happy birthday, hedgehog

Yesterday our baby hedgehog turned one. But don’t worry, we’re not the kind of people to buy a pink candle at Target. For a hedgehog. Come on now.

Oh, wait. Apparently we are.

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April, one whole year old.

But at least I’m not the kind of person to write a sappy love post to a baby hedgehog as if she were my child. If I were, though, I’d probably say something like—

Dear April,

It’s been a good year.

I remember waiting for you to be born. And we thought you were going to be a boy and we were going to call you George. And when our friends asked us why, we didn’t have an answer except that it would be funny to have a gentleman hedgehog named George.

But then you were born, and there was no boy hedgehog. Just you. And we decided you were ours, and we would call you April, and we didn’t even realize when we named you that you were born in April too (duh).

And most our friends thought we were insane for getting you because they didn’t realize the difference, yet, between hedgehogs and porcupines. And yes, it would have been insane for us to have a porcupine as a pet.

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April at seven weeks old, asleep in the palm of my hand.

You were tiny, and you kept falling abruptly asleep for a nap in the palm of my hand. You fit in the palm of my hand back then!

You ran around on your exercise wheel, and grew bigger and stronger, and then you braved a fifteen-hour trip from Texas to blizzarding Colorado, nestled in a warm shoebox in my lap. Hedgehogs aren’t really supposed to be able to do stuff like that, but you did anyway.

You don’t fit in the palm of my hand anymore, but that’s okay. You still run on your blue wheel, but only when it’s dark and you think we can’t see you. (By the way, we can hear it squeaking as it goes around and around. We do realize what you’re doing.) You still make us laugh with your tiny sneezes and your funny little panics and your passionate determination to SNIFF ALL THE THINGS.

Zach and I love you a lot.

Love,

Your female human.

So, yeah, that’s probably about what I’d say. But like I said, I’m not that kind of person.

Anywho, it’s been ten months since my last post, as WordPress so kindly keeps reminding me. Recently I had a conversation with a fellow hedgehog owner on Facebook, and I realized that hedgehog owners need each other. Which reminded me that this blog used to connect me with the hedgehog-owning (and the hedgehog-loving and the moderately-curious-about-hedgehogs) community.

Which, consequently, reminded me that I have also amassed an obscene number of drawings and doodles over the past ten months, and this blog used to connect me with the greater art community in general, as well.

Do I have anything worth sharing? I don’t know.

But I think, since the whirlwind of getting ready to get married, and then getting married, and then moving temporarily to Colorado right after getting married, has begun to calm a little, I think I’ll start sharing in the blogging community again. About my funny little girl hedgehog, about my struggles and failures and musings on my journey as an artist. (As well as, you know, artwork.)

So if you’re interested in any of that, or if you’re bored and need something to look at to pass the time, I’d be so honored if you’d put some coffee on and join me.

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Monday Dose of April: Coffee Date with a Baby Hedgehog

A couple nights ago, I had coffee with April on the front porch while the sun went down. The evening was warm and golden with late sunlight and startlingly mild for June in Texas. I’m definitely not complaining.

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April mostly sniffed around and explored and knocked over my coffee cup (but not until it was empty, thank goodness). It was the most perfect coffee date ever.

Now that she’s nearly ten weeks old, she’s a lot bigger and sturdier, and it’s easier to relax and know she’s going to be all right as we take care of her. Whenever we take her places, for instance, we put her in a small open box, wrapped loosely in a little cloth she loves to cuddle up in. When she was littler, I used to constantly be checking to make sure she wasn’t, I don’t know, suffocating or something in the cloth. Well, shocker, turns out she was always perfectly fine, and she definitely didn’t need me to make sure she was still breathing. Especially while sleeping peacefully in a very breathable fabric. Sometimes she’d get annoyed with me for letting in the light and spoiling her nap.

Paranoid much? Sigh. I don’t know what this says about how I’ll be when I become the mother of actual human children, but here’s hoping I can work out some of the over-protectiveness while I’m caring for a hedgehog, and not a kid.

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P.S. – Also, her coat of white fur is finally coming in! We have no idea why she was so late on getting her fur, but the breeder assured us she was perfectly healthy. And her mom was apparently the same way. So yeah, her fur makes her look extra cuddly, and that’s nice. Just look at that curious little nose!

