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I Wanted To See If The New Teddy Ruxpin Is As Creepy As He Used To Be

Decades later, Teddy 2.0 is app-friendly and still a hit with kids.

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Think back to a moment in your life when you felt like your heart might actually explode.

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Maybe it was after accomplishing a major life goal or hitting some big milestone. Maybe you were on vacation, celebrating a special birthday with loved ones, on a truly amazing date...or maybe it was just a random Wednesday.

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That’s really the only way to describe what happened when Teddy Ruxpin arrived at our doorstep.

Rhianon Hoffman / BuzzFeed

See also: elated, euphoric. The squeals and cheers that erupted from our boys were sweet and magical, from the oldest down to the youngest...down to myself, to be honest.

When I was around 2 or 3 years old, I made my first best friend. Her name was Tyler and we would spend many of our waking hours together. We went to the same daycare and had sleepovers for years, making a million memories — many of which included us playing with her cherished Teddy Ruxpin. We didn’t have one at my house, and so I couldn’t get enough of this magical bear of hers. Now I finally have my own my boys have one for themselves.

What I remember of the original toy is that he was huge, he was (in hindsight) more than a little creepy, and he had a cassette player wedged in his back. You would buy the book and tape set together, and read along with the book while Teddy Ruxpin told the story.

A few changes have been made to 2017's revamped, internet-age bear:

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1) Teddy Ruxpin is far smaller and more cuddly than he used to be.

2) He comes pre-loaded with three stories ready to go (BIG win).

3) He has magical eyes (more on this in a sec).

4) He’s swapped out the cassette tape for an app.

5) He’s a different kind of creepy.

While I was apprehensive at first, unlike the Teddy of yore, 2017's version looks sweeter and friendly — and the kids love playing his stories and singing along to his songs over and over. When friends come over, he's even been the first toy that they pull out to play with (closely followed by old standbys Matchbox cars and dinosaur figurines).

There are many things that make this updated version of Teddy Ruxpin great: As long as you have 4 AA batteries on hand, you can use him immediately. He’s intended for ages 2 and up, and I can attest to the fact that all of my kids enjoy playing with him (read: fighting over him) for different reasons. My younger boys love being told the stories, while my older two will actively read along. Teddy 2.0 is equipped with Bluetooth, and as the story is displayed page by page on the app, he reads along with it. You can pick which story you want him to read by squeezing his right paw, and you can pause by squeezing his left. If you want to skip a page or song, you just press on his chest (where the logo is on his jacket).

His animated eyes can make more than 40 expressions, in reaction to what’s going on in the story — but one downside is that while they're friendly-looking and innocent enough when he's on, Teddy's eyes seem...hollow when he's turned off.

Rhianon Hoffman / BuzzFeed

I'm prettttty sure this is why he comes with an eye mask: partly to protect his eyes, but partly because no one wants to find themselves face-to-face with an eyeless bear in the middle of the night. (This hasn’t seemed to bother my kids, but may be something to be mindful of if you have a particularly easily creeped-out kiddo!)

Note that in order to read the stories, you have to use a smartphone or tablet. You can listen to the stories without one, but if you want to look at the pictures and let the kids read along (which is far more engaging, especially for the older ones) the only way to do that is via Bluetooth on the handheld device of your choice. In our home, we don’t have an iPad and the kids don’t have their own tablets (#BudgetProblems), so if they want to play with the app they have to borrow a phone from me or my husband. While this isn’t a huge issue, because we all know that an occupied kid = a happy parent, there've been a few times the kids have been playing with Teddy and I’ve received a phone call that I needed to pick up. Enter: “MOMMMM!!” “What happened?!” and “We were playing with that!!”

The bottom line is that my kids LOVE him.

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And despite a few drawbacks, he's a win! He’s great for pre-bedtime winding down, for keeping older kiddos occupied while little ones nap, and for road trips (he’s accompanying us to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving).

Much like the LeapReader pen (another one of my kids' faves), Teddy Ruxpin successfully mixes the simple fun of a traditional toy with the benefits of a technologically-reliant one — and the result is a fantastic, entertaining alternative to other kinds of screen time.

Get Teddy Ruxpin from Walmart for $84, Toys "R" Us for $89.99, or Amazon for $116.15+.

Rhianon Hoffman is a stay-at-home mom of four young boys based in Brooklyn, New York, who blogs regularly on her site Brooklyn Boy Mom.

This product was provided to BuzzFeed free of charge but we were not obligated to positively review it.

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