Caterpillar Chronicles Continued

Well, my Blessed Birthday post was getting too long with all of the caterpillar updates, so I decided to start another post just about caterpillar updates.

He’s a little over an inch and a half today.

Monarch Caterpillar Seeing a Picture of Himself from Penney Douglas on Vimeo.

This is Day 9 since we found my birthday caterpillar.

I believe our finding this caterpillar on my birthday is a sign from God of new beginnings. I’ll write more about that in a future post.

My caterpillar stopped eating and started roaming around looking for a place to hang out. We moved things around trying to help him find a good place to attach to so that he could start making his chrysalis. I arranged the flaps of the box in different ways hoping he would choose one of those to hang from. He didn’t seem interested. He wandered around for hours (or so it seemed to us who were watching him), and he still didn’t settle on a place. I decided he needed to have his choices limited, so I put foil over the top of the jar and put him back in it. He went up to the foil and crawled on it, scratched on it and stared at it, but he must not have liked it either. He wouldn’t start putting out sticky stuff to attach to it.

So we took that off and put panty hose across the top. By that time, my poor caterpillar acted so confused that he seemed to be freaking out. He kept playing dead for long periods of time, especially right after we got him off of the aluminum foil. He got to the place where he didn’t even trust a stick enough to step on it. We put him back in the jar with a stick and he’s so heavy now that every time he tried to climb up it, the stick moved. So then he was back to not trusting a stick. He was trying to climb up the sides of the glass jar. He did amazingly well, but he couldn’t get to the top.

Katie thought he needed more familiar objects around him, so we put a Milkweed stem in with him again. He did seem to settle down after that. But it has been 6 hours since he started looking for a place to hang, and he’s still just sitting in limbo on the stick in the jar.

Monarch Caterpillar Searching for Home from Penney Douglas on Vimeo.

While we watched my birthday caterpillar run around, Fiona started drawing a Milkweed plant with caterpillar eggs on it and caterpillars, a chryalis that you can see a butterfly developing inside of, and Monarch butterflies. She really did a good job of showing the butterfly life cycle. And she did it all on her own. I didn’t even suggest it. Then Garrett started drawing, too.

Fiona’s picture of eggs, caterpillars, chrysalis and butterfly
Garrett’s picture of caterpillars and butterflies

I keep watching him, though, because I REALLY want to see him make the chrysalis.

An exciting thing happened while we were watching the unexciting adventures of my birthday caterpillar. Fiona came in with another tiny caterpillar, a Monarch! So now she has one of her own. Actually, she gave hers to her friend next door. Then a little later, several of the kids came in yelling that they had found two more tiny caterpillars on the new Milkweed plant that Patrick went and dug up and replanted in our back yard. So now Kelsey has one and Fiona has one. We are in Caterpillar heaven here. Garrett is disappointed that he doesn’t have one. So we’re keeping our eyes peeled for another caterpillar for him.

Here’s a picture of Fiona’s caterpillar that she gave to her friend. It was so cute to see. It was like seeing a newborn compared to your 18-month old and being amazed again at how small they start out. Sort of like it anyway.:)
Here’s the caterpillar that Fiona kept for herself.

Patrick is groaning because of all the mouths to feed, but I know that he really enjoys it. He says I’m turning him into a grumpy old man!

I hear Garrett in the next room saying, “This is the best day ever since we got those caterpillars.” Now he and Fiona are talking about sharing everything from now on. Knowing those two, they will try. As they get older, I know it will be harder, though. He’s a boy and she’s a girl. I bet their interests will diverge as they grow up.



Day 10 of my birthday caterpillar’s life with us.  He finally decided on the stick as his new home and hung himself head down from it.  He put out the silk stuff from his bottom that attached him to the stick.  Then he shaped himself like a letter J and just hung like that all night long.  His head started turning green.

He finally picked a place to call home. Here he is looking like a J
You can see that his head is turning green.

Throughout the day today, he kept turning greener.  His white stripes were turning green. I read a lot to the kids this morning. Then as soon as I finished reading I went on a walk with my neighbors to get Milkweed for their caterpillar. As soon as we got back, Katie leaned out the door and said, “The caterpillar is making a chrysalis. He’s almost done!” I almost missed it. I grabbed the camera and filmed the last part of the amazing process of the caterpillar making his chrysalis.



This is what he looks like now. What a miracle!

Latest development! We now have a pet Monarch butterfly. Morgan was walking with his friend, Matthew, and they saw a butterfly just sitting on the concrete. Morgan went to it, thinking it would fly away. He held out a stick toward it, and it climbed up on to his hand. They brought it home, and it seems to have adopted Kelsey as its mommy.

Updated 8 years later!

The butterfly Morgan found and Kelsey is holding is not a Monarch. It’s a Viceroy, which looks very much like a Monarch. I have become much more knowledgeable about butterflies in the last 8 years! I can tell that by many of the things I said in these videos. We are on this learning journey forever. None of us knows everything, but it sure is fun learning all together.

And now the gold appears on my treasure:

Another miraculous aspect of a Monarch’s development
Looks just like real gold!
Two and a half Chrysalises. We will have 3 Monarch butterflies in the near future. Phew, we were having a hard time finding more Milkweed.


  1. VERY cool! I’ll have to bring the kids back to watch these when we are all together….maybe for science on Monday. I’ve never seen this process before, so really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing! It was a special birthday treat! (Does this mean it’s okay to lose my head while God is taking me through the process of learning how to fly???) We really need to chat. I don’t suppose you have any free time coming up anytime soon??? Maybe I’ll see if I can work it out in an email. Have a blessed day, Penney. Thanks again for this gift!

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