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. The 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 ‘parental whim.
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 wellbeing 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 commands 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 wellrehearsed 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 nothing 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 yardstick 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 in him.
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 cure.
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 them 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 missionary 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 the 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.