LARRY BIRKHEAD has praised his former love rival HOWARD K. STERN for being a "great help" in looking after his daughter DANIELYNN, following the tragic death of the tot's mother, Anna Nicole Smith. The photographer was confirmed as the baby's biological father on 10 April (07) - two months after Smith died from an accidental drug overdose - despite the model's then-partner Stern being named on Danielynn's birth certificate in September (06). Birkhead, who sold the first family photos of him with his baby daughter exclusively to Britain's OK! magazine, is thankful for Stern's helping hand since the battle over parentage ended last week (10Apr07). He says, "It seems unlikely, but (Stern's) been a great help. He's been with Danielynn the last several months. He knows her likes and dislikes and things that could help me. He gives me credit when I'm doing good things and gives me tips on things I should do a little different." But he is still baffled by the comments from Smith's estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, who is seeking joint custodial rights. He adds, "It's puzzling for her to display affection to me and then for the attorneys to say she's going for custody and Larry was just a sperm donor and a one-night stand. "Then they all come and shake my hand. You've gotta scratch your head and say, 'What's going on here?'"