| 10.8°C Dublin

Grown-up Sasha and Malia shine in spotlight

MY, how they've grown. The two beaming little girls who took to the stage four years ago are now on the cusp of adolescence.

In 2008, 10-year-old Malia and seven-year-old Sasha asked Mom and Dad if they could have a puppy to ease their way into the White House.

Today they're more likely to want the latest iPhone or the chance to have sleepovers with their friends. Malia, now 14, has grown into a striking teenager, looking far older than her years and matching her mother's height.

At 11, Sasha is just on the edge of those difficult teenage years -- but still clearly the daddy's girl she's always been.

As President Obama and his first lady contemplate the challenges of the next four years, the fate of their two children must be to the forefront of their minds.

They've protected their girls from all but the most-orchestrated of publicity since 2008.

Now, they're likely to be faced with the demands of teenagers to be allowed 'hang out' with pals, experiment with clothes and make-up -- and date.


Apart from one official photo released by the White House this autumn, another photo of the girls congratulating their father on his nomination and one Church outing, the Obama daughters have been largely hidden from view.

They have been kept at a distance from public scrutiny with the White House intervening any time that their privacy was invaded.

They are no longer little children and their parents have acknowledged their emerging maturity by gradually allowing them more publicity.

Standing on the stage today in stunning dresses and fashionable flatties, the two girls showed the world they had come a long way from the two little children who snuggled beside their dad four years ago.

Today on stage in Chicago President Obama thanked his two daughters for their support but warned them that "for now, one dog is probably enough".