Posted by: Hannah | 11/24/2014

in which Caillou haunts me, again

Now that we have, people like to start petitions. It’s so easy! Have something that upsets you? Want to find other like-minded people who are upset by the same thing? Want to express your outrage?

PETITION. It’s egalitarian and I suppose sometimes does good things, although there really is no way to determine the impact of petitions on actual public policy.

I have an idea for a petition. I think it could really take off.


Ban Caillou.


I have blogged before about the challenges involved in caring for Louis, the oldest of my dayhome littles. We’ve been through so much, he and I. The year-long struggle to potty-train. Teaching him how to first wear glasses, and then cope with having one eye patched 24/7. Introducing him to preschool. Helping him with manners. Encouraging him to be more independent.

It’s been a long, hard slog, and if his parents weren’t such great clients I probably would have found a replacement for him, especially during last winter. When he’s good, he’s a fun kid, but when he’s not it’s awful, and there were days when I would quite literally count the minutes until naptime when I could get away from him for a little while.

Happily, this hasn’t been the case for some time. He’s generally a pretty amenable kid these days. I do still look forward to his twice-weekly preschool mornings, but so does he, and by and large we’re OK.

Or we were, until a couple of weeks ago.

All of a sudden, I started noticing a return to undesirable behaviours. Whining. SO MUCH THE WHINING. Tattling. Speaking in a babyish voice (“me want it”, “me had it”). Foot-dragging. Refusing to help clean up his toys, or flush the toilet & wash his hands, or put on his coat before we go outside.

He’s been generally making himself unpleasant, and the worst of it is that Daisy is starting to pick up on all of this because hey, driving Hannah fucking insane looks like fun! Whee!!!

He’s even started deliberately and with malice aforethought teasing George, which is adding a new and yucky dimension to my day. Neither one of them naps anymore, and so during the afternoon ‘quiet time’ they are allowed to go into George’s room and play with all the not-safe-for-babies toys. This has been the routine for months now, but recently it isn’t working, because after maybe ten or fifteen minutes I hear George asking Louis to stop doing “X”, again and again, until George cries in frustration and Louis cackles with glee.

Rinse repeat.

Don’t do this to me in November, kid, I’d think to myself as I tried distraction, consequences, more activities, fewer activities, ignoring, not ignoring, adding rum to my coffee (kidding, but only just), enforcing an on-your-pallet quiet time, skipping quiet time altogether. November is not a good time to start acting like a disagreeable little tyrant because right now my fuse is about two inches long and smoking on one end.

I’d been talking to his dad about it at pickups and dropoffs, but while I like his dad a lot he always looks vaguely befuddled by this kind of thing. He couldn’t shed any light on the sudden shift.

Then this morning! This morning his mom dropped him off and we had time for a brief chat.

“I’ve noticed it too,” she said, “especially the baby talking thing, which I was sure we’d dealt with last spring. I finally figured it out. It’s Caillou. He’s been watching Caillou again. It’s now banned. BANNED. You were right.”

If you search “Caillou whiny” on Google, you’ll get hits like “parents fucking hate Caillou” and “Caillou is a whiny little puke” (I love that last one). You can find page after page of parents complaining about how limited exposure to Caillou – as little as one episode! – changed their own children from mostly-compliant happy little people into screaming, tantruming balls of asshole who called their siblings “stupid”.

There’s even a letter-writing campaign to PBS suggesting they not allocate resources to the show.

Parents don’t like Caillou. In a million-channel universe, there is no need to keep this horrible little bald bastard on the air. He benefits no one and offers nothing, so I know that a petition to get his whiny little face out of our lives forever would likely take off.

Who’s with me?




  1. Oh my God!

    “screaming, tantruming balls of asshole” is my new favourite phrase!!!

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this front.

    I *loathe* Caillou with the fire of a thousand suns. That’s all.

    He was banned. No library book.. no colouring book.. there was no discount store colouring book allowed.. no no no. Just no.

    For free I banned him and made no apologies. I also pointed out to my teeny Things when (God forbid!!) an ad would slip through on one of those holy-crap-more-TV-for-babies-all-the-time channels, that he was rude and whiney and that we don’t value either of those things.

    Just writing this I am kind of feeling a bit of Caillou rage.

    *backs away from computer*

  2. Where do I sign?

  3. I’ve never even seen Callilou. I think one of my kids watched a minute of it, once, and hated it THANK GOD. I just assume it’s terrible.

    Baby talk pushes all my buttons. My kids didn’t baby talk, but there are some kids in my circle who do and they are in elementary school. It makes me feel like steam is coming out of my ears, and these are not even my children. Gahhh.

  4. Oh GOD. I would sign this in a heartbeat. I cannot stand this show. It turns perfectly lovely little people into exactly what you said, whining, screaming, selfish little assholes. The twins started watching it at home and I have noticed a MARKED difference in the little boy’s behaviour. It seems to affect male children more, in my experience. It is banned in my presence. I’d also like to ban Dora the Explorer and her piercing, grating, migraine-inducing shrieking, along with her anxiety-ridden, identity-confused map.

    • Oh God Dora. I watched one episode. Why is she always shouting? Does she not even HAVE a regular volume???

  5. I am so with you!

    We’ve mostly avoided Caillou. That kid is whiny, overly dependent, and selfish! His parents do not teach him coping techniques at all. (fortunately, I had seen this show before we had a child

    Why is this show on the air? Who is watching it?

    We prefer Pocoyo. Cute toddler with little problems like not sharing/lost toy that are solved by sharing/helping. My son finds it hilarious.

    • I wish my kid liked pocoyo! But he doesn’t. He likes Animal Mechanicals and Umi Zumi and Bubble Guppies though and I approve of all three.

      • We haven’t seen Animal Mechanicals. The other two have been seen and enjoyed, although not in awhile. Have you tried Super Why or Paw Patrol? (we don’t get to see Paw Patrol because it’s not on Netflix).

        • Yep, we’re on netflix. He likes super why a lot but he’s seen all the episodes twice over so he doesn’t watch if much anymore.

  6. Thank dog I never accidentally stumbled on Caillou when Oldest was little and by the time Youngest was born, the Internet had advised me it was hell on earth, so we dodged that bullet!

    Related: evidently some girls in Youngest’s class use baby talk on the regular so she has been trying it on lately to which I have responded hell no (ok not that exact phrase, but the meaning is there). No baby talk ever. Not only is it irritating as hell to listen to, it’s disempowering for women AND I’m already worried that growing up on the West coast she’s going to pick up the incredibly annoying and infantile habit of many young adult women out here to us uptalk, which I also find unbearable.

  7. I am in! Thank god owl has never gotten into that show.

  8. Yes to this! I forbade any of our loved ones in Canada from sending videos or DVDs of Caillou or Max and Ruby for the exact same reasons – and by the way, I still remember your excellent blog post on the evils of the latter. I also forbade them from sending anything with Barney the purple dinosaur, but that’s just because I’ve always found him annoying.

  9. GAH MAX AND RUBY GAH I had totally blocked that bossypants bitchy big sister out. And “horrible little bald bastard” *snort*, yes a million times yes. Why can’t all the kids just watch all Backyardigans all the time? I actually never realized how gratingly loud Dora was until we were out of the Dora stage – I couldn’t have banned her, though, Eve loved her SO freaking much.

  10. for those of you who missed the promo for the Dora the Explorer movie, here it is. (Safe for work and looks cool) and then the follow up series… (enjoy)

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