My husband found a caterpillar on a plant at work a week or so ago. He thought bubs would really enjoy seeing it, so he got a coffee can, some leaves and poked some holes in the lid and stuck it in his car. By the time he got it home it had turned into a chrysalis. So we moved it into a mason jar, and vented the top. Bubs was beside himself with joy. He had to call up everyone and tell them about it. I did some Internet searching and determined that it was indeed a butterfly and not a moth. Do you know how to tell the difference? FYI a moth spins a cocoon out of silk like thread. This cocoon looked more like a leaf, it was green and of course we talked all about camouflage. I felt like a homeschooler.
So we kept the thing on the shelf. High enough so that it was out of danger from bubs' not so gentle touch. It has been kind of damp around here lately and mold kind of grew all over the leaves. This was shaping up to be quite the science experiment. I was kind of expecting this to not be a positive experience. Our catfish died in the tank the other day, so we were fresh off of a strange kind of explanation/conversation about death. That's a subject that has me stumped. Considering religion isn't something we haven't embraced and we haven't even begun to to discuss the concepts of heaven and afterlife (which quite frankly was not anything I'd ever thought I would have to explain for some odd reason) it really became the lamest teachable moment I have encountered (so far) . But I veer off course here.
Friday when I got out of the shower, I just had a feeling that I should go and check out our jar. Lo and behold I see a beautiful monarch butterfly right here in a jar in my living room. I was humbled. I put it on the table. Then I started to worry. Would the mold kill it before bubs and my husband got home? Would it get claustrophobic and do grievous bodily harm to itself trying to escape confinement? Would the noise from the vacuum hurt it's ears? Do butterflies even have ears?
I called my husband who was thankfully on his way home so I wouldn't have to deal with this kind of pressure on my own. Bubs got home a few minutes before. He was so thrilled to see his butterfly. Thrilled. A thrill that was short lived till we told him we were going to set it free. He started to protest, the bottom lip started to quiver and the tears of real true sadness came pouring down. It broke my heart. My husband who wanted to film the release for posterity caught the sadness on video for us. It was quite the scene.
The went into the backyard. My husband had the jar and the camcorder. Bubs was screaming. They found a stick and opened the jar. It was like those wildlife shows where an animal is raised in captivity and finally let go into the wild. They don't want to go at first. This butterfly planted itself firmly on a stick that my son held tightly in his little fist. He stayed there for quite some time, either in some kind of crazy attempt to console my son, or torture him. Again, all filmed. The thing finally flew off the stick and flew around the backyard for a while. Bubs was inconsolable.
I was going to purchase one of those store bought butterfly hatching kits. I think I have changed my mind.