Perks and Travails Await Rising First Kids

Inside the sprawling 55,000-square-foot mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. lies what most children can only dream of: private bowling alley, movie theater, children's garden and a personal chef to scoop the perfect bowl of ice cream at all hours of the day and night.

These are just some of the luxuries that await President-elect Obama's daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, when they take up residence in the White House in January.

Though the move-in date is still months away, the Obamas are wasting no time preparing for their move from their historic Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park to the most prestigious address in Washington.

Obama met with President Bush this afternoon while his wife, soon-to-be first lady Michelle Obama, toured the White House residence and reportedly scouted out schools for the girls.

Everything from which schools they will attend to which beds they will sleep in -- not to mention which of the 16 bedrooms they will call their own -- are all aspects of living in the first house that Malia and Sasha can look forward to.

But being the first daughters will have some drawbacks, too.

In addition to following the rules their parents have already set for them -- including making their beds each morning -- Malia and Sasha will also have to adjust to life in a presidential fishbowl.

Life Inside the White House: Glass House or Playground?

"[Malia and Sasha] will have wonderful advantages living in the White House," said Betty Monkman, who was a White House curator for 30 years and wrote "The Living White House."

"But the Secret Service is always there to go with them. The girls will be very well monitored," said Monkman, who said that a distinct lack of privacy comes with the territory.

Like Chelsea Clinton, who was 12 when she moved in and is the most recent presidential daughter to live in the White House full-time, Malia and Sasha will soon learn that with every presidential perk comes a price.

The Obamas have already asked the news media to be sensitive to their daughters' privacy.

Doug Wead, a presidential historian and former special assistant to President George H.W. Bush, researched the life of first families inside the White House for more than 20 years. He said that first children often struggle with constantly being in the spotlight.

"Sadly, something said or done in the next few years will stick to the new White House kids like glue for the rest of their lives," said Wead, author of "All the Presidents' Children."

"The kids will hear every dirty, raunchy, ugly joke about their father," he said.

Wead told that he once asked President Bush which was worse, running for president or being the son of a president.

"[Bush] said being the son was 'much, much worse,'" said Wead. "That part is not fun. There are not many secrets."

But Malia and Sasha may find solace in the many advantages that have defined the lives of presidential children for years.

Of the almost 20 rooms in the presidential residence -- which is often described as resembling a hotel or a museum -- there is plenty of room for each daughter to have her own space.

Anita McBride, Laura Bush's chief of staff, told MSNBC that Michelle Obama thought "the rooms were beautiful and perfect for her little girls."

Laura Bush showed Michelle Obama "how magnificant the house is and what a wonderful home it can be," according to McBride.

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