Do You Caillou?

The arrival of the twins has made me much more relaxed in my anti-TV stance.

When Isabella was born, I decided to follow the AAP's guideline of no tv before the age of two. Of course, we didn't last the full two years. Isabella started watching Sesame Street once a day around the age of 15 months, and this past summer, she started watching Clifford once a day as well. However, in the later months of my pregnancy, I started relying on the television to entertain Isabella a great deal more than I did before. I was so exhausted I could barely move most of the time, so whenever I needed 10 minutes on the couch last September and October, I would switch on the tv for her. I never wanted to use the television as a babysitter, but use it I did and now, with the twins in the picture, I have no choice. If I'm nursing them and Isabella is particularly "spirited" at the time, I turn on the tv to calm her down and keep her occupied for a half hour. Nursing two babies at the same time with no hands free to redirect a trouble-prone toddler is a risk I'm not often willing to take. I used to feel a lot of guilt each time I switched on the tv for Isabella. The tv is now mama's best friend.

Recently, Isabella has started watching Caillou on PBS. I had never heard of Caillou until my grandma bought Isabella three Caillou books, and I noticed on the back of the books that they were based on the television show. I found it on PBS, and growing sick to death of repeat episodes of the Big Red Dog decided to see if Isabella enjoyed watching it.

She did, and Caillou is now the only show she wants. The show is pretty decent as far as kids' fare goes, it's pretty PC, and Caillou has friends of different races and backgrounds. Yet when I've mentioned to friends that Caillou is one of Isabella's favorite shows, they're shocked that I let her watch it. According to at least four of them, Caillou is "too whiny" and they don't let their kids watch the show because they don't want them emulating Caillou's "Nooooo! I don't want to" or "That's not fair!". These friends don't know eachother, so it's not as if their opinions are part of a vast conspiracy against the bald four-year-old.

I haven't noticed an uptick in Isabella's obstinate behavior since she started watching Caillou. She's been kicking around those phrases for a long time. But, I'm curious: Do your kids watch Caillou? What do you think of the show?

A friend recently turned me on to our cable provider's On-Demand preschool channel, but there are so many choices and I don't have the time to wade through all of them. If you have any recommendations for toddler programs that are at least somewhat educational and won't make me want to pluck out my eyes with a fork upon the 455th viewing, please leave me a comment.


Thanks so much for all your support and encouragement on my preschool post. Isabella LOVED the preschool open house we attended on Saturday morning. The second we entered the room, she took off to play and never once looked back to see where we were. She was completely comfortable in a totally unfamiliar environment. Of course, her reaction might be different when I tell her I'm leaving, but I'm very proud of the way she reacted. Her first words as we were walking to the parking lot? "I want to go to preschool again!"

19 Responses to “Do You Caillou?”

  1. # Blogger Simply-Mel

    Unfortunately I cant comment cos we dont have that over here. The only decent preschool stuff we get here is cabled in via BBC --- there is an entire channel called C-Beebies that it pretty awesome. Thats all I used to let my kids watch. I still think the best way is to purchase dvds yourself and avoid the tv schedule altogether but that is probably because the tv is crap here!  

  2. # Blogger My Wombinations

    Curious George!! Sam loves it. We have recently let her start watching a half hour a week, but she fights tooth and nail for more. It is very cute and educational.  

  3. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Two words - "Super Why!". It is another PBS show. It is fabulous!  

  4. # Blogger supermommy

    My girls watch Caillou and I don't think that they act any differently. I did a little looking into Caillou when Curly Girl was little and what I found out was that the show's creator said that he created it to reflect how the 4 year old Caillou views the world from his point of view. Kind of makes sense when you think of it that way.

    It could be worse, now my 4 year old is interested in Sponge Bob, Tom & Jerry and Johnny Test (Cartoon Network).  

  5. # Blogger Caryl

    As a person who babysits and watchs the program with the kids, I have to say that Calliou is very popular and I absolutely HATE, yes HATE, that kid! I agree, he is a brat and should have the show taken away from him.

    My fav, Dragon Tales!!!! However, being that sci-fi/fantasy is my favorite genre, what can I say?


  6. # Blogger Mom24

    Caillou makes me a little crazy, but my kids liked it and they're just fine little people.

    Matthew and Jacob and Julianna all love Curious George. Julianna's a big fan of Super Why. Zoboomafoo is always a big hit around here. Bob the Builder is good. Good luck. I firmly believe there's nothing wrong with a little TV. You do what you have to do, you know?  

