Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lessons learned ...

Friday was not good.

I woke up around 4 with awful stomach cramps, something I just don't suffer with, but hoped that they'd been gone by the time I needed to get up. Not so. The cramps lasted all day and as the day wore on I began to feel nauseous too and light headed. Pumped myself with paracetemol to dull the cramps which helped but I felt like a useless mother all day - bursting in to tears at the slightest thing, especially at this:-

I thought I'd killed the little caterpillar we are nurturing. He'd been doing fine during the week, eating his leaves and pooing lots (and shedding his skin) but on Thursday he kept wandering off to the lid of the box and I was beginning to wonder why he wasn't still needing more food, I'd read he'd need to eat lots and lots before the next stage of his little life. Friday morning he was still on the lid of the box and looked like he was writhing around. Panic set in and I tried to entice him off the lid and onto a leaf. After a short while I could see that he was held firmly to the lid by something round his middle - a hair perhaps that had got caught round him. The idea that he was making his chrysalis just didn't enter my head (it was too early, surely). Besides, from what I'd read he should be forming the chrysalis from his bum downwards and be hanging, not from a strand cutting into him round his middle. K suggested I leave him ("caterpillar's don't follow text books") and I wish I'd listened to her (I often think this), but I thought he was trapped and needed to break free so he could get munching again. Tried hard to free him and eventually cut the strand (which was tough) and let him go. It was only then that I noticed he looked somewhat different to his buddies outside. No longer long with sharp colourings he was fatter with duller colourings and he didn't have any energy to move around. On later inspection of the lid I could she the beginnings of his chrysalis. That's when the tears kicked in - boy did they - for a long time. How could I do such a thing, why didn't I leave him like K suggested, etc., etc. Anyway, this poor little mite was pretty quite, but he wasn't a gonna just yet, his head kept moving, although the rest of him didn't.

B cuddled me, K said "told you to leave him" like a scolding mother! B made me a gorgeous card saying the caterpillar will be "all rite", he read to me and calmed me down (sweetie). The caterpillar looked no different when I went to bed, so I continued to feel absolutely horrible.

Woke up to find little caterpillar laying calmly on a leaf on the bottom of the box, with his newly formed chrysalis encompassing him. I really hope he makes it to a butterfly and I will leave him well and truly alone from now on.

So, I've learnt three main things!
  1. nature knows what it is doing so leave it to get on with it!
  2. the silk or whatever they use to form their chrysalis is amazingly strong for something so fragile looking. I couldn't snap it with the tip of a pencil, it needed to be cut with scissors. Even then I pulled what was left to test it's strength and it just wouldn't pull away from the rest of the chrysalis.
  3. my daughter knows more than me, so I should follow her advice!

To sum up - nature is truly wonderful.


At 9:48 pm, Blogger Nikki said...

Awww, ((Elle))! Lesson learnt indeed, I guess, but I'm sure I'd have thought the same. K's comment that nature doesn't follow a textbook was very insightful and wise. Sounds like the caterpillar will be fine now, fingers crossed!

At 8:47 am, Blogger naturallynice said...

Just like something I would do, lol. join the club!

How lovely to find a caterpillar to nurture! We haven't found anything around the garden! Heck!


At 9:56 am, Blogger Elaine, Ellies Treasures said...

Thanks for kind words ladies. Everything continues to be OK with little caterpillar in transition!

Esther - we have loads of caterpillars on our nasturiums, can't wait to see them all transform in time.



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