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A composit of various views of a monarch emerging from its chrysalis.

My daughter is learning about the life stages of a butterfly. She can draw details of every stage and give you the entire story. It’s when she’s doing something else entirely–like playing her violin–and overhears part of a conversation that things get interesting.

A little backstory: Over spring break we headed south, not as south as I would’ve liked, but close enough. We took the kids to the Air and Space Museum in Virginia. The planes, rockets and such were a hit with my son, not so much with my daughter. To appease her, we went to see The Monarchs in 3D in the IMAX theatre (in the museum). Wow!

She asked questions, reached for butterflies and flowers, played with her 3D glasses, fidgeted and begged for food throughout the entire show. It wasn’t until the end scene where they showed the millions of butterflies hanging from the trees like Hawaiian leis of orange petals that my daughter stopped asking questions. She couldn’t believe the numbers, the beauty, the overall heart-stopping !wow! moment. And to see her face light-up, that was something!

So here we are, back home, without a flower garden but proud owners of milkweed seeds so we can grow milkweed, because Monarch’s only eat milkweed (so I’m reminded).

Fast forward to school and the lovely magic that is a caterpillar-turned-butterfly and my daughter overhearing me talk about getting the seeds started. She yells, “Mom, we have CA-coons at school.” Yes, she pronounced it like the beginning of cackle, but with a -coon on the end. I bit my lips so I wouldn’t laugh and asked a follow-up question.

AND THEN… she comes into the room and says, “They were caterpillars but now they’re PUKA.” And that would be puke with an -uh on the end, not pupa. I couldn’t help but laugh, especially since my son nearly blew his drink out his nose. I didn’t have the heart to correct her because she’ll only say it for the next few weeks. And then no more puka, no more CA-coons, just plain ole butterflies.

Treasure the not so beautiful words of a child – they’ll only live their first experiences once!

Interested in starting your own milkweed garden and raising monarchs till they migrate? This is where we got out seeds: http://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm