The Daily Beast has an an interview with Curtis Roosevelt up today, and the grandson of FDR has some advice for the Obama parental unit. I have been wondering what it will be like for Malia and Sasha to come-of-age in the White House. It’s true that they’ll be the youngest kids to live there in four decades, but it’s more than that. Now, their clothing will be picked apart because they’re just like us! Movies have been made about President’s daughters who just want to be normal (er, hah) and fall in love with pretty, Princely boys. And my heart still breaks over the things people said about Chelsea. Says Roosevelt:
Well, my sister and I were really very isolated—I’d tell the Obamas
to avoid having that happen. When children came in to the White House
as our guests, it was always so formal. My fifth birthday party, for
example, was listed in The New York Times with a guest list. Nothing
was spontaneous. I didn’t know anything about the kind of rough and
tumble that children learn about in the play yard. The Lindbergh baby
had been kidnapped and killed and that was very much in the mind of the
Secret Service—we had this whole South Lawn to play on, but no one to
play with. I became a loner.
Secret Service and protection then was a pittance compared to what
it is today, and what the Obama children will face as a consequence, I
don’t know. But I think it’s going to take some very stern oversight on
Michelle’s part to see that a certain level of risk is taken to allow
Malia and Sasha to have some freedom and just be, not constantly under the scrutiny of Secret Service agents while they are trying to grow up into young women.
Secret Service + Puberty = Suck-o. However, that’s a few years away. From the Chicago Tribune:
According to White House rules, Malia and Sasha can paint and decorate
their rooms however they choose—as long as mom and dad sign off on it.
Other parts of the mansion must meet design standards, but nothing
prohibits the First Daughters from hanging Hannah Montana or Jonas Brothers
The girls will have access to all of the mansion’s amenities, including
the outdoor pool, tennis courts and a 50-seat movie theater. Amy Carter
frequently roller skated in the East Room and had a treehouse on the
While historians say Amy Carter had a lonely childhood in the White
House, they believe the Obama girls will fare much better because they
have each other.
“There are so many nooks and crannies and hidden staircases that they
can explore together,” Angelo said. “Girls that age are going to feel
like they’re living in a Nancy Drew book. It’s going to be so exciting
The Nancy Drew comparison is soothing, at least. Also, a treehouse? Sounds amazing. Nobody has treehouses anymore.