Monday, August 06, 2012

Magic Marker Monday: Butterflies

Last week, my daughter was in feverish anticipation of cocooned caterpillars hatching into beautiful Venessa cardui (Painted Lady). She even drew their life cycle to explain to James:
She hates writing but loves life science. I am being good and not saying anything. Yet.

Back story:
Waaaaaaaaaay back in May, my daughter, while shopping for a friend's birthday gift, caught sight of a butterfly tent. Her eyes snagged on the phrase "butterfly caterpillars included!" and, well, we walked out with a present and a butterfly tent/kit. She paid half from her allowance and I paid half because she had such an awesome report card.

Then the nagging began: "when are you going to order those butterfly caterpillars?" Because of course caterpillars have an extremely limited shelf life and must be ordered after you purchase the kit.

Well, we were going out of town right after school let out in June. So a month went by. July came ... and I finally got around to ordering the caterpillars. Dang, they arrived quickly! Both James and his older sister were fascinated with the spiky, black, undulating insects. Within a week, they were spinning fuzz and hanging from the tops of the feeding can.

We had a minor setback when my daughter realized she'd taken out the gauze circle from the can's lid, meaning the chrysalises were attached to the lid, not the removeable gauze. However, the friendly lady on the 800 hotline assured us they'd be fine if we instead carefully removed the lid and placed it at the bottom of the tent.
Go, ladies! Grow!!

This weekend ... the first chrysalises hatched! Two beautiful painted ladies took up residence in the tent. Our kids went nuts with excitement. We brewed up sugar water and have been trying to feed them with care. Today, in the midst of a sibling fight and subsequent time-out, the third butterfly was discovered to have hatched. The peace and excitement it brought were amazing.

It's been great hearing James and his big sister talking about the caterpillars, and how they are changing into butterflies. She becomes so patient and generously teaches him, coaxing him with his words so he's pronouncing them correctly. He is thrilled with bugs, and being able to share in big sister things. He loves this kind of attention from her.

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Anonymous said...

That looks so cool. I'm going to have to get one of those sometime. Of course, my 14-year-old daughter would both love and hate it as she loves science, but is scared of all bugs. Yes, even delicate little butterflies and lady bugs. My youngest would probably try to eat them. But, hey, science is awesome! :)

That is really sweet how your daughter works with her brother to teach him and whatnot. I've noticed that siblings of Autistic and other special needs children definitely have a lot of extra responsibilities, but they also grow to have a level of perspective others in their peer groups are lacking.

Childlife said...

Love her life cycle diagram! She really is an attention to details girl isn't she? This is the first year we haven't done butterfiles -- I got talked into praying mantises instead. (F.Y.I: Butterflies are much less creepy.)

So fun to hear how her and James interact -- sounds alot like home :)

~Michelle @ 5MFSN