I cannot believe I have a butterfly in my living room. A baby butterfly, no less, just a few hours old. There’s something a little magical about that.
This morning, we had a few friends over to celebrate spring break (yes, it was too cold, but no, that didn’t deter us … I just declared it spring regardless of the temperature). The kids were swarming around the playset out back, the mamas standing around, laughing and talking quietly, enjoying the morning. Then, a voice came trilling through the air: “A poisonous butterfly!”
I thought he was joking. But when we walked over, there it was, a huddled little lump of butterfly stuck in a corner of the little tykes slide, shivering, and looking for all the world like she was a goner. A quick poll of the moms showed that we all agreed: she wouldn’t last long. We weren’t even sure she was still alive. She was just a little yellow mushy thing, crushed in the corner after a preschooler’s touch.
So we decided to make it a teaching moment.
I ran inside for last summer’s bug box, and the kids gathered ’round. I picked her up gently — so gently — trying not to touch her wings, and put her little body in the critter box. The kids ran and found things they thought she would like: long grass, little sticks, and a rock. (A rock? Widget explained, “for her to sit on.” So, okay, a rock.) Two minutes later, she had a tricked-out critter crib and we brought her inside to warm up.
At first, nothing happened.
Then, Stimey noticed that she had crawled up the side of the box and was hanging onto the screen wall.
She dropped her wings, slowly, and fanned them out beneath her.
And they began to dry. She began to warm up, and her wings began to dry.
As they dried, the kids lost interest, but I sat there still, fascinated at the little drama. After a while, Widget and Bear sprinkled apple juice water on the grass nearby, wetting it just a little in case she was ready to eat.
She spread her wings, and she was beautiful.