This is Steve. He enjoys eating, pooping, and white water rafting. Most summer days you’ll find Steve at the beach, or clinging to the underside of this leaf.
This is Darcy. She’s fond of masticating, defecating, and scrapbooking. Though she’s only a week old, Darcy is already looking forward to being a mom someday, laying over 500 eggs on milkweed across the county—perhaps two of which will actually survive to become monarchs. Ah, it’s rough, the life of a butterfly-in-training.
The highlights reel:
1) Even faced with a bounty of available leaves, three will cluster on one leaf, battling over it like toddlers. (They actually rear up and head butt each other. It’s quite amusing.)
2) Because they are eating machines that quickly outgrow their own skins, they molt five times before forming their chrysalis. After each molt, they lie very still for an hour, then turn around and EAT THEIR OLD SKIN. Apparently, this little crumple of old cuticle is delicious, because I actually saw one little guy sneak up behind another that had just molted to poach the newly-shed skin.
Is that gross or what?
They’ll be butterflies in roughly two weeks. And then I can stop shaking my fist at them, saying, “All this cleaning of poop and disgusting skin eating better be worth it!”
It’s been interesting, but never before has the lack of an eight year-old in my life with whom to share such a project been so apparent. And that’s as good a segue as anything, so here’s the news I’ve been sitting on since January: I’m going to be aunt for the very first time in approximately one month! My younger sister Maddie is expecting a little boy, and we are positively bubbling with excitement here at Casa de Caterpillar. I am already stockpiling gifts for the little guy, who—if he looks anything like his parents—is destined for years of running from girls on the playground. Here’s a picture of Maddie and me on vacation in Bayfield, Wisconsin:
Isn’t she adorable? I must really love her to post this picture, in which my upper arm threatens to hold us all hostage with its ginormitude. I believe this is the shot in which I am about to launch into a vigorous rendition of “I’m a Little Teapot.” And judging by the red in my eyes, I look possessed enough to sing it in Latin, backwards.