Ask Mr. Dad: Missing fatherhood before it even begins

Dear Mr. Dad: My first baby is due in a few months, but I'm going to miss the birth. I've been out of work for more than a year and just landed a great job. The problem is I need to go to across the country for a six-week training that starts on my baby's due date. The company is very family-friendly, but this session is mandatory. We burned through our savings while I was unemployed, and I'm afraid that if I pass up this job, it could take months or longer to get another one. Of course, I'm sad to miss my baby's birth, but I'm especially worried about my wife. She's very supportive, but I know this is going to be hard on her. I'm feeling really guilty. Is there anything I can do?


Ex-etiquette: Set a good example on Halloween

Q: In the past you have suggested divorced parents both go trick-or-treating with their kids. I hate my ex. We have been divorced for almost five years and she's still a selfish, obnoxious person and I don't want to be anywhere near her. I can't cover up my disgust and that can't be good for my children to witness - but we did not put Halloween in the parenting plan and we can't decide whose gets the kids on Halloween. What's good ex-etiquette?


Book review: 'I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark,' inspiring, empowering bio of Supreme Court Justice

Parents need to know that "I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark," by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley, is an informative and engaging biography of the first Jewish woman to serve on America's highest court. Born in an era when girls were expected to limit their aspirations to the domestic sphere, Ginsburg dedicated herself to fighting for the rights of women and minorities. When she encountered obstacles, she persisted. The complicated legal ideas in the text are explained clearly and simplified for the intended age group, and the art humanizes the heroine and gives the book heart. RBG's life and accomplishments are truly inspiring, a powerful model for young readers.


Game review: 'Paper Mario: Color Splash,' imaginative world tons of fun for kids, teens

Parents need to know that "Paper Mario: Color Splash" is an imaginative action-adventure game with role-playing game (RPG)-style turn-based combat. Mario can restore color to objects by hitting them with a paint-filled hammer. He can also attack cartoonish enemies by jumping on them and hitting them with his hammer, causing them to crumple up and disappear in a cloud of stars and paint. Puzzle solving elements require some lateral thinking, forcing players to look at the game world a bit differently than they might normally in order to figure out what to do.


App review: Toca TV, subscription-based video service just for kids

Parents need to know that Toca TV is a subscription-based, ad-free video streaming service that presents kids with a curated collection of videos. Kids can watch and search for arts and crafts, silly animal tricks, science experiments, funny stories, and lots more. Content is a mixture of original Toca Boca creations and videos from popular kids' YouTube channels ranging in length from a few minutes to 15 minutes or more. The developer claims that their staff previews all videos (rather than using an algorithm), so non kid-friendly content theoretically doesn't slip through the cracks. Though there's nothing out-of-bounds for kids, there's lots of potty humor and mean-spirited characters in some videos. Kids can also use silly effects and drawings to make their own videos, for which they'll need access to the device's camera roll and video camera. Since videos keep playing automatically, it can be hard to find a natural stopping point, so parents may want to discuss guidelines for how long kids can watch. Try it out for free before paying $4.99/month for a subscription. To find out what kinds of information is collected and shared, read the developers privacy policy and terms of service.


Toy Insider 'Hot List': Top toy trends for 2016 holiday season

Every year, the Toy Insider panel of experts chooses the hottest toys for the upcoming holiday season. And these typically are the most in-demand playthings for kids all year long. Twenty of the toys are the must-have items on kids of all ages' wish lists, whether they're based on favorite TV shows or movie characters or they're simply selling out in stores. Twelve of the tech-based toys incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity and innovation, while 10 are based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), from the basics of coding and circuitry to complex robotics.


Watch students return to the newly built Happy Valley Elementary School in Bellingham

Third graders dance in Katie Tully's music class and other scenes from the first day of school at Happy Valley Elementary on Wednesday, Aug. 24, in Bellingham.
Evan Abell The Bellingham Herald
Watch students return to the newly built Happy Valley Elementary School in Bellingham 1:39

Watch students return to the newly built Happy Valley Elementary School in Bellingham

Bellingham kids show their stuff at Children's Craft Fair 1:29

Bellingham kids show their stuff at Children's Craft Fair

'Thrillingam' - Who's that dancing on the lawn! 4:09

'Thrillingam' - Who's that dancing on the lawn!

North Carolina quintuplets turning 18 despite doctors warning parents they may not survive 1:51

North Carolina quintuplets turning 18 despite doctors warning parents they may not survive