August 29, 2010 at 11:08 pm (learning fun, picture post, the continuing adventures of Superpuff)

“Butterflies are self-propelled flowers.”

- R.H. Heinlein

Aunt Ki brought Super Puff a very cool gift for her birthday this year – a butterfly house, complete with five tiny caterpillars just waiting to become Painted Lady butterflies!

It was beyond awesome (and a little bit creepy) to actually have the chance to watch them as they each formed their chrysalis, which happened at bedtime (of course) and gave Puff a rare opportunity to stay up for an extra hour or so. Sadly, all of my ‘before’ pictures seem to have vanished, including the ones of T and her dad staring in utter fascination and repulsion as the first stage of the transformation took place . Hopefully they show up in some obscure area of my computer at some point. . . unlike me to lose photos.

T really got into this project (who wouldn’t?!), and was always running off to check on them. . . and then one day, as if by magic, there was a BUTTERFLY in there! One by one all five of our little friends emerged from their little shells. And although we’ve read The Very Hungry Caterpillar about four million times since she was born, and I’ve explained the process to her just about every time, T seemed to be genuinely surprised when our ugly brown caterpillars (which she liked just fine as they were) turned into gorgeous orange butterflies.

What a pretty centerpiece for our dining-room table! We watched them for about a week, and fed them sugar-water every day (T had to taste it each morning to make sure it was mixed right for her friends )

According to the pamphlet that came with the caterpillars we could have kept them for up to a month before their natural life cycle was completed (if we had some mallow plants, we possibly could have made new caterpillars. This might have to be a project for us in the future), I couldn’t help but to feel bad for the poor little guys being all cooped up in that little cage. I suppose T did too, because she wasn’t too upset when I told her that it was time to let them fly away to be free – actually, she was excited about it.

Out we went to the backyard with our little pets – it was a family affair –  and after a quick goodbye, Puff opened up the lid of  their home and off they flew!

Some of them, anyway. The rest hung around for a few additional photos. . .

And then there were these two. . . um. Lets just say that they were too . . . ahhhhh. . . busy to fly away just at the moment.

. . . and the moment after that, too . . .

But who cares about WHY they didn’t fly right away? We were just super-excited that she got a chance to actually hold these whimsical critters before they fluttered out of our lives for good. She was so happy!

Daddy collected the stragglers and put them on the trunk of our tree, and there we left them. Butterflies in the wild!

Now every time we see a little skipper fly by, T tries to get a closer look. And if it should happen to be brown or orange, she suspects that it might be one of ours . . .

This was one of the coolest things we’ve ever gotten to do. And I’m sure we’ll be repeating this experiment many times throughout T and R’s childhood. A huge thanks to Aunt Ki, for such an awesome gift!

. . .Maybe next spring we should get a tadpole. . .

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