updated 10/08/2008 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 10/08/2008 AT 1:15 PM ET
She purees her own green beans and records her daughter’s every smile in a journal – making her “the best mom I’ve ever seen,” Joel Madden, speaking in PEOPLE’s latest cover story (on sale Friday), raves about girlfriend Nicole Richie.
Richie and Madden just moved into a new L.A. home after spending the summer touring with Madden’s Good Charlotte band, and are in the midst of organizing an Oct. 19 walk in L.A. to help end family homelessness. But when they spoke with PEOPLE, what they really enjoyed talking about was their 9-month-old, Harlow.
Nicole: “Harlow’s a delicate soul. She studies people. She’s very coy. People say that she and I make the same expressions. But everyone says she looks like Joel.”
Joel: “I’m cool with it, as long as she doesn’t look like me in a wig when she’s 16. I like that she looks like me – it’s my get-out-of-jail-free card.”
Nicole (on maternal responsibilities): “I think my sense of self is still the same. But I don’t do things, we do things. I work around her.”
Joe: “Nicole is completely dedicated. I do whatever she tells me to do. I’m cool with that. She’s really good with the baby. I’m really good with finances. All of Harlow’s education and all that stuff, I already have planned.”
Nicole (on marriage plans): “When we get married, everyone will know. It will happen when it happens.
Joel (on having more kids): “If it could be as easy as Harlow, sure.”
For the complete story – including how Richie re-organizes her routine to accommodate Harlow’s needs and prepares the baby’s meals – pick up this week’s PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday