In Which I Contemplate Adopting a Small Hedgehog

February 20, 2013

I FaceTimed with my nieces and sister-in-law yesterday. I’d hoped to FaceTime with my brother, too, but his work schedule has been a little crazy, and he wasn’t sure how late it would be before he got home. I left him a voicemail telling him to call me later.

Actually, I FaceTimed with my nieces twice yesterday. It’s just that the first time was rather short. Emily answered when I called. I asked her to get Mummy and Felicity. Felicity was still practicing piano, so Jane came on.

“If you’re calling because you’re considering adopting a small hedgehog, you might want to wait until your brother gets home,” she said. I laughed. We agreed that she would call back in about an hour when the girls were nearly ready for bed and, hopefully, Matt might be home.

I’d gone to my parents’ for dinner after my intake appointment at Borgess. After Jane and I hung up, I looked at my mom and said, “She knows.”

“She definitely knows,” my mom agreed.

You see, eleven years ago, I left my teaching job at the end of the school year, got on a plane, flew to England, and spent a month at my brother’s house in North Yorkshire. On the days he didn’t have to work, we drove to ruined castles and abbeys, making the most of our English Heritage memberships. And on the days that he did have to work, I took naps and read books and walked into town to buy cheese straws at Thomas the Baker’s. And I cooked. A lot. (At the end of the month, Matt commented that the closer it got for my time to leave, the better the food got. I told him it was because he was going to miss having dinner ready when he got home from work.)

One evening, I was making fish cakes to use up some leftovers from the night before. He got home while the cooking was in progress, and the phone rang just as I was trying to flip each of the cakes. “Could you get that?” I asked. “My hands are kind of busy.” I was pretty focused on the task at hand, so I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to Matt’s end of the conversation.

After he hung up, he asked, “How do you feel about being an aunt?” He was grinning impishly.

I looked at him, spatula held upright in my hand. “Okay, there’s got to me more to that,” I finally said. Not that I would have minded. I could just tell there was more to the story than a baby.

“Jane’s parents were out for a walk and found a baby hedgehog trying to nurse off its dead mother,” he explained. They’d been wanting a hedgehog to control the snail and slug population in the garden, but adopting a hedgehog in Britain is almost as hard as adopting a human.

Because of the five-hour time difference, Matt had to wait until that night to call our parents. He and Jane and I were sitting in the lounge, drinking a digestif cocktail, when he finally called them. “How do you feel about being grandparents?” he asked. We were all nearly falling off the sofas as we laughed as silently as possible. Our parents were silent as they processed the information. (My mom says that her first thought was that Jane’s dress wasn’t going to fit come the wedding in September.) He did finally put them out of their misery and explain about the hedgehog, an adorable little thing Matt and Jane dubbed Pricklet.

So when Jane asked if I was considering adopting a small hedgehog, we knew that she knew I was pregnant.

An hour later, I was home, but Matt wasn’t yet. Jane called without him so that I could talk to my nieces. I showed them my recent ultrasound picture and told them that it was a picture of their new cousin who was going to be born in September.

“We already have enough cousins,” Emily mumbled to Jane.

“I hope it’s a girl,” Felicity said to me. “But we won’t find out if it’s a girl until September. What day in September is the baby going to come?”

I explained to her that the baby was due on a certain day, but babies come when they want to, not when we think they’re supposed to.

And in regards to Emily’s comment, yes, they do have a lot of cousins, but this is the first first cousin they’ll have. All of the other cousins they’ve played with are second cousins, my cousins’ children. When Matt called me this morning to congratulate me, we both chuckled over her comment. We loved growing up with a bevy of cousins and don’t believe it’s possible to have enough of them. She’ll be eight by the time the baby is born. Having to share Nonna and Gpa with a cousin will be new. And my mom FaceTimed with her today; she said that Emily excitedly announced that Zia Beth is going to have a baby. She’s already gotten over the surprise.

Now I just need to figure out when to tell my extended family. I want to make sure that happens before the blog post announcing that I’m pregnant goes up. They deserve to hear about the hedgehog in person.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “In Which I Contemplate Adopting a Small Hedgehog

  1. Maria Meintanis

    I think maybe you should look into getting an actual hedgehog too, it would be so cute! Plus what baby wouldn’t want a pet hedgehog?

    • I think the reason Pricklet made such a great pet was that he was an outdoor hedgehog. Not sure I really want to feed, water, and clean up after an indoor one. (Yes, I know you keep them in cages, but still…) But, yes, they really are adorable, and as long as you pet with the grain, surprisingly soft.

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