The curious name Caillou first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 2001 with an impressive 35 baby boys, making it the second-highest boy-name debut of the year (after Jahiem).
- 2003: 24 baby boys named Caillou
- 2002: 23 baby boys named Caillou
- 2001: 35 baby boys named Caillou [debut]
- 2000: unlisted
- 1999: unlisted
The variant spelling Kaillou also debuted in 2001.
Where did these names come from?
The Canadian cartoon Caillou, which premiered in Canada in the late ’90s, but didn’t start airing in the U.S. until the year 2000.
The show’s main character was a 4-year-old boy named — what else? — Caillou (pronounced KYE-yoo).
The animated program was based on a series of children’s books by author Christine L’Heureux, who said the books were “inspired by the work of French psychoanalyst Dr. Françoise Dolto (1908-1988).”
So where does the word caillou come from?
The word “caillou” in French means pebble, which was used in a ritual created by Dr. Françoise Dolto. Reflecting her philosophy of respect for the child as a person, she asked children to give her pebbles as a symbolic payment for her consultations.
Sources: Your Questions – Chouette Publishing, SSA
P.S. Another cartoon-inspired baby name with a pebble-association? Pebbles. :)