I had never even heard of Caillou before moving to the US. My first interaction with him was with my 3 year old, watching him on TV, a few weeks before Christmas… OK, I’ll admit it, the theme song is quite catchy, and I sometimes find myself singing it in the shower, just as I do Barney, PJ Masks, etc, etc… Like most of us parents do (hopefully I’m not alone in this).
However, I’ve come to see – much to my surprise – that many parents
HATE dislike this little boy. So many of the blogs posts about him are negative and critical, so I just had to investigate!
Always Jacked describes Caillou’s theme song as, “lyrics” that “are the inane ramblings of a patient in a psychiatric ward”. He goes on to say that he is a “flavorless, vanilla child who lives in a flavorless, vanilla world” What’s wrong with vanilla? The last time I checked vanilla still had a widely recognized (and much loved) flavor. He also writes: “I want to see Caillou smack his friend in the mouth. That’s what kids really do. Then maybe kids who watch would learn a lesson worth learning instead of, ‘If you pout long enough, everything will work out fine.’.” Well sir, if you want your kid to hit other kids, we have widely divergent views on parenting!
Not worth quoting is when he suggests that this poor little 4 year old has Leprosy or some other disease, and that’s why he is bald. That’s not only grossly insensitive to people who struggle with such dreadful diseases, but is also desperately unimaginative and reflects a certain retarded adolescence which he may have overcome if he spent more time with characters like Caillou and less time with characters who ‘smack other children in the mouth’.
Renegade Mothering writes a post about Caillou’s plan to ruin America. Again his baldness is brought into question? Saying that he is a “small bald Satan with a diabolical plan”. I actually suggest you read it yourself because this is a family blog, and I would hate to fill it with foul language 🙂 … There are some interesting accusations here! (Accusations that range from the mildly entertaining to wildly ridiculous.)
Scary Mommy highlights an article by Stephanie Jankowski, which goes so far as to say that Caillou’s grandmother is a pothead; that the house he lives in is so colorful that it’s an acid trip gone wrong; that his teacher isn’t really a teacher because she wears overalls; and that the neighbor is a creepy old pedophile of a man! WHOA! Stop the bus already!!! She also states that watching this little boy puts kids in a coma! C’mon, if you’re going to offer an alternative interpretation for the inspiration behind Caillou that compares with The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”, at least try to keep it semi-plausible by steering clear of threats about coma inducing viewing (that would require some serious binge watching)!
Anyway, these are some pretty harsh things to say about a 4 year old. So, let’s dissect this is a little more:
- Caillou is seen as a toddler/preschooler that is forever whining… Blimy, don’t most toddlers whine at least once a day? In my experience, much more than once!
- That he is bald, well… I’m not qualified to comment on a 4 year old who still has no hair (all my kids have big mops of hair, which poses it’s own set of problems, I might add). Whether it has to do with the original character in the book, or not. Teasing a kid with no hair is just wrong! Especially when references to diseases are used as comic-ammunition
- That he throws tantrums when things don’t go his way. Well HELLO??? My 6, 5, 3 and 1 year old throw at least a GAZILLION tantrums a day. OK, maybe not a GAZILLION but really, what 4 year old doesn’t throw a tantrum?
- That his grandmother narrates his stories. In my opinion, a grandmother is a kind of “life” teacher, she is always willing to step in and give guidance when needed. At the end of every program, Caillou’s sweet and all knowing grandmother 🙂 reflects on the lesson that Caillou has learnt, and how he can reflect this in his behavior. That’s a good thing, right? I wish all children had grandmothers who could teach their grandchildren valuable life-lessons through story-telling.
- That he giggles too much? What on earth is wrong with giggling. A laughing child is a happy child! My mom-in-law tells the story of how my husband’s first-grade teacher complained that he laughed too much, to which she replied” “Well I’m not going to tell my child to be more sad!” Why would we want Caillou to be less happy? That seems a little twisted to me…
- That he is is “vanilla” – ie: boring – how on earth is a 4 year old boring, may I ask? What the heck does it matter whether he’s vanilla, chocolate, peach, or blow-your-taste-right-out-the-water Scotch Bonnet chili pepper? Flavor is flavor, and there is a dish for which every different flavor is perfect.
- Caillou doesn’t know how to take turns, Caillou is impatient, etc, etc… The list is endless!
My verdict: Caillou is a pretty refreshingly normal 4 year old… All in all, it seems to me that these Caillou
HATERS only manage to describe 99.9% of all toddlers/preschoolers – and that they do so in such negative language is slightly disturbing. I think it would be good for kids to watch a story about a normal “every-day-kind-of-kid”, who they can relate to. (Except for the parent with the perfect child, who feels that kids shouldn’t be subjected to 25 minutes of this… how do you put it… CRAP.)
Come on people, let’s not bully a little 4 year old 🙂 … That’s just not nice!
One Messy Mama