From Caterpillars to Butterflies
A few months ago, my lovely friend Julia who writes at Rainbeaubelle, wrote a few lovely posts about some caterpillars that she and her children were rearing and watching as they changed into butterflies. I thought this would be a wonderful activity to do with my girls so I ordered some from Insect Lore.
Our caterpillars arrived in plastic cups, each of which contained sufficient food for the five little caterpillars inside. They were an instant hit with girls. Each morning, they wanted to go straight to the caterpillars to check on how they were and how much they had grown. Freyja considered them part of the family to such an extent that when she was cross with someone she would make it clear that she was annoyed with “everyone except Chili cat and the caterpillars”.
Even though the girls loved the caterpillars, I think the person who was most amazed by how quickly they grew was Rich. When he came back from work every lunchtime, he would inspect the caterpillars and comment on how much they had seemed to have increased in size since the morning. About two weeks after receiving our caterpillars had arrived, they moved up to the lid of their container and became chrysalides.
After a few days, the chrysalides were transferred to their butterfly garden. Then we waited. Each morning we would inspect the habitat to see if any butterflies had emerged. One morning, one chrysalis had darkened, and later on in the day Rich called out to come and look, and there was our first painted lady….
After a few days, most of our butterflies had emerged and the time came to release them. Freyja was quite sad that we had to let them go. They were part of the family as far as she was concerned. But we all went out into the garden and set them free. I expected them to all make a break for freedom as soon as we had opened up their habitat, but they were slow to leave.
But we waited and eventually one decided it was time to leave.
This one didn’t go far. It settled down on a plant on the side of the house for quite some time before it went on its way.
The others eventually went on their way, but gave us plenty of time to observe them close up….
….until the time came to say goodbye to the last one.
It was a poignant moment watching Freyja say goodbye to the butterfly. Over the last few weeks she had watched them grow and change as they prepared to go on a new journey and a very different life. It felt symbolic of the change that was happening now as she prepared to start on a new chapter of her life in September as she starts school.