"We love each other as family," Anderson Cooper tells PEOPLE of ex Benjamin Maisani, with whom he co-parents son Wyatt Morgan, 16 months

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Anderson Cooper loves his atypical co-parenting arrangement with ex Benjamin Maisani.

The exes share 16-month-old baby boy Wyatt Morgan, and in this week's issue of PEOPLE, the CNN anchor gets candid about finding a groove in parenting his first child alongside Maisani.

"It's awesome," says Cooper, 54. "It's probably an unusual setup, but I knew he would be a great dad, and he is. We're exes, but we're family to each other, and we love each other as family and as co-parents."

"There's the usual bickering that any two people have when there's a kid involved, like what time should he go to swimming class, or should he wear the overalls, or whatever," he admits, adding, "But all silly, minor things. We get along great."

Cooper explains, "I've always believed that if you've been with somebody and that ends, in terms of an intimate relationship, if you love somebody, there's no reason why that love shouldn't continue."

anderson cooper
Credit: Ben Watts

Maisani, 48, says of how Cooper is different as a father, "Anderson has changed a lot since Wyatt arrived. He's happy and relaxed in a way he's never been before. Wyatt has grounded him."

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Credit: Ben watts

Cooper, whose new book Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty is out Sept. 21, also tells PEOPLE about Wyatt's "happy and giggly" personality.

"He does this thing where we go to a coffee place and he'll walk around and look at people, and once they make eye contact with him he'll laugh," Cooper shares.

Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Anderson Cooper on PeopleTV.com or on the PeopleTV app.

"I love how he interacts with strangers and takes joy in them. I'm charmed by everything he does, annoyingly. And being there when he wakes up and taking him out of the crib, it's just the best."

For more on Anderson Cooper and his family, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands nationwide Friday.