Birds for her 6th




A few days before her birthday, Beatrix asked me when I was going to start working on her birthday dress.  My eyes widened as I responded with something along the lines of, “Are you sure you want me to sew you a birthday dress?”

I haven’t done much sewing over the past couple of years, and as far as sewing a dress goes, I have kind of a mental block there now.  So many steps!  Trace the pattern, cut things out, and on and on.  So much harder than “pick up needles and yarn and cast on.”  But, I had briefly considered making Bea something green for her birthday, as it’s been her favorite color for the past six months or so, and I had been entertaining the thought of maybe sewing her a dress.  So, on the way home from our co op last week, I stopped at the fabric store with six kids.  Ideally, I would have made the trip by myself, but I didn’t have time.  I chose a fabric, a really nice olive-y green print, and Beatrix promptly rejected it.  I hadn’t really counted on her input, and certainly not her rejection of my fabric choice.  She’s awfully opinionated though, so I should have expected it.  I guess I just assumed that I have good taste, and she would agree.

She totally didn’t.  She didn’t like anything I suggested.  She dismissed my choices as not being “seasonal.”  I wasn’t aware that she uses that word, but yes, she does.  She wanted seasonal fabric.  Once she spotted the birds on bare branches, chickadees being her favorite, there was no swaying her.  I groaned inwardly.  It’s not that it’s a bad fabric, it just wasn’t what I was envisioning.  As we checked out at the fabric store, Beatrix informed the lady ringing us up that her mom only had two days to sew her a birthday dress.  She openly displayed her skepticism, but I think that deep down she expected me to come through.

Once home, Bea rejected the dress pattern that I wanted to use in favor of a jumper.  I didn’t argue there at all.  The pattern that I chose was a “two scissors” pattern, and her choice was “one scissors,” meaning easier.  The night before her birthday, I realized I would need a shirt for her to wear under her jumper.  I am not a fan of shopping, and especially not at the mall.  When I emailed my friend Lori (Bea’s godmother!) that I was heading out an hour or so before everything closed to find a shirt, she went ahead of me, quickly scouring the stores for a little shirt with a Peter Pan collar.  She found the only one to be had at our mall and had already placed it on hold for me by the time I arrived.  I was so grateful, especially considering that I still had a good three hours of sewing ahead of me when I returned home.  I finished the dress about two hours before Beatrix’s official birthday began.

The following day, I found myself realizing that Bea’s birdie jumper wasn’t so bad after all.  I have never seen her so enamored with anything that I’ve made for her before.  It was her choice, what she wanted.  And really, it was a lesson I needed to go ahead and learn as far as Beatrix is concerned, though ultimately it’s true for all children.  I did a little bit of letting go of what I wanted for her, and accepted her choice.  Someday it will be something far more important than birthday dress fabric.  This was really just a little practice run.

Happy 6th Birthday to our dear, fierce, little Beatrix!  She’s been quite a force from her very first day and we love her to pieces!


  1. I’ve admired that very fabric again and again. Lovely job Momma!

  2. I don’t suppose I could get the details of the shirt. Where did you end up finding that. It’s so sweet and simple. I struggle finding plain girls clothes.

  3. I think the fabric is perfect! Wish I had some of it myself.

  4. An absolutely wonderful dress! I think she has excellent taste, from one birder to another. Such a fantastic mother you are, Ginny. I love the photo collage with the cake. Happy 6 Years!

  5. You did a GREAT job on the jumper! Everything looks so neat and lined up and perfect (I can appreciate this, having made many jumpers back in the day.)

    And good job on letting Bea do her own thing…so hard, but so rewarding when we do!

  6. I love the fabric and pattern! Chickadees are my favorite too 🙂

  7. Please tell Bea that I love the material she choose, and the pattern is just perfect!
    Isn’t it wonderful how children learn to be their own person. Surprising us continually….

