How to actually block Caillou and other irritating shows from Netflix

There was a post that went around a couple months ago explaining how to block irritating kids shows on Netflix. Unfortunately it was light on details and it’s actually a multi-step process. I spoke with someone at Netflix who said they’re working on offering more granular control for parents but in the mean time here’s how you can at least stop Netflix from suggesting mind-numbing crap like the demonspawn that is Caillou.

This was all done from the web interface, which will affect any devices that profile uses. We’ll assume you’re aware of step 0: log into your account.

1. Make your kid’s profile an ‘adult’ profile.

Yes, this is counter-intuitive. But only ‘adult’ profiles can rate shows so you have to temporarily set your kid’s profile to be not a kid. Don’t worry, we’ll change it back when we’re done. Go into “Manage Profiles” and uncheck “Kid”


2. Log in under your kid’s profile. Find the show you hate and give it 1 star.

Before the UI change you could mark it as “not interested” but now for some reason you can only give it 1 star. So go ahead and do that. This will let Netflix know you hate that show.

3. Go into the viewing history and remove the show entirely.

You can find the viewing activity link under your account settings, or just go directly there with this link. Make sure you’re on your kid’s profile.  Find the offensive show (ctrl + f to search the page if you have to) and click the X on that line. You’ll get something like this:

The Hoarders episodes are mine.
The Hoarders episodes are mine.

Click the Remove Series link to remove the entire series from the viewing history. This will make it as though your kid has never seen the show (for Netflix, sadly memory wiping for your child isn’t part of this).

4. Turn your kid’s account back into a kid’s

Re-check the button you checked in step 1.

This isn’t a perfect solution. If your kid can read/write they can still search for and find the show. But at least Netflix will no longer suggest horrible irritating stuff you hate. And maybe someday they’ll let us truly block certain shows. We can hope.


Unsolicited Advice for Parents-to-Be

I have about a million pregnant friends right now. Here’s the new parent advice post no one has asked me to write. Because if there is anyone who gets unsolicited advice, it is new moms.

The first few months might totally suck, or they might not.

Some babies come out cooing adorable blobs who sleep and smile and are generally great. These are called “easy” babies, and I hope you have one. But you might not. Some babies just are not happy with their lot in life. For the first few months my daughter had two states: crying and sleeping. She almost never slept. When people told me to “just enjoy” the newborn phase I wanted to punch them in the face.

I’m not saying this to scare you. Most babies are not as hard as mine was. But if yours is, it’s OK to not like it. It’s OK to wish your miserable grub would hurry up and start becoming a sentient being. The good news is they will grow out of it, and quickly. It’ll feel like an eternity while you’re living through it, but it’ll pass. Really. Once Bitmap got mobile she was like a totally different (happy) kid.

If the newborn stage sucks, just hang on. It’ll get better. And don’t be afraid to ask for help in the meantime.

You will feel like you are screwing it up. Maybe a lot.

worlds_okayest_mom_mugIn a world of mommy blogs and pinterest familes, it’s easy to feel like you’re fucking up. Whatever your parenting “style” is, you probably won’t be able to live up to it 100%. There will be times when your kid eats nothing but kraft cheese, or watches TV for 2 hours straight, or stays up till 10, or you’re just too goddamned tired to get out of bed to rock him to sleep for the 27th time. This doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you a human. It’s OK to be less than perfect. Shrug it off and try to do better next time.

Your instincts know better than Dr Sears

Parenting book are great for the “what the hell do I do when…” stuff, but don’t let them override your gut instincts. You know your kid better than any book does, and if something doesn’t seem like it’s right for your family, just don’t do it. Parenting books are written to help manage the average child, but no child is actually average.

You’ll run into this a lot when talking about anything sleep-related. Let them cry. Never let them cry. Co-sleep. Never co-sleep. Every kid is different, just try stuff until you find something that works.

Take care of yourself

A kid whose parents are insane from sleep deprivation or running around like crazy people isn’t gaining much. Not every naptime needs to be spent making organic baby food puree. No one who has actually done this before will judge you if you grab a jar of Gerber and pour yourself a glass of wine every now and then. Find a qualified babysitter and get out of the house on occasion. Yes, it’s expensive, but not as expensive as the years of therapy your kid will need if you start resenting them for ruining your life. Don’t wait until your kid is off to college to have your first postpartum date night.

Speaking of postpartum life, stand up for yourself if something feels off. Giving birth is a huge thing for your body to go through, and it’ll take a while to recover fully but you shouldn’t feel totally broken. Occasionally, weird stuff happens. If it’s been a few weeks and things aren’t getting back to normal, body-wise, talk to your doctor and insist they take it seriously.

Find yourself a village

Raising a kid is about 8,000 times easier if you have a local network of people you trust. If you have a group of friends with kids around the same age, you can trade babysitting services on credit and have a social life without breaking the bank. For some people, family is a godsend. If your family sucks, you might find your village at church. If your’e not religious, try a local parenting group.