A Monday Dose of April: Wheel of Terror

As a celebration of our third week with April, we got her a special play wheel to run in. We’d been told unanimously that hedgehogs love running in wheels, and as dutiful hedgehog parents we had to get one of our own. April, however, had other ideas. Her first time exploring the wheel, she did her Hedgehog Huffy Puffy Thing which means she is Very Upset, and promptly scrambled out of the wheel to burrow in the wood shavings and hide beneath it.

Side note: it’s a bummer that the Hedgehog Huffy Puffy Thing is a symbol of alarm, because it’s about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. April gives tiny gasps in and out over and over, and it sounds weirdly human. In the wild there are of course dangerous and threatening situations when such a reaction would be fitting, but when April whips it out in response to being set in a fun play wheel hedgehogs love, it’s the ultimate drama and it’s absolutely hilarious.

So yeah, anyway, she hates her wheel for now. (And by way of epilogue: we cuddled her back to comfort, and she’s ok now.)


Ah, well. We’re told play wheels are enormously popular in the hedgehog community, so we think she’ll grow to like it (just like her baths, come to think of it).

Otherwise, she’s growing fast and has now legitimately doubled in size. Her life motto is still SNIFF ALL THE THINGS!, which makes it a little difficult to take pictures of her because her nose is always blurry from twitching around so fast.

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We love our baby April, and it’s been a perfect third week with her. Even if she prefers hiding under her wheel to, you know, running in it.

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A Monday Dose of April: Baby Hedgehog’s First Bath

Armed with a soft toothbrush, a travel-size bottle of Johnson and Johnson’s baby shampoo, and a hand towel warmed up with a blow dryer, we gave April her first bath on Saturday. She didn’t like it very much, but that’s ok.

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Even though she wasn’t the hugest fan, April did wonderfully in the water. She’s a natural—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Hedgehog bathing is surprisingly therapeutic. I mean, sudsing up a little baby hedgehog in warm water and then wrapping her up in a warmed towel is about as cozy as it sounds. Even if said baby hedgehog won’t stop squirming.

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Finally out of the water and into a warm towel.

It was a big week for April. She practically doubled in size, and she’s gotten far stronger and more adventurous. It’s basically the funniest thing ever to put her down on the carpet and see her go rushing off to explore. She has to SNIFF ALL THE THINGS! And sniff them NOW!

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The aftermath. (Or, should I say, the afterbath.) See her grumpy eyes?

The week also had its trials, mostly in the form of an upset stomach she suffered for a few days. It was a new kind of sad for me to experience, to be caring for a little thing in pain that couldn’t, ya know, just tell me what was wrong. An afternoon of frantic research, and we discovered that an ingredient in her food was too hard for her to digest. We immediately switched her off of it, and she was completely back to normal right away. (And now, oh joy, there’s a 35-lb. bag of almost untouched pet food sitting next to her cage, totally useless. Yeah.)

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Warm and dry, ready to come out and play again.

Oh yeah, and also we’re still waiting for her fur to come in. You can see the fine white hairs beginning to show, but for the most part she’s still got a funny little naked face and belly. But I guess that’ll be news for another post.

For now, hope you have a lovely Monday, and thanks for stopping by!

Adventure is out there! (a Monday dose of April the hedgehog, plus a drawing and an announcement)

Our first week of being “exotic” pet owners was a hilarious mix of cuddly naps, spilled wood shavings, and hedgehog poop. (And we’re currently thanking God that hedgehogs have the easiest messes ever to clean up.) It’s also slightly less nerve-wracking to hold her now, since even just after one week with us she’s noticeably bigger and stronger, and as she grows less vulnerable it’s easier to see how she’s going to be just fine and have a nice long hedgehog life. (Can you tell we’re first-time pet parents together?)

Adventure is out there!

Adventure is out there!

Having baby April has been so. much. fun. Hedgies are always quickly startled and easily frightened, especially when they’re adjusting to a new home, and to a certain extent that’s true about April too. But we’ve been proud of her, because even after a kind of traumatic almost-car-crash with a dangerous felled tree on the road (thanks a lot to the El Niño this year with all that rain and flooding), she’s very brave and unusually adventurous for a hedgehog. With her curious personality and her funny little nose always wriggling and sniffing, I swear it’s like we stole her out of a Beatrix Potter story. And her little woodsy self is a welcome relief from the swampy jungle that has been the outdoors lately.

