Saturday, April 08, 2006

Chrysalis Imminent

Winston loves animals. Mammals are exceptional. Perhaps it is because they are soft and share something in common with him - num num. (Squirrels will take peanuts from your hand. But, they run when you try to pet them. Talk about ungrateful!) Fish are fascinating - so lovely, dreamy, liquid swishing through the water. (But, you can’t hold them.) Birds are exciting. They fly, flap, and squawk. (But, they are hard to catch and everyone always discourages you from trying.)

So, I think creepy crawlies are his favourite. You can hold these creatures. You can pick them up. You can carry them around. You are allowed to bring them home from the park. And while they are "delicate" and do “break” sometimes, it doesn’t get the same reaction as - for example - scaring the squirrels.

We’ve been reading Eric Carle’s, The Very Hungry Caterpillar since Winston was tiny. Recently, the idea of metamorphosis has thrilled him. Then again, he is also on the cusp of a major transformation. At some deep level, he recognises that he is changing from a baby into a boy.

A few weeks ago, after reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the fifth time. (And a sixth - in Spanish - just to give Mommy a break.) He said I would like to see a caterpillar be a butterfly.

I thought about that; went on the internet and viola! A a butterfly kit! So, I ordered one. They even let me pick the date that the caterpillars would arrive. I looked at my calendar and timed it so that (hopefully) we’ll have butterflies on Winston’s birthday. (They postman lost the first batch of caterpillars. So we’re six days off of the schedule.)

The caterpillars arrived two weeks ago. They were tiny! Less than a centimetre big. Winston is beside himself with excitement. He watches them everyday. He has been surprisingly gentle with their little habitat. Just like human babies, they experience a tremendous amount of growth in two weeks. They are now about two inches long.

At first, they stayed down at the bottom, eating their little nutrient formula. This week, however, they’ve begun to climb up and down the jar. We’ve been excited about the activity. They’ve also been spinning silk - which means they are happy.

Just today, though, they’ve been hanging around the top of the jar. I think I see one forming a chrysalis. (Yes, Winston can say chrysalis and it is hilarious.) So, I’m hoping we’ll have Painted Lady butterflies on April 20th. If not, the whole process has been a genuine thrill ride - and an exploration of patience.

I only wish I had documented the journey - a digital camera must be in my future.


boodafli said...

we did these when i was in elementary school. i LOVED it. it was the only thing in science class that ever made any freakin sense to me. awesome. totally awesome. wait till you release them. it's freakin stunning.

Christina Springer said...

Yes! This is science - as it is meant to be learned. This is unschooling at one of its best moments.

And the kit didn't put us out too many pounds either. The net habitat is re-useable. It collapses easily to take to the park to examine other creepy crawlies.