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First Kids’ new start

india Updated: Jan 05, 2009 19:21 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Today is a big day for the Obama family. Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, the two daughters of Michelle and Barack Obama, start their new school in Washington DC. The First Kids — if they can be called that — arrived with mom in Washington on Friday evening, giving the slip to a battery of waiting reporters. Papa Obama was to join them later from Chicago.

The family checked into the posh Hay-Adams hotel, as Blair House, the official guesthouse for Presidents-elects, is still occupied by the outgoing Republicans.

The two girls will be chauffeured by secret service agents to Sidwell Friends, a tony private school where the Clintons, too, had enrolled their daughter Chelsea. Malia is a fifth grader, while Sasha is in second grade.

When the Obamas do move into White House after the inauguration of January 20, the youngest presidential children

after Caroline Kennedy and JFK Jr will live in a fantasy world — their own pastry shop, swimming pool, bowling alley, tennis court, grand piano and a movie theatre, complete with a popcorn cart. Besides, there will be ushers, maids, chefs and drivers at their beck and call.

Just the recipe to grow up spoilt? Not if Michelle is around. The girls might have graced People magazine’s cover, but Mum-in-Chief recently said that her girls would have to make their own bed and clean their own rooms. And no, the White House usher won’t be allowed to do their homework.

Getting it right

“My immediate priority will be to make the White House a home for our daughters,” Michelle said. “It’s going to be a big change for them, and they are going to need my full attention.”

She may like to exchange notes with her husband’s top aide — Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary

Clinton. She and Bill made sure that daughter Chelsea had a normal childhood. In an interview, Ann Stock, the White House social secretary during the Clinton administration, said, “Chelsea went to her ballet rehearsals. Then she came home, did homework, ate dinner with her parents, went to bed.”

In the Obama administration, the lights will be out at 8.30 pm, the time when Malia and Sasha must go to bed.