Monday, March 28, 2011

The circle of life is a vicious one...or not

Ever since she saw a commercial on television, Bella had wanted one of those Butterfly Habitats.  She'd plead with me, "Please, Mommy, I really want one.  PLEASE!"

And we all know how dramatic Bella can be...cue teary eyes, quivering chin, heartfelt sniffles.  Whatever.

I'm not going to spend Tim's hard-earned money on something that I'll end up being responsible for.  As if 4 mini spawn aren't enough responsibility for me?   They can't even wipe their own asses, let alone raise a few measly butterflies.

Last October when Cole and Bella's birthday came around and my unsuspecting sister asked what they wanted as gifts, the first thing I said was, "Bella really wants one of those Butterfly Habitats".

You see, I'm not above having my sister spend HER hard-earned money.  Get over the shock, people.  We've long since established that I'm...oh....about 98.3% evil.

So Bella got her coveted Butterfly Habitat from my sister and she was over the moon excited.  Immediately, she began asking me to order the butterflies yet I had to keep reminding her that it would be better if we waited until the weather was a little warmer.

Not a day went by that she didn't nag me endlessly about ordering the damn butterflies.  Everything was all, "The sun's shining...we need to order them NOW" and "I just saw a dog outside..we need to order them NOW".

Don't even ask why seeing a dog outside has anything to do with ordering butterflies.  I suppose I could've asked but she'd probably give me some long, drawn out story and I'd have aged about 25 years in a matter of a few minutes.  If there's one thing I know, it's how to choose my battles.

Finally, around December, I broke down and just ordered the butterflies because I could not take one more day of her following my every move and questioning things like, "If you get to watch whatever  you want on tv then I should get to order my butterflies".

Clearly, she's confused between her role as the child and my role as the parent.

Anyway, the larvae (or whatever they're called) arrive in the mail in a little cup and we waited....

After awhile, the larvae turned into chrysalides and I had the nasty job of transferring them from the cup into the habitat, which was probably the nastiest experience I've had since....well, passing a blood clot the size of a small child's head after my 1st c-section.

Sorry if you just puked a little bit in your mouth.  I had to go for effect, you know.

While concentrating heavily on making sure the transfer goes without a hitch, Bella's sitting right next to me, breathing down my neck...

"Mommy, be careful.  You don't wanna kill them," she reminded me, repeatedly.

I rolled my eyes and responded, "I'm pretty sure that's what God said to me when you were born.  And you're still alive, aren't you?"

Within a few minutes, the transfer was complete and now the little monsters hung on the side of the habitat, where they would soon emerge as butterflies.


After what seemed like an eternity, the damn things hatched and, one by one, we eventually had our monarch butterflies.

Then, quite unexpectedly, I became obsessed with the creatures, staring at them constantly and humming lullabies to them.  At least they appreciated the evenly sliced oranges I fed them each morning and the carefully prepared sugar water that I painstakingly applied to a small cotton ball to quench their thirst.

Never once did I hear the butterflies argue, "I don't want my oranges sliced" or "This sugar water tastes funny".


But, as we know, all good things must come to an end.  The first butterfly kicked the bucket late one morning.

I showed it to Bella and she sighed, "Awww, poor little butterfly."  She scooped it out of the habitat and carried it downstairs in her small hands.

As she stood by the back door bidding her little orange and black-winged friend a sweet farewell, I thought my heart was going to melt.  She clicked open the lock and callously tossed the dead butterfly onto the cold cement patio...then turned to me and asked, "When's lunch?"  And to think, I was worried about how distraught she'd be when the butterflies began to die.

Right at that moment, I suffered a traumatizing flashback to when I tested the "crying it out" theory when she and Cole were about 13 months old.  I remember sitting outside their bedroom door, sobbing along with them...and partly wondering if I was creating heartless future serial killers.

The next butterfly died a natural death yet ended up inside a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Bella had intended to bring the dead specimen to class with her to share with her friends...because she's demented like that.  But, alas, she forgot it on the kitchen table.

