Tuesday, June 3, 2008


My sweet little girl is into bugs. Always has been. Everywhere she went, she had a net and a jar with her. Cousins, great-aunts and grandparents saved interesting insects for Anna, knowing that no one would appreciate that cool bark-beetle or weird yellow spider they found in their garden more than she would. Eric built a big shadow-box and taught her that to preserve a bug for her collection she could kill it (um, painlessly) by putting it in a jar with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball. Soon her collection included everything from pristinely preserved dragonflies to road-kill beetles. Nothing was too small or too mangy for her shadow-box; she saved and mounted every thing she found. I'll never forget when David, still new to the family, found a beautiful (live) butterfly and, knowing how much she loves insects, showed it to Anna. She, of course, set about capturing it and, um, extinguishing it, to add to her collection. Poor David was mortified that he'd contributed to the killing of this beautiful creature. He BEGGED her to set it free. But to Anna, it was all in the name of science. Fortunately, as time has passed, she's learned to be more compassionate toward bugs and now she loves to create habitats for them to live in before letting them go (usually).

Finally it was time to show her, up close, the metamorphosis of the butterfly. We ordered some larvae and the kit and watched as the tiny caterpillars grew and grew until one day, they all made their way to the top of the container and spun their chrysalises. I couldn't get a decent picture of them in their chrysalises, but here they are just before.

Then, about 10 days later, we had butterflies!! After watching them for a couple of days, we set them free last night:

And not one of them ended up on a pin in her shadow box. I think Anna has had a metamorphosis of her own.


jpogue said...

How nice that she's discovered the "kinder, gentler" side of herself. Watching caterpillars turn into butterflys is so much fun for kids and adults alike!

Dee said...

Oh, that must be the new nightgown. Its adorable ! Good job Mom !
And good science taught to let her see what an amazing process it is for a squirmy "thing" to become a lovely butterfly. Very positive lesson !
Thanks for sharing that with us.

Anonymous said...

OK..that is really cool

Jacki said...

fun story! After reading that, the first thing I thought is, "wow, Anna has such a great life." She is very lucky to have such a creative, open minded mom.

I wanna be just like you! :o)

kate said...

Oh Jacki, that just made my day! Thanks, sweetie. I feel lucky that she's such an amazing kid.

PS. How are my wedding plans coming?? ;)

Dee said...

Oh, and nice potted flowers. You made a pretty. You're a GARDNER !

Linda, aka "Lala" said...

That is cool. You've always been great with teaching Anna about nature. You've got yourself a budding entomologist.