What They Should Tell You About Butterflies

What They Should Tell You About Butterflies

The Boy got a wonderful grow-your-own-butterflies kit for his birthday last summer, complete with a free coupon for the starter caterpillars. I really was happy for him—he thinks any creepy-crawling thing is cool—but at the same time, thought

Oh goody: bugs in the house.

We sent away for the baby butterflies, but for one reason or another {it could have been my fault … I find redeeming coupons online somewhat complicated}, we never got the little buggers.

The Boy questioned their whereabouts time and again, and I insisted they’d soon arrive, but after awhile, he forgot about them and I—secretly happy I didn’t have to deal with any other critter’s life cycle but my own—tucked the habitat away and told myself I’d follow up the next time warm weather rolled around.

Fast forward to this May.

To celebrate spring, I went online, coughed up the dough for the kit, and waited patiently for the mail to come. And it did. {Yup, the last time ’round it was definitely my fault}.

Orange Slices

The Boy was delighted.

We followed the directions carefully, and day after day, watched our new little friends do their thing. When the moment came, I held my breath, scrunched up my nose, and begrudgingly took that little piece of paper out and pinned it to the side of the habitat oh-so-carefully.

And then we waited.

Until one day, when The Boy went to check on his buddies while I fixed breakfast, and proceeded to

scream bloody murder. 

As he hollered my name, and the chilling accusation that I had killed them, I ran into his toy room, only to find some lovely new butterflies, and a habitat that looked like a crime scene.

Tears were rolling down the little guy’s face, and I frantically tried to figure out who had impaled themselves on the pearl-headed pin I’d used to secure the piece of paper with all the chrysalides {or whatever the heck they’re called} hanging off of it to the mesh wall. Was it man or bug, and if man, were they still in need of medical attention?!

Well, after a good 6-and-a-half minutes of confusion, desperation, tears {his}, proclamations of innocence {mine}, and the deduction that the butterflies couldn’t be hurt because the point of the pin was outside of the habitat, we did what any good detectives would do, and ran a Google search.

Turns out butterfly poop can look like blood, people.

Now that might not be the technical explanation for it, but if you’re a mom out there, hooking your kid up with one of these things and expecting a completely benign and beautiful experience, you should know that up front, and save yourself and your child from that moment of utter despair.

Of course, all’s well that ends well: this morning we released those lovelies into the blue sky, and despite the trauma,

The Boy couldn’t have been prouder.

I, of course, think I’m done with bugs.


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  1. This was an awesome story. I did not know that. Hanging onto my seat until the very end. You are an awesome mom. I can’t even keep a bean plant alive. Have a great summer…so glad you’re back online! xoxo

  2. Oh my! I had absolutely no idea! They really should tell you that! Glad it all worked out though – sounds like such a fun thing to do with kids!
    Tricia just wrote this gem …Lovely little things, 21My Profile

  3. Too funny!!! I am impressed that you had the courage and conviction to order the little buggers again this year for your sweetie. What a good mama you are Michelle!!!! I’m SO glad they weren’t in some weird massacre of pin holes and gruesome blood all over the crime scene! That would surely backfire your good mama deed! lol

    I probably need to get one of these… Cassidy and Cade would absolutely love it. Hmm…
    Chris Carter just wrote this gem …Words of Encouragement for a 16 Year OldMy Profile

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