Garrett and Landon were happily eating lunch that afternoon, discussing the exciting events which had taken place at school earlier...who got put on time-out, who was out sick, who picked their nose and ate it.  You know, typical preschool drama.

After a few minutes, Garrett left the table to go potty and he came back to find some extra protein in his sandwich.  Landon firmly denied that he did it...and I know I didn't do it.

It had a whole Paranormal Activity vibe to it, except I had always thought that if demons were going to haunt us, they'd creep me out while I showered or some scary shit like that.

The last 3 butterflies met a fate crueler than one could imagine.  Tim decided to release them one day, taking the habitat out back and telling the butterflies to get the hell out while they still could.  And they did...because butterflies aren't exactly stupid.

But no sooner had they begun to experience the taste of freedom when they were all devoured by a flock of hungry birds, who had been perched on our roof just waiting for a good meal.

I kid you not...I couldn't even make this shit up if I tried.

The kids witnessed this cruel act of nature.  Fortunately, I was out running errands at the time and Tim was left to explain the circle of life to the kids on his own.  Serves him right, considering I've had to field much more complicated subjects, like what tampons are used for and why farts smell particularly foul after eating broccoli.

We feared the kids would be haunted by the entire event, imagining them forever referring to it as the "Hungry Bird Fiasco of 2011" while they cried tears of sorrow and clutched lit candles.  But we needn't have worried.

The next day, when I asked the kids if they were still distraught by what had occurred, they simply shrugged their shoulders and said, "Nah, those birds gotta eat.  And new butterflies are born all the time.  It's just how stuff happens, Mommy".   And then they went back to playing, without a care in the world.

I guess the circle of life isn't as vicious as we thought.




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35 comments:

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Helene, I laughed until the tears rolled out my eyes (these people already think I'm crazy), especially at the crying it out flashback.

PRICELESS!

Kim said...

Hilarious! My kids are too young but lately my three year old has been talking about how he would like a dog. We have a cat he and his tenth month old brother taunt on a daily basis. I toyed with the crying it out method too. Apparently I gave birth to a couple of insomniacs.

singedwingangel said...

Your babies crack me up. And Bella is gonna be one tough little girl growing up surrounded by boys.
I would have cried over the butterflies lol. seriously. I am just a crybaby though..

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

This is awesome. My favorite part was you developing such fondness for the little guys, recognizing they couldn't complain about your sugar water...hahaha!!!

Twins Squared said...

That is so horrible!! Thanks for convincing me to never get one of those things if my kids start asking for one. They would LOVE it but no thanks. Can't believe the birds.

Thanks for making me want to throw up a few times too. :)

Cindy said...

My daughter has been asking for one of these too. We thought it was ok and that we'd just release them into the wild to fend for themselves. I'm glad I read this first - if I had to watch those poor butterflies get devoured by birds, I'd be traumatized. I'll have to prepare for that now.

Eva Gallant said...

A testimony to the resilience of kids! lol

Mighty M said...

I am now convinced that OUR butterfly habitat is best kept up on the shelf. The kids don't even know we have it and perhaps it should STAY that way.

Buckeroomama said...

Helene, you should consider compiling all these stories and publishing them as a book somehow. :)

Poor butterflies --the ones that got eaten by the birds. Kids, though? Sometimes they're tougher than we give them credit for.

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

I love that you got sucked it. My kids are just about that careless when it comes to the circle of life. Heartless hethens. I'm still trying to get over the whole tampon incident.

HoneyDame said...

Oh Gawd!!! Your kids are soooo adorable and smart. I wish I could be a fly on the wall of your house to experience these events first hand. And oh, your responses all the time are CLASSIC!!!

Deborah said...

Great post!! Loved the "future serial killers" line. Hysterical! Thanks for stopping by my blog!! :)

Crossed Fingers said...

bwhwhahahah - your stories always bring a smile to my face. I'm so glad you're documenting these moments...they're priceless.

Shell said...

OMG!!! The birds ATE them? HILARIOUS!!!

Jenny said...

Oh my! I can't imagine letting the butterflies out only to have birds eat them! That is insane, LOL!

