"We should really also give her something store-bought," said Rebecca, breaking a long concentration spell during which only the irregular stitch-stiiitch-stitch sound of the sewing machine, which she was learning to operate at a slow speed, could be heard.
"But why?" I replied. "Nothing we buy could be as precious to your friend as this nightdress you've spent the better part of the morning making for her with your own hands." I was pleasantly surprised to see that she seemed convinced.
"She's so lucky!", continued Rebecca.
"Why is that?" I asked out of politeness - because I also think the birthday girl is very lucky: they live in a house right on the beach, and where their terrace ends, the sand begins. But Rebecca wasn't thinking house-envy thoughts.
"She's lucky because her hair is long", she explained. Ah, long hair envy ... I found my voice of wisdom, and reminded her that she should wear her hair in the style she likes, and not echo someone else's. Besides, it's not the length of our hair, but what we've got inside, that matters.
"But also, her hair is curly", she went on. "No, I'm afraid, you can't have natural curls," my voice of experience explained. "When you're older, you might want to try to have your hair permed, but it will never look naturally curly. It'll look like straight hair that's been permed." And because she didn't ask the question I feared, "How old do I need to be to have my hair permed?", I concluded with my voice of wisdom: "It's important to learn to accept and be grateful for what you have and who you are."
"And her hair is BLOND!" she finally blurted out. Well, ...
I told her that her own hair is a beautiful color, the color of ripe chestnuts, the color of her Daddy's and my hair. I didn't add that at this point in life I too begin to envy blondes, because they don't show white hair as easily! I didn't tell her, because white hair wasn't what my six-year-old had in mind when she was thinking her blond-hair-envy thoughts.
Then we went back to the sewing machine, and as we sewed our envy evaporated. And together we made a very special present for the (lucky) birthday girl - together, and by hand.
Pattern Notes: this is the first time Rebecca really used the sewing machine. With my guidance, she was able to do all the straight seams and the hems by herself (though naturally, not all the stitching is perfectly straight), and she enjoyed it immensely. The pattern is a very easy one, and easily adaptable, from my favorite French sewing book, which I've previously made into the original Chemise de Nuit, a summery nighdress, and a blouse as well.