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Brooke Shields' teenage daughters finally think she's cool - and the actress is embracing every moment she gets to hang with her girls.
"They're sort of at the age now where I'm not as repellent to them anymore," Shields tells PEOPLE with a laugh. "They wear my clothes, they want to do TikToks with me now. I'm sure it's not going to be very long lived."
She's certainly not missing any chances. When daughters Rowan, 18 and Grier, 15 (with husband Chris Henchy) were sent Aerie swimsuits, Shields got the idea to nab one herself and make it a fun social media moment (see the gorgeous twinning pics here!).
"I said, 'Is it funny? Would you let me get one too? I know I'm your mom, but...' And so we just sort of embraced the idea that I can walk again and it's summer. We had a fun moment," Shields says of their impromptu beach photo shoot. (Earlier this year, Shields suffered a harrowing leg injury from which she's still recovering.)
"It's about just celebrating life and that we're all coming out of this crazy time and we're together," she continued. "Anytime that I can spend with them, I beg to do it."
One such recent time: When Rowan asked her to get tattoos together. "I couldn't believe it and jumped on it," Shields says, adding that Rowan chose a ladybug design to honor the nickname her mom bestowed on her as a baby.
"When she was born, she just looked like two [big] eyes," Shields explains. "She just looked like a little bug and that's been her nickname ever since."
Though Shields initially wanted Rowan to wait until she turned 30 (the age Shields was when she got her first ink), Rowan outsmarted her mom.
"She played me really well because she said, 'Well, will you get one with me?' And of course she knew I would say yes to that," Shields says. "So, she got what she wanted. I felt like she wanted something to do with her mother. When you have teenagers, you take what you can get."
PEOPLE caught up with the actress, who partnered with skincare brand EltaMD to discuss the importance of sun protection. Shields says she's been adamant throughout her daughters' lives that they wear sunscreen daily, not just when they're at the pool or beach.
As a mom, Shields says, it's her job to think about prevention for her kids. "My children, they don't think anything about a future," Shields explains. "They just think about themselves in the present now. [I'm] trying to teach them things like exercise, things like sun protection. All of those things that we moan and groan about are actually serving you for the future."
The model and actress learned first-hand how a skin cancer scare feels when she had a precancerous spot on her upper lip removed eight years ago.
"That was just a very scary diagnosis and the fact that it had to be actually cut out of my lip is a terrifying situation to find yourself in," she shares. "You get really frustrated because it's considered damage and you think, 'Oh, I've already done it." But it's never too late to start protecting your skin."
When Shields isn't working on recovering her broken femur (which she says "can be very frustrating") she's taking every opportunity to spend time with Rowan before she heads to college ("I will be a mess").
She's also already helping Grier plan her big school moments (and yes, Grier will have full permission to raid her mom's closet for iconic gowns like Rowan did when she wore Shields' 1998 Golden Globes dress to prom).
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
"I said, 'When it's your time to graduate you're more than welcome to go through my closet, pick anything you want'," she says.
Ultimately, Shields is all about recognizing small moments that feel big and having fun with her girls when she can. "We're trying to sort of celebrate just being together and having fun and not taking ourselves too seriously," Shields says. "And just being so thankful that we're all coming through this last year. It's been hard for so many people. We're trying to find the beauty and the levity and the blessings that we do have available."