The SAGITTARIUS Child
"There is such a nice little dog near our house. A little bright-eyed terrier, you
know, •with oh! such long curly brown hair! And it'll fetch things when you throw
them, and it'll sit up and beg for its dinner and all sorts of things- I can't remember
half of them."
In the building where I live, there's a dark-haired Irish girl who was born in
December. She plays a guitar and sometimes writes songs. Once she wrote a line I
thought was pretty fabulous, but she was having trouble with the rest of the lyric.
She really didn't need to worry, with that opener. It was: "There you were, waving
your heart at me. . . ."
Her quaint phrase sums up every Sagittarian from age one week to one hundred
years. The calendar doesn't matter. They never grow up, anyway. Take a good look
at your little Sagittarius girl. There she is, waving her heart at you, like a friendly
sheepdog. Your little Sagittarius son waves his heart just as enthusiastically,
needing desperately to be liked for his own honest self. When people don't say
"hello" back to them, their tiny hearts droop in disappointment. Sagittarians are
happy, playful, miniature clowns, who laugh with tears in their eyes when they're
rejected. Even the infants show their sunny natures and desire for comradeship.
Jupiter baby will cry when he's left alone, but wheel his bassinet into the living
room where the grownups are laughing and talking, and hell sleep contentedly, with
the warm, reassuring sound of human voices in his tiny ears. His dreams will be all
the sweeter for being wrapped in the cozy, familiar atmosphere of loving and happy
people. Later, he may grow more removed from family ties, but when he's little, he
needs the security of human smells and sights and sounds, exactly as a newborn
puppy needs one of your old sweaters in his basket to snuggle up to cozily. If such
close, human contact is denied the Jupiter youngster, he'll withdraw and maybe
become a little sarcastic. Then hell adopt a substitute, like the dirty, torn blanket of
Linus in "Peanuts." It can be a soft pinch pillow or a cuddly teddy bear, with its ears
twisted off and its nose missing, but it represents security. He'd much prefer you.
The Sagittarius boy shows his happy-go-lucky nature by wandering into the woods
with a makeshift fishing pole and a can of worms, barefoot, cheerfully whistling,
talking to everyone he meets, his faithful dog trotting behind him. Sagittarians are
informal as youngsters, and they never, outgrow it. The little Jupiter girl may go
through a tomboy stage, and you'll always be reminding her to "act like a lady" as
she grows up. But these girls and boys have their own ideas of what makes "a little
lady" and "a little gentleman." It starts out with honesty. Naked, unadorned, brutal
honesty. They have it refined to an art and they will expect it from you-or else. Or
else what? Or else they will refuse to be docile little slaves, meekly obeying every
Your authority is fair game for the Sagittarian child's frank, curious investigation.
He'll give in graciously if he's convinced there is logic behind your command.
Parental orders must first pass the scrutiny of his inquisitive, reasonable mental
processes, and if you don't come out with a good grade in his test, you will get left
back. There you'll stand, waving your authority or a switch at him, and there he'll
stand, waving his honesty and defiance right back at you. If you're fair and you try
to be as honest as he is, the Jupiter youngster will leam to respect your rules. You'll
have to be firm when you know you're right and give him a good, solid reason.
When you're wrong, you'll have to admit your mistake and come right out with a
straightforward confession of stupidity. Let's face it, many times parents insist on
obedience to rules they make up for their own convenience, rather than for the well-
being of the child. A Sagittarius moppet can smell that kind of dishonesty a mile
away as his nostrils quiver like a bird dog's and his muscles quiver with anger,
backed by righteous indignation. Better plan to explain all your orders and com-
mands to him calmly, or be prepared to use up a lot of switches before the Jupiter
obstinacy in the face of unjustified punishment will show any signs of weakening.
A phrase often used by mothers with December-born children is "curiosity killed the
cat." Sagittarian curiosity never ends. The day begins with a question and they fall
asleep with a question on their lips. When they're very young, just learning to talk
and to explore the huge world, the questions will be, "Why is it naughty to touch the
stove?" "Why does candy make my teeth fall out?" "Why do carrots make my hair
curly?" "Why does Santa Claus need a letter if he's so magic?" "Why did Daddy
wink at you when you were talking about a second honeymoon, •and why do you
call a Moon honey?" "Why do you talk like there are two Moons when Billy says
there's just One?" (Billy is the too-smart-for-his-bluejeans older Aquar-ian brother,
and if you have that combination at your house, you're in real hot water!) All
through lunch, nap time and supper, the questions drone on. "Why did you and
Daddy say Grandpa was henpecked? Is he a chicken?" "Why did my teddy bear tell
you I ate the cookies? Why doesn't he ever talk to me like he talks to you?"
