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It was a beautiful day for a butterfly birthday party! Fortunately for mom, Oriental Trading carries lots of butterfly-themed stuff. The girls decorated cardboard butterfly wings and donned antennae headbands and temporary butterfly tatoos before fluttering around for a game of "Musical Flowers." All the while, the real butterflies were flocking to my Mexican sage bush - sometimes up to 6 butterflies at a time!
About 2 weeks prior to the party, I had ordered some live caterpillars from Nature Gifts. Soon, we had 4 chrysalises, and on the day after the party, out popped the first painted lady butterfly! Later that day, there was another, and the next day another. The fourth chrysalis never hatched, but that might have had something to do with the cat knocking the cage off of the table...
We enjoyed watched the butterflies for a couple of days. We followed the directions for making a sugar water feeder, and we put flowers in the bottom of the cage, too. But, we began to feel sorry for the poor things having to live all cooped up. So, one night after supper, we decided to let them go. Mary Beth was torn - she wanted to let them go, but she wanted to keep them too. We gave them a tearful farewell, and let them out by the sage bush that all the other butterflies seem to like so much. They didn't go flying away, but just sat there like they didn't want to leave. Finally, we had to go back in. The munchkin cried a little and said, "I don't think I'll ever see them again." I had read that they often stay in the vicinity, and so I told her that and suggested that we might see them tomorrow. She wouldn't believe it. So, I left her to grieve while I went about cleaning the kitchen.
After a few minutes, she said, "Mommy, one of the butterflies is back!" She was standing at the kitchen door looking through the glass at something. I was sure it was just a moth. But, darned if it wasn't a painted lady butterfly. I opened the door and before I knew it, the thing flew right into the house! This wasn't good. We have cats. The last thing I wanted was for the munchkin to find a mangled butterfly next morning. No question about it, he had to go back out. He lit on the kitchen curtains right above where he'd been sitting on the table in the cage. And, would you believe, he let me catch him?
After I put him out, he stayed close by and flew around the door. We decided that he must have come back to tell the munchkin thank you for letting him out of that cage and to let her know that he wouldn't forget her. We watched him fly around for a few minutes, but bedtime was fast approaching. The munchkin went to sleep all smiles thinking about her butterflies coming back to see her and planning to check on them tomorrow. Fully an hour after putting the butterfly out, I went back to the door. That thing was STILL out there - sitting on the doorstep! I held out my hand to it, and it actually crawled aboard. Weird. The munchkin had named the first butterfly to pop out "Quickie." Now, she says, "Look, it's Quickie!" every time she sees a painted lady. Maybe you can see Quickie flying around your yard, too! Tell him the munchkin says hi.