Friday, August 19, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Caillou

First off, I have to say that yes, our kids watch TV. Gasp!

Judge me if you will, but when the little man wakes up at 5:30am, sometimes it's the best thing in the world to turn on the giant lightbox and bring to life the wonderful worlds of Netflix or Treehouse.

We've got a pretty steady rotation of Dora, Diego, Max and Ruby, and then the character in question today - Caillou.

At first glance, Caillou is awesome. He's a big brother to a little sister, he does all the activities our little man does, he's potty trained (I wish), and their family situations seem pretty realistic. TOO realistic. Therein lies the problem.

We worry about all the bad words and concepts the little man might pick up at preschool, but we always thought young children's programming was fairly innocuous.

Then "Grumpy Caillou" came to our house. One day our little man crossed his arms and came out with a full on pout, refusing to eat his dinner. We couldn't figure out where he'd learned this, as it's summer vacation and none of the kids we've played with in the last few months do this. A few days later we were watching Caillou and lo and behold, Caillou does the exact same thing. We started calling our little man "Grumpy Caillou" every time it happened, and joking about it until he gave up the pout and agreed to whatever we were asking.

Grumpy Caillou eventually went away and life went on. We've been trying pretty hard to clean up our language over the last year or so - not that we're potty mouths, but there are definitely certain expressions we've needed to curb. The little man has tried out a few of them and we've learned very quickly just what a sponge he is.

Then he started experimenting with the word HATE. Now, we may use that word now and then, but it's not really a regular visitor to our home. I do know that he'd picked it up from my mum one day while playing at her house, because I heard her say it about a show they were watching, and he repeated it immediately. He adores his "Nang Nang" and picks up a lot of her language - mostly safe and British-themed. She's under strict instructions now to clean up her act, which is hilarious because she's a very well spoken, polite, lovely lady.

We explained to the little man that hate isn't a nice word, and gently tried to discourage its use. Then Mr. Awesome was watching Caillou with the kids and wouldn't you know - Caillou says it ALL. THE. TIME. It's hard enough to explain that his Nang Nang shouldn't be saying it, but when his favourite TV show is seemingly endorsing it as well it feels like we're getting outnumbered.

Caillou is now off the morning rotation. That bald little bike riding hate-monger is no longer welcome in our home. We're cutting him off now, who KNOWS what slurs he might come out with in future episodes.

And Nang Nang better watch her back.


  1. Ha! My 2 year old is obsessed with the show and up until recently I thought it was the best show for little kids that didn't have much controversy in it. But I suppose when you are trying to teach appropriate behavior, the real life situations, might not be good to show because they can become "an example" of how to act, instead of how to not act.

    Heather From and Mommy Only Has 2 Hands!

  2. Exactly! It seemed so great, he did all the things were encouraging our son to do, and then he started copying EVERYTHING!

  3. I have noticed two different Caillou's. I know one is the older and one is the newer version, but i can't tell which one is which! One version has him whining all the time and has puppets during the commercials (his dinosaur and cat). The other version is so much better. He is polite and sweet. His voice is completely different and even has a different intro. I've been trying to research, but I can't figure out if Caillou has gotten better or worse! We old let my 2 year old watch the "good" Caillou.