Originally posted October 21st: Weeks after welcoming their first son, Nicole Richie and Joel Madden — along with their 21-month-old daughter Harlow Winter Kate — are showing off the latest addition to their family, Sparrow James Midnight Madden.
Click below for the full interview and lots of great photos!
Sparrow James Midnight Madden is only 8 weeks old, but he’s already learning that his big sister Harlow Winter Kate has Mom and Dad broken in nicely. When they welcomed Harlow just 21 months ago, Nicole Richie and her boyfriend of almost three years, Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden, became cautious new parents.
“Harlow was born into a home with two adults. We were so quiet with her; we made everything silent,” recalls Nicole. Times have changed. “Sparrow was born into a family,” says his bemused mom. “He’s gotta hop on the train!” Chimes in Joel: “And Harlow’s screaming all day long.”
The family home in L.A.’s lush Laurel Canyon may be Harlow’s world, but the more mellow Sparrow — who arrived in the wee hours of Sept. 9 — is perfectly happy napping in it. “He’ll sleep through anything,” says Joel.
Meanwhile his rambunctious big sister is taking her first stab at a music career. “She knows the words to her favorite songs,” says Nicole, 28, as she cozies up to Joel, 30, on their living room couch on a recent rainy afternoon. “She sings on key!” adds Harlow’s rocker dad.
The proud parents opened up to PEOPLE’s Lisa Ingrassia about their new bundle of joy — and how they’re embracing the chaos that comes with being a quartet. “It’s a juggling act, but it’s fun,” says Nicole. “I’m right where I belong.”
Harlow was a big surprise. Was your pregnancy with Sparrow planned?
Nicole: We’re not planners!
Joel: We were leaving it up to the stars. We weren’t not trying — and it ended up being perfect timing.
How was your second pregnancy different from your first?
N: The first pregnancy was really easy. This pregnancy I was sick the first three months; I was tired.
J: At 2 in the morning, she’d be like, “Can you go get me Taco Bell?” I gained weight during the last pregnancy. When she told me she was pregnant again, I was like, “I’m just getting back in shape!”
N: When I found out I was pregnant with Harlow, my whole life changed. Now, we’re already parents. The pregnancy was exciting, but it wasn’t at the same volume. It’s more exciting now that he’s here.
How did you prepare Harlow for her brother’s arrival?
N: I brought her to every doctor’s appointment and kept her in the know. I’m glad I had a girl before a boy. She’s very girlie. She just loves him so much. Now every morning she wants to go give him kisses.
J: She’s very gentle with him. Sometimes she likes to play with him, but he’s going to have to get used to that! She’s already dropped a toy on him. He’s very tough.
How did you pick Sparrow’s name?
N: We have different tastes in names. Sparrow was one we both liked. I liked the way it sounded with Harlow, and there’s the Captain Jack Sparrow connection.
J: It reminded me of the Johnny Cash song “A Boy Named Sue.” My worry raising a son in Hollywood is what will he have to struggle for? I wanted to give him a name that he’s going to have to stand up for. I love it; I think it’s a beautiful name.
How are you adapting to being a family of four?
N: When we took our first pictures and I saw all four of us together, that was the first time I was like, “Wow, it’s the four of us.” It’s fun. If Harlow is with me, I’ll say, “Let’s put Sparrow to bed,” and she’ll come play while I do that.
J: Because he’s with Nicole most of the time, I’m spending so much time with Harlow. I’ll say, “Tomorrow Daddy and Harlow are going to go on a date; what do you want to do?” Sometimes it’s go to the zoo, or go see ponies. Sometimes she wants to go sit in her own chair at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. We’ll just sit there and talk.
N: She’s said, “Go to a birthday party,” which can be difficult.
J: I’m like, “I’ll try to figure that one out!” Nicole had her birthday right after she had Sparrow, and Harlow and I threw her a birthday party — she was so excited.
N: So she got an Elmo cake. It had nothing to do with me!
How is having a baby boy different?
N: I have to give Joel credit — he’s doing most of the diaper changing. Changing a boy is different.
J: He can spray you!
N: Also Harlow was never cuddly as a baby. But Sparrow is very physically attached to me. Sometimes all he wants is for me to hold him.
What is Harlow’s personality like?
N: Harlow will come out of nowhere, hug me and say, “I love you Mommy.” It just melts me.
J: I’ll take her out to eat and say, “Have whatever you want!” She’ll say, “Carrots!”
What do you admire about each other as parents?
J: Mothering comes naturally to Nicole. She loves it. The kids always come first — and she makes it all look easy. As a dad, there’s no better feeling. While I’m working, it all piles on her. She is taking care of the kids, and it never gets to her. She doesn’t feel like she’s giving anything up — she is wholeheartedly their mom.
N: Joel’s the best dad. He’s so delicate with Harlow — it brings tears to my eyes.
J: Harlow’s very easy — she has me wrapped around her finger.
Has your social life changed as your family grows?
J: You don’t lose old friends, but the time you can spend with them is limited. Our interactions revolve around getting together with people who have kids.
What’s your secret to losing your baby weight so quickly?
J: She doesn’t work out, she doesn’t diet. It’s so easy for her.
N: Thank you, honey — if only the whole world saw me through Joel’s eyes! I’m breastfeeding, so that sucks the life out of you.
What lies ahead for your family?
N: I’m dedicating this time to bonding with the kids and putting all of my energy towards my family. Harlow is on her way to potty training. It’s happening naturally — I include her in whatever I’m doing, and she wants to do it.
J: You pee in front of her?
N: Yes, do you?
Any talk of tying the knot?
N: One day I would love to get married. It’s not something we’re talking about now. If my kids ask me to get married, I’d get married.
J: Nothing needs to change — it’s a great feeling.
N: The only thing you want is for your kids to be healthy and happy, and they are. I couldn’t be happier
Source: PEOPLE, Nov. 2 issue
Nicole wears Jennifer Meyer Jewelry Gold and Diamond Letter Necklaces in ‘H’ and ‘S’ ($1500 each). Harlow holds a blabla Mini Coco Doll ($34).