We got 3 yards of red felt to serve as a red carpet for the guests. She wanted everyone to do hand prints in cement just like the stars do. I vetoed that as I had visions of sticky hands in clay dripping on my carpet. So, I suggested finger paints and big poster board. The girls had fun with that -- they selected different colors, wrote their names on it and Annika cut out a "10" from glitter paper. Now, Annika has a great keepsake of her birthday.
Another activity to go with our theme was to actually act. We created a box of random items (toys, toothbrushes, sunglasses). Each girl selected one item and stepped into a team. Now they had to make a short commercial about all three products. This was great because they were all creative and sat in their groups to work (one team scripted it). We also did a fashion show where they were fashion designers with hats and scarves. We re-purposed the red carpet to be a cat walk and took their pictures.
The guests had Shirley Temples (the bottle of cherries was emptied) and pasta for dinner (in lieu of pizza). For favors, we handed out sunglasses and some keychain/jewelry craft sets Annika picked out for her friends.
She originally wanted to serve sushi to her friends, but I talked her out of it. Instead, we went out to dinner for sushi on her birthday. We had a fabulous time thanks to a gracious waitress who was patient and accomodating. She even brought out a dessert and sang Happy Birthday. We were surprised because we didn't know they sang at Japanese restaurants. When one of the diners next to us wished her happy birthday, we commented that she wanted sushi. He replied, "Oh, a girl with expensive tastes."
Is it that obvious?
The elementary school does a Lip Sync Competition for the 4th and 5th graders in March. It gives a chance for the kids to be creative and express themselves on stage. Annika and her friends performed a Selena Gomez song. She and her two best friends worked on the routine since January. The other moms and I chose to take a back seat on this and let the girls drive it. It was only in the last few weeks that we began to panic and tried to arrange more practices and help with their costumes (one mom bought chain necklaces and I made headbands). During the show, we were quite surprised to see the quality of the acts. Some where like ours (earnest effort by kids), while others had been choreographed, well-staged, and coordinated costumes. Next year, we all told ourselves.
We didn't win, but we were so proud of the girls. Annika blew us away by her dance skills and timing. Her confidence on stage propelled her to do these moves unabashedly. (Seriously, standing up on stage for 2 lines in a class play scared me when I was 10).
It seemed almost every 4th and 5th grader was super confident about his/her performance. Some were bolder than others, while others could've used a dose of modesty. There were on the shy side, but overall they were comfortable.
I don't know if Annika is a product of the YouTube generation or just generally confident and optimistic. I listen to her almost every week asking me to put a video of her on YouTube so she could become a YouTube sensation like Justin Bieber or whoever else.Now, she's motivated to try out for American Idol. I keep telling her that's fine and good, but she's got to practice.
"Mom, when I'm in the Top 12, they'll show you in the audience and you'll be on TV."
The best part about being 10 years old vs 40 years old is that your dreams are unencumbered. They're colorful balloons rising into the air, and if you hold onto them, you'll float anywhere!
I mentioned to her about Oprah's Book Club and how books become successful. "Mom, you should send your book to Oprah." Of course, that's easy enough. (Pop goes my balloon!)
She's really into the spy thing these days. She was annoyed that all the spy gadgets are geared towards boys. Really, couldn't we get a prettier spy glove with secret encoders? She wants to be an FBI agent when she grows up. This way she can travel the world and stay in hotels. However, she does want to redesign the clothes FBI agents wear. And, she wants to tell people that she was a 'child star'.
Of course she can do it - she's 10 years old!