Thursday, June 21, 2012

Butterflies and Raccoons

We grew butterflies!  (Grew?  Raised?)

We got this kit, and followed instructions:  Insect Lore - live bug kits!

It was pretty awesome at first.  I did this when I was younger, and have always loved butterflies, so it seemed like a no brainer to do this with Miss Raina this summer. Go online and order the caterpillars, easy peasy.  They arrived a few days later in the mail, cute and little and fuzzy wuzzy!

In no time at all, though.... they were eating through their brown food stuff, getting rid of waste, and getting big and meaty.  They yucked me out in a way I didn't remember getting yucked out when I was younger!

Raina checked them every day... she was so anxious for the caterpillars to turn from babies to "grownups" and build their "raccoons!"  We did lots of talking about the life cycle of a caterpillar/butterfly.  We read the book that came with the kit, read some things online, and of course read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" a few hundred times :).

A week and a half later, the raccoons came!  Slowly, one by one... the caterpillars built their raccoons on the lid of their little cup-bitat, and when they were all in... we moved them to their new and spacious butterfly screened in condo!

Then more waiting.  And some drama.  (With no pictures.  No pictures of sad butterfly drama)

I woke up one morning to find 2.5 of 5 butterflies out of their cocoons!  Hurrah!  By the end of the day, the count was the same - 2.5.  Ugh.  Next morning... 4.5 butterflies out.  And the half butterfly was flapping his wings furiously and frantically, causing the place to shake, and making a noise that freaked.  me.  out.  A day later, it was clear (to me, at least,  I don;t think Raina ever got it) that we had only 4 butterflies, and one sad cocoon mishap.  I am still pretty traumatized by it, and the sound of the flapping.

After 2 days of admiring our beautiful painted ladies indoors, we decided it was time to set them free!  Outside we went, opened the butterfly condo... nada.  Looks like the butterflies liked their condo... furnished with leaves, flowers, and tiny sugar water drinks.  I cut the whole lid of the condo, and they ventured out one at a time.

Raina's reaction was exactly what I hope for as she watched them fly out into the sunny day.  So amazing, that I couldn't stop watching it for long enough to take a picture.  You understand, right?  Those moments are gone so fast, I had to capture it in my memory instead of through a lens for once!

Will we do it again?  I'm undecided.  Part of me wants to give it another go and watch next years caterpillar larvae miraculously become brilliant orange butterflies.  Part of me can't go through the flapping again.

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