10/15/2007 at 12:00 AM EDT
Just three weeks after giving birth
to her first child, Dancing with the Stars
host Samantha Harris
tells PEOPLE she is ready to resume her post Monday night.
"I had hoped to come back in three or four weeks," Harris says, "but I tried to put it all in the back of my head and wait until I was physically ready."
Because of daughter Josselyn Sydney Hess's premature arrival on September 23, season two DWTS
champ Drew Lachey
subbed for Harris, learning how to host the live telecast the next day with Tom Bergeron
on the fly.
While motherhood "is the most magical thing in the world," it was always Harris's hope for a smooth post-partum recovery and a swift return to the show.
"When I emailed Drew that I was coming back he said, 'Oh, I thought you'd come back after two weeks,'" she says, laughing.
That's because Lachey, like everyone else at the Dancing
set, knows that the former dancer and model loves the show to death.
"There are some great dancers on this season and it's so difficult to sit back at home when you know what it's like to be in the middle of the action," Harris says, acknowledging that she was a bit anxious about "coming into a season already in progress." After attending two production meetings last week, Harris says any anxiety she felt went by the way side. "Everyone there is like family. They were so welcoming so it's been a smooth transition."
Harris is also transitioning from pregnancy to post-partum fashion with ease, too. On Monday's live competition show Harris will wear a silver satin empire waist gown that she had originally planned to wear on the season five premiere. Last month the dress was altered so that Harris, in her pregnant state, could wear it with flats. But when she tried the dress on last week she says no further alterations were necessary since the fabric that would have gathered around her belly now falls to the precise length she needs in order to wear it with heels.
Being on her feet most of Monday and again on Tuesday's live results show will be challenging, Harris says. But well worth it.
"I'm always one of those who likes to go, go, go, so I think I'll be fine. I'm feeling pretty good," Harris says. "But come Wednesday, I'm sure I'll need to recuperate." –Monica RizzoTell us: Are you looking forward to Harris's return on tonight's telecast?
Photo: ADAM LARKEY/ABC