Jared Padalecki is “really excited” to have a baby girl — daughter Odette Elliott, who was born in March — after having two boys. “It’s a really cool experience, and I’m really excited for her to grow and hopefully have a Daddy’s girl,” the Supernatural star, 34, tells PEOPLE. But he also admits having a daughter makes him feel “really nervous and vulnerable” in a way he hadn’t felt with his sons Shepherd, 3, and Thomas Colton, 5. “With boys, you’re like, ‘Go skin your knees and go break your arms like I did.’ But with a girl, you’re like, ‘If somebody ever touches her, I’ll go off the handle!’ ” Padalecki says.
Right now, though, Padalecki is enjoying having a 9-week-old at home. “She’s a super chill baby,” he explains. “She’s exactly what you want in a child: She pees and she eats and she sleeps.” He continues, “She’s perfect already, and it would be great if she stays that way. She seems like she has a cool inner strength of like, ‘Hey, this is me. I can’t walk and talk now, but I’m comfortable.’ I hope that sticks around.” Having three kids instead of two has come with an adjustment period for Padalecki and his wife Genevieve, a fellow actor he met on the Supernatural set.
“Now we’re on zone defense instead of man-to-man, so one of us has to have the boys, and one of us gets to have the girl,” he says. “It is certainly more difficult. And it’s important for us to make sure that our sons know that the addition of our daughter, their sister, is something only to be excited about.” Because Odette is breastfeeding, she tends to want a good deal of time with her mom, so Padalecki ends up acting as a “concierge service” for Thomas and Shepherd most of the time. “If they want to wrestle, they wrestle Daddy; if they want to ride bikes, they ride with Daddy,” he says. “I just try to make sure I’m there.”
Even though things at home can be hectic, the actor cherishes the time he gets to spend with his wife and kids. “It’s wonderful that I forget that I’m on a TV show when I’m with my family,” he says. “Learning lines or this or that becomes unimportant. It’s about going, ‘Are Gen and Odette okay? Is Tom okay? Is Shep okay?’ There’s no such thing as boredom when you have kids because you’re just always on point.” The biggest lesson Padalecki has learned from being a parent is the importance of being able to go with the flow. “Ideally, we have plans, but one of the things I’ve learned has been letting go of control and just trying to be who you want to be in every moment,” he says. Continues the father of three, “Once I think, ‘Okay cool, we’re going to put the kids to bed at 7 tonight, we’re going to have a glass of wine together, wake them up at 6 and go to baseball,’ then that’s the night they don’t go to bed until 10 and one of them gets sick at midnight, and then the other has nightmares at 2.” “Once you make plans with kids, it goes out the window,” he adds. “It’s more just about being there with love and support for whatever comes up.”