These things freak me right out:
They're very reptilian-looking, like those things in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They are chrysalides (yes that's a word, I looked it up. I would've thought it'd be "chrysalii", but what do I know) from which painted lady butterflies will presumably emerge in a couple days. And they're on my counter. Did you know chrysalides can wiggle as a defense mechanism when something bumps them? Charming!
Even though they're gross, they don't freak me out quite as badly as these did:
That's what they looked like before they chrysalide-ified.
And why did I willingly bring things that kind of terrify me into my house? Why because they kind of terrify me, of course.
I really hate and fear most bugs. Especially cockroaches, and especially bees, and especially wall shrimp. And also especially other bugs. And I kind of wish I didn't. It gets irritating, even to me sometimes, and I'm sure it's irritating to other people. I've really been trying NOT to pass this trait down do my girls, so I have tried my best to remain calm around bugs when they're watching (not always successfully) and I've looked for ways to teach Emily about bugs so that she may one day see them as interesting, not horrifying. So when I saw these gross bastards go on sale at Amazon, I decided it might be a fun project.
I sent away for them, and they arrived, all small and motionless. Good, I figured, I can deal with this. But they got bigger fast, and their undulating, swollen mushy bodies began to freak me out right quick. They started to look crowded in their little cup, and I had visions of them getting too big and popping the lid off, exploding out like those snake-in-a-nut-container gags. I put on a brave face as I explained to Emily in a singsong voice that they were storing up energy for when they would turn into a chrysalis, then a butterfly, but underneath I was wondering if my throat would ever heal from all the screaming if one of them ever got out and touched me.
I heaved a sigh of relief when the first one crawled to the top of the cup and started curling up. Phew, now they won't get any bigger. Now they'll be (nearly) motionless for a bit, then (if The Very Hungry Caterpillar is an accurate guide) they'll emerge as beautiful butterflies! Which honestly, I am not all that crazy about either. But butterflies and I have an understanding, as long as they don't land on me with their sticky feet and freaky rolled-up tube mouth thing.
So basically I paid $18 for the chance to grow caterpillars which look exactly like the gypsy moth caterpillars that descend on our area every year and have pretty much eaten every leaf off of every tree by mid-summer. I could've waited a week and then captured some in a jar and Emily could've enjoyed the same educational benefits for free.
But this way I didn't have to touch them.
It was worth every penny.