The girls have been waking up early lately. I guess 7 AM isn’t really that early in the grand scheme of things, but when the one teenager and all seven adults in this household routinely stay up until after midnight, the cheerful noises of a three-year-old and a one-year-old are none too welcome at 7 AM.
So, when the princesses pop out of bed, I quickly usher them outside, where we explore the fresh green world until the rest of the family is up and about.
Recently, our adventures involved a friendly butterfly. Butterflies constantly flutter about the broad wraparound porch and flowerbeds here, sometimes resting near enough for us to quietly observe them for some time. I pointed out one of these to Big Sister, warning her not to touch its wings because that could hurt the butterfly. I then explained it could stand on our fingers without being harmed. I set my extended index finger against its tiny delicate legs and watched as it stepped gracefully onto my finger. Naturally, Big Sister eagerly begged to hold the butterfly. When I tried to set Big Sister’s finger against the legs of our little friend, the butterfly got flustered and took to the air.
I looked around, but did not see the butterfly on the white porch railings, the plant stands, or fluttering overhead.
“Mom, Look!” Big Sister exclaimed.
I looked down at her pointing finger and saw only the back of her shirt.
“What is it? I asked. Only then did I see what she had discovered by extending her neck to peer over her small shoulder. Our butterfly was walking up Big Sister’s back!
Then, of course, Little Sis wanted in on the action, and butterfly was glad to oblige by flying the short distance to her chubby arm. As soon as the butterfly landed, Little Sister’s other hand shot out toward this interesting creature on her forearm. My mom reflexes were faster than her exploratory ones, and I took her hand, preventing Little’s curiosity from killing our new friend.
I realized that she might be more concerned than curious when she started to shake her free arm violently up and down. The butterfly held on several shakes more than I would have expected, but Little Sister’s frantic attempts to dislodge the insect were finally successful. Off flew our delightful science lesson, gone as swiftly and blythely as he had come.
That morning, I got real butterfly kisses. But to be honest, I still think Big Sister’s are better.