If you’ve been thinking of going back to church/temple, now is a great time. Being pregnant or having a young child is a pretty good ice breaker. Also, if you go to a new church and no one talks to you, find a church that sucks less. It’s OK if it’s not the same denomination as what you grew up with, the basic principals are usually the same. Finding friendly people who share your general world view is more important than going somewhere you agree with the priest or rabbi on every bit of religious minutiae.

If you’re not strongly religious, but like the idea of a church community, try Unitarian Universalists (sometimes described as church for agnostics) and if you’re atheist try the Secular Humanists.

Cover all upholstered furniture

Seriously, babies are puke factories. That tiny burp cloth is adorable, but ultimately useless. Just cover the whole damned couch with a waterproof mattress pad and some cheap sheets from Target. You can reunite with your couch once your kid’s stomach valve has figured out how to close.


Congratulations, you now know everything I do about parenting. Good luck.


Tantrum Time

Bitmap is just about a year old now! She is celebrating by being a jerk.

Ok, fine, not a jerk, she’s just little. And she has opinions. And she expresses them, constantly. I feel very much in tune with the blog Reasons My Son Is Crying, where such offenses include “we let him play on the grass” and “the juice is not milk.”

Here she is being cute. Which, to be fair, is most of the time.
Here she is being cute. Which, to be fair, is most of the time.

I’m trying to keep from letting it stress me out. I have to accept that it is not possible, and probably even not good, to keep her happy 100% of the time. Sometimes, she will have to cope with less-than-ideal situations such as playing with HER toys instead of MY toys. Because I need those keys to drive the car.

I read the book Bringing Up Bebe, which I have mixed feelings about, but it did make me realize I need to stop hovering over her all the time. And that provided she is not bleeding, it is OK to finish what I am doing before tending to her.

So now when she starts throwing a fit because I closed the refrigerator door, I offer her a toy. And if she rejects it I shrug my shoulders, say OK, and go back to what I was doing. I presented her an option, play with a toy or cry, and she chose to cry. That’s her prerogative. It doesn’t mean I have to stop everything and present her with every toy in the house until she finds one she likes. She knows where the toy box is. Dumped out in the middle of the room.

We’re starting to do the same thing with food. You want a snack? Have some veggies. Oh you don’t want veggies? Let me offer you every food item in the kitchen get you down from your high chair because you must not be that hungry after all.

My mother asked me “does it work?”  Well, sort of. Has she magically transformed into a broccoli eating, even keeled delight? No. She still throws tantrums, and eats way more white bread that I’d like. But I’m spending less time freaking out because she’s crying. She’s spending more time exploring things on her own, and as a side effect I’m also starting to hone my “mom voice.” Sometimes when I say “no” she even pauses before smiling (it’s more like troll face) and going back to what she was doing – and overall we’re much happier.



I think pacifiers are disgusting. I realize that the pacifier debate has a lot more to do with the fact that they bother adults rather than causing problems in infants. But I still think they’re gross, and wanted to put off introducing our daughter to one as long as possible.

Then the screaming started. Two days of nonstop inconsolable crying. Two days of no sleep for myself. I held her, I rocked her, I read The Happiest Baby on the Block like it was my new bible. The only thing that vaguely calmed her was nursing and sucking on my pinkie finger, neither of which are things I can do while I sleep. So caved and introduced her to a pacifier. I worried about it affecting her latch and causing nipple confusion. But more importantly both RD and I were concerned about the lack of sleep wearing down my mental health, so I popped the infernal device in her mouth. And she was magically quiet. And I felt completely inferior to a little nub of plastic.

Now that I’ve slept, I have made my peace with the stupid thing. I feel a little better that sometimes when I offer it to her she reaches up, grabs it, and pulls it out of her mouth and looks at me like I’m a moron. As if to say “no, I want the real thing.” It’s the most deliberate use of her hands I’ve seen so far.  So she hasn’t completely abandoned me for the pacifier. She’s still trying to figure out how to get her own fingers into her mouth, but I think in another week she might get there.

We also introduced her to her first bottle of expressed milk. I wanted to put it off another week, per recommendations from lactation consultants, but in the interest of my sleep sanity RD needed to be able take some of the night feedings. I was terrified that she’d decide she preferred the bottle to me and that would be the end of breastfeeding. And I still am. If breastfeeding is awkward, pumping is downright ridiculous looking and getting a bottle ready / cleaning it afterwards is so much more effort than just popping her on a boob.

Like most new parents, I’m learning that there are some things you just have to let go in favor of something more important. Like sleeping for more than an hour. A baby who nurses well isn’t as important as having a mother who can think straight. And thankfully neither the pacifier the bottle hasn’t affected her latch as far as I can tell. She’s still my little lamprey.