Our daughter has for the past 2 years been begging to get a rabbit. She strongly believes that she’s old and mature enough to look after a rabbit. But, I have my doubts and knew deep inside that I would be the one looking after the rabbit, ensuring it got fed and watered.
When our daughter turned eight recently, we decided to test her skills and sense of responsibility, and bought her some live animals. It wasn’t the rabbit she so wanted, but it was a butterfly farm.
This was actually a pretty cool concept and our daughter was pretty excited about the prospect of watching these little animals grow from larvae into butterflies.
Five little larvae were neatly placed in a large cup, filled with larvae food and they were munching away for a few days.
Not much happened for the first 7-10 days, except the larvae grew bigger and fatter. Slowly they moved to the top of the cup, and one morning we had four cocoons hanging. Time to move them to the butterfly enclosure. The fifth one was a late bloomer.
Another 3-5 days passed by and suddenly the first little butterfly emerged. It sat calmly on the enclosure floor, stretching its wings, and were looking for food.
The second little butterfly that emerged was different that the other. One wing was smaller than the other, so we named him Nemo. It was also great for my daughter to see that you can learn how to fly and enjoy life, even if you are a little different. Not that I need to explain this to her, as she’s such a fantastic sister to her little brother, who was born with a chromosome upgrade T21.
After about four days, all four larvae had hatched and the enclosure was filled with flapping wings, and the kids were amazed to see these creatures up close. The tricky bit was to teach the kids not to squeeze the net, attempt to catch the butterfly or poke it when they were sitting on the side netting.
We followed the instructions and fed the little winged dudes some sugar water, on a piece of cotton, and some fresh flower heads.
Then, one morning, little Nemo had passed away. Our daughter was sad and wrote a little poem to him. We started to plan the funeral and had picked out a spot in the nearby forest. She had even picked out a little toy box for it. Then suddenly the other butterflies started to die too.
We were actually no too sure why they were passing away, but at the same time, it was an excellent learning experience for the kids. Something is born, grow and then die.
Yes, she shed a few tears for Nemo and the gang, but all in all it was a great little gift. It was fun while it lasted.
As for the fifth little dude. He (or she) did emerge safely too, but we set him free pretty quickly to avoid further deaths in the family.