President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office on Dec. 11, 2011.
(USA TODAY) -- My, how they've grown.
Has it really been four years since Malia and Sasha Obama bounded into the White House?
could forget 7-year-old Sasha's high-pitched squeal when her father
appeared on a giant video screen at the 2008 Democratic convention and
she asked him,"Daddy, what city are you in?"
Or when Malia, 10, called out, "I love you, Daddy."
President Obama takes the oath Monday for his second term, those
adorable little girls in their adorable little frocks will be gone.
their place are two stylish young ladies. Malia, 14, now in high
school, stands nearly as tall as her mother's 5 feet, 11 inches. And
like her mother, she's making an impression in trendy outfits.
Sasha, 11, doesn't seem to have lost any of her spunk.
seem very graceful," says Doug Wead, an adviser to former presidents
George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, and author of All the
Presidents' Children, which looked at the family lives of the nation's
presidents. "It speaks to their confidence, which also comes from their
He says that confidence will come in handy as the girls
get older, because presidential children often struggle to define
themselves separately from their high-achieving parents.
Obamas have done something that eluded other first families, he says:
They appear to be a functional family with parents who set rules and
provide structure and discipline.
"That's practically unheard of," he says. "First families by their nature are dysfunctional."
Presidential families are famous for indulging their children and spoiling them, he says.
Or, in the case of James Roosevelt, the oldest son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, ignoring them.
tells the story of how the younger Roosevelt complained to his mother,
Eleanor, that he never got time to talk with his father. Eleanor told
him to do what she did: Make an appointment.
After the meeting, James Roosevelt said he'd never do that again. His father read memos the entire time, Wead says.
president and first lady talk frequently about their girls, but they
also insist that their daughters be photographed only during public
The girls have little to no presence online. They are not allowed to have Facebook accounts, Michelle Obama has said.
It will be fun watching them come of age, Wead says.
learn to drive," he says, and the president seems to be such a hands-on
dad that he can see him getting in the car to teach them.
Obama himself often quips about how his daughters are growing up.
he visited a Master Lock factory in Milwaukee last year to discuss
American manufacturing, he got a laugh from the workers when he told
them, "As I was looking at some of the really industrial-size locks, I
was thinking about the fact that I am a father of two girls who are soon
going to be in high school and that it might come in handy to have
these super locks."
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