I decided to start a project with the kids. I wanted something we could do together. I threw in some education as well, not that they realized it was edumacational! Score one for mom. Hee Hee.
I ordered live bugs! Yup, that's right, live buggies. I went online and placed my order for one Praying Mantis egg, 5 Painted Lady Caterpillars, and about 15 Ladybugs.
The UPS man came with our delivery about a week later. When I opened the package, I took inventory. Praying Mantis egg, check. Caterpillars, yup, check. But I couldn't find the Ladybugs. I searched the box for the cute polka dotted critters. All I had was a tube with some kind of bugs that looked like termites. TERMITES! ARE.THEY.FREAKING.NUTS?!
I quickly looked for the informational booklets. WHEW! The bugs were not termites, THANK GOODNESS, but were indeed Ladybugs. Did you know that they like a Caterpillar, also go into a cocoon type of state and change? I.had.no.idea. Pretty cool.
So we set up our little domes and meshed housing for our new "pets". Now we just needed to be patient and wait and watch.
Every morning the kids would come down and the first thing they would do is check the bugs.
Day by day the Ladybugs and Caterpillars grew and grew. They doubled in size. The Ladybugs started climbing the side of their dome and before you knew it they were in their cocoons. The Caterpillars began to hang from the top of the container in their chrysalises.
I actually happened upon one of the Caterpillars one night beginning that change. I watched for 45 minutes as it became encased. It was a pretty amazing sight. The best way I can describe it is it looked like a size 16 woman trying to squeeze into a size 6 tube dress.
The Butterflies emerged and Mr. Schmitty and I took them outside so the kids could release them. The boys freaked when I tried to place one on each of their hands. Wussies. My afraid of nothing girl, R. loved it. Her butterfly stayed on her hand forever. It was the sweetest thing.
When the Ladybugs hatched I read in the instructions that you should take a raisin and soak it in water for them to eat. I didn't have any raisins so I took a grape and placed it in the dome. A grape is a fresh raisin, right? Three Ladybugs began to feed right away.
Suddenly the three of them fell over on their backs. Their legs went wild.
"Oh crap, Mr. Schmitty, I think I killed them!!" I yelled.
Mr. Schmitty ran over, a smirk on his face, "What did you do?" he tried not laughing.
"Maybe it was a fermented grape...maybe they are drunk?!" I replied. "Quick, let's release the rest of them before they are all caput and before the kids notice I'm an idiot!"
So much for improvising.
Now to wait for the Mantis egg to hatch. I'm sure that will be a story....75 to 100 are suppose to be born. Wanna help name them?