Here’s what happened. The day was bright and bold as usual when the sun comes to about 11:30 am in my backyard. All the dew has evaporated, and as our feet hit the grass, my son wanders off toward the other side of the yard where he finds and lifts a butterfly.
“Ma!” he called with glee. “Look, I got a butterfly.”
He has absolutely no idea I was already watching and thinking how the heck did he reach down and grab that butterfly that easily?? But oh well, I shrugged and skipped over to him as ready as I could be to see the butterfly he picked up from the ground…until I noticed – that’s one big butterfly. The closer I got, the more I saw…well dag.
They are doing the nasty.
“Son, look at that! Go ahead and put them down. There are two of them…together… like twins. They are mating, so go ahead and put them back down in the grass.” Sure, I feel like I just walked in on something seriously in the private order, but then hey, what the heck? It’s nature, so let’s look.
“Wowzer!” we both say as we stare at them, seemingly doing nothing spectacularly visible during the whole episode, so I walk off while my son continues to stare in awe…until he says, “Mom, I see something moving back and forth in between them…where they are stuck together.”
You know how when you’re walking and then you trip up? Well yeah. That’s what I did. I could have died right there on the spot, but by the grace of God, I lived. Doing an about face, I pranced myself back over to the mating butterflies and gawking son, deciding to check it out as not to make the “back and forth” movement a big, stir-the-pot issue. As a matter of fact, I whipped out my phone and took another photo and video.
Not bad. There’s a slight movement in between them, so I fact checked my thoughts on butterfly mating with my trusty smartphone, and sure enough, my thoughts were right. The male butterfly was moving his sperm via his “penis” into her “vaginal opening”, thus, the movement my son ended up watching. I thanked my living stars it looked nothing like humans or my death would have literally been at hand. Instead, it looked like a soft wave going in one direction. Wormy like. Sweet.
“That’s mating, son. That’s all.”
“Yep. That’s what all animals do to have babies. Like I gave birth to you, this butterfly will give birth to her children.” I strut off, satisfied again with my answer. That covers it all pretty much…a general mating chat… nothing specific I thought until…
“But why are they stuck together? I mean, he’s stuck, Ma.”
My mouth drops. “That’s what mating is. It’s perfectly natural.”
“Will it be hard for them to separate?”
My eyes double in size. “Nope. Nope. It won’t be hard for them to separate at all. He’ll just move, and that’s that. All done.”
GEEEEEZZZZZZZZZ!!!! I walk back over to sit on the swing to enjoy soaking in my Vitamin D from the sun because I swear half of it just fell out of me into the grass below when my son speaks again.
“This sure is taking a long time. How much longer is it going to take for them to separate?”
I felt my soul slide out of my body, but then I caught it and dragged it back inside. “Let me check.” I pulled out the old trusty cell phone and thought, it can’t take much longer than…well…humans. Butterflies are small and flimsy. Seconds probably feel like minutes, right? Wrong.
That crap takes them HOURS, like more than two. Could even take half a day. I had no idea if the information I looked up was accurate because that right there just blew my freaking mind, so I shut down the search, looked at my darling son, and decided to cut the crap…with a super dull knife.
“It could take hours, honey. Just hours, so…”
“Well, I don’t have time to sit here and watch this,” he replies. “It’s gonna take all day!” He gets up and walks away. Then, it happens. The butterflies separate. We watch him fly away, and we cheer! “It didn’t take hours! We must have caught it at the end!”
Unfortunately, my cell phone missed the “parting of the wings”, however, I was glad to go back indoors.
“Do you know what the word mating actually means?” I ask being that I have discussed in general with him the overall human deal of mating with the three letter word quite well without going into the whole organs and what they do detail.
“It means sex. The butterflies were having sex.” There. I said it. Talking to him about it and actually allowing him to see it is two VERY DIFFERENT things, and my only hope was that this revelation didn’t open up that detailed, organ-by-organ, can of worms I was afraid of.
“Oh. Gross,” he replied.
Problem. Now, he swears he has the cooties.
WIN WIN. I’ll take that.
(The things that happen when schools shut down)