March 23, 2011 04:00 PM

Neilson Barnard/WireImage

As James ‘Sawyer’ Ford on Lost, life for Josh Holloway was relatively simple.

Sure, he had to deal with a convoluted love triangle, not to mention the Others and the occasional tropical polar bear, but with his chiseled good looks and slow-like-molasses drawl, there never seemed to be a situation that he couldn’t either charm or shoot his way out of.

For those fans that are convinced that life does in fact imitate art, Holloway points out that his days are now less Smoke Monster and more Cookie Monster.

“Are you kidding me? I’m married!” Holloway, 41, tells PEOPLE with a laugh at the Milk and Bookies 2nd Annual Story Time Celebration. “I have to come out here to get a response like this, otherwise it’s, ‘Take out the trash’ or ‘Put the baby to bed!'”

And while fans of the show are still deciphering what happened to the castaways from Oceanic Airlines flight 815, the actor has moved on to the bigger mysteries in life, namely translating the toddler-speak of his daughter Java Kumala, turning 2 next month.

“I don’t know why, [but she] calls candy ‘tarla,'” he says. “There is no candy that either looks or sounds like the word ‘tarla,’ and when she says it I try to distract her immediately.”

As compelling as the ‘tarla’ riddle may be, Holloway insists that the more pressing issue for he and his wife Yessica is to instill some simple Southern manners in their daughter before the terrible twos officially arrive.

“Right now the milestones are the facts that we’re teaching her ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and she’s getting it right away,” he explains. “She’s learning not to whine, but to use her real voice, because at this point she can test you, without a doubt.”

— Reagan Alexander

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