I originally posted this on my MySpace Blog - Hope you all enjoy -
Curiosity killed the Chrysalis -
The caterpillars are in their cage feasting on milkweed - oblivious to the curious onlookers of Grandma and 18-month-old Clayton.
Clayton - the little boy in my slide show with the butterfly on his head - is getting his first lesson in caterpillars, milkweed, and more. When he sees the big black screen on the front porch he is as curious as little boys can be.
Grandma reaches in and gently removes a caterpillar from a milkweed leaf and places it on Clayton's chubby baby-dimpled arm.
Clayton giggles. Clayton jabbers. Clayton points. Clayton tries to kiss - more likely taste - the caterpillar. All the while, Grandma repeats "gentle, gentle, gentle..." She guides Clayton's other hand to gently feel the caterpillar crawling up his arm.
When Clayton loses interest, Grandma gently removes the "cat" from Clayton's arm and replaces the hungry little guy back on his leaf.
At that very moment, Clayton spots the beautiful jade jewel chrysalis hanging from the top of the butterfly cage. He gently reaches up - before Grandma even has the caterpillar back on the leaf.
Clayton giggles and softly says "oooh, oooh," in his sweet baby voice. As grandma looks up, she sees that sweet little Clayton has snatched that jewel from the cage and absolutely squeezed it until all the green gooey ooze containing every last bit of butterly magic has exited the once beautiful chrysalis.
Grandma quickly and, perhaps a bit too firmly, stands Clayton on the porch while she examines the smooshed chrysalis. At that very moment, Clayton reaches for the buttefly cage pulling the entire thing to the ground. Caterpillars, milkweed, water containers, and all.
Who knew what terrors - what horrors- could reside in such a sweet innocent babe??!!!??? Grandma picked up the cage, set everything back in place, checked for any more damage - none observed - turned to Clayton with arm outstretched and finger pointing toward the far end of the porch and said, "Go get your truck!"
Today, I noticed a new chrysalis had formed on the top of the butterfly cage, very near to where the unfortunate victim had been hanging so peacefully unaware of its fate.
Clayton is still blissfully curious about this great black cage that seems to be VERY IMPORTANT to Grandma. Smart little guy he is. So I, again, pulled out a caterpillar for Clayton to examine. Repeated over and over, "gentle, gentle, gentle." We let the caterpillar climb up his arm while he jabbered and giggled. After a few moments, we gently put it back on its leaf - together, Clayton and I.
I guess, a part of learning is dealing with failures and losses. And if one beautiful chrysalis gave up its butterfly dreams to help Clayton become curious and curiouser about butterflies - then it's a lesson well worth the learning.
After all, Clayton is my most precious little caterpillar and his transformation will be more priceless than any of those caterpillars in our butterfly cage.