I made the joke last week that I’d need to “make like an inchworm, cut myself in half” and become 2 Mommas. As it turns out, Mommas are already born with several identities, so attending both Kelly’s “Virtual Zoo”, and Sara’s “Insect-A-Palooza” at the same time was a piece of cake. That being said, had I not been awoken at 1 am with a severe bladder infection, and never gone back to sleep, and not then tried to stand and make bug inspired snacks…well, that day might have been easier. As it stands, I survived it, and the kids will only remember that they ended their Vertebrate and Insect Units with a bang. I’ll remember it through an antibiotic and pyridium haze. I share this personal story in case anyone thinks I live in a sterile house where I dress like Donna Reed and make crafts all day. By the end of my snack prep, my kitchen looked like an episode of Hoarders had thrown up in my kitchen, and I was diverting Sara’s old bladder medications, having officially reached Desperation City, and finding I was one step away from banging myself into unconsciousness with a frying pan. Oh sure, I can laugh now, after the meds have kicked in…but I digress. Back to the events:
I found the 2 foot gummy inchworm (CandyWarehouse.com), but it was Sara’s teachers who decided to display it in dirt. Fantastic! Dirt OR crunched up Oreos…the 1st graders found this to be endlessly cool. That thing was wholly inedible, but undeniably an awesome snack. I think it attacked one of Sara’s teachers when she tried to slice it. From now on, I shall call her “Brave Mrs. H., who dares to slice IOUS (Insects of Unusual Size)”.
I made some plain cupcakes with spider toppers inside spider wrappers, paired them with the Ants On A Log from a teacher, and we made an ant hill. Such fun! Mrs. B. also brought a big punch bowl filled with bright blue bug juice. I hung some butterflies and spiders, and we were ready for the Insect Science Fair.
My bugs de resistance were the ladybugs, whose pictures would have been flawless had I not been doubled over in pain trying to take these pictures. They were tres yummy, so to the anti-olive crowd, let me tell you…more for me. The super simple recipe can be found here. A little trick: I froze the cream cheese mixture before I piped it onto the crackers, and I also froze the 2 Tablespoons which I had dyed black. It piped on so much easier.
I lost an entire tray trying to get them to school. I was driving slow, trying to stay hunched over, and they were sliding this way and that…it was BUG CHAOS, let me tell you. They may as well have lifted up and flown around my minivan, but 2 trays made it safely, and I declared this entire experience a win.
Sara was able to get a vast majority of her elements into her single vignette diorama. Her dragonfly nymphs and eggs were under water, which lifted up, only to be stared in the face by the frog, a primary predator. She added rocks and clay to her river bank. There were grasses, covered in buggy primary food sources, and a bird, another predator. She had bulrushes, her one decorative “must have”. She really wanted the wings to be translucent, but also somehow showcase the lacy patterns of the wings, and when she said “lacy”, well…duh. I have lace. But it got really fun when we got the idea to shove it through my laminating machine. It got stuck, and we had a hilarious time getting it out (kind of glad Daddy was out of town, not available to both rescue and roll his eyes at us), but you know what? We laminated just enough to make 4 wings….yet another buggy win:
Just down the hall was Kelly’s Virtual Zoo, a fall tradition at the school. 4th grade buddies, parents, and administrators file through the Kindergarten Suite to see Ruby-Throated Robins, Eagles (Shannyn, if you made that thing from scratch, you have a career in design ahead of you), Asian Box Turtles…folks, if it’s an interesting Vertebrate, it was well-represented. My little Angel was adorable with her Angelfish report (she picked the striped paper and striped dress and designed the striped mask…I sense she may be my theme-twin):
Proud as could be, front and center, she had a copy of her report inside an envelope on the back of her board, and when anyone asked, she whipped it out, and read her 10 facts like her life depended on it. For some reason, she was fixated on “10 facts”. She had to do 3, but in true Kelly “it’s a contest and I must be winning” (WHERE did she inherit that from?!….stop laughing), she wanted to have 10 facts. None which included the words “anal fin”, which I found repulsive, so I was sure she’d go for it, but no. I only noticed the absence of “cool gross stuff”, because a 1st grader gave me a solid 10 minute lecture on the Dung Beetle, and how you shouldn’t laugh at the 20 times he said the word “poop”, because it was for scientific purposes. He wore an adorable little vest, and had hung a towel over his presentation in case he needed to wipe sweat from his brow from the hoards of interested parties who would be stopping by for a lecture. Oh yes. I think I’ve found a new member for my “these kids are so stinkin’ cute” club.
Me, who never thought I’d want a life in education, couldn’t tear herself away. Miss M. was a Seahorse, head to toe. Mr. Z. had on so many feathers, he could have turned into a bluebird and flown away. Mr. M.’s full rattlesnake tail actually rattled. 2 bug exhibits had trees growing in them, and Miss C.’s diorama had lights that turned on when she began her chat. I don’t know why Miss A. decided to wear goggles with her Asian Box Turtle costume, but GIRL, it WORKED. The kids were alive with interest and information. They had so much to teach me, and I had so much to learn. If only I could make like an inchworm, cut myself into many pieces, and absorb it all!