Life Lesson: How A Mantis Saved Us Money And Enriched Our Lives

If you buy into the American Dream of Consumerism, kids are going to rock your financial world.  Yes, childcare can sometimes put a major dent into your income.  But, even that can be handled less expensively with alternative options.  Remember, where there is a will, there IS a way.  If you live sensibly and offer your kids time over money, you’ll find that they really don’t have to break your bank.

Our Inexpensive Summer Entertainment For Mini Monster

Mini Monster absolutely LOVES animals.  At the tender age of 6, she swears she will be a vet one day.  I know kids change their minds like they change their underwear, but, I actually believe her.

Our entire family is fond of animals.  We definitely get a great deal of enjoyment out of interacting and caring for other species.  Aside from your everyday cat and dog, Mr. Money Monster has owned snakes, ferrets, and turtles in his past.  He often tells stories of these past pets.  One day this Summer, he got a wonderful idea to introduce Mini Monster to the unique world of a Mantis.  Interesting.

Meet, Mary Mantis!

mary mantis

The Beginning

I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when Mr. Money Monster presented the idea of us “raising” a Mantis for the season.  He explained to me that he used to do it as a child and thought that Mini Monster (considering her love for all animals) would really enjoy it.  I don’t remember agreeing, but I suppose I didn’t really oppose the idea.  Before I knew it, I came home from running errands one Saturday afternoon  and found a huge insect cage with a very pregnant Mantis inside, complete with some grassy twigs, wet sponges, and some crickets!  Yikes!

Mr. Money Monster explained to Mini Monster and I that the Mantis would only live until Fall.  He said that after they lay their eggs they die shortly thereafter.  I was okay with this because I never was a huge fan of these crazy looking “bugs.”  For the most part, I steered clear of this situation.  When I was in Mini Monster’s room to clean up or put clothes away I would awkwardly stare at the Mantis through the safety of the mesh screen that separated us (thank goodness).  On a few occasions, Mini Monster would be holding Mary Mantis and asking me if I wanted to hold her.  I would politely decline as to not tip her off that I was freaked out!  If she knew I was scared, she would torture me and chase me around the house with it.  I was cool when I declined to hold her.  Mini Monster never knew how much I wanted to go running out of the room when she walked over to me with her in her hand.

Eventually, the end of Summer came and passed and we were firmly into Fall.  I would sometimes find crickets running around the house that had escaped Mary’s clutches and must have escaped the cage when someone opened the door.  A small price to pay for the entertainment that Mr. MM and MM were getting out of this strange insect.  I had grown accustomed to having the cage in her room with this weird, living green stick inside.  I had decided that I was going to hold Mary before she died.  I knew the time was coming that everything would be back to normal.

Laying eggsThe day finally came that Mary was to lay her eggs!  We had been waiting for almost 2 months for this day.  One Friday morning before school, Mini Monster came running into the kitchen exuberant over the fact that Mary was laying her eggs!  Sure enough, there was Mary hanging onto a grassy twig in her mesh cage laying her eggs.  I couldn’t believe how ecstatic I was over this event.  It really was exciting for all of us.

Farewell, Mary 🙁

Mary's Freedom

Mary’s Freedom – Farewell 🙁

It was 2 days after Mary laid her eggs and we began to think that Mary might be happier somewhere else.  A Mantis will only live about 2 weeks after laying eggs.  Mr. Money Monster and I knew that Mary’s good days were numbered and we wanted to offer her the outside world to enjoy before she became too weak.  We had prepared Mini Monster for this undesirable end.  She knew that Mary wouldn’t live long after she laid her eggs.  We explained that she could keep Mary until the end, or she could let her go free and say goodbye now.  To our surprise and delight, she opted for the latter.  I think it could have had something to do with not wanting to see Mary’s biological decline.  Either way, it was wonderful to have this ending together.  The very next morning we all set out to the grassy spot across the street where we found her.  But, before letting her go, I held a Mantis for the first time in my life!  I wasn’t scared or freaked out at all.  It felt good!  I’m glad I saved my first Mantis time for Mary.  She was special to our family 🙂

Proof That Entertainment For Kids Just Isn’t That Expensive

Mary eggs

THE EGGS

As Mini Monster bid a final farewell to Mary, she skipped away and professed to her six-legged insect friend, “We’ll Take Care Of Your Babies!”
That was priceless.  I couldn’t believe that after almost 2 months of having a Mantis living in my home that I felt sad.  I was actually fighting back tears and a lump in my throat.  It’s been just over 2 weeks since we released Mary.  I’m sure her end has come and gone.  It still saddens me to think about it, but it truly was a wonderful family experience with many rich lessons.  This memory will last a lifetime…for all of us.  For now, Mary’s eggs will live in our refrigerator.  And in the Spring, Mary’s babies will hatch and Mini Monster will make good on her promise.  Stay tuned!

8 comments… add one
  • Mike Mar 8, 2017, 8:15 pm

    Awesome story. I want to try this this summmer. We try to get out kids into as much of the outdoors too. This has recently resulted in found deer bones on our front porch for a couple weeks.

    • Mad Money Monster Mar 9, 2017, 12:26 pm

      Ha! That’s awesome. The mantis will definitely be a fun little project for the kids. 🙂

  • Cash Crone Oct 14, 2015, 9:02 am

    I love this story! How wonderful that you shared this time as a family – your Mini Monster will never forget it. Mary was a very lucky Mantis to have found you!

    • Mad Money Monster Oct 14, 2015, 11:44 am

      Thank you! We very much enjoyed learning about this living creature. The experience was enriching. 🙂

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