After almost two years of downtime which has seen him grow his family and cherish every parenting milestone, Nick Carter’s preparing for the “uprooting” of returning to life on the road with the Backstreet Boys. But while he may be soaking up every moment with wife Lauren Kitt Carter and their three children, his eldest isn’t quite as interested in making the most of Carter’s last months in fulltime daddy mode.

“Odin’s five now and doesn’t want anything to do with me,” Carter tells us from his Las Vegas home. “Everything’s, ‘Mommy, mommy, mommy. Where’s my mommy?’ I was just telling Lauren, ‘I feel so sad. Odin doesn’t want anything to do with me. He wants you all the time!’”

READ MORE: Backstreet Boys AJ McLean, Nick Carter Voice Support For Britney Spears: ‘100-Per-Cent Team Britney’

Luckily, Carter’s still getting showered with love by two-year-old daughter Saoirse, who’s smitten with her popstar dad. Following her 2019 arrival, the musician gushed about his “miracle baby” to ET Canada and two years on, he’s even more enamored by their special bond.

“Saoirse does the same thing to me. You go, ‘Do you want daddy or mommy?’ and she’s like, ‘Daddy!’ So [Lauren’s] sad Saoirse’s acting that way towards me.”

“The love between a father and daughter’s ridiculous,” he continues. “It’s so rewarding. I’m so happy.”

Carter, 41, now has double the daughter love, having welcomed seven-month-old Pearl, who’s now rolling and crawling.

Chances are she’ll be crawling straight to the Christmas tree that the “’80s Movie” singer wrangled together while decorating his home ahead of his recent Home 4 the Holidays virtual cooking event.

“I was having tree wars with this monstrosity behind me,” he laughs. “Saoirse actually helped me! The small things – putting [decorations] in storage, taking them back out, loading them into my pickup truck, fiddling with this and that – are what I’d taken for granted for so many years because I’d been on tour for so long.”

So, what would fans find if they walked into the Carter household on Christmas morning?

“We wake up, go to the kids’ rooms and go, ‘Guess what time it is? Christmas!’” he shares. “Everyone runs out and there’s presents under the tree and trinkets in their stockings.”

Having grown up with four younger siblings, Carter’s experienced at making the holidays special for kids, noting how the festive season always symbolized joy during his at-times challenging upbringing.

“The holidays were always a bright light in my family, whether it was being on tour in Europe and collecting toys to bring home to my siblings or dressing up as Santa Claus,” he says. “I’ll never forget one year, I had this whole theme to make it seem like St. Nicholas came. He did come. I had powdered footprints leading to the fireplace and a half-eaten cookie. They loved it!”

Carter’s now cherishing creating similar memories with his children, but he’s also spent downtime working on a new solo record, which he plans to release via blockchain (a digital system also used for NFTs) in early 2022.

“I’ve partnered with HUMBL, who have an app, HUMBLPAY, and we’re creating one of the first blockchain albums, so I’m really excited,” says Carter, who also recently released a single “Scary Monsters”. “I’m going a little more pop/R&B and have some really cool songs that are more progressive than what I normally do.”

READ MORE: Nick Carter On First Father’s Day With Three Kids, Newborn Pearl’s ‘Scary’ Birth & Musical Daughter Saoirse

Something else he doesn’t normally do is spend more time with NSYNC members than his Backstreet Boys bandmates, but that was often the case throughout 2021! Carter and AJ McLean teamed up with NSYNC’s Joey Fatone and Lance Bass for fundraiser Bingo Under the Stars in June. Carter, McLean and Fatone then launched a Las Vegas residency, The After Party, with Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris and guests including Coolio, Shawn Stockman and Luis Fonsi.

Carter teases there’s even more collaborations in the works.

“Lance and I had this idea of ‘Boy Band Wars’ where we use TikTok as an auditioning platform and put together our own boy band,” he says. “It would be Lance versus me.”

“And I’ve been doing lots with Joey with The After Party, which is fun because I also get to perform with Wanya – one of the legends I grew up listening to. It’s hard though because I want to be home with the kids. It’s hard for me to go anywhere because I don’t wanna miss a thing. But then when I venture off and do these things, especially with the *NSYNC guys, it’s really fun.”

Of course, Carter also can’t wait to reunite with his own bandmates as the quintet prepare to commence their rescheduled DNA World Tour in California in June. The 58-date trek includes Canadian stops in July, August and September.

“We have this Backstreet Boys and management [chat] thread and we were just talking about when we’re going to start rehearsals,” Carter says. “We were like, ‘Okay, we need four weeks of prep time, just dancing and getting back into shape.’ We’ve all gained a little weight! Kevin [Richardson] said, ‘I’m a little older, so just make sure you realize we’re not doing 12-hour dance rehearsals anymore.’”

“I’ve become used to being home and enjoying it, so it’s going to be an uprooting,” Carter continues. “But the pros are that there are people out there, who want to be entertained and go to a concert. Once we break through that new year, everyone’s going to want a fresh start and to get out more and enjoy life, so I’m looking forward to it, but it’ll be an adjustment.”

READ MORE: Nick Carter Reveals Backstreet Boys Turned Down 2001 Super Bowl Show With *NSYNC & Britney Spears

When they do hit the road, Carter and McLean may be rocking some bright new manicures – McLean launched a nail polish line, Ava Dean Beauty, with friend and security guard Josh Naranjo in 2020 and the label recently collaborated with Carter on three new shades inspired by his kids (Odin Forest Green, Saoirse Pink and Pearl White). Proceeds from the polishes will benefit Cure 4 the Kids, a foundation helping children fighting diseases like cancer.

Carter’s Home 4 the Holidays fundraiser, which featured celebrity chef Nyesha Arrington and Blue Man Group, also benefitted the Nevada-based organization.

“I might have to wear the hot pink with my pink shirt!” Carter laughs about the Saoirse Pink shade, which salutes how Saoirse “fills our lives with so much love.” “I told AJ we had little nail polishes for Saoirse and I did an Instagram video painting her nails. I’ll definitely be using them on my children. It’ll be fun!”