Saturday, April 24, 2010

Caterpillar Season

My children have officially discovered caterpillars.  Not that they haven't noticed them before but this is the first year we've had such interest.  Caroline has taken to mothering all the ones she can find each time she is outside.  Generally she ends up finding 5-7 of them and lets them crawl all over her.  She keeps them in a little bowl and scolds them for climbing out.  She tries to force feed them leaves or grass.  And she names them, of course.  She's always had a knack for coming up with good names.  Yesterday she had some named Anna and Brittany - no excitement there.  But today she had one named "Anna A'Hydrience."  (Or however you'd spell that!)  I asked her where she came up with it and she couldn't tell me.

Shortly after she had named Anna though, we had a slight disaster something I will refer to as the Caterpillar Massacre of 2010.  Caroline was at the top of the slide ready to slide down and just as she started to slide, Bryce decides in that moment to start climbing up the slide.  It seemed to happen in slow motion and I realized as soon as they were colliding that Caroline had a full bowl of her caterpillar friends on her lap.

Of course they knocked heads and Caroline started screaming but as soon as she got her wits about her she started yelling at Bryce who had one of her caterpillars on his pants.  Bryce was mad at her for some reason and was blaming her for sliding down so he wouldn't calm down and was flailing about as I was trying to get that poor caterpillar off his pants before it got mushed.  Little did I know the fate of a few of the other little bugs.  I immediately took Bryce inside for a time out because he knows the rule about climbing up the slide any time someone is even looking like they might come down and came back out to find Caroline amidst the aftermath.  She had 7 caterpillars in her bowl when she slid down the slide but now she only had 2.  So the search for survivors began.  We were able to find 2 of them in good condition although I'm sure they were a little shaken up.  And then we found the carnage of 2 more who weren't looking so good.  Clearly they'd been mushed in the collision because they had parts of their insides hanging out.  A quick fling into the woods was all the funeral they received - they looked pretty gross because Caroline quickly got over their death.  We ended up finding 1 more and she was okay after that.  She said she could identify which was which and that Anna was still with us.  Thank goodness!

The one good thing about these little friends is that the kids know they cannot keep them or take them inside so each evening they set them free by putting them on our old pal, Lizzie (the tree), in the backyard.   Aside from telling them that keeping caterpillars over night will kill them, I also shared the story of how a certain little girl got caught up in the Great Caterpillar Heist of 1985 and ended up grounded for 2 weeks.  (Yeah, I tried to steal some little neighbor girl's caterpillars, but in my defense she had just taken MINE that we had looked for together.  The only fault in our plan was that I didn't wait long enough for her and her parents to drive down the street and I pounced the second they left only to get caught by her father coming back because he forgot something.)

Apparently these caterpillars are the nasty tent caterpillars that turn into moths and not ones that turn into butterflies.   I remember when I learned that as a kid that the caterpillars just weren't as fun anymore.  I guess the thought that they could turn into butterflies is so much more alluring than just a plain old, annoying moth.

No comments: