No butterfly in a glass of water

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Lately the girls seem to be curious about all creatures and insects. Julia and Lillian have a fascination for catching butterflies.

I have repeated and told both girls to be nice to creatures, leave scary ones alone and to just watch things to see what they do and to learn. However as you will see by reading on, it has not sunk in. While in the kitchen organising their dinner, Lillian proudly came in to show me something. I was busy with plates, and food so it took me a while to look down. Lillian kept on saying, “Mummy, Mummy look!!” I finally looked and saw that she had a butterfly in her fingers. I was shocked and also privately amazed that she managed to catch it with her fingers. Both girls have been running around the backyard trying to catch one, however never thought that would ever happen.

I then explained that it is cruel to have taken the butterfly out of his/her environment and they needed to put it back as soon as possible. This was met with, “Mummy I wanted to put it in water”, I then explained that this was not what butterflies want to do (This idea of putting the butterfly in water is probably due to going to pick flowers and putting them in water). They are much happier outside where they can fly around. I am very sad to report that Julia and Lillian fought over who was going to take the poor insect outside and then tore it’s wing. I had to take the poor thing outside and hope for the best. I was very upset, and used this as hopefully the last example of why they have to be nice to things and to not hurt or injure creatures. I told them it is very cruel and would they like this done to them? Both girls said no and were upset.

It made me think that it is probably just the age of the girls, getting more involved in their environment and surroundings, becoming more curious, and being told to not touch or leave something alone makes them want to even more. This amazement is not meant to hurt and the fact that they want to get so close to the new creatures is just wonderful, just a pity that they are too keen and at times clumsy, that it ends up not the way you had hoped for. I know I did similar things as a child, but it was never nasty or hurtful, this is why I know that it is the age and it is all innocent. It is just a matter of instilling the values of protecting animals.

Does your child do the same thing with insects, or little creatures? The twins are still learning and don’t know not to do things, for example, that butterflies will not want to be put into a glass of water. Does anyone have any tips or tricks for this sort of thing? I currently just explain what has happened, why it is good to just observe and enjoy the insect in their environment. What have you done with your child/children? What did you get up to as a kid? Did this happen to you?

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