I'm On to You, Caillou... and Your Mom, Too

Every moment is a Learning Moment for her. I call BS.

I have, in the past, made my feelings known about Caillou. This is not exactly an unpopular opinion, amongst parents. Most people agree that the little fucker is whiny, demanding and sets a pretty awful example for our kids. Hell, the Fournado learned the word “stupid” from watching the show. Thanks, Caillou.

I’m not here today to complain about him again, though.

I’m here to complain about his mom.

I’ve watched and listened to a lot of Caillou in the past year, and the one thing that consistently pisses me off is no longer how whiny HE is, it’s how perfect SHE is. I feel like I’m being given some kind of subliminal message from the creators of the show, every time Caillou’s mom pulls out a craft or asks him to help her make dinner. In case you’re wondering what that message is, this is what I’m getting, loud and clear:

Superwoman over there in TV-land can handle a whiny little shit like Caillou AND a toddler while she cooks meals from scratch and helps them be active and creative and learn all kinds of new things. But here I am, setting my kid down in from the of the electronic babysitter, while I check Facebook.

Me? Real-life mama? I sometimes snap and yell at my children to get their damn coat and boots on so we can leave and actually be on time for once, goddammit. Caillou’s mom explains the importance of wearing boots and a coat, sings a song and then friggin’ tap-dances to make him laugh, instead walking away with him still lying face down on the floor, half-dressed, like my kid.

I feel the implications being made that I’m taking home the Shitty Mom Award for flipping on the TV so I can unload the dishwasher and get dinner started. You know, because apparently I should’ve been asking my four-year-old to use her special child-sized chef’s knife to chop vegetables, while our baby (who’s now a super easy-to-control toddler) measures rice for me on the kitchen floor. No problem! This will definitely save me time.

Clearly, I am not handling my children’s meltdowns as well as Caillou’s mom either. Every moment is a Learning Moment for her, even if it’s the 15th time that day that Caillou has lost his mind over some tiny, insignificant event. Oh, and each one of those Learning Moments results in Caillou immediately responding positively and with smiles and understanding.


Caillou Gif

Have you never felt, for just a brief moment, like smacking Caillou on his whiny little bottom as he’s pounding on the floor with his fists and crying? Don’t lie to me, I know you have. Have you never just walked away when he’s begged for another treat, leaving him standing there with his mouth hanging open in disbelief as you claim that you have to go to the bathroom? You know, just for a moment of quiet?

Don’t tell me it hasn’t crossed your mind, Caillou’s mom.

I can appreciate that you’re trying to get this parenting thing right, although I don’t buy that you never make mistakes. I guess that’s not something you need to share with the world, but it certainly makes the rest of us feel a little better. While you get that sorted out in that pretty little head of yours, though, let’s make a deal, okay?

I promise not to judge you, as long as you promise not to judge me. I’m not perfect, and I don’t think any mom is, but the difference between you and I is that I share my not-so-great parenting moments with the world, so that other moms can feel a little less alone. I wish, just once or twice, you’d do the same. Then the rest of us wouldn’t feel so bad. I guess for now, let’s agree to disagree on this one, and perhaps we can both learn something from one another.

Good luck with Rosie, by the way. You’re going to need it!

Previously published at Little Assholes.




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Glynis Ratcliffe used to be an opera singer, but after her daughter begged her to stop singing and be quiet for the millionth time, she decided to use her inside voice and write instead. Now, she’s a freelance writer with bylines at The Washington Post, Chatelaine, Lifehacker, and CBC, as well as being a copywriter and ghostwriter for clients in various industries.