This is what happens when a toddler tries to use Alexa

Parenting / Monday, February 26th, 2018

Only around 2% of the world’s population has green eyes.

I know this because Alexa told me.

It is one of the many random things she’s told me since we set her up. She has also informed me that souir is French for mouse, that a banana is botanically a berry and that Pluto is approximately 4,760,000,000 miles from Earth.

I’m not normally one for trivia – facts leave my brain pretty much as soon as I learn them, making me useless at pub quizzes – but with the arrival of Alexa, I feel like all the world’s random knowledge is at my disposal. Obviously I could have used my laptop, phone or tablet to look up anything I wanted to know before, but now I can just shout questions as they come to me, and someone answers.

Well. Something, anyway.

The Amazon Echo Dot was a gift from my parents for Christmas, but my husband was reluctant to use it at first.

“I don’t know if I want our daughter to grow up thinking that it’s normal to talk to robots,” he said.

“She’s going to grow up thinking that anyway,” I pointed out. That’s the way things are going, after all. Lots of websites have chatbots now. The Japanese use robots to prepare food, work as receptionists and look after the elderly. The growth of smart home devices – clocks, lights, appliances – means that it won’t be long before your house is essentially run by robots. You’ll be laying around doing fuck all while your robot house makes you toast, defrosts your fridge and vacuums your carpet.

So Alexa was activated. Our daughter was wary of her initially.

“I don’t want to look at the robot right now,” she said, eyeing Alexa warily.

“She’s a nice robot,” I said. “Alexa!” I called to her.

Her blue light ring flashed.

“Play The Bangles,” I said. My toddler is obsessed with Walk Like an Egyptian, a song that I suspect is slightly racist but is too catchy for me to really care.

“I can’t find songs by the Bangles,” she said.

I could tell that my daughter was unimpressed. The robot can’t even play The Bangles? What kind of all-knowing robot is this? I had to try again.

“Alexa, what sound does a cow make?” I asked.

“I can answer than using Animal Sounds. Would you like me to enable Animal Sounds?”

“Umm…yes,” I said.

“Hey, ask me for an animal noise or just say ‘random’.”


“Here comes a cow sound. Moo!”. My daughter laughed.


“Here comes a cow sound. Neigh!”. More laughter.

“You try,” I encouraged.


“Here comes a moose sound. Hrugggh!”

She leaned in closer. “Mouse?”

“Here comes a moose sound. Hrugggh!’”

My daughter turned to me. “I told her mouse. She thought I said moose. She doesn’t know.”

I wondered if Alexa was struggling with my daughter’s Scottish accent, where ‘moose’ and ‘mouse’ are almost indistinguishuble.

“MOUSE,” I said.

“Here comes a moose sound. Hrugggh!’”

It appeared that Alexa simply didn’t know what noise a mouse makes – a fact that my two-year-old knows. She was losing credibility by the minute.

Alright, Alexa, I thought. Let’s see what you’re really made of.

“Zebra,” I said.

“Here comes a zebra sound. Whoop whoop whoop!”

My daughter and I both stared at her in awe. Not because of her skills – let’s face it, Alexa’s robot skills need work – but because the sound a zebra makes is so amazingly weird. Nature designed a striped horse that goes whooping across Africa – I have yet to meet a robot that has done anything that has impressed me that much.

“Zebra,” we said, over and over, and our house filled with joyful whooping.

This is what happens when a toddler tries to use Alexa

The Pramshed

7 Replies to “This is what happens when a toddler tries to use Alexa”

  1. Ha ha ha – I’m going to try this with our Alexa and the kids tomorrow – much hilarity will ensue I’m sure. It’ll make a change from hearing ‘Alexa play top tunes by Justin Fletcher’ – did you know Justin aka Mr Tumble sings ‘Let it Go’ – me neither before we discovered it on Alexa and his ‘what does the fox say?’ song is a corker…. your next Alexa challenge! xx

  2. I would love to get an amazon Echo, it is on my wishlist. It’s amazing what technology can do for us now. I am sure my 12 year old daughter would have as much fun as you did asking Alexa questions lol.

  3. This is great and so funny. Toddlers are hilarious aren’t they. We have a Google Home and my little one loves to say “Ok Google” although she quite grasped the concept of what you need to do with it just yet. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

  4. I love this SO much! At times the wisdom Alexa unleashes is astounding, and at times, you wonder, how did we all pay $40 bucks for this? Oh, to the future and beyond! #fortheloveofBLOG xoox

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