Reflections of a Caterpillar

It's hard to know where to start with this blog to be honest. It would be fair to say there was a massive fall out after the excitement of Wren's painting party on Tuesday, which left us all feeling exhausted on Wednesday.

Yesterday started brightly enough with a puppet show featuring yours truly as the puppeteer, (I had both hands up various puppet's bottoms hence no photos!) The characters I created seemed to have the children hanging off every word. Perhaps I should adopt a more tongue in cheek approach with them because they certainly don't listen to a word I say normally. This activity lasted for some time. The children were in hysterics with the puppets antics, which involved a very rude policeman, an uppity old Grandma and a rather posh King. It goes without saying there was a fierce dragon that threatened to eat everyone.

Things soured when I said we needed to get to work on rehoming the worms in our wormery, something Jenson had promised he would help with after the puppet show. He's just getting into this whole I promise thing and he's a long way off from keeping any of them.

I eventually managed to entice him outside by using the caterpillars as bait. He loves them and so willingly came out to handle a few. That is where his enthusiasm stopped, whereas mine was just getting going. As I hovered over the top of the caterpillar tank, it just so happened that a whole heap of them decided to jump on the same route. It was a bit like half a dozen cars joining the motorway at the same time! The fact they did it so close to the glass is an added bonus as the reflections really make the shots I think. The fact you can also see a cocoon in there is also super cool. 

This was the challenge that lay before us: a whole heap of rotting vegetables, jam packed full of worms and other interesting bugs. It should have been learning heaven but it was more like a living hell. Jenson refused to get dressed, despite the rain, and instead set up a shelter right next to where we were working using his bed sheet, pillow and two kitchen stools. He sat in there, naked, with the rain lashing down refusing to do anything except shout at me while I tossed muck everywhere. It would be fair to say the whole thing was doomed. 

When I did finally manage to get him dressed, I felt like I'd just done ten rounds wrestling a giant snake.

The day turned out to be full of real highs and lows and the next positive part came in the form of the discovery of a new type of caterpillar we didn't have in our tank. After some research, we deduced it is the caterpillar of a moth. What type of moth remains a mystery: identifying caterpillars is about as difficult as identifying bees. 

When we finished rehoming the wormery, Jenson was still showing enthusiasm. Whilst rummaging through the compost, we had collected plastic containers of interesting bugs. Jenson had even labelled his with his name. Just before we went inside to take a closer look at what was in our containers I heard what I thought was a frog coming from the bushes where we had been working. As I got closer I realised it was coming from a lot higher up. When I peeled the branches back I saw a nest with a tiny baby bird in; blind and featherless I was worried it had been abandoned or worse still, we had scared the Mum away. It was cheeping like mad and was clearly desperate for a good feed. Anyone who knows me will testify how exited I would have become with this discovery and so naturally, this enthusiasm had Jenson gripped too. It was inevitable that he also wanted to see the baby bird. When he did clap eyes on it he couldn't understand what he was looking it. It had no feathers and apparently no eyes, he thought it was some weird alien life form. When I explained that is what baby birds look like before they leave the nest he was a bit surprised. I wish I'd put that darn camera in the Blue Tit nest box now.

The LEGO boxes come in handy for many things, not just storing LEGO. Today they provided brilliant containers for the children to look at and investigate various insects and bugs. We found woodlice, ear wigs, worms, ants and a centipede.

I even let Jenson loose on my macro.

Our explorations didn't stop there. I was sad to see one of the caterpillars died in the cocoon. I think murdered might be more appropriate as it definitely looked like a large bite had been taken out of the side of it. Poor caterpillar became our latest microscopic study, and it was totally fascinating if not a little gruesome!

Here is a macro shot of the caterpillar mid metamorphosis.

When we had finished studying the contents of the yellow LEGO trays, we put all the insects back in the soil. Well, nearly all of them. The whole worm exercise wouldn't have been complete without feeding a few of them to our chickens.

It was just after lunch, while performing my daily ritual of tidying up that I noticed one of the windows was smashed. Tensions had been on the brink of boiling point all day and this made me flip out. Jenson owned up to it although why he did it I'm still not clear on. Apparently he was trying to get into the house because the front door was shut. Whatever the reason he spent the majority of the afternoon sat in the bathroom. I don't like sending him to his bedroom or putting him outside in the garden when he's been naughty as I want him to associate those places with happy memories. That really only leaves the toilet. 

The whole afternoon was basically a write off. He refused to apologise and so I refused him any form of play, TV etc. It must have been a good four hours later that remorse started to show. He took some tape and pink tissue paper from the cupboard and tried to repair the window. Apparently he chose pink because it is my favourite colour. He then told me that he had tried his very best to fix the window and I told him that's all he could do. I told him how pleased I was that he had tried. He said I could choose my favourite film to watch (!) so we put Ice Age on and we all snuggled down in front of it. Interestingly, off the back of that, he has started asking if he can go somewhere he can see cave art. Creswell Craggs seems the most obvious place so I'm planning a trip there for us soon. That brought us up to tea time and bed time promptly followed. Role on Thursday!

Today I changed tack and decided to let Jenson do whatever he wanted. I was keen to see if his anger from yesterday had been because I was making him do something he hadn't wanted to do. It might have been in part because as per his request we went to Magic Land in Cirencester for most of the day and they had a blast. 

On our way out he very sweetly tried to protect the rabbits from the rain using a dustbin lid!

On our return he was keen to sit and read some of his new books, all of which have now arrived. All in all it's been a very turbulent few days with lovely moments and really terrible moments. Tomorrow is another day however and one I'm particularly looking forward to - National Wallace and Gromit Day!! I've got plenty of fun things planned!