You can see that most of the Jupiter youngster's questions are aimed at puncturing
adult hypocrisy or grownup smugness and downright deception. It won't do you
much good to get all worked up and yell, "Be still! If you say •why* once more, 111
paddle you. Don't ever say that word again." Then you'll hear the archer's clear little
voice giving it to you right between the eyes: "Why not?"
Later, when he or she is older, it will be "Why do I have to come in at a certain time
when you say you trust me?" (and you will trust this child, or you should). "Why
does it matter what people think? Do you care more about people than you do about
me?" That's a tough one. Better practice an answer to it while he's still in diapers.
The Sagittarian teenager will never swallow your rules if they're based on social
mores rather than on concern for his welfare. There are some good, sound, logical
answers to your insistence on his observing certain social customs, of course. They
involve a reputation and its precious value, but be sure you have them well-
rehearsed and see that they ring true.
The ancient warning, "when children are little, they step on your feet-when they're
bigger, they step on your heart," might have been written about a Sagittarian.
There's no getting around it. This child is awkward, if not downright clumsy. Keep
the medicine chest well stocked with iodine and band aids. Tiny Sagittarians clomp
on your feet and get in the way of your dust mop, your vacuum and all your good
intentions. You may have a constantly sore toe and a sore ego. But those are
compared to the sore heart you may have someday when the Jupiter boy or girl
plants a foot on it firmly. His or her strong need for freedom includes freedom from
family ties, and these children will strike out on their own extraordinarily early,
sometimes neglecting to phone or write for long periods. It can cause some mighty
painful stabs in the chest region. The best cure for such parental heartburn is to
make sure when your Sagittarian child is little that he's learned to respect you for
your sense of honor and tolerance. If you're narrow and prejudiced, you may only
see him on holidays, if then. But if you refrain from judging his friends by any yard-
stick other than their true value-and if you've proved you have faith in his decency
and in his dreams, he'll come home to renew his love and trip over your feet to your
heart's content. Otherwise, he'll stay out there somewhere with his blanket or pillow
or teddy bear in the form of new friends who accept him for what he is and believe
Expect romance to rear its lacy head quite early. The girls will probably not be
serious; they're just trying out their femininity, if the right parental attitude
precludes using dates as that security blanket. The boys may need a little special
tutoring in the subject of birds and bees. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
Teach these children economy. They'll spend money like it's made of paper, which
they've already discovered it is. They have to leam that when they spend their
allowance, it's spent. Don't plug up the holes for them. If they waste their lunch
money on comic books or Mad Magazine- let them take peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches to school for the rest of the week. That may sound a little harsh, but it's
necessary. Someday the Diners' Club will thank you.
Both sexes will probably enjoy school. Their multiple-faceted intelligence and great
curiosity will make learning a fascinating game, if their bright interest isn't
squelched by too much dull, boring routine and too much insistence on strict
regulations and rigid study habits. The more progressive education becomes, the
better and happier students these children will be. They're restless, and making
sit still constantly or stifling their fanciful imagination will soon kill their incentive,
sadly, sometimes permanently. Sagittarian children with severe, intolerant teachers
or who are victims of unimaginative teaching methods tend to want to drop out of
school and go to work.
The honor system works very well with young archers. A Jupiter child will never
cheat in any way, if he's trusted not to do so. Otherwise, he may figure it doesn't
matter. If no one believes in him, then why try?
There may be a deep and very serious interest in religion. These are the boys and
girls who decide at a tender age to become a priest or a nun, minister, rabbi or mis-
sionary in a foreign country. As they grow older, they'll question dogmas, perhaps
change faith and church membership, searching eternally for truth. The Peace Corps
invariably attracts Jupiter youngsters. They like the idea of seeing the world and the
chance to put their idealism to work. A Sagittarian without a cause is like a dog
without a bone to chew on. Fighting for causes develops their strength. Without a
bone, the puppy may tear the couch or chair to shreds. Without a cause, the
Sagittarian youngster may tear into ideas with such fervor and fanaticism that he can
shred his future irreparably.
His eyes are fastened trustingly on the stars, and he may take a few spills as he
trudges along, not noticing the rocks in his path. He's an independent, honest little
archer. Give him lots of room to shoot and to practice drawing his bow. He needs to
feel the grass under his bare feet, feel the rain on his face and bake his dreams in
strong, warm sunlight until they're well-done. There he is, waving his happy,
optimistic young heart at you. Wave back at him with cheerful faith.