired her yellow floral rainboots, and nine hair clips. it has to be nine hairclips:) oh to be four again!

JulieA on

I wholeheartedly agree with Kim when she says, “Seriously? Cute enough story, but I can’t help but think that this child needs a good dose of Vitamin N – “No.” No to sleeping in bathing suits. Yes, you can pick out your own clothes, but No not 7 pieces layered on top of each other.”

Children can still be creative within boundaries. Without them, you’ll be raising a contrary child who will not respect authority or rules. Clothing options may seem benign – a “small battle” to pick – but everything you do with your child is a lesson. This one could be a lesson in culture and societal expectations.

Shannon on

Loosen up people. The child has the rest of her life to conform. lol

Paige on

Many years ago my mother, who also recently passed bought my two older boys red cowboy boots. Neither of them were particulary impressed but my third son (who is now 17) LOVED them. So he started with the smaller pair and wore them EVERYWHERE, church, home, play group, summer, winter, with shorts with dress clothes it didn’t matter. When he outgrew those he went right into the other pair. Dylan became known around our small community because of his red boots. After 2 years of red boots he outgrew the second pair, here comes Nana with “snake boots”. So another year of boots were upon us. To this day shoe shopping is one of his favorite things and he is an avid NIKE fan today!

tannervandelaar on

i think that allowing kids to express themselves is as equally important as teaching them the importance of dressing appropriately. my daughters were allowed to pick a dress or pants. then i chose according to the weather, where we would be going ,etc.halloween costumes are fine for dress-up at home but not for school. flip-flops are great but not in the snow.i know people will probably disagree with me but my kids have all thrived under clearly defined boundaries and expectations.i love them to bits but life is easier when they are raised from a young age to understand we all have rules to follow .

keisha whitaker on

Loved the blog having 3 daughters this is my typical day and if it’s a special occasion layers always involved they either leave with them or leave in a pile….But they all have unique fashion taste and style. I feel it is an Homage to me :)

Kate on

My son is 2 1/2 as well and if I let him he would wear his NJ Devil’s hockey jersey all day every day!

Victoria on

That was a wonderful blog. My goddaughter, Mandolin Grace, is 3 and she is obsessed with Angelina Ballerina. When I say obsessed, I mean obsessed! She really wants to be a ballerina! It’s insane and oh so very annoying but I indulge her. Why? Because she’s 3, she eats her vegatables, and life is hard for a 3 year old being obsessed with 6 yr old rat! Her grandmother bought her a tutu and we cannot go anywhere without her wearing the tutu. If we are going out somewhere and she does not have the tutu, life stops until she gets the tutu. We allow her to be carefree and independent because there is no harm. She is creating her own identity and she does not need a life full of boundaries at this age. She is respectful, says please and thank you, and she eats her veggies. I’m down with the tutu for a few more months until she’s onto something else.

Hi on

kim- I agree to a certain extent. Sleeping in bathing suits and wearing 5 layers shouldn’t be allowed. Elizabeth would have known that Easton was going to get really really REALLY hot, but didn’t do anything to prevent it.

jes on

I thought it was a great story, I don’t have kids, but have friends who have indulged their kids on similar things and those kids have turned out okay as they’ve grown. This could also be a teaching experience for Easton, she chose to wear all those layers, but inturn she also leaned that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to have so many on because she 1st her car seat was probably a little snugger than she’s use to 2nd she couldn’t get into the booster seat w/out help and 3rd, once in the booster seat and she wasn’t comfortable and or hot, which lead to the shedding of layers. This may lead her and other kinds who’ve done the same thing not to wear so many layers next time they dress.

I did the layering thing this past X-Mas when I shopped in Chicago, I was toasty outside but was way to hot once in the stores.

Pat on

I loved reading each and every comment and smiled. I also had 3 daughters but want to comment on one. This particular one who is now grown and in her own home, at the age of 15 was a true rebel. Her room was a mess and I would find her in bed with the bottom of her feet black. As many of you said, I also decided to pick my battles. There were so many things that I needed to be on her about, I decided to let the room be, closed the bedroom door and that was it. As it all turned out, she showers at least twice a day, her clothes are immaculate and her room is always made up. It works!!!

Christine on

My 3-year old daughter, who by the way insists she is 4, will fight to the death against wearing pants. If indeed I must get her into pants it take a lot of preparation. Beginning with a casual reference when she wakes up, perhaps another while she enjoys her morning milk, and then another after I get out of the shower. By the 4th or 5th time, if she has not objected, I can usually sneak in and get them on her without much fuss. But the truth is I enjoy the little dance I have to do because it gives me such pleasure that she is opinionated – like me.

Danielle on

When my daughter was three she wore a Little Mermaid costume with a pink striped hoodie cardigan and matching pink rain boots for an entire week. At home and at out for errands. We have also had weeks dedicated to a Cinderella costume (with socks and sandals) and a Snow White costume (with sneakers but no socks). These days she is eight and refuses to wear matching socks or pants with buttons or a zipper – it’s odd socks and pull-on yoga pants everyday!

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