Twelve-year-old Malia Obama wears braces, toots a flute and is after her father to save the tigers. Younger sister Sasha, who is 9, shoots hoops like her basketball-loving dad and dances hip-hop.
Both girls get up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school.
Barack and Michelle Obama put their girls off-limits to the news media after they moved to the White House, saying they wanted to keep their daughters’ lives as normal as possible. But tidbits about the private doings of the youngest children to live in the White House since the Kennedy family do dribble out. Often they come from a surprising source: Mom and Dad.
It was President Barack Obama who revealed, perhaps to his daughter’s utter embarrassment, that Malia had been fitted with braces. He also spilled her plans to spend most of August at camp.
“She’s my baby,” he said of Malia, straying from his script at a political fundraiser of all places. “Even though she’s 5-(foot)-9 now, she’s still my baby. And she just got braces, which is good, because she looks like a kid and she was getting … she’s starting to look too old for me.”
The prospect of spending even part of the summer without his first born around also had Obama waxing sentimental.
Asked about summer vacation plans, Obama told an interviewer that “a month of it’s going to be taken up with Malia going away for camp, which she’s never done before. And I may shed a tear when she’s on the way out.”
In a separate interview, Obama said his daughters have savings accounts and they get an allowance, though he didn’t say how much they get or how often they get it. He also said the girls are getting old enough where they may be able to start earning money by baby-sitting.
The first lady is also guilty of breaching the privacy wall she and her husband put up around the girls.
“Malia’s one issue for her father is saving the tigers,” Mrs. Obama told an audience of young children visiting the White House. “So we talk about the tigers at least once a week and what he’s doing to save the tigers.” Tigers apparently are Malia’s favorite creature.
Mrs. Obama also has revealed that:
—Both girls play the piano; Malia also plays the flute.
—Sasha likes to dance hip-hop. The girls also are working on their tennis game.
—They are not allowed to watch TV during the week, and weekend viewing is limited.
—The girls can only use the computer during the week if they need to for school assignments.
The White House says the Obamas are just behaving like, well, parents when they talk about Malia and Sasha.
“I think they’re proud of their daughters and, you know, they do not try to go out of their way. There’s no strategic decision to talk about them,” press secretary Robert Gibbs said in an interview. “I think a lot of it comes from … pride.”