Butterflies and Dirt

by Cate on April 1, 2009

Buterfly Box
We do more than play with food here at the O’Malley household, you know.  We’ve been working very hard on raising butterflies for the past month or so.  It’s been a fun project for us all to share in together, watching them go from wiggly caterpillars as they arrived on our doorstep, into their pupa stage as they form the chrysalis, and then finally bursting through into full-fledged butterflies.  Although it seems like it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get them from beginning to end, it really happens pretty quickly, with each stage taking 7-14 days, depending on the stage.  Do you know that some butterfly species can take two years to get through the stage?  Yikes!

CaterpillarsWhen the box arrived, we read the directions carefully and got them all set up.  Every morning, we all checked in on them to check on their progress.  Seeing them crawl around was honestly giving me the heebie-jeebies, but I played dutiful caretaker.  Last week they morphed into the pupa stage, and once they did, we had to take them out of the cup they came in and relocate them a bit.  It totally creeped me out and I tried to get the kids’ babysitter to do it … she got halfway through it and got creeped out too, so I sucked it up all in the name of not abandoning the project and having to start all over and did what I needed to do.  The next day, the habitat made its way into Nick‘s school so the kids could all get a look at the progress the butterflies had made.

ButterflyKnowing that the next stage, them popping out of the cocoons, would happen in 7-10 days, since yesterday was the 7th day, we’ve been keeping a close eye on them, waiting.  We checked this morning before Nick headed off to school and no change.  This afternoon, the babysitter took a peek at them and I quickly heard, “they’re here!”  We looked over and sure enough, the butterflies were starting to emerge.  By then 3 out of 5 were out, and by the time Nick came home from school, the 4th had come out.  We’re still waiting for the 5th one.  They’re all pumping their wings, getting used to their new body and environment and getting the blood going.  The wings are starting to change colors, becoming very pretty orange and black spots which, unfortunately, you can’t tell from this picture yet.  As we wait for #5 to make its appearance, we’ll bring them back into school tomorrow so the kids can see them. Did you know that adult butterflies only live for about two weeks?  I don’t think I’ll tell Nick that.

With today being April Fool’s Day, Nick and I decided to use the butterflies to play a little prank on The Husband.  A little bit before he was due home, Nick called him, gasping and sniffling.  “Daddy, the butterflies!  The butterflies!  They didn’t make it!  Daddy, they died!”  To say this kid could have an acting career would be an understatement – he sounded like he was hysterically crying and totally would have had me going.  I don’t know how he kept a straight face.  “Daddy, I need you to help me bury them in the backyard.” Minutes later, The Husband walked in the door to find Nick smiling from ear to ear.  He was so excited to have pulled one over on The Husband.

Dirt Cup Full
I struggled to figure out a prank to pull on Nick today, but wasn’t getting inspired enough to find a “that’s it!” idea.  Instead, we ended up making Dirt Cups for dessert, so Nick could pull another fast one on The Husband.  To say that Madeline enjoyed it just as much would be an understatement.  Funnily enough, she didn’t really have any pudding, believe it or not.  I gave her one of the worms, and the only pudding she had was a smidge that was left on the worm.  She sure as heck went to town with it though.

Big Laugh


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire April 1, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Oh, that sounds like so much fun!!! Nicholas definitely is an actor…I can’t pull jokes on people…they call my bluff! And Madeline’s face is just awesome! I started my last rotation today and it’s back in peds…getting to see faces like that makes my day. :-)

Claires last blog post..Spinach and Beer


Elyse April 2, 2009 at 1:02 am

How precious is Madeline! She looks like she reeeeally enjoyed those cups o’ dirt. And Nick sounds not only like a cutie pie but a great actor!! What a great April Fools. Butterflies are totally fascinating, by the way. What a transformation. It’s quite magical (aside from the creepiness).

Elyses last blog post..Toddy’s first foray into baking…


Andrea April 2, 2009 at 11:49 am

Cate, you are having too much fun! Oh wait, that’s impossible. Nevermind.

What a cute story!

Andreas last blog post..Giant Spun Sugar Dessert Recipe


Sophia April 2, 2009 at 11:55 am

Wow! what fun! I would have loved this as a kid. heck , I would love this now too!
Madeline is just so adorable! I love her little scrunched up grin! it puts a grin on my face too!


Blond Duck April 2, 2009 at 1:17 pm

I want to raise butterflies! That would be a blast!


dawn April 2, 2009 at 1:44 pm

how cute is that last pic?
I would be so nervous about raising the butterflies right.
Cute though.

dawns last blog post..peanut butter cups


Liz@thisfullhouse April 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Raising butterflies, how awesome is that? Madeline looks totally edible :)


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