Allow me to get this out of the way right now. I genuinely, very strongly dislike the pint-sized complainer. I can’t think of another child or children’s character that irritates me to the extent Caillou does. Not even SpongeBob. I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve spoken to many parents who will tell you Caillou is an unbearable, whining, self-centered 4 year-old with ridiculously robotic, humorless parents. And we all share the same unanswered question: why the hell is he bald?
I watch my daughter’s favorite television shows with her as I did with my son when he was young. It’s the ultimate parental control technique. Mommy doesn’t think this one is acceptable for a child your age. Click. Mommy doesn’t like this one. Click. But there’s one I haven’t been able to explain away without obvious prejudice. Caillou. Of course. Mommy can’t take another minute of this sniveling little fu¢ke®. Click.
I grant there are good lessons to be learned by preschoolers from the program. I’m certain the creators and producers have the best intentions. Though, it takes a lot of effort for many parents to get past Caillou’s extreme whining and bizarre giggles in order to enjoy those lessons.
Yes, my daughter took the initiative to learn how to tie her shoes after watching an episode. She was inspired to create a pirate ship indoors on a rainy day. Once when I requested time to make a phone call, she played imaginary drums in a marching band (quietly) after seeing Caillou and his friends do the same. And I admit the books are actually okay.
As we watched Caillou’s mommy tuck him in and close his bedroom door, no doubt headed straight to the kitchen for a big glass of wine, I had a sudden mompiphany.1 My daughter and our family recently celebrated her 5th birthday—she’s too old for Caillou. My daughter’s level of development has far exceeded his (naturally), and it became crystal clear to me at that moment.
Ha! Thanks for the memories, Caillou. Now get lost, you irritating little fucker.
I was eager to have the “you’re growing up” talk with my daughter this morning so I could finally declare our home officially Caillou-free. She’s a smart kid. She said she’d still watch but only for the entertainment value, like when I watch Big Brother or The Bachelor.
1Mompiphany: an intuitive grasp of reality, illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure by a Mom about her children.