“I was shocked we were having another baby because Jax came after 22 rounds of in vitro that failed,” the comedian tells PEOPLE exclusively. “We had one more embryo, and Ashley said, ‘You know what, what the heck? Let’s just try this.’ And then she got pregnant. It was just a blessing.”
The couple welcomed daughterQuinn Sophie into the world in December. “Quinn is so small!” says Arnold. “When you’re holding her, you forget she’s there.”
Despite welcoming his second child at 56, Arnold couldn’t have been happier with the arrival of his daughter. While he once worried about his age — and how it factored into fatherhood — his attention has shifted to soaking up the everyday memories made as a family.
“When you’re an older father, you catch yourself saying, ‘Oh, I’m 56 so when Quinn has her bat mitzvah, I’ll be 70, and what does that look like? ‘ ” he says. “But I stopped doing that because I have a 2½-year-old that changes every day. Plus, it’s thinking about myself. The less I think about myself, the more joy I find in life.”
With a new baby in the home, both Arnold and Ashley found a new normal when it came to their parenting responsibilities. While Ashley spent much of the first few weeks caring for Quinn — including nursing their newborn every three hours — the doting dad focused his attention on Jax.
“To be honest, the real down and dirty co-parenting didn’t start until after Quinn was born. Before then, I did all the tough parenting and Tom and Jax’s relationship was all about play,” Ashley shares. “But during my second pregnancy, Tom slowly had to take over a lot of what I was doing, so he wouldn’t be left with a crash course when the new baby was born.”
The “biggest shift” came when Tom successfully managed to transition Jax into his big boy bed — a moment that defined his new role.
“He worked with him for a week supporting Jax with this change. This was the pivotal point when it all changed and we became co-parents,” she says. “Now he puts Jax to bed almost every night, and takes him to school every morning.”
Although she’s already “changing every day,” Arnold thinks Quinn definitely resembles Ashley, 40, more than him. “She looks like her mother, thank God!” he says. “I’m excited to see who she becomes.”
While Arnold says Jax is “rambunctious” and “fearless,” baby Quinn brings a “different energy” to the house. “She’s more calm,” he says. “I feel she’s a little more analytical, taking it in.”
Despite their opposite personalities, Jax has already adapted to his big brother role. “He loves it,” says Arnold. “He holds her every day.”
“Jax is so in love with his sister,” adds Ashley. “It’s been incredible to watch him with her. He can’t stop kissing and hugging her. He is the sweetest soul.”
While Arnold is overjoyed to have a new addition to the family, he does admit parenting has gotten more challenging. “It’s harder,” he says. “I used to be able to sleep in once in a while, but that’s not happening!”
But he wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s perfect,” says Arnold. “It took a long time for things to be perfect, but I am very blessed.”
He adds, “My favorite thing is seeing Ashley and them together in bed — it makes me feel as happy as I can feel and very proud. I Have no idea how I can ever deserve that.”
For more from Tom Arnold, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
— Gabrielle Olya and Anya Leon