Kid #1 wanted one of those butterfly habitats for her birthday. For those of you not in-the-know, this is really just an overpriced plastic container with a coupon inside to order caterpillars. Obviously, we agreed.
So the caterpillars arrive a few days later in this little jar full of brown gunk. Yes, gunk. We are assured this gunk is food, but it is questionable. Regardless, the caterpillars eat it. Actually, they devour it.
Kid #1 stares at the jar for an unhealthy amount of time. I figure it’s better than watching TV, but I start to worry she’ll go cross-eyed. One day she asks, “Mommy, what are those little green things?” So I consult the manual and answer truthfully: “Feces.”
Fast forward a few days. The caterpillars are massive. They leave this weird silky webbing everywhere. They dig tunnels through the food and leave crap in its place. The food to crap ratio shifts a little every day, and not in food’s favor. I don’t want to make any assumptions about the caterpillars or anything, but I’m pretty sure they couldn’t differentiate between the food and the crap any longer.
Which is exactly how I feel in the midst of revisions (READ: now). It all sort of looks the same after a while. I’m throwing things out I’m pretty sure I need, and I’m holding on to something I’m pretty sure is crap.
But metamorphosis is supposed to be beautiful, right? Right.
So the caterpillars form chrysalides, and we move them to the aforementioned overpriced plastic habitat. Fresh start and all. You following the metaphor?
I’m about to ruin it for you.
The chrysalides, they twitch. And then they start to break open. It is not beautiful. It is not even cute. Also, it kind of smells.
There’s red stuff. I swear it’s blood, but the manual assures me it is not blood. No, apparently, it is meconium. Which, if I’m recalling my science lessons correctly, is indeed another form of crap.
Yep, there’s still crap in the new habitat.
The butterflies emerge. They are covered in red crap. Literally. They leave stains everywhere they land. Gross. Kid #1 doesn’t seem to notice. She feeds them sugar water from a syringe. I hold my nose behind her.
Then she takes the habitat outside, reaches her hand in, and lets the butterflies crawl onto her hand, one by one. She releases them.
I think they get eaten by birds. Nature and all.
Wait. What’s my point? Did I have a point?
I’m pretty sure there was a point. I think it was Kid #1.
You should’ve seen her face.