Still, his was long-drawn-out delivery since it took mummy 17 hours of labouring before she had to undergo an emergency C-section. The first-time mum had tried different ways to induce labour but the surgical procedure was carried out after she failed to reach optimal dilation by the sixteenth hour.
Thankfully, the marketing executive’s post-delivery has been smooth and Jayne, 30, loves being hands-on with easy-going baby Liam. As the couple does not have a helper, Jayne is in charge of the “morning shift” while Vernon spends more time with Liam in the evenings.
Indeed, 2019 has been an exciting one for second-time dad Vernon, 47. Besides Liam’s arrival, Ethan, his son from his previous marriage, will be taking his O levels this year. Although parenthood is not something totally new to the Muttons DJ, he still faces the struggles that most dads can relate to.
He states, “Of course I want to spend as much time with the family but being able to provide for them is really important, too.”
Read on to find out more about the couple’s journey to parenthood, their parenting styles and what advice they have for new parents…
What are the both of you busy with these days?
Vernon A: Well, with the arrival of baby, that’s what I’m busiest with at the moment. Along with my radio show ― that’s just about all the time I have, but I’m lovin’ every minute of it.
Jayne: I have a full-time job so other than that, most of my time is spent with Liam and Vernon after work.
“Towards the end of the pregnancy, water retention was really bad for me. I had horrible heartburn and backache. I couldn’t walk or sit for long periods of time. I couldn’t wait for Liam to be out because it was quite a torture for me.”
What’s a typical day like for you?
Jayne: I get up at about 7am because Liam is my alarm. He would usually be up around then and start babbling to himself while waiting for me to get him. I will feed him breakfast and play with him for a bit before getting ready for work. I’ll drop him off at infantcare near our house before getting to work. I knock off at around 6pm, so Vernon picks me up and we will fetch Liam from infantcare together. At home, we spend some time together as a family either on the sofa or in Liam’s play pen before we settle him for bedtime between 7 and 7.30pm. Evening time is very precious for us on weekdays.
Vernon A: I’m up at 4am and depending on Liam’s appetite, I’ll feed him before I leave for work. I’ll be on air till 10, then there’s production till 11ish. After that I’ll head for meetings if there’re any, and any other appointments after that depending on my schedule. Then it’s back home for a nap if there’s time, before picking Liam from infantcare at around 6pm.
Hey Jayne, what was your pregnancy journey like?
Jayne: I don’t think it was very tough but it wasn’t the easiest thing either. My first and second trimesters were really easy. I put on weight but it wasn’t very obvious. I didn’t have morning sickness either. But towards the end of the pregnancy, water retention was really bad for me. I had horrible heartburn and backache. I couldn’t walk or sit for long periods of time. I couldn’t wait for Liam to be out because it was quite a torture for me.
Can you tell us more about your labour and delivery?
Jayne: It was quite a long one ― 17 hours to be exact. We induced the labour as I couldn’t wait any longer but it was to no avail despite doing everything ― the pessaries, breaking the water bag, going on a drip with drugs to help with dilation. After 16 hours, I was only 3cm dilated. At this point, our gynae suggested that we should proceed with an emergency C- section. We did and Liam was born 30 minutes later.
What was the first thing you did after giving birth?
Jayne: I asked for food haha! I didn’t have anything to eat since morning, so I was starving by then.
How was your confinement?
Jayne: It was really good. My confinement nanny took great care of me. She’s quite a modern nanny, so she understood my requests and adapted the traditional ones to fit what I was comfortable with. With postpartum, there’s definitely still a lot to get used to. It was overwhelming for me. I’m glad that I’ve got a nanny to help me out and care for Liam during that period of time.
So Vernon, as a second-time dad, what kind of father are you?
Vernon A: Tired. Hahaha! I don’t know how to answer that. I try to be as involved as possible and I love making Liam laugh, so I’m always trying to come up with new faces and sounds to get those giggles.
How do you divide your attention between your two boys?
Vernon A: That’s relatively easy because my elder son, Ethan, is 16, so he understands that Liam is young and needs the attention. Ethan also lives with his mother, so I see him on weekends and we all hang out together.
You are a radio DJ, emcee and business owner, do you hope that your children will follow in your footsteps in any of these areas?
Vernon A: I hope my children can be whatever they want to be. I don’t want to determine what they do for a living in future. I think as a parent, my role is to help enable them to follow their dreams.
Has Ethan or even Liam shown interest or talent in any of these areas?
Vernon A: Hahahaha I don’t know if this means anything, but Liam loves talking! He talks to his toys, our dogs, to us and to himself all the time! Ethan joined the AV club for his CCA but I think he has lost interest, choosing sports over anything else. He plays football, basketball, tennis and softball.
What is baby Liam’s personality like?
Vernon A: We think he’s a very happy baby, always laughing and smiling but he gets impatient when he’s tired. Kinda like me, I guess?
Jayne: He’s quite easy to look after, very sociable and easy-going. He can be a little stubborn at times and refuse his milk.
”I hope my children can be whatever they want to be. I don’t want to determine what they do for a living in future. I think as a parent, my role is to help enable them to follow their dreams.”
Who do you think Liam take after?
Jayne: Vernon, for sure.
Vernon A: At the moment it’s quite hard to tell, but when he’s naughty or difficult, then he takes after Jayne. HAHA!
How is the family coping with the arrival of Liam?
Vernon A: We’re doing well considering that it’s just Jayne and I, with no helper. We don’t like the idea of having someone else in the house, so we decided to do the caregiving on our own. I must say we’re coping well due to the fact that Liam is pretty easy to take care of…. for now.
Jayne: Everyone adores Liam and we are both very happy that he’s blessed with so much love and concern from our families. He has brought joy to everyone :)
How different has life been after Liam was born?
Vernon A: Well, obviously, the freedom to do anything we want at any time goes out of the window. But I must say we’re not complaining. We knew exactly what we were getting into when we decided to have a child, so the sacrifice has been well worth it.
Jayne: Definitely very different. As clichéd and obvious as it is, Liam is now our main priority. Almost every aspect of our lives have changed. Every single thing we do, we have to consider how Liam will fit into the equation.
Have the both of you discussed what kind of parenting style to adopt?
Vernon A: I think no matter how you try to plan for things, the situation changes, so it’s important to adapt. We’re always in discussion about what or how to handle certain situations but we don’t have any hard and fast rules, we just try to go with the flow.
Jayne: We adopt a slightly more lax parenting. For example, we don’t have a fixed schedule for Liam but we do have a routine for him, so he knows what to expect. So far, it’s working out great for us.
What do you miss most about your life before baby came along?
Jayne: Sleeping in!!
Vernon A: Obviously, the freedom to drop everything and doing whatever your heart desires, like taking a spontaneous trip or buying a big ticket item without much worry. These days, I live vicariously through my single friends’ adventures…
What is the most important value you wish to impart to Liam?
Jayne: I hope he learns that contentment is the key to a happy life.
Vernon A: I feel kindness is an understated value. Many people are kind to others but somehow expect something in return. Kindness should be an act with no expectations. Hopefully, my boys will learn to be kind regardless of the reward.
As parents, what is the biggest challenge?
Jayne: It’s definitely juggling work and home. I do have 2 kids at home ― Liam and Vernon. Haha!
Vernon A: Time. Juggling between work and family time is the toughest! Of course I want to spend as much time with the family but being able to provide for them is really important too.
Do you have any fears?
Vernon A: There are definitely fears! How the kids will turn out, can I provide for them and will they understand that everything I do is for them and their future... But I guess we shouldn’t waste time worrying and just try to do the best we can.
Jayne: I’m constantly worrying if everything I do or provide is the best for Liam. I also worry if I’m doing things “right”.
What has being a parent taught you?
Jayne: Every baby is not the same, so don’t read everything Google tells you!
Vernon A: Being a parent has actually made me more patient with the realisation that not everything turns out the way you planned it. Although you may have hopes and dreams for your children, it’s important to realise that they have their own lives ahead of them, so the best you can do is to be supportive and point them in the right direction.
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve received?
Jayne: Do whatever that keeps you sane.
Vernon A: Hahaha, that’s a good question! I guess it has to be “listen”. I think a lot of parents want the best for their kids and end up forcing their kids to take up things they’re not inclined to. Sometimes, listening to what the kids want can actually help nurture them to achieve their goals.
“There is no right or wrong when it comes to parenting. There is no instruction manual, so yes, it can get tough. But do what your heart tells you and do whatever it takes for your own sanity.”
What do you enjoy most about being a parent?
Jayne: As cheesy as it sounds, I live for his smiles and chuckles these days, it’s what keeps me going!
Vernon A: It’s quite hard to explain with words but seeing them grow and develop, seeing them smile and hearing their laughter make everything worthwhile.
How do the both of you spend time as a couple?
Vernon A: Jayne and I always try to have at least a day or two to ourselves. We go for a nice dinner or catch a movie. We have a trip to New York coming up, and we’ll be going without the kids. It’s something that we are looking forward to.
Jayne: We occasionally let Liam have a staycation at his grandparents’ place, so we have our own time together. If not, we spend our couple time every night after Liam goes to bed. We usually spend it watching Netflix and are just in each other’s company.
What’s the next milestone you look forward to as a parent?
What kind of family activities do you enjoy?
Vernon A: I used to play soccer and swim with Ethan but he’s a teenager now, so we hardly do those things anymore. It’s usually just dinner and movies these days.
Jayne: Right now, Liam is quite immobile (thank goodness, though we know that it’s not gonna last for long!), so we still do what we love to do when we are out with him ― shopping! If we are at home, we spend time reading, singing and babbling with Liam.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Vernon A: What free time?
Any advice for other first-time mums and dads?
Vernon A: Everyone has their own ideals and methods of parenting, so just go with whatever you feel is right. People will try to tell you what to do and how to do this and that. Take it with a pinch of salt and practise whatever you feel is best for you.
Jayne: There is no right or wrong when it comes to parenting. There is no instruction manual, so yes, it can get tough. But do what your heart tells you and do whatever it takes for your own sanity.
Vernon A, please fill in the blanks:
My kids must not… Prefer TV over radio.
The thing about my younger self that I’d most like to reclaim is… My hair.
If I had a superpower, it would be… Mind reading. It would be so much easier when Liam cries and I know exactly what he wants.
My spouse and I are always disagreeing about… The TV volume when Liam is asleep.
My guiltiest pleasure is… Fortnite on Playstation 4.
My go-to food is… Char siew and roast pork.
Photo: Vernon A, Jayne Tham
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