Sunday, 12 April 2009
Over Sarah Palin's dead body
People magazine, January 19, 2009
Since the birth of Sarah Palin's first grandchild on Dec. 27, life at the Alaska governor's four-bedroom Wasilla home has gotten a lot busier—and a bit more crowded. Not only has tiny Tripp moved in with mom Bristol, but dad Levi Johnston has been staying over too.
Bristol actually may be better prepared for parenthood than most. As the second in the Palin lineup (after Track, 19, who is serving in the Army in Iraq, and before Willow, 14; Piper 7; and Trig), Bristol is a veteran babysitter. Having helped with Piper and Trig, "she knows what it's all about," Palin, 44, told PEOPLE shortly after becoming the GOP candidate for vice president.
Levi's mom says that Bristol isn't the only one with experience. After the birth of Trig, who has Down syndrome, "Levi would help out."
In their first week as parents, Levi and Bristol shared parenting duties. By day, says Sherry, they tended to Tripp and sorted through gifts from well-wishers; by night they traded off diaper detail and the task of soothing a crying baby.
Palin, who has been home with her family before the three-month legislative term begins in Juneau, initially declined to mention Tripp's birth, despite a handful of appearances last week. But finally, Palin was compelled to speak out after seeing media reports that her daughter and future son-in-law had dropped out of high school. Palin contacted reporters directly, twice phoning PEOPLE to say, "Levi and Bristol are working their butts off to parent and going to school and working at the same time."
Both Bristol and Levi, Palin said, "have faith they've made the right decision in setting aside their own interests to make this child their highest priority."
Bristol was also quoted in the statement from the governor's office, saying, "Teenagers need to prevent pregnancy to begin with—this isn't ideal. But I'm fortunate to have a supportive family." The careful cobbling of sentiments reflected the awkward line Palin has walked as an advocate of premarital abstinence and limited sex education, an opponent of abortion and a mother of an unwed teenaged parent.
Palin hopes that last part will change—soon. Asked to confirm reports of a summer wedding, she told PEOPLE, "Hopefully before that."
People magazine, February 18, 2009
Little Tripp Johnston has been described as a "bundle of joy" by his grandmother, Sarah Palin.
Bristol – now living at her parents' house in Wasilla, Alaska – has plenty of help.
But the new mom's biggest assist comes from her "hands-on" fiancé, Levi Johnston, 18, the former high school hockey player now working as an apprentice electrician.
"He has been staying (at the Palins' home) a lot with Bristol and helping her out," a pal of Levi's tells PEOPLE. "He really likes being a father."
Levi Lives with Palins
Then, in the first week after Tripp's birth, Levi moved in with the Palins, Levi's mother, Sherry Johnston, told PEOPLE in January. He immersed himself in childcare duties and bought his son a miniature hockey stick.
Lately, friends and relatives say, he's been back and forth between the Palins' and his mother's home 15 minutes away. Sometimes, he brings along Tripp to visit his paternal grandmother.
"Sherry sees Tripp," says a relative. "But it's not super often."
Sarah Palin talked to Eddie Burke on April 10, 2009
"... and by the way, I do want to clear up one issue that has really just been a bee in my bonnet over the whole Levi Johnston. Would have been over my dead body that I would have ever given permission for a teenage boy to live with a teenage girl."
Did Sarah forget to phone People magazine to correct the inaccurate details in those stories? We know that she's always very keen to put the record straight.
Sarah's statement to Eddie Burke was a bit vague. Either she meant a different teenage boy and a different teenage girl or Bristol's and Levi's names slipped her mind...
(The dates above are links to the full PEOPLE articles and to the audio of Eddie Burke's show)