You know what my sisters and I did to entertain ourselves when
we were kids? We played with used syringes we found in the dumpster behind the hospital. And that was on a good day. When there were no syringes we played with the cinder blocks holding up our trailer.
I mean, no offense to my parents – I just grew up in the '70s. And in the '70s people didn't worry about things like “rules” or “death.” Used syringes were on every kid's birthday wish list. At least that's what my Mom told me each year as I opened my presents.
On Saturday, shrouded in the post-coital glow of a late-night Cardinals win, I took my three little girls to the October Owls and Orchids event at the Butterfly House.
When I was little, if you would have taken me to a dome filled with beautiful flowers and butterflies... well I would have just pooped kittens right there on the spot.
The only time we got to dress up and go on a special outing was if someone died, and unfortunately I come from a very long line of people who have exceeded everyone's expectations when it comes to living.
My Grandma turned 80 this year and she's smoked three packs of Cowgirl cigarettes every day of her life since she was two and a half and still, she's healthy as a horse. And don't even get me started on my other Grandma – Old Lady Three Ribs.
My three-year-old was hell bent on smuggling out a butterfly and keeping it as a pet. Of course my initial reaction was to say yes. I mean, what's more low maintenance than an insect? And the average life of a butterfly is only a few weeks... just slightly longer than most cats I've owned.
I told her I would think about it.
But then as my two-year-old railroaded down the stone path my thoughts turned to a more realistic problem... what sort of punishment accompanies accidental butterfly death?
While I can curl my toes and stifle my God-given instinct to swat to kill anything creepy that lands on my forehead, I know my daughters well enough to know that if a butterfly came within grabbin' distance he better have his affairs in order and said his last goodbyes.
Of course one particular butterfly, we'll call him 'Lil Death Wish, took an immediate liking to my two-year-old, which could have been a tragic mistake for him.
So I did what I usually do in a potentially publicly humiliating parenting situation. I turned around, walked the other way and pretended like I didn't know her. I figured if anything went down I would flee the scene and let my husband take the rap. He's much better in dealing with illegal situations involving animal death.
The good news is that all of the butterflies we saw will live to see another day and the girls had almost as much fun as playing with a used syringe.
The bad news is... wanna know what's NOT awesome to look at when you're about to eat dinner? A bunch of Owl Butterflies going to town on a pile of rancid bananas. When it comes to rotting fruit those little buggars are all business.
Which reminds me. It's almost breakfast time for Mr. Fluffles.
By Hannah Mayer, events and family life blogger for Smartparenting
October Owls and Orchids is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through Oct. 31. Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Mondays. All activities are free with admission of $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 3-12, and free for children 2 and under.
Don't miss the Booterflies Halloween Party happening this Saturday.
At The Butterfly House in Faust Park. 15193 Olive Blvd., Chesterfield. Click for map. More information: www.butterflyhouse.org
Photos: Hannah Mayer