Who knew releasing a butterfly into the wild could be so traumatic? My mom, a fifth grade science teacher, gave us a monarch butterfly cocoon to hatch and release. We watched the cocoon for days. The butterfly emerged in like a fifteen-minute window between us checking on the cocoon, but we were excited to see it out.
When it came time to release the butterfly in our backyard, my mom told me that we could take the butterfly out and even hold it before it flew away. I had never held a butterfly before and was fascinated: it was so preettty. And it just climbed so delicately on my finger.
Carson was at first excited, but when he saw me holding the butterfly, he got a little shy. Annelise seemed like she wanted a turn, though, so I carefully transitioned the butterfly to her hand.
Big mistake. Before I could even snap a picture, she reached up her other hand and engulfed the poor butterfly in a fist. Then Carson and I were both crying/yelling, “No! No! Stop! Don’t kill it!” And I was trying to pry her fingers off… Finally she let go and, miraculously, the butterfly seemed unharmed. (This exact thing happened twice, because I apparently didn’t learn my lesson the first time.)
So once we got over that and established that our butterfly was still alive, I asked again if Carson wanted a turn. He acted scared and declined, so we just let the butterfly crawl and watched it some.
Finally Carson said he was ready for his turn, so I had him hold out his hand and the butterfly crawled on…
And then Carson started screaming. Screaming. “It hurts! It hurts!” he screamed. At that exact moment, Annelise (who had wandered over to the slide) took a tumble head-first and started screaming, too.
I quickly tried to get the butterfly off Carson without hurting it, rushed over to grab Annelise, and hurried us all inside.
In the house with two screaming kids, I knew I had only one defense. I plopped them at the kitchen table and pulled out two popsicles (things they haven’t seen since last summer). That stopped the crying mid-breath. So thank goodness for popsicles.
At least the whole thing did make for some pretty cute pictures. If they were videos, they would be filled with traumatic screams. But the pictures turned out just fine.