HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines open up about their Fixer Upper empire and why they’ll always choose family over fame. Subscribe now for an exclusive interview at home with the duo, only in PEOPLE!
Chip and Joanna Gaines have four children together now, but there was once a time when they experienced a few rookie mistakes like many first-time parents.
“I felt it was okay to leave [now-11-year-old son Drake] with Chip for a half hour so I could take a short run,” one half of HGTV’s famous Fixer Upper couple tells PEOPLE of a time when their oldest was just 6 weeks.
“I walked in and discovered Chip had prepared an elaborate breakfast for me. I sat down to eat, and I looked over at Drake. He was sound asleep in his swing, still wearing nothing but his diaper,” Joanna continues.
” ‘Chip, did you take Drake to the grocery store without any clothes on?’ ” she recounts asking her husband. “Chip gave me a real funny look. He said, ‘What?’ I gave him a funny look back. ‘Oh my gosh,’ he said. ‘I totally forgot Drake was here. He was so quiet.’ ”
” ‘Chip!’ I yelled, totally freaked out. I was a first-time mom. Can you imagine? Anyone who’s met Chip knows he can get a little sidetracked, but this was our child!”
Luckily, Joanna had patience where her husband was concerned because there were still a couple of instances for the first-time father that proved he needed to get accustomed to having a baby around.
“Several days later, I decided to go on a good long jog, trusting that Chip would not leave Drake again,” Joanna says. “As I was on my way back, I saw Chip coming down the road. He rolled up to me with his window down and said, ‘Baby, you’re doing so good. I’m heading to work now. I’ve got to go.’ I looked in the back, thinking, Of course he’s got Drake. But I didn’t see a car seat.”
Adds her husband, ” ‘Chip, where’s Drake?’ she said, and I was like, ‘Oh, shoot!’ She took off without a word and ran like lightning all the way back to the house. She got there faster on foot than I did in my truck.”
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It ended up taking three snafus for the twosome — who today are also parents to Emmie, 6, Duke, 8, and Ella, 9 — to finally get on the same level when it came to letting Dad be in charge of their son.
And while Chip didn’t leave Drake alone this time while his wife went for her jog, there was still one slight problem when she arrived home.
“I noticed his car was still parked out front. I looked around and couldn’t find them anywhere,” Joanna says. “Moments later, Chip pulled up on his four-wheeler — with Drake bungee-strapped to the handlebars in his car seat.”
“Oh, he was crying, and I’d always heard my mom say she would drive me around the neighborhood when I was a baby, and it made me feel better,” Chip said. “He loved it. He fell right to sleep.”
“I didn’t go for another run for the whole first year of Drake’s life, and I took him to the shop with me every single day,” admits Joanna. “It was the best feeling in the world.”
For much more from Chip and Joanna — including their family and life in Waco — pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
- With reporting by EMILY STROHM