For Taya's 4th Birthday, the girls wanted to get her something
"EXTRA SUPER DUPER FUN."
I found an advertisement for a live butterfly garden & they LOVED that idea for Taya, so I ordered them.
When the package came I realized that this was TIME SENSITIVE material. Duh, Dani. If you're ordering REAL butterflies, of course you're going to get LIVE CATERPILLARS. I don't know what I was thinking when I ordered them a month before her birthday. We had to give them to her right away before the entire metamorphosis process happened.
Taya was SO in LOVE with her new caterpillar friends. She had five cute little friends in her package. We were SO excited to see how they become butterflies.
The kit also came with a pavilion to put the chrysalises in so they could hatch into an area where they could learn to fly. We were SO excited.
We watched for a whole week as the caterpillars ate & ate & ate & ate. They got SO BIG & FAT. It was crazy how they quadrupled in size in just 7 days. We went to LA for Labor Day weekend so we had to leave our friends at home while we were away. When we got back on Monday night, this is what we found:
Once the chrysalises are spun, we are supposed to remove them carefully from the jar & pin them to the size of the pavilion so they have lots of room to fly when they hatch as butterflies.
Well, when we looked inside the jar, there were 4 chrysalises hanging from the top. We frantically looked for the 5th caterpillar & found a chrysalis on the floor of the jar. He hadn't spun his chrysalis strong enough & it must have fallen while we were away. We were heartbroken. We safely got the other 4 chrysalises safely into the pavilion, but when we saw the 5th guy up close, we realized the chrysalis had broken open when it fell & the caterpillar was dead. You would have thought it was the end of the world. My girls were WAILING at the top of their lungs. Lorien was hyperventilating because she was crying so hard. They DEMANDED a proper burial for "Tasha." (I didn't realize they had named them.)
It was absolutely hilarious to watch them, but it was SO VERY SWEET too. I'm so grateful I have raised kids who are aware of life around them & the importance of every creature's life. They were grieving over a CATERPILLAR! Though that may seem ridiculous to most (& yes, I did laugh), it was SO SWEET to know they cared that much for such a little creature. We buried "Tasha" in our backyard.
This pictures says it all . . .
Well. . . about a week after the caterpillars made their chrysalises, we woke up to find them completely black in color. They had been grayish brown the entire week & then all of a sudden they were pitch black. I knew it was the day they would hatch. We were SO excited.
We wanted to make sure we saw it happen. The kids sat & stared at them for probably a half hour hoping one would emerge. I was such a mean mom & made them go get dressed for school because what were the chances they'd hatch in 3 minutes time? Of course one emerged while we were all getting dressed. We missed it! The kids were SO MAD at me.
So we sat & watched. Pretty soon it was time for school & the kids cried because they wanted to stay & see their butterflies. I PROMISED them I'd video tape them emerging so they could see it after school. None of them emerged while I took the kids to school so I sat & waited. I waited & waited & waited like a good mommy. But things had to get done! Craiger needed to be fed, so I went to grab him a bottle & as soon as I got back
ANOTHER BUTTERFLY HAD EMERGED.
So I sat & waited some more. Soon lunch came & I had to make sandwiches for my kids. I made them in lightning speed, but I was once again not fast enough. The 3rd butterfly was in the pavilion.
I started to panic. I HAD to video the last one or the girls were going to hate me forever. I sat & waited & waited & waited. Nothing. I sat for
TWO & A HALF MORE HOURS.
Nothing. I was bored out of my mind! I had laundry to do, a house to clean, & kids to take care of. AAAAAAAAAAAAH!
I decided I'd run upstairs & grab a load of laundry, just praying nothing would happen. Half way up the stairs, I changed my mind & ran back to the pavilion. I was SO happy I did:
The last butterfly emerged & I got it on video for the girls. I am a good mom after all. :-)
The butterflies were beautiful. They were brown on the outside, but orange & black on the inside. We all watched them for hours. I put orange slices & carnations sprinkled with sugar water in the bottom of the pavilion for them to eat.
After 3 days it was time to let them go free into the wild. The girls (especially Lorien) were sad that we had to let them go, but it was fun to see how quickly they could fly in the open air.
Hooray for our four little friends. It was a FUN birthday present for the WHOLE FAMILY. We learned about life, love, & how to care for others. I would recommend it to ANYONE who has kids of any age. Happy Birthday Taya & thank you for sharing your gift with all of us.