When Fil-Swiss dancer Mickey Perz entered the Pinoy Big Brother house in 2007, he may have had some inkling that it would bring him one step closer to entering showbiz. He would eventually wind up as the show's Second Big Winner—but more than that, he would meet there Gee-Ann Abrahan, his future wife and the mother of his daughter.
Tying the knot almost a decade after meeting in PBB, Mickey and Gee-Ann are now happy parents to their two year old Baby Raphaella.
“During my teenage years, I was imagining becoming a father at 22 because I thought, ‘If my kid was 18 I would only be 40, I would be like the young dad who could party with my child," Mickey tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle. "But in reality, when I was 22, I totally forgot about it and was just focused on enjoying my life to the fullest!”
Mickey reveals wanting to have at at least three kids, as a way for them to experience childhood the same way he did—"since I grew up with a brother, I know how it is to have someone around you that you can play with and lean on."
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Mickey keeps busy these days, doing choreography for Kapamilya shows like Star Hunt and hosting dance and fitness show Team FitFil. He does all these at home, giving him a lot of time to bond more with his daughter.
“Our relationship became deeper and we became stronger as a family. I also got to understand my child more and I was able to see many transformations during this time with Raffy, which I would have missed out on if I would have not been home," he says.
Mickey also mentions how the lockdown has especially allowed him to "connect" with Gee-Ann.
"My appreciation and respect for her got even bigger. I will never understand how it is to be the end point with Raffy. By end point, I mean you are the ultimate last person who is taking care of the child and the child depends on. Because after her, there is no one anymore," he explains. "You lose your identity because all you are doing is looking after Raffy and there is no one else to entrust Raffy with—and you can't do anything little for yourself."
Mickey feels thankful in a way for the past three months as he became more appreciative of his family.
“During this lockdown, I saw how hard it is to constantly think of another person. (You) always have to look after someone, constantly have your eyes on your child, have to think in advance about her activities, and have no time for yourself. I am thankful that I was able to see it and I am thankful that I was able to experience it," he says.
"I am sure if we are back to the new normal, I won't be able to witness all of Raffy's transformation and despite it being a test of patience, I will miss all the activities with my whole family! My biggest worry during this time was what to do with Raffy and her energy."
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Prior to the lockdown, Mickey and Gee-Ann went to see a developmental pediatrician to check on Raffy's "because Gee observed that Raffy had too much energy, her tolerance for pain was pretty high and Raffy had no fear of pain or trouble. True enough, during the assessment he said the energy of Raffy is not equivalent to one girl or two girls, it was equivalent to 10 girls!” he reveals.
This only led the new parents to give Raphaella all the activities to help her expend energy.
“We had this routine, from attending sensory classes with her daily, going to the Little Gym once a week, to spending an hour in UP everyday to play and let her run in the field, so she could just let her excessive energy out," Mickey recounts. "She really enjoyed all of it and we saw so much improvement. Then at night, from rocking her to sleep for 45 minutes to one hour—because otherwise she would not want to sleep—, we were able to trim down the time and would rock her to sleep for only 15 to 30 minutes. Until (the) lockdown was announced—boom! Can you imagine having to keep these '10' adventurous, outgoing, full of energy girls in the house, after getting a strict prescription to have 'them' spend a significant amount of time outdoors?"
Mickey says he and Gee-Add had to work on more adjustments, implementing new restrictions on their child.
"While the world heavily used and relied on gadgets during the quarantine, we had to keep our no-gadget rule in place because the effects of screen time on Raffy would really make matters worse," he opens up.
"It was really a challenge on how to keep her busy and what activities to do with Raffy especially now. She is really bored with all the toys and all the activities and she really has the urge to go out,” he adds.
Despite these struggles and the fact that he's busier than ever work-wise, Mickey says has never felt more like a father—quite ironically—than these uncertain times.
“I am definitely a more protective parent now because there is no vaccine yet against the virus and since nothing is clear or stable in our country," he declares. "Better to be protective and sure than not! Since Raffy is only two, I am still learning how to become a better parent. I wanna be known as a fair dad who balances between being cool and strict."
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Photos courtesy of Mickey Perz