"I'm calmer this time around, 16 years later!" Audra McDonald tells PEOPLE of becoming a second-time mother
It’s the sequel that came 16 years later!
And the Beauty and the Beast star tells PEOPLE in the latest issue that she’s taking on a different parenting style with her new little one.
“I’m calmer this time around, 16 years later,” says McDonald, 46. “Or maybe it’s that I’m just tired because I’m older, but I don’t sweat the small stuff as much.”
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The actress and singer welcomed her baby girl with fellow Broadway-vet husband Will Swenson, who also has two teenagers from a previous marriage. But when it comes to the relationship between Zoe and little Sally, McDonald couldn’t be happier.
“Zoe is such a fantastic big sister to Sally James,” McDonald says. “That’s just who she wants to hang out with. Every time Zoe walks into the room, Sally lights up. And that’s so important to me.”
“Zoe is a rock star as far as Sally James is concerned,” she admits. “If you wanna make me melt, just put my two daughters together, and I’m a puddle.”
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McDonald says that Sally has already made her big personality known. The singer thinks the 5-month-old, whom the family playfully calls “the monster” for her constant and loud movement, is going to be just fine when she grows up.
“In some ways, I don’t worry about her — this is a very strong personality, I’m seeing it already!” McDonald explains. “This is someone who’s not gonna let anybody walk over her at all. In fact, she’ll be the one doing the walking.”
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And when it comes to McDonald’s proudest parenting moment, it’s her second time bringing a baby into the world that comes to mind.
“While I was giving birth to Sally James, Zoe wasn’t planning on being in the hospital room, but she got too curious so she came in,” McDonald explains. “I was so worried about her being overwhelmed that literally, as I was pushing out Sally, I was looking over at Zoe saying, ‘Are you okay? Is there anything you need from me, are you okay?’ “
“And Zoe kept saying, ‘Mom, would you just concentrate on having the baby!’ But I was literally trying to give birth and parent at the same time.”
For more from Audra McDonald, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.