Ali welcomed Sydney J. - the middle initial is in honor of Conway's late grandmother Jurldine - on April 4, and already mother and daughter have established a girls only ritual.
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When Laila Ali and her husband, former NFL star Curtis Conway, decided to have a second child together, she thought she wanted another boy so that her son C.J., 2½, would have a little brother to play with.

“Before I got pregnant with Sydney I started paying attention to girls with their moms and I thought, ‘Oh, I want a girl,'” confesses the former boxer (she followed in the footsteps of her father, legendary boxer Muhammad Ali) and Dancing With the Stars contestant. “They are like a little mini me.”

Ali welcomed Sydney J. — the middle initial is in honor of Conway’s late grandmother Jurldine — on April 4, and already mother and daughter have established a girls only ritual.

“Because I get up so much with her, we are sleeping in a separate room,” Ali, 33, explains. “My favorite time is the evening when C.J. goes to sleep and I have her in the room and it’s quiet. We have our quiet moment together.”

And while Dad can take the lead and teach C.J. all the important things about becoming a man, Ali is excited to teach her 9-week-old “how to cook and how to be a lady” and “how to be strong but still be feminine and confident.”

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For the nursery, which Ali calls “vibrant and fun” but “not too baby-ish,” the couple worked with Little Crown Interiors on the design.

The room features a pink ‘Hope’ crib from Newport Cottages (proceeds go towards breast cancer research), bedding by Carousel Designs, a glider and ottoman from SPI Baby and the nursery’s centerpiece — a black and white canvas print from Art.com of a photograph of Ali and her famous father taken when she herself was an infant.

“It’s like a light shining down on her from my dad,” Ali explains.

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For more on Laila Ali, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now, and follow her postpartum weight loss journey through her PEOPLE.com video blog.

— Monica Rizzo