Our TV is on a lot. Like most of the day. It doesn't mean my kids are glued to it 24/7 or anything like that. Usually it's on because they go outside and forget to turn it off. But it is on most of the time, to the point that when Trouble was a little toddler, he would say "Uh-oh" and point to it when the TV was off, like it was broken. We stick to a few specific channels for the kids, mainly Nick Jr and Nickelodeon, Disney Jr and Disney. They think it's neat that if they miss a show, it will come on again 3 hours later on the West channels. We also have DVR, which I believe might be the greatest invention ever. Seriously, the ability to watch a show after it comes on, fast forward through commercials or boring parts, and keep a show to watch over and over... Genius! I can get through my soap opera in 15 minutes! Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is the only show that Donkey actually sits and watches, and having it in the DVR got us through a couple days and nights when he was sick. Needless to say, I have several episodes memorized :) We also have On Demand on Dish Network, but we don't use it much.
Pirate is another story. He just recently started using the remote to change channels. He knows the channel numbers for the shows they can watch, and can read enough letters to pick the shows. He also learned to go into the DVR to pick shows. He figured out the two words starting with P mean Peppa Pig and the words with M mean Mickey Mouse. Over the past few months he's learned how to spell the names of other shows and he can go into the DVR and put shows on for himself and Trouble. (No, I'm not saying that sitting your kid in front of the TV menu should be how they learn how to read!) Then Pirate started getting adventurous and trying to record shows. I guess he thought he saw us do it enough that he could figure it out for himself. All of a sudden, I was finding that the few shows I record during the day were being stopped so something else would record. So, I told him he could not record shows without a grown up or Princess being with him. Even Princess asks if she can record her shows.
He stopped playing with the remote, or so I thought. I had made a couple of folders in the DVR to keep shows grouped together. We have a Halloween folder, a Christmas folder, and a Kids' movies folder. That way we don't have to scroll through everything to get to those shows. The whole DVR goes by date, so the Halloween folder is all the way at the bottom, since we haven't added to it since October. Same with the Christmas folder. If you're wondering why I keep these shows, it's because my kids are weird. Sometimes they want to watch Rudolph or the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in the middle of April. Anyway, all of a sudden the Christmas folder was at the top of the DVR. I looked to see what had been moved into it, and found Law & Order SVU at the very top. Then I found that he had moved a bunch of other shows into other folders as well. At least he wasn't trying to watch those shows! They're locked from viewing, but apparently not from being moved around. So, I told him he couldn't use the remote anymore at all.
That didn't last long though, because when things get crazy with the babies, it's easy to tell him to put on a show downstairs. Yes, I sometimes send my kids to watch TV to get them out of my way. Don't judge unless you also have 5 kids. I made sure I told him not to move any shows around in the folders.
The next day, I went into the DVR to watch something in my "spare" ten minutes, and found 37 Spongebob episodes had recorded. Princess had been at school, and Trouble just uses the remote as a weapon. He doesn't try to put shows on, so I knew it had to be Pirate. When I checked the schedule, I kid you not, Spongebob was scheduled to record every half hour for the entire day. It was the weekend, and I guess there's nothing on but Spongebob all day. Apparently he tried to record an episode, but hit Record All instead. I took the remote out of the basement for good.
I thought we were over the whole remote issue after that incident this weekend. Yesterday my husband called from work and said to make sure the remote stays out of Pirate's hands. He had logged onto our account online and saw that our bill was $60 more than it should have been. He called the company to see what was up, and was told that we rented 8 Pay-per-View movies last month, including Happy Feet Two four different times. OMG!!! Pirate had rented all the kids' movies that came up on the home screen as advertisements! One of which he rented on four different days! Thankfully the very nice customer service lady removed the charges for us. Even more thankfully, my husband caught it yesterday, before our account was automatically debited the payment tomorrow. We locked the whole system, so all they can do now is watch something already recorded and watch the approved (by us) channels.
I swear, there is never ever a dull moment over here!