  7. # Blogger Jesser

    I don't have any problems with Calliou (the like 2 times I devoted less than 10% of my brain to watching a show that was on) but I cannot stand Teletubbies or The Wiggles. UGH. Barney is big at our house right now (blogged about this today, actually) and he is a FAB babysitter (shame).

    So glad (though not surprised) that Isabella LOVED preschool. It is a kiddo's paradise ... new toys and friends and interesting things as far as they eye can see. It will be great for all of you!!  

  8. # Blogger Marie

    Every now & then we catch Caillou. His voice is kind of irritating, but so are a lot of the voices on kids shows. It's not bad. My sister has a problem with Arthur, and the way he talks to his sister. I think you can only sanitize a kid's environment so much. Not to say I let K watch anything/everything... since we don't have cable, we're limited to PBS and videos, ... but we talk about some of the interactions he sees -- what's nice, what's rude, etc. Just because she watches it doesn't mean she'll become it.

    Glad she likes the preschool you looked at! She'll have a blast.  

  9. # Blogger shokufeh

    I'm not philosophically opposed to Caillou, but I find him annoying. MrMan loves Curious George, and learns a lot from the show. I haven't noticed any monkey behavior, but MrMan now knows what to do if he gets "skunked," and he was the only kid in his class to bust out a snow angel when we had snow in New Orleans last month. That last one could be due to "The Snowy Day," but it could be George.
    I might be odd for saying this, but I (and MrMan) like Diego - it solicits participation and teaches about different animals. Though one has to wonder why so many baby animals need saving.
    Wonder Pets is also kind of a fun show.  

  10. # Blogger Shannon

    Lore didn't like that show but I think it is a good show... Lore is still maddly in love with Word World on PBS... and Jack's Big Music Show on Noggin... she also still loves to watch cooking shows with me and Ugly Betty lol..

    But, I think you are doing a great thing for you, the twins, and Isabella with the preschool thing... I can't find one that goes with Lore's and mine schedules lol...  

  11. # Blogger beagle

    I'm embarrassed to say this about a cartoon character, but I hate him. I can't tell you why, I just do and I hope Nicholas does not develop a fondness for him, so I will plan to steer him towards Sesame and Clifford and George.

    I know that is selfish, but I prefer those shows!

    (I know I am delusional to think my preferences will matter this time next year!)

    All that said, my nephew LOVED Caillou and he's quite a the sweet kid (almost 6). So, I don't think it will hurt one bit if you can stand it and she likes it . . . why not in moderation?  

  12. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    Caillou was never one of my favorite characters, but both Hannah and Jake liked him. Oddly, Bridget will not watch most of the shows on PBS. She's been spoiled by NOGGIN. Miss Spider's Sunny Patch is one of her favorites, and so is Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.  

  13. # Blogger Tracey

    Caillou drives me bananas. BUT if you can tolerate it and she likes it, who cares? Anything on Nick Jr, Playhouse Disney or PBSkids is good. Really. It's about shutting them up for half an hour, so I don't think one show is any "better" than any other.  

  14. # Blogger kenju

    I used to watch Caillou with my youngest granddaughter and we both loved it!  

  15. # Blogger Sugar and Ice

    I'm just a kid who's four
    Each day I grow some more
    I love exploring
    I'm Caillou

    So many things to do
    Each day there's something new
    I'll share them with you
    I'm Caillou

    My world is turning
    Changing each day
    With Mommy and Daddy
    I'm finding my way

    Growing up is not so tough
    Except when I've had enough
    There's lots of fun stuff
    I'm Caillou

    Caillou, Caillou,
    I'm Caillou
    That's ME!

    Yes, that was from heart (and may not be exact), and YES we watch Caillou!  

  16. # Anonymous Laura McIntyre

    I have honestly never seen Caillou but if she enjoys it and it gives you time to do what you need to do i don't think they should be a problem.

    As for preschool , i think its wonderful. Gives her something of her own to do (away from her siblings i mean) . My girls both go and love it  

  17. # Anonymous Kris

    Caillou drives me insane- but that's just me. Our favorites are Wubzy, Thomas, Little Einsteins, Imagination Movers, and Kai Lan. We have them on the DVR and just rotate through them when the toddler is driving me particularly insane.  

  18. # Anonymous lisanne

    Our kids absolutely ADORE everything on PBS. Lucas *loves* "Caillou"! I think that he can relate to it really well. They love "Curious George" and "Martha Speaks," too.  

  19. # Blogger Damselfly

    Yes, Fly loves Caillou. He also enjoys Curious George and Super Why. We don't have cable, so it's mainly PBS that he watches, plus a few DVDs.

    Caillou does, uh, express himself, but he always ends up obeying his parents anyway. Yay!  

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