April 19, 2015 11:00 PM

We know she’s an awesome mother-in-law, but how is Reba McEntire as a grandma?

As it turns out, she and and little River Rose have totally bonded — though it took a beat for Kelly Clarkson‘s 10-month-old baby girl to warm up to the country icon.

“Every time she looked at me, she’d start crying — just squawking! It was serious!” McEntire, 60, said backstage at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday. “So at Christmas at their house, I said, ‘Kelly, give her to me.’ I held her and started feeding her. She looked at the bottle, looked at me and smiled. We’ve been friends ever since.”

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Earlier in the night, Clarkson, 32, got emotional while introducing McEntire’s performance. (Clarkson married McEntire’s stepson, Brandon Blackstock, in 2013.)

“When I was at the ACMs nine years ago, I yelled across the crowded backstage to Reba, ‘I want to be you when I grow up!’ ” she joked, later adding, “So basically what I’m saying here, people, is that I have the coolest mother-in-law and you all can suck it.”

Clarkson’s hit “My Life Would Suck Without You” just got a whole new meaning.

— Michele Corriston with reporting by Darla Atlas

River & daddy hanging at the game 🙂 #GoPreds

A photo posted by Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) on Apr 15, 2015 at 6:10pm PDT

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