Sunday, February 23, 2014

Graveyard Of The Butterflies

   For Christmas my sister bought my daughter death. She didn't mean to buy my daughter death; she meant to buy my daughter something that was really neat and educational and fun, but little did she know, what she bought was a graveyard. A butterfly graveyard to be specific.
   Let me back up just a little. For Christmas, my sister wanted to get all the kiddos something educational, and she had done a caterpillar/cocoon/butterfly thing in her daycare that had turned out fantastically. So she found this one from Insect Lore called  Butterfly Garden (linked here ). It seemed like a good idea to me. My daughter loves science, and she loves butterflies, so this was a perfect little project to get her.
    She opened the present on Christmas, and was a little baffled at the 'garden' which was a netted tube thing that resembled some of her stuffed animal bins. But my sister ordered all the caterpillars, which took two weeks to arrive, and I think that seems about right. I didn't really count. When the caterpillars arrived, they were in these two clear plastic cups that contained a brown sludge at the bottom which was their food. It seemed okay. They weren't very active yet, but paperwork had said that they would become active shortly after arrival. I thought that my daughter would enjoy watching them crawl around the cups and make cocoons.
   What I never thought about was caterpillar waste product (i.e. caterpillar shit). All that crap has to go somewhere, and due to the laws of gravity, the crap went down -- right into the caterpillar food. Personally, I was horrified. My sister laughed at me, because she said bugs didn't care, but these bugs where eating, sleeping, and crawling around in their own shit. Forget the bugs not caring -- I cared. That's nasty with a capital NUH. Gross.
    And when they cocooned, you had to open that cup of shit and fish the cocoons out. I really frustrated my sister at this time, because I nagged her into coming and doing that part. She traps all the spiders that she finds in her apartment underneath her kids' beach buckets, and then calls me to come kill them, so I figured she owed me. And the contents of those cups reeked to high heaven, so I am glad that I wasn't the one fishing out fallen cocoons from the shit.
    All of this took from Christmas until last week, so this wasn't a project for the impatient, to say the least. But finally the butterflies started to come out of their cocoons. Like instructed, we placed cut oranges and sugar water in the pavilion for them to eat, and we awaited the site of them flying and eating. They didn't fly. They fell to their deaths. Of the ten cocoons, only four of them lived, and their wings are broken from constantly falling. From the start, the butterflies could not fly, and now even the four living are going to die, because they have all managed to crush their wings with all the falling they are doing. This is a sad, sad thing.
   Hence, the graveyard of the butterflies. Rest in peace my pollinating little friends.

((**Note** The writer really hopes that the giver of this gift (the sister of the writer) does not take offense. We really appreciate the sentiments behind the gift but felt the need to possibly warn others against buying their own super-special butterfly graveyard complete with cups of fresh caterpillar shit. We cordially request that the sister please not take offense and continue to search for fun, educational gifts. This one may be a dud, but we live and we learn. Now we know, and we wanted to share that knowledge.))

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