  8. Beautiful dress for an even more beautiful Bea!

  9. Lisa Howie says:

    A good lesson for anyone who has their own, or works with children – letting children make choices makes an experience more meaningful. Respecting the choice that a child makes allows so much more enjoyment for all.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  10. I reckon that’s a dress she’ll still remember when she’s an old lady. Well done you!

  11. I love this story! And Bea is so sweet in her birthday dress. Makes me wish I have a girl some day! So far just two boys:)

  12. katharine whitmore says:

    Beautiful dress, and 3 cheers for Lori!

  13. I love the dress! Great job collaborating. Happy Birthday to Beatrix!

  14. That jumper is adorbs! I second Beatrix’s choice of fabric – I love it! and well done Ginny for getting it finished on time!

  15. Happy Birthday, dear Beatrix! Such a big girl – two hands needed now for six! Your bird dress is lovely, and you look beautiful covered with your feathered friends! Your mama is the best!

  16. Happy Birthday Beatrix! You looking beautiful in your birthday jumper! The fabric is perfect and the jumper is awesome. A most wonderful choice. It looks great with or without the shirt underneath! I hope you enjoyed your special day. 3 Hoorays to your Mum for making that special jumper!

  17. What a fabulous choice Beatrix. Do you think Mummy can make one for me (I was 40 this year and didn’t get a Birthday dress)?

  18. Now, that girl has style! That is a beautiful print fabric and a great pattern, well matched.

  19. Beautiful. Happy Birthday, Beatrix!

  20. Such a sweet blog! Happy birthday Beatrix! I know that I’m continually amazed at the opinions my nieces hold. My 8-year old, creative, sweet niece, (who always draws with markers all over her hands and arms), emphatically announced to the entire kitchen the other day that she was NOT EVER going to get a tattoo because she “wasn’t going to be an old woman with a tattoo.” She cracked me up!

  21. Beautifully written. Happy birthday to Beatrix! She looks adorable in her new dress.

  22. I remember when I first starting reading your lovely blog that many of the photos were ones of Beatrix with marker/paint all over her body. I have always had a little laugh at her antics over the years. I love an opinionated little girl! I have noticed that she is growing up..not so many marker smiles as before.
    I love the dress! What a wonderful memory for her. she will always remember her bird dress. Happy Birthday to her and good job mom!

  23. really the dress is so sweet and it is important to hear what our children want/need. So hats off to you for going outside what you would have normally done to have her birthday wish come true. The blouse is perfect under it.
    I see so much of your face in hers. Happy birthday to you both!

  24. Happy Birthday Beatrix! Love your birthday dress! Birds are the best!

  25. I’m with Bea, I love the bird fabric!
    Happy Birthday Bea!

  26. Happy birthday Beatrix! Your dress is beautiful and I especially love the birds on the bare branches…..good choice! You are so lucky to have a mom that loves you so much and makes such special clothing for you. Have a blessed year little one!

  27. Happy Sixth Birthday Beatrix…you are a sweetheart!! Loved the photos…especially you hushing up your big sister…I did that too at your age.

  28. Jennifer C. says:

    I particularly loved how the all-important shirt somehow shed itself midway through the photo shoot! I have a very opinionated 6-y/o myself (I recently had to knit her a short-sleeved yellow cardigan, not too tight, with no buttons!) and she would have been shedding the shirt in favor or bare arms too 🙂

  29. as a mom of 14 and 16 year old daughters – nodding my yes

  30. Someday it will be something far more important than birthday dress fabric. This was really just a little practice run.

    Thank you for this

  31. That is a very sweet dress! Love it and you are a great mom!!!

  32. My girl just turned six too! They definitely have a stronger voice in what they want at this age….it was a bit easier to sew things when she was two. The jumper is adorable, so it I guess it all worked out. (But I am secretly glad to find out I am not the only “down to the wire” seamstress out there.)

  33. What a fun read. Sweet little girl loving a special birthday dress made by a wonderful Mommy. You don’t suppose she gets her spunk from you?

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