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Madonna Interview : Good Housekeeping

It was interesting watching you with Lola the other day at the video shoot, singing together. And, you were reminding her to be polite — when she asked for something, you said, “How do we say that?”

We do insist on having good manners.

Are manners a big issue?

Oh, God, yes. The last thing I want is to raise a brat. We could definitely go down the wrong road. I don’t want Lola to have everything she wants. I want her to appreciate things, and not to be presumptuous. I want her to have manners and social graces. It’s so funny, because sometimes she gets really carried away. We were washing her hair the other day and I go, “Lo, would you like some conditioner?” She goes, “No, Mommy, but thank you for asking. (Laughs.) I asked her if she wanted some of my soap that doesn’t sting her eyes. “Thank you for asking, Mommy,” she said. [Every time I offered something] she said the same thing. And I’m like, “God, who went to town on her today?” She does like to sort of play the “Lady of the Manor,” you know?

Does she spend much time with her father?

She’s absolutely smitten with Carlos. She reminds me every day that Mommy’s the queen, that Daddy’s the king. “And I’m the princess, Mommy.” Obviously, when we’re traveling he doesn’t see her as often, but he is incredibly present in her life. He loves to come and take her to the movies. His parents live very close to my apartment in New York City, so she’s always up at their house having Cuban food and playing with all of her cousins. I love that she has another element in her life besides my world. I think it’s great.

How do you spend the day with Lourdes when you’re not working?

Even when I’m working, I have one day alone with her every week. I like to get rid of everybody, so it’s just us. And we do everything: We choose each other’s wardrobes. We paint each other’s nails. We have meals together, and then we either go to the park or go shopping; she loves going to Sephora or those big makeup stores. She wants to be a makeup artist! It’s all about doing the most mundane things together.

Do you watch movies together?

She doesn’t watch TV or videos at home, so the movie going experience is a special thing. And I don’t take her to the movies so much, because I’d rather do things where we’re interacting more.

She doesn’t pay any attention to TV?

She does not look at a television set longingly. And I’m very happy about that. I’d rather have her develop her imagination and her language skills now. I’ve got her so trained: Whenever I go to see Rosie O’Donnell — we have this running joke, because Rosie does every thing the opposite of me. She’s got three kids now, and she lets the older ones eat junk food. She lets them watch TV. During the holidays we went over to Rosie’s house, where the playroom is next to the room where the grown-ups were. Lola comes running in, going, “Mommy, Mommy! Chelsea and Parker have the television on.” And I’m like, “Okay, it’s their house.” Then she says, “But, Mommy, what am I supposed to do?” And I said, “Well, you can watch it or you can leave the room.” And she’s like, “Okay, I’m going to stay here with you.” I didn’t even ask her to do it. It was just funny the way she chose not to.

You didn’t watch television much as a child, either?

No. And when you come home from school, if you can’t watch TV, then your entertainment is going to he a book. So that’s good.

Have you done your child-rearing by instinct so far?

Totally. I’ve obviously talked about it with friends who have kids, and with my younger sister Paula. She’s got an 8-year-old boy and a daughter close to Lola’s age. So if I don’t get something, or I think I’m doing something wrong, I call her. But pretty much, it’s the feel-as-you-go scenario.