This unexpected hedgehog landed in my house last night, a graduation present from my daughter’s homeroom teacher. At our high school, homeroom teachers work with the same group of students through four years, and my daughter had developed a jovial rapport with this teacher. The hedgehog thing had started out as a joke at a banquet last week and evolved into this little bugger, a wonder that will provide oodles of hours of entertainment in my house.
Throughout Monday afternoon, I heard there was a hedgehog coming with W, the only child still in school this late in the spring. Last night, I came downstairs to find a clear plastic cylindrical container cast aside on the table where J was eating ice cream, and C was inserting batteries into the hedgehog in question.
“Batteries?” I questioned. “What does it do?”
“Apparently, it talks,” he responded, setting it down on the kitchen table. The three of us watched it, waiting. For what, we didn’t know. C picked it up and squeezed it. Nothing.
“How do you get it to work?” I asked. The hedgehog vibrated on the table and made a whimpering noise.
“I don’t know,” C shrugged. “The instructions are in Chinese.” Again, the little guy vibrated, moving in a circle, and whined something unintelligible.
“It’s talking, but I can’t understand it.” Another quick noise emerged. We watched the cute little toy as if something magical was going to happen, all the while trying to figure out what it was saying.
“I don’t know,” stated C, and he started to exit the room. He turned around and looked at the hedgehog on the table. “Alexa!” he shouted jokingly.
The hedgehog danced in a circle on the table. “Alexa!” it replied back, an octave higher. I gasped, nearly choking on the grapes I was stuffing into my mouth. My jaw dropped as did the jaws of the two others in the room. We stared at the hedgehog.
“Alexa!” C shouted again, just to see if it was a fluke.
“Alexa!” the hedgehog said back. We all began to laugh.
“That is awesome! It really does talk!” one of the kids said, loudly enough that the little device could “hear” and easily repeat.
“…Awesome. It really does talk!” the hedgehog repeated with near perfect intonation, as it danced in a circle.
The kids tried out several more words and phrases, each time being met with a reply repeated in the hedgehog’s cute voice. Finally, we turned it off, still laughing at the experience of discovering the silliness of this toy.
“When you go to work tomorrow, I’m going to play with that,” I informed J. “I can’t wait!” I smiled and winked. Unfortunately, when J left for work today, C got to the hedgehog first.
But that’s okay. I have the whole summer to talk to this silly little toy!