KIERAN HOWARD: The similarities between toddlers and butterflies

One of the residents in the butterfly house, Cumberland House Museum, Southsea
One of the residents in the butterfly house, Cumberland House Museum, Southsea
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There are many parallels to be drawn between butterflies and toddlers. Who’d have thought it?

It turns out neither likes staying in one spot for long, neither likes posing for photographs and both are clumsy when on the move.

I learned this on a visit to the Cumberland House Natural History Museum on Eastern Parade, Southsea. New to the three of us, it provides an enjoyable way to kill an hour.

It’s also particularly useful when trying to create new and imaginative ways to entertain a bored one-year-old and maintain your own sanity.

There’s free entry too, although donations are welcomed.

Admittedly, Louie was captivated long before we entered the building itself.

We put his pushchair in one of the large buggy lockers.

To Kerrie and me it was just a storage unit. To the boy, it was like a platform to another world.

He immediately felt the need to fully examine the interior of this windowless room.

We considered it far from interesting, but he was investigating it like some sort of property developer.

He appeared to have grand designs on what he might be able to turn it into.

I’m certain he would have remained in there all day had he not realised how dark it gets inside when the doors are pulled to.

That was enough for him to eventually make a hasty exit. Well, I had to employ some tactics to encourage him out of his new hideaway.

Once finally away from the buggy park and inside our intended destination, we headed straight for the butterfly enclosure.

And once inside Butterfly House, Louie completely disregarded all the pretty, multicoloured flying insects and headed straight for the water fountain.

It was another classic example of an occasion where he would have been just as happy if he’d been allowed to stay at home and play with the hosepipe.

On the plus side, at least my bank cards did not see the light of day on this latest outing.

I briefly managed photographs of Louie and the butterflies together. But, because of neither’s ability to remain still, the results were blurred, morphed beings, which I shall call butterlouies.

Aside from the butterflies, the little man also managed to completely ignore a rather large model tyrannosaurus rex. An observational beehive didn’t do much to grab his attention either.

However, he now knows that honey does not begin its life in a glass jar.


Louie suffered his first football match of the season last week. As I’ve confessed before, we have a season ticket for Gosport Borough. We naively renewed it again this term too, more in hope than expectation.

I must have done something awful in a previous life because it has not been easy viewing.

Not many would force such abysmal performances on their worst enemy, let alone their child.

Sadly, it hit rock bottom in their latest Evo-Stik Southern League Premier match, an 8-0 hammering at the hands of Basingstoke Town.

A confused Louie left Privett Park wondering if he’d watched a game of rugby. He now thinks the object of this sport is to concede goals.

One wag remarked that it bordered on child cruelty. They were probably right. I should have taken him home at half-time.

Before that thrashing they’d begun the campaign with four straight defeats. I assumed Louie might bring them some luck but I’ve realised that superstition is a load of nonsense.

Some of the crowd were so disillusioned they started applauding Louie chucking rubbish in a bin.

Some also felt he should have thrown the rubbish on the pitch in there as well.

Our little performer adored the acclaim, if not the football.