Samantha said...

See, my family is so demented that we would have all died laughing as those butterflies got eaten by the hungry birds. We find stuff like that funny.

I guess the circle of life conversation that we had as a kid, was comical...

But really, poor Butterflies...

Nezzy said...

Heeehehhee!!! Outta the mouths of babes...the circle of life.

Each and every year I would order two sets of these Painted Lady larve for our Special Ed. classroom. The after the butterflies were emerged we'd let 'em fly around the room interactin' with the students. Each night we'd gather the bugs and put them back in the nettin'. We would have a 'set 'em free' day before their cycle of life ended!!!

God bless and have a marvelous day sweetie!!!

Heather H said...

I can't stop laughing. The birds ate them and the kids weren't even upset! Priceless!

Thanks for the laugh!

Kristi said...

Hilarious! I'm a teacher and I have done the whole butterfly habitat a few times. I can feel your pain! :) They're beautiful at the end but a heck of a trip getting there!



"Mommy, be careful. You don't wanna kill them," she reminded me, repeatedly.

I rolled my eyes and responded, "I'm pretty sure that's what God said to me when you were born. And you're still alive, aren't you?"

OK...I was laughing out loud on that one! The little monkeys can't believe we know what we're doing even though we birthed them!
Thanks for the laughter!

Kat said...

I'm sitting here laughing at myself. I responded to your comment on my blog that I would check yours out too but realized right afterward that I already follow you. D'oh! It's amazing how quickly kids bounce back; they are so accepting of the "circle of life". Personally, I would have been traumatized for a day or two....

Kimberly said...

Remind me to never ask your household to pet sit.

Jen said...

Girl....

I have no words.

:)

Cheryl Lage said...

Kids are GREAT with the hakuna matata tip. My He-Twin (then about 4), always enamored of lions, was watching a special on the Animal Planet which I could see was taking a heinous turn with a pack of antelope. Unable to get to the remote quickly enough, I sat in silence as one of the majectic beasts he loved chomped an antelope booty and took that thang DOWN.

His words? Same as your kiddos. "The lion has to eat, too Mommy." When did we get so sensitized? Must be all the Disney...

Great post!

Erin W said...

Always making me laugh till I cry!!!!

Erin W said...

Always making me laugh till I cry!!!!

Morgan said...

We have a butterfly habitat sitting in a box on our bookshelf at the moment. After reading your experience with it, I'm okay with the box staying where it is for a while longer!

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

At least they hatched into beautiful monarchs. When my girls were little, I found a chrysalis and they watched daily, waiting for a beautiful butterfly. It turned out to be a giant moth. They were devastated that Hermie wasn't a butterfly. He had longevity. He flew around for days.

blueviolet said...

You've got some tough kiddos! I'm glad they took it pretty easily. I swear those mail order critters use the weakest strains of life on purpose in hopes we buy more!

Karen Peterson said...

What is it with your family and birds?

The Mother said...

We tried this circle of life experiment with tadpoles once.

As a biologist, I still cannot figure out how we ended up with the only tadpoles in the history of the planet that died of old age without turning into frogs.

Megan said...

OMG. There is so much funny in this post, I don't even know where to begin. Bella heartlessly tossing the first dead butterfly out on the patio, the next one being stuffed in a sandwich, the rest being devoured by hungry birds right in front of you!?!? Your life is like a twisted sitcom, Helene. And I love it. :-D

Shawn said...

Oh the ever so lovely butterfly habitat. We've done that twice and lady bugs and ants. Yes, ants! They lived for weeks inside this crazy neon glow in the dark gel, freaked me out! I don't know how my child slept with them in her room!

You're a riot! I think after a few more posts I may be grateful I didn't get the twins I always wanted..just kidding

Miss Em said...

Great post, hilariously told! You have a new fan! ;)

nutschell said...

new follower here! so glad I found your blog through A-Z. This is one hilarious post! Oh but the poor butterflies!
nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

MiMi said...

Omagah, I'm laughing so hard right now!
This is hilarious.
I like that part about what God told you when he gave your your babies! LOL!!

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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