And the best part is she’s as cuddly as ever…although she’s (already!) growing out of fitting in the palm of my hand.

Our curious April

Our curious April

Ok, so that’s the hedgehoggy part of this post. Now onto the drawing and announcement. Here’s the drawing (which I did about a week and a half ago in honor of the torrential rain we’ve been getting)…

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….which brings me to the announcement. Which is, to wit, that more art posts are coming. I can’t reveal fully yet, but there may or may not be weekly posts coming on, say, Thursdays and Saturdays. And there may or may not be featured both current art I’m working on, and Disney art I’ve already done. Plus behind the scenes stuff and failed art attempts. So check back if ya like. : )

That’s about all for now. There’s a new pot of coffee in my kitchen, and I can smell it from the desk where I’m writing this. So I’ve obviously got to get a cup of it stat. So farewell, and thanks for stopping by!

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on becoming a hedgehog owner and breaking the cardinal rule of blogging, etc.

It was basically the best drug deal ever, and it happened in a Petsmart parking lot. First there were years of dreaming, and then there were weeks of searching, and then there were months of waiting, and then at last there were hours of driving, and then there were moments of eating lunch at Five Guys and wandering around Target and Michaels because we were in the right shopping center but too early for the rendezvous.

And then it was time, and the white Dodge Caliber we were waiting for arrived. The guy we’d been texting with but had never met got out, said hello, and opened up the trunk of his car.

And there she was, in a Tupperware lined with wood shavings—our tiny six-week-old hedgehog April. Dodge Caliber Guy (we still don’t know his name) took her up and put her without ceremony into my hands. I’d tried to imagine what it would feel like to hold her, but I was totally unprepared for her soft little velvet tummy, her tiny little feet, her baby nose sniffing tiny baby sniffs.

Then we paid, and the guy drove away, and the deal was done, and April was ours to keep.

Pause for anyone who’s confused, because I’ve talked to many who are: hedgehogs are nothing like porcupines. Hedgehogs have harmless spines that feel a bit like toothbrush bristles. They’re shy and sweet and more adorable than I can express here. Several years ago I stumbled over some pictures of them on the Internet, learned they were pets, and promptly became obsessed. Cozy, quiet, and easily startled—they’re basically the hobbits of the animal world. I’ve wanted one ever since.

We were expecting April to be, you know, cute and stuff, but the actual level of her cuteness is astounding. She loves to cuddle with whoever is holding her for a nap when she is sleepy. Sometimes she sticks her tiny tongue out and then opens her mouth in a big, big yawn. Her tiny crunches when she’s eating her food are too adorable for words. And if she accidentally puts her nose too far into her water while she’s drinking, she (wait for it) sneezes. I thought I already knew what  cuteness was in the world. I found out I was wrong about that as soon as I witnessed tiny baby hedgehog sneezes.

In four months, she’ll have filled out with fur on her face and stomach, and she’ll be full size—about the size of a softball. But for now, her soft baby-skin is almost bare, and she fits happily in the palm of my hand.

It’s been a crazy life-season (did I mention I’ve got a fiancé now?), but regular posts are on their way again. More art, more writing, more coffee, more story-loving. And now there’ll be hedgehog posts, too, especially since several people have asked for updates as she grows from the tiny baby she is now.

I’m told the cardinal rule of blogging is to keep your blog to one general subject matter. I’d already failed at that, but now by adding hedgehogginess I think I’ve nailed my coffin shut. I don’t really mind. I hope you don’t, either.

Oh yeah, and in case anyone’s interested, April is a snowflake hedgehog, which means when her fur comes in it will be mostly white, and her spines will get lighter and lighter. And we got her through Tanglefoot Hedgehogs, a breeder I can’t recommend highly enough. (Check them out!) Dodge Caliber Guy, if you ever see this, thanks for being so awesome.

It’s good to be back on WordPress. I’ve missed it. Thanks for stopping by—hope you have a lovely weekend!