Romy And The Bunnies

Interviews

Jane Keltner De Valle

SENIOR FASHION NEWS DIRECTOR AT TEEN VOGUE, MOTHER OF ROMAN, NYC

How old is Roman?
6 1/2 months
As a working mom, how long after his birth did you have to go back to work? How do you plan your busy mommy schedule?

I took a full three months off. It was such a special bonding time—I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love being back at work though, and generally feel more balanced being a working mom. Our time together in the mornings and evenings is very special, and weekends are the best. I go to a lot fewer dinners and events now, although Roman goes to bed early enough that it’s also possible to put him down and then go out. What we can’t really do anymore is be spontaneous. If we want to do something at night, we need a babysitter and we have to plan ahead. We are lucky to have an amazing support system. We have a wonderful nanny (who looked after me when I was growing up), and my family lives here so they help out a lot. My husband’s family visits regularly, too.

On your time off, what are your favorite things to do together with Roman?
Bedtime reading is a nightly ritual that I love. He’s very interactive with the books—banging on them and crinkling the pages. During the week, we have pre-work breakfast dates with my sister and niece at Grey Dog. We spend most weekends in rural Connecticut, which is a nice break from the city. And on the few days this spring that have actually felt like spring, we have taken him to the park. He’s just big enough for the baby swing there! He’s still quite young, so his activities are a little limited. He loves fresh air though, so we go on lots of long walks in his stroller or with the baby carrier. And he just discovered swimming pools. We will be doing a lot of swimming and splashing
around in Connecticut this summer.
Have you travelled yet with him? Any tips? (people always love travelling tips with a baby)
We just returned from a trip to West Palm Beach. It was Roman’s first time seeing the ocean and swimming. I was really nervous about the flights. You never want to be that mom with the screaming baby! But he was quite good on the plane. He had a bottle at takeoff and landing—they say the sucking motion helps relieve pressure on the ears, and it definitely worked for us. I also packed plenty of toys to keep him entertained. I am slightly obsessed with sanitizing everything he touches, so I brought a ton of wipes to clean the arm rests and anything else he came into contact with. I suggest taking as little equipment as possible, and renting what you can there. We took his carseat with us, but rented a crib, high chair, and stroller.

What are your favorite baby clothing brands to dress Roman?
I like quite traditional French- and Spanish-style baby clothes in neutral whites, greys, and blues. Bonpoint and Bonton are favorites. Baby Cottons on the Upper East Side also has great simple pieces. There are tons of wonderful children’s stores in the Carnegie Hill area of the Upper East Side, which is where my parents live. Rachel Riley and Magic Windows other good ones. Then in Soho, there is this tiny, jewel box Japanese store called Makie that has cool things. I also have a soft spot for classic, engineer-stripe OshKosh overalls. For basics, Marks & Spencer makes makes the best soft cotton sleepsuits and onesies. Roman’s godmother lives in Europe and sends them to us in bulk!
Favorite toys?
A dinosaur stuffed animal given to him by his cousin, a plush Peter Rabbit, Sophie the Giraffe, and a yellow crochet taxi cab rattle. He has a metro card one too, but he prefers the taxi. Like mother, like son! He was given a beautiful hand-crafted wooden xylophone when he was born, and he’s just now coordinated enough to be able to hold the sticks and make music on it. It’s pretty adorable, although his father and I are probably the only people who appreciate his musical abilities. I’m waiting for the neighbors to start complaining.
What is your mummy #1 must have (example a carrier, a stroller, a diaper bag you love)
I never bought any diaper bags per say (unless Ferragamo and Jason Wu count?), but I was given an Anya Hindmarch “baby emergency” black nylon zip pouch that I never leave home without. It holds diapers, wipes, all the essentials. It even comes with a fold-up changing pad for when you need to change a diaper on the go. It’s compact, so it’s easy to throw in whatever bag I’m carrying on a given day.
You managed to keep the same lean silhouette through pregnancy, what are your tips?
If only! I gained almost fifty pounds! I can’t tell you how many times I was asked if I was having twins. Even my doctor was convinced Roman would be ginormous. Thankfully, he was a normal, healthy 7 lbs, 11 oz. I did stay active throughout the pregnancy, though. I didn’t really work out, but I worked up until he was born and I walked a lot. It helped to stay busy. I also tried to be conscious of what I was consuming since all of a sudden you are responsible for this other life. I wanted him to be getting all the essential nutrients he needed. I live near a vegan restaurant called Peacefoods, and I would order their kale, bok choy, and cauliflower dish at least two or three times a week. I drank a lot of fresh juices, too. Full disclosure, though: I had croissants and bacon most mornings for breakfast.
What was your pregnancy style? Did you give into any maternity brands?
My regular style revolves around a nipped-waist, so I had a major wardrobe identity crisis when I started showing (which was almost immediately). Maternity clothes are pretty dreadful, so I mostly bought regular pieces in larger sizes and then had them tailored. I found Oscar de la Renta and Dior dresses with a fitted bust, and had the straps and waist brought up so they were more empire-waisted. Balenciaga and Chloe had some great swing dresses and tunics that season that worked well with an expanding belly. And I got stretchy, low-rise jeans at Topshop that I wore throughout my pregnancy with oversize boyfriend shirts from Equipment and MiH Jeans. I had gotten maternity jeans from another brand, but they gave me blisters the first time I wore them. The only maternity brand I actually liked a couple of pieces from was Hatch Collection. They have a great website, and the clothes are really simple and well done. But I found maternity in general to be really depressing. I don’t know why more designers haven’t jumped on that bandwagon. There are so many moms who want to be fashionable while they are pregnant. It is a golden opportunity for someone to corner the market.
My tip for moms-to-be would be to invest in a handful of nice pieces you can wear over and over through your pregnancy that will make you feel good. There is no need to buy a ton of stuff as it’s such a temporary thing. But it’s important to have things that make you look and feel your best. And you can always tailor things down after you have the baby.
What was your beauty routine? Were you one of those moms who suddenly became conscious into what went on your skin and changed your whole beauty routine and products?
I did become obsessed with using paraben-free skincare products. You have a little life growing inside of you, and you want everything you consume or absorb to be as pure and natural as possible. I was lucky in that the face creams I use from La Roche Posay are paraben-free anyway. For my body and belly, I loved Clarins huile tonic and Miranda Kerr‘s Kora Organics rosehip oil. I slathered them on my belly religiously, and credit the fact that I am stretch mark free to them being miracles in a bottle! They make your skin so soft that I’ve kept using them post-baby.
For Roman, I like Mustela and Erba Viva products. Erba Viva is all organic. They make this lip and cheek balm that really helped soften his chapped cheeks during the long, cold winter.
When you have a moment, what do you do to take time for yourself and relax?
My husband and I do weekly date nights. My dad babysits Roman and we get a night to ourselves.
Do you cook for Roman? If so, whats your mommy signature dish?
He’s only six months old so food is a new concept. Rice cereal and mushed carrots or peas are the extent of his cuisine at the moment. I do make everything fresh though—no canned foods!