A common crow emerges from the chyrsalis

A common crow emerges from the chrysalis.

I had one of those kind of mothers.  You know the kind?  She didn’t yell when I brought my lunch box home with tadpoles in it, she knew all the best bushes to find caterpillars on, and (despite working full time) had no objection to helping us raise silk worms and didn’t mind when we wanted to hatch out lizard eggs.

I’m reminding myself of that for a reason.  We have recently had a wonderful experience of hosting first a caterpillar, then a chrysalis, and finally today, we released a butterfly.  It was great!  It really was.

After the event, the girls collected several varieties of caterpillars, and it would seem that the butterfly population of our entire city has chosen our backyard as a nesting ground.  At dinner tonight, (amongst many, many jars of crawling things,) the girls calmly remarked that we truly need a VERY LARGE school room adjacent to the kitchen, with a large bench for collections of live things.


I have resigned myself to the truth that with four children at home all day, my house is never going to look like a photo opportunity for Vogue Living. It is also possible that I am too squeamish.  Great mothers surely don’t flinch with every squishy mouthful of caterpillar….pasta, while the children discuss the features and behaviour of the many fat, squishy, crawling things in glass tanks and jars before us.

But for all the messy, insecty clutter, and the overcoming of sensitivities, I enjoy watching my children love the world around them.  It’s a very thrilling experience to see a new butterfly, and escapees are less of a concern than if you have an ant farm.

You can purchase butterfly kits for around $45, or of course you can walk outside and hunt up a caterpillar from your own bushes and wait a couple of weeks, for free.  Either way, it’s an activity worth doing.

Releasing the butterfly

Releasing the butterfly