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.
OM and Ohms
1 day ago