Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Butterflies: Flippy-Flappy

Today was the first time I've felt even the weest bit in control during one of my afternoons with the girls. Don't get me wrong, I'm hitting the whiskey but it's more in celebration than desperation tonight.

Things started off badly with Quinn waking soon after Evelin left for the office — and like last Thursday, she work crying. Actually, she didn't really want to be awake; her eyes were staying shut, but the screaming/crying wouldn't stop. So I ended up bringing her downstairs and putting her in the BabyBj√∂rn. That calmed her (so long as I didn't sit still for too long), but she wasn't happy. Like last week, she ended up nodding off about an hour after the bad wake up.

And, of course, her return to sleep coincided with Celeste waking. And she only slept for about 15 minutes.

After everyone was up, changed, and downstairs happy, I looked at the time and realized we might be able to do something. I asked Celeste about butterflies and she sounded interested, so I put together some snacks, a bottle of milk, clean diapers, and a few other things and we headed off to Brookside Gardens for the "Wings of Fancy" exhibit.

[ASIDE: If you want to draw attention to yourself, show up at something — anything — with an infant in a BabyBj√∂rn, a toddler on your shoulder, a camera dangling from your neck, and a bottle of milk in your pocket. For some reason, every single person feels compelled to offer a variation of "Wow, you have your hands full."]

Celeste wasn't too sure of the docent who ushered us into the conservatory, but she quickly got interested in the flowers and butterflies — "Flippy-flappy butterflies! Like on Celeste's dress, PJs!" For the most part, it went pretty well, except for when a morpho (Morpho peleides) took an interest in her yellow dress and kept circling her; that set Celeste off. The other problematic thing was the plates of rotting fruit set out for the butterflies and moths to eat; one of the plates was full of blueberries. It took a bit of work, but I managed to distract her from them ... several times. (She was also interested in the plate of half-rotted cherries, and she tried to shoo an American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis) away from a plate of sliced oranges.)
Celeste and the Butterflies
Along with the morpho, we saw tons of Baltimore checkerspots (Euphydryas phaeton), viceroy (Limenitis archippus), mournful owl (Caligo eurilochus), malachite (Siproeta stelenes), and others.

After some time in the exhibit, we wandered out into the gardens, where Celeste was immediately taken with the ponds and fountains. I found a shady bench near a raised pond and gave Quinn the bottle while Celeste ran around looking at the water, the flowers, the eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies (Papilio glaucus) and the various birds.

During the ride home, both girls seemed a little tired/stressed, but we had a decent time the rest of the day, and Quinn even took part of a second bottle before Evelin got home (which is quite an accomplishment, considering that there have been days when she's refused to eat the entire time she's with me).

The outing really helped make the day "work," but it's not the only thing. Last Thursday, I took the girls to the College Park Aviation Museum, and while we had a good time, I was not in good shape when Evelin got home. Today, Evelin could have made a very, very, very short stop on the way home and I would have been fine. I think.
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One Thing to Remember

As I pulled up in front of the house this afternoon and saw the neighbors' empty trashcans, I remembered Rule #1 for when one has two kids in diapers: Never forget to take out the trash. The next pickup is Friday; hopefully we can last until then ...
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