This page is all about Cate, our daughter. She was born in December 2004, and is a constant source of amazement, joy, fun, worry and tiredness to Claire and myself.
Catherine Ellen Meiklejohn was brought into this world at 9:34 AM on the 3rd of December, 2004. She was not keen to join the outside world, and eventually had to be delivered by a section. She weighed 7 lb 11 oz at birth, and took the earliest opportunity to make full use of her lungs. She quietened down soon enough though, and even remained docile during the visits of various odd people she will later refer to as relatives. Mother is recovering and has been quoted as saying "Never again!".
Week 1 - In the Hospital
Claire and Cate stayed at the hospital for a few days after the birth. This was the easiest time for the father: turn up at 2, stay a few hours then home for a good sleep. We had some visitors and lots of presents. Mother recovered quite quickly, and baby did well with her feeding and not being sick everywhere.
First Days at Home
We brought Cate home on Tuesday 7th December, half expecting someone to run out of the hospital shouting "Bring that baby back". Now she's settling in at home and we're trying to get used to having her here, what with waking up every couple of hours during the night for a feed, crying for no apparent reason - and that's just me. Imagine what the baby's like! She still manages to be lovable enough for us to want to kep her around though.
Eating and Growing
I'm amazed by how fast Cate is growing. Not just in the amount of weight she's gaining but in the progress she's making. Every week brings a new ability. She's three months old now, and she's sleeping in her own room (the Moses basket was getting a bit small for her), sleeping through the night (hooray!), making a variety of noises and she'll now hold on to something if you put it in your hands. She smiles a lot, which is encouraging, and cries quite a lot, mainly because she's tired, but too nosey to go to sleep.
We've been on a few outings: including lunch at the Coach House in Luss, and visiting Priscilla's church in Muirhead, for her baptism (hi Priscilla!). We're going to Wales in the early summer and I'm wondering how we're going to get any luggage in the car when the car-seat, pram and bouncy chair are in.
We're started on solids now. Well, not really solids, more like runnies. Pureed apple, pear, courgette, carrot and sweet potato are all being met with an enthusiastic response. Latest skills learned are sticking out the tongue and lunging towards anything that looks bitable. We put a bumper cushion in the cot to avoid sore head type problems, with mixed results.
Cate is 6 months old now, and Claire and I can barely remember the days when we could lie in beyond 7am. We've had our first holiday, which went pretty well. It took a couple of days for Cate to get used to the cottage but she settled in fine after that. Latest tricks learned are shaking things wildly, holding the arms out and rotating the wrists, making pterodactyl noises and being sick into her father's t-shirt pocket. She's enjoying pretty much every type of food we throw at her, and especially likes her carrots.
Four months since the last update, so what's happened? Well, Cate can now crawl, though she's eschewed the standard hands and knees type of crawl for more of a commando style, belly on the floor, crawl. She can now follow us into the kitchen, and play with the fridge magnets. She also tries to crawl off the edge of the couch, so needs a bit of watching. She's desperate to walk, as well, but seems to think the way to do it is to make enormous steps each time.
Clapping is now in the repertoire, as is demolishing towers of building blocks. She has also phoned for a taxi, which doesn't bode well. We can now put her down at night without getting her to sleep first (hurrah!), but she does sometimes have a fight with Winnie first.
Finally, the favourite trip out just now is to the swing park. Oh, and she has a new wee cousin called Samuel. Much bullying expected in the future.
Cate is 1 year old. We had a few friends and relatives around for a party, and just so she could enjoy it a bit more she learned to walk the week before. I'd expected a couple of faltering steps and a lot of encouragement, but true to form she went from holding on to the table to wandering all over the living room in a matter of a couple of hours. She falls over quite a lot but seems to have a skull an inch thick.
This new-found freedom is revealing her character more. If I had to choose a single word it would be mischievous. If she gets into the toilet she comes out with the entire toilet roll in an Andrex puppy type of moment. She has also discovered the joys of throwing my clothes into the shower.
The Christmas decorations are up now, so we expect more destruction to ensue.
It's been 4 months since the last update, and Cate's been walking and running all over the place. She's run after cats, dogs and children, learned how to jump, spin round and climb the stairs. She regularly makes it most of the way down the aisle at church before Claire catches her. She also finds the leaflets at church very interesting.
All of a sudden, Cate gained an interest in her books. Now she brings them up and places them in our laps, insisting we read them to her. Once we've finished, she lifts the book up and places it back down again. This can go on until we've read the same book 7 or 8 times. She's also dead keen on the television programmes on the CBeebies channel, particularly Boogie Beebies. And so came her first real word used in context. One night she handed us the remote control. "What do you want?" we asked. "Boogies" was the plaintive reply.
The next one was even more unexpected. One day she handