Drew Barrymore wants to make one thing crystal clear: “If anyone looks at these pictures and thinks, ‘Oh, everything is going so smoothly,’ they should know that Olive had the sniffles and Frankie was hungry, the dogs were running around, and it was chaos!” she says of her family’s photo shoot at home in Los Angeles. “We were cracking up. It was hysterical.” The star wouldn’t have it any other way. Less than three weeks after giving birth to Frankie, her second daughter with her art-adviser husband, Will Kopelman, 36, Barrymore, 39, was back at work promoting her new comedy with Adam Sandler, Blended, despite sleepless nights and toddler-chasing days. “I have no brain capacity to do anything right now!” she jokes, stifling one of several inadvertent yawns as she talks about the joy she’s found as a mom. “But I have my heart. And I can love my kids like nobody’s business.”
So how was this pregnancy different from your first?
I wasn’t as worried. I knew what was happening. The first time you’re just so in the dark, and every little new development is sort of wonderful and intimidating. With this one I was able to focus on Olive, so I didn’t really have time to worry so much. It’s a more pleasurable experience.
Did you have the same cravings?
I mean, I just ate everything in sight. I don’t think I could ever be one of those pregnant women who eats sensibly. I did nothing but eat white flour, Chinese food and pizza. It’s so funny, though – I can’t stomach fish or vegetables when I’m pregnant, and then as soon as I give birth, that’s all I want. And your body just goes right back to being pregnant; it’s like memory foam! I looked heavy and pregnant and swollen, like, the minute I found out.
Olive is only 20 months old – how did you prepare her?
I always pointed to my belly and had her say, “baby” or “sister,” and I got her some books: I’m a Big Sister and What to Expect When the New Baby Comes Home. I just tried to make it as understandable for her as I could.
Were you apprehensive at all this time about giving birth?
I was less intimidated by it. Emotionally and physically, I recovered quicker, and I knew that I have two kids to take care of now and just kicked my own butt to get back into the swing of things immediately.
How did you manage to do that?
It’s hard because you don’t really care about work stuff – you can’t focus. But I told myself, “You don’t have the luxury or the time with two kids and a job right around the corner.” It kept me at least physically present and sharp as opposed to being a brain scholar, which I am not right now. As I walk into a room to get something and pass the doorway, I’ve forgotten already.
Is Frankie a calm baby?
She’s a good sleeper and a good eater. I mean, she’s still up a lot, but she’s putting in windows of sleep, which is great. I think when your kids are healthy, that’s really all that matters.
What happened when Olive met her?
Oh, I mean, she knew who she was. She looked right at her and said, “Frankie sister.” And started touching her. It was just so cool. Whatever work we had done to help her understand, it completely paid off, because she was totally awesome and got it right away. Olive loves Frankie and just wants to hang out with her all the time. She wants to feed her. She’s super into it. That’s now. I’m sure things will ebb and flow.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you?
I think just being split. They’re awake and asleep at different times sometimes, or awake at the same time, and it’s a juggling act a little bit. I really just try to make sure that Olive feels like everything is the same. I’ve spent as much if not more time with her than I did before, and I think that really has made her feel like her little sister is not a threat to her existence but a total addition.
How’s Will doing?
We were at the beach when I told him I was pregnant again. He just laughed and he was so happy. He’s amazing when it comes to everything kids. He’s always so game; he’s always excited. He doesn’t ever seem overwhelmed or worried or stressed-out. He’s the most awesome step-up-to-the-plate dad. Every weekend he’s designed these fun adventures for Olive, while I’m doing bottles and changings. That’s how we tag team.
How are you feeling physically?
It’s weird – I ate more and gained about seven more pounds this pregnancy, and yet I’m bouncing back quicker because I’m so tired and busy. I don’t know how that’s working, but I think if you don’t worry about it, that helps. I’m just too tired to exercise. I’m not there yet. I drink iced tea all day long.
Are you able to have moments to recharge your batteries?
No, not really. I feel too guilty. I swear, ever since I had Olive, and now especially with Frankie, it’s Guilt City, double guilt. I feel lucky if I get a few hours sleep here and there. I guess that’s the time I take for myself.
You’ve been open about your own tumultuous childhood. What’s the most important thing to give to your kids based on your upbringing?
To have a sibling, because I really would have liked that in my life. And always being on time, being there when I say I’m going to be there. Creating a real stable home. I know when my daughter wants to swing higher and jump into the pool and all of these things, she feels safe. To make your kids feel safe is everything.
Is the door closed or open to having more?
[Laughs.] We’re definitely leaving the door open for a minute. I’m no spring chicken, so I don’t have the luxury of tons of time, but I’m not sure. We’re totally leaving the door open.
Could you have ever imagined you would be this happy?
Honestly, no. I would have hoped I would be, but I couldn’t see it in my third eye. I didn’t know what to expect. It is incomparable how good it feels. I just feel so lucky.