Jake Dean is a writer, surfer and bibliophile who’s counting down the days to take his six-month-old boy, Koa, for his first wave. Follow him on Twitter @JakeJDean.
A Word from… Dad
By Jake Dean
If you’d told me a year ago I’d be a parenting columnist, I would have laughed so hard, with coffee literally seeping from my nose. But a healthy little boy, countless nappies and darkening rings under my eyes later and here we are. I surf less than I used to and I’m writing this on the train as it’s a rare moment to myself. But those annoying dad-isms turn out to be true, don’t they? “I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” I’ve said time and time again. I’m even enjoying those moments with the boys when you take stock and realise you’ve been comparing pram wheels for the past half an hour. Life comes at you fast, eh.
Nevertheless, I’ve no real sage father wisdom to impart. I’ve discovered that despite thousands of well-meaning tips on raising a kid from every man, woman and dog, you really do have to fumble through this dad caper. So instead, here are three mostly un-kid-related hot tips from one sleepy fella to another.
On the Java Ridge, by Jock Serong: A boat-load of Aussie surfers anchored at a remote and uninhabited Indonesian island cross paths with another boat, full of asylum seekers, in devastating circumstances. Good luck putting this political thriller down until you’ve reached its punch-in-the-guts crescendo, which also might change your views on asylum seeker policies. Looking for a banger new kids book? Try The Surfing Animals Alphabet Book by Swedish illustrator Jonas Classen. It’s packed with vibrant colour, classic A-Z rhymes and 26 animals cutting sick in the ocean.
Available from Dymocks Burnside Village
Manchester by the Sea: I admit this film is from 2016, but give us a break. I’ve been busy procreating. We finally finished this slow-burn drama over 25 instalments rand can confirm it’s primo Friday-night-on-the-couch-when-the-kid’s-finally-asleep fodder. Life comes fast at Lee, a brooding Massachusetts janitor, who’s faced with the prospect of caring for his teen nephew, Patrick, when Lee’s brother dies suddenly. Heart-wrenching flashbacks explain the characters’ fractured relationships and you’ll have all the feels from the cast’s stellar performances, laden with grief and intimacy. What’s this salty discharge coming from my eyes?
Onkaparinga River National Park: Can you recommend somewhere you’ve never been? Is that a thing? Stuff it, I’m doin’ it. I’ve seen enough Insta pics of this place, barely 30 minutes south of Adelaide, that I’m pulling the finger out and taking the fambo for an overdue nature hang there pronto. How good is it strapping the kid in the carrier and doing fun stuff while they stare in wonder or catch some zzz’s by the way? I’ll see you in the Park.