Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crisis Averted

I'm just going to start by admitting I have a problem. It's called I Seem To Be Unable To Keep Small Creatures Alive Syndrome (ISTBUTKSCAS). I know it, my DH knows it (he once apologized to a plant that someone gave me for its "impending demise"), my friends/friendly colleagues know it and inevitably my class finds out.

In my class we are studying life cycles of plants and animals. For the animal portion, we were given a teeny-tiny Monarch caterpillar and one egg with a stern warning from Ms. Librarian not to kill them (I think she knows my full life cycle success rate of 20%. It dips to 10% if you factor in the houseplants that have not made it a full year in my classroom). So all was going really well. The caterpillar was growing and the egg hatched. We named the newest members of our class Phineas and Ferb. They were...dare I say it? Thriving. Until today (insert soap opera cliff-hanger music here).

I don't know if I have ever mentioned this, but I am also a teensy bit absent minded. Just a little. So anyway, I left for the weekend without dampening the paper towels under the milkweed leaf and I didn't think about it again until today (I was absent yesterday). I only really thought about it because one of my young friends is absolutely mesmerized by the whole butterfly thing and he checks on them a lot (clearly they need an advocate, so I'm all for it). So of course he is looking in the butterfly habitat and I look too (only to see dry and crumpled leaves in the bottom). No caterpillars. I looked again, and there was Ferb (looking a little lifeless). I couldn't find Phineas, and figured he had probably made his way to the giant meadow in the sky as well. So the whole day goes by and we get to science, and I haven't done a thing with the presumed dead. So here's how the last 20 minutes of my day went...
Me (looking at the para in my room): Did I tell you about the caterpillars?
Superpara: Noooo?
Me: They didn't make it over the weekend.
Superpara: The one is there and the other is there (pointing)
Me: What? Butterfly advocate, go get a leaf. Superpara, can you go with him?
Superpara: Sure (laughing).
Butterfly advocate and Superpara return with a new leaf. While they were gone I cleaned the butterfly habitat (the more you eat the more you poop is the philosophy of Phineas).
Me: SUPER! Let's just put him on there.
Superpara: Where did that leaf go? He was on it.
Me: Oh no. OH NO! I thought he was on the side and I threw the leaf away.
This is followed by frantic trashcan searching by me, Superpara, the BA and 20 other concerned citizens (I have already killed one, now I just threw away the lone survivor!?). Just as I am about to the bottom of the mountain of trash (thank you Lord for no dirty kleenexes), We hear this...
BA: There he is! In the habitat!
I hadn't thrown him away at all. Phew. I got him all situated on the leaf. Then I took another look at Ferb and I thought I saw him move! I cautiously lowered him onto the leaf and he began to munch (I think...he did just hatch on Thursday, so it's hard to tell for sure without a magnifying glass). So what I thought was going to be yet another FAIL in the life science column ended up ok. My class has not been traumatized by my ISTBUTKSCAS. However, I can't make any guarantees about the ziplocked lima beans currently hanging in my windows.

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