Quite a while ago, the kids received a gift from their grandparents of this butterfly kit and a voucher for ordering the caterpillars. We read the included book about butterflies many times and we had the netting around for a while as the kids captured what they found around and about, but it was only a few weeks ago that we finally ordered the live caterpillars. When they arrived (this is the company we used), they were immediately set upon a high shelf for watching. Over the course of a few weeks, we watched the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly (Painted Lady), and I must confess that it was far more engaging of a process than I anticipated it to be. Especially the younger three, but also the older crew I noticed, stopped each day to note the changes. The caterpillars are growing! They're in their chrysalis! And then the excitement as each one emerged as a butterfly. My hesitation, I must confess, was that we'd somehow mess up the project and accidentally forget to do something that was needed in the flurry of a busy season of our days. That was a silly concern though, as not only did the kids make sure we did everything we were supposed to do and just on time, but that there really is so little to do with this kit. Order the caterpillars, watch the caterpillars, insert chrysalis into the netting, watch chrysalis, feed them when they emerge, let them go. Easy peasy.
Last week they were ready to be released and the weather was just perfect for doing so. to be the day to release them. So we set a blanket outside near the old perennial garden bed in front of the house and opened the butterfly net. Each one slowly made their way out of the net and onto our hands or shoulders for a few moments before heading into the garden and then up over the trees or over the house. It was a beautiful process, and so much fun for the kids as each one set off. The kids had named each of the nine butterflies (I had two kits) and were sure they could tell who was whom once in the air. "Oh, there goes Sweetie Love!" (I kid you not, one was named Sweetie Love!) "Good luck to you! Fly safe!" Annabel shouted after them.
Since then, of course she's sure she's seen Sweetie Love in particular, in the flowers or in the sky. It very well could be.