Friday, June 12, 2015

Like a Grape

For the past 10 days, our house has been abuzz with Monarch butterfly fever. Boy 4 found a little caterpillar on the leaf of our swan plant out front. All summer, we'd eagerly count them as they got nice and plump on the plant, only to be picked off by the wasps. This time, we were determined to see the little guy through. We cut four healthy branches, put them in water and found him a prime spot in our kitchen. For breakfast, Boy 4 would even bring him to the table so that we could happily admire his striped pal. We tracked his progress and we even lost him at one point, only to find him chilling on a painting in the kitchen.

When we went to bed last night, he was still hanging upside down from the leaf. The kids were delighted when they saw that he'd formed into a chrysalis overnight! Not only that, there were eggs on the branch, and another wee caterpillar chomping away on a leaf. I carefully boxed it up and took it to Boy 4's preschool so that they could see the entire cycle and get to watch the miracle of a glorious Monarch butterfly emerge from its cocoon. Boy 4, classmates, teachers - all so excited, marvelling about how unusually late in the season it is for this natural wonder. Went off to work with warm fuzzies about the exciting day of learning ahead for the children.

Cut to pick up time, I practically skipped to his school, ready to hear all about it. I had sacrificed taking it in to my preschool to share with my students, because I knew how invested Boy 4's class was. I'd promised my students that I'd bring in a cutting with the eggs so we could follow their journey. I walked into Boy 4's centre, only to be greeted by his teacher's solemn face. Apparently, the children had gathered around the plant to start their lesson with her. 30 seconds in, a girl squashed the delicate little chrysalis between her chubby little fingers, like a grape. I was shocked at how disappointed I felt, and a bit miffed at the girl, even though I completely recognise the fact that she's only 4 and couldn't help herself. But geeeeeeeez girl, that caterpillar worked his butt off to get that far!

The kids actually did end up learning a valuable lesson about the cycle of life, just not exactly the way that the grown ups had hoped for!

Farewell, stripey friend, we'll always have Paris (or in this case, our kitchen bench.)

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