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  • Tyler Ashby: "Everything You Do Will Make Your Kids Who They Are"

    Radio DJ Delamar's better half says the decision to drop anything and everything for his family was easy to make.
    by Rachel Perez .
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  •  IMAGE Lai de Guzman

    Becoming a dad was nothing short of a miracle for Tyler Ashby, radio DJ Delamar Arias's fiancé. Given Delle's medical condition--she was diagnosed with ovarian cysts and endometrial polyps, and had only one ovary left--they couldn't be happier when they found out that they were going to be blessed with a baby.

    "It's happy and exciting, but it's not in the right order so... kind of overwhelming," Tyler says, referring to the fact that he and Delle had their first child, Cooper Matteo, now 4, out of wedlock. "It was also purposeful. That's what Delle and I wanted," he admits. But it took a while for the fact to sink in--in fact, Tyler says he only realized it fully when Cooper was born, and he had held him in his arms.

    The second time Tyler became a father it left him and Delle with overwhelming grief. Due to complications, their daughter Ava Sloane passed on shortly after birth in 2013. (Delle opened up about their loss in the January-February 2015 issue of Smart Parenting magazine).

    The third time Delle got pregnant in 2015 she and Tyler chose to keep the news to themselves. "We were all so excited but scared because of what had happened with Ava. It's healing a little bit, but...this was a much different pregnancy," Tyler admits.

    With the tragic death of their daughter still fresh in his mind, he says, “You can always rationalize that it’s one-in-a-million, but it's not one-in-a-million. It happened to me so everything is scary,” he adds. The thought haunted them every day leading to the birth of their second son, Parker Paul, who is now 6 months old. "He stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for two days," and Tyler says the joy of having welcomed another little human being into the world didn't come fully until they had brought him home.


    IMAGE Lai de Guzman

    Preparing for fatherhood
    Tyler said he always wanted to have kids by the age of 25 so when Cooper came along (he was 26) he was ready. While Delle pored over books and facts about pregnancy and motherhood, he mostly had conversations with his friends, asking what he needed to do, and defining what was important now that he's responsible for another life. 

    "I'm very comfortable around kids. So for me, preparing to be a dad was more about how do I make sure I provide for him, how do I restructure my life for Delle and the baby. Being a dad [did not require] that much thought; it just came naturally. It's more about thinking of the future and how you are going to set that up for your kids," Tyler says.

    Tyler says the shift, from being a single guy living in the Philippines without any family, to being a father, was not hard. The decision to drop anything and everything for his family was easy to make. The only biggest casualty was probably his music. "Before, I was in a band, but then after we had Cooper, I didn't want to be on stage anymore, I didn't want to share myself with the rest of the world," he says. Everything else-- restructuring his schedule, doing away with night-outs and having to stay home--was no big deal for Tyler.

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    IMAGE Lai de Guzman

    On being part of the birthing process
    While Delle had a C-section delivery for all babies, Tyler caught a glimpse of his children being pulled out of Delle's womb. "It's exciting. [Each time] felt like a long time. I know it wasn't that long--maybe less than an hour--but it felt like a long, long, long, long time. You're in limbo. You know something big is about to happen, but you don't know what. And so you're just waiting with anticipation and anxiety. But once the baby's out, I'm crying already," Tyler says.  

    Describing the births of Cooper and Parker, Tyler says, "For Cooper, instantly I'm happy and I feel my world shift like, nothing else is important, nothing else matters. It's centered. With Parker, I'm happy but there's no shifting. It's just that now, every decision is made from this piece."

    Tyler admits that it's easy being a dad of one. "You can go anywhere pretty much: pick up, take him. Between me and Delle, one of us can handle the baby," he says. But with two kids now in tow, it's trickier because Cooper and Parker are on different schedules, and they have different needs. "It takes more time, but it's also fun because you get to see them interact. Maybe by the time Parker is 2 years old, it'll take less time. Because I'll just let them play," he quips.


    Below, Tyler shares which among the boys he thinks take after him, his least favorite parenting task, and the invention he feels all dads need.  

    What's the task you most enjoy about childcare?
    "For Cooper it's giving him a bath. For Parker, I like to be a part of his learning. Just like that, helping him stand up, that's my favorite thing to do with him. He gets so excited."

    What's the task you least enjoy about childcare?
    "Anything that's slow. I'm not a patient person. With Cooper, I like to learn with him, but I don't like repetitive [tasks], like he's going to write his name ten times in a row and that's going to take 30 minutes. It drives me insane."

    Who do your kids take after, you or Delle?
    "Cooper looks like me, but when you see Parker, he really looks like me. Cooper is starting to look more now like Delle." 

    Personality-wise, "Cooper is a calm guy and I’m very competitive. His reactions, he learns from Delle. He [tries to] physically copy me -- the way I walk, the way I shoot the ball, the way I dress -- but I don't think his personality is much like mine. He's smart, he's inquisitive -- traits Delle and I also share, but I really think he's more like Delle. With Parker, it may be too early to tell, but I think he's a lot more like me than Cooper."


    IMAGE Lai de Guzman

    What is your favorite baby item that you feel has been very helpful to you?
    "The bath sling and YouTube. Cooper loves to watch. He gets interested in the same subject, so maybe for several months, he watched everything about the Titanic. Now he's excited about mummies and pyramids, so he watches documentaries on YouTube. For Parker, the complex toys, I think it’s called Lamaze." 

    What's the one thing you thought you'd never do as a parent but you realize you're doing now?
    "Using the phrase, 'Because I'm your dad.' Before, I said, I will never say that. I will always tell my kids why or how and explain. But then with Cooper now, sometimes you explain everything that can be explained and he still doesn't accept it. So I just say, 'Because I'm your dad,' and then as I say it, I hear my parents saying "Because I'm your parent."  

    What do you think would be a great invention for dads?
    "Something to make it easier for me to bring them to basketball. Maybe an air-conditioning bubble. Cooper used to go with me to basketball every day. But now he's like, 'It's too hot, it's too loud.'"  

    What do you think is your greatest challenge as a dad?
    "I thought I would never be scared to let Cooper go to the mall or send him to some camp or vacation with his friends. But now I'm scared. Every little thing is scary -- even going on a plane. I've never been afraid of flying, ever, and now I am. But you just keep going. I don't know how. [The fear] never really goes away. I guess you just move forward and focus on the next thing. You don't need to worry about what has happened, what could happen. But it's hard.” 


    What advice would you give new dads or dads-to-be?
    "You have to get involved immediately from Day 1. It's the most important thing you'll do. Everything you do will make them who they are. Find a way. I know [some guys] see the restrictions of having a baby, whether that be marriage, or not being able to go out, or buy a new car anymore because they can't afford it, not hang out. Don't think about the things the baby takes away. Just think about what you will do to make this little person be. You will decide that. Don't think about what you're losing. Think about what you're getting, or what you can accomplish.” 

    (Turns to Parker) "What can you do? Parker can do anything. You can be the President. Not even dad can be the President. But you can."

    Photos by Lai de Guzman

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