Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Butterfly Effect.......

Over the school holidays, to try and help Katie (and me as it turned out) understand and accept change, we decided to grow some butterflies.  This came at the suggestion of Katie's Year 1 teacher who felt that it might be therapeutic for Katie to take care of the little caterpillars and watch them transform into something really beautiful.  With Katie's behaviour ever-deteriorating at home due to lack of sleep I'm pretty much prepared to try anything if it helps her feel settled and calm again.  

We ordered the caterpillar pack from Amazon.  It arrives with a habitat for the cocoons and a voucher for the caterpillars.  You can then order your 5 caterpillars online.  We placed our order before the start of the holidays and chose a delivery date just after the holidays started.  So a few days into the holidays a little pot arrived with 5 tiny caterpillars inside.  The lid is sealed and you do not need to remove the caterpillars until they become cocoons.  We excitedly watched our little caterpillars slowly munch their way through the contents of honey-like food at the bottom of their little pot.


Our tiny little caterpillars.

Day by day the little fellas grew and grew......

Some very hungry caterpillars.....

Until one rather over-achieving gifted and talented caterpillar threw a spanner in the works by doing this after about 5 days.... little bit earlier than his friends.....

You can see our first cocoon at the top left of the picture.
 We were rather nervous about what to do about our little over-achiever so we held off moving him into the habitat for a few days in the hopes that his friends would all join him as cocoons as well.  I had misplaced my sewing kit in the move which contained all my safety pins and we needed a safety pin to pin the paper the cocoons were attached to inside the habitat.  We bought some new safety pins and planned to do the big move after a visit from our Social Worker but G&T, as he became affectionately known, decided to emerge into a butterfly still in the cup on the day our SW visited so it was a slightly more delicate operation than I had first hoped.  Heart in hand I slowly transported the cocoons and G&T to their new habitat.

Cocoons safely moved to the habitat.
We then added some flowers and apple.....

Meet G&T our first-born!


And watched them grow....



Every day for 3 days, whilst our butterflies wings hardened, we fed them nectar in the form of sugared water dropped onto the flowers and fruit....


Until it was time to let them go.  Most of our footage has images of the children in so the only video footage I can share is this one....

video

Watching the butterflies take their first flights was wonderful and exciting.  We all loved every second of it.

So did it help us?

I think, as a project, it certainly gave us something else to focus on and it certainly helped distract Katie from some of the very challenging behaviour we experienced at the start of the school holidays.  This behaviour did continue throughout the holidays but not with the intensity we experienced during our first week and I think the butterflies along with our lock-down really helped that.  Katie struggled to leave the butterflies alone and I was concerned that they would get hurt at times (plus I saw the cats eyeing them up on more than one occasion) but thankfully that fear wasn't manifested although it did cause a lot of stress.  We were able to talk about the transformation of the butterflies and how things can change and that change can actually be really amazing.  I think that really helped Katie to settle more into our temporary house, although there is still a way to go on that front.  She is very keen to repeat the butterfly garden and there is even talk of trying it with Stick Insects.  I said we can only do it if I can name one of them "Stick Man".

I personally found the process very therapeutic as I struggle to adjust to living in the small environment we are living in due to our house build.  It was a reminder that this isn't forever and that when we move back home it will be  to a wonderful environment. It was also a reminder that we are going through a phase.  That we need to shed our skin of expectation and rebuild what has been torn down.  That is what we are doing with our house but also as parents.  We've hit a rough patch and it's a horrible rough patch.  I hope we can find our way through it and put all the pieces back together again.  I think we can and I'm trying every day to find ways of helping us all do that.  I will say that I am holding on very tightly to our butterfly experience and look forward to doing it again.  The butterflies certainly impacted on me in more ways than I ever imagined.

If you want to have a go as well here is a link to the kit we purchased....

1 comment:

  1. I love the sound of this! though I wouldn't risk It with my two kitties around. these poor things wouldn't last a day!

    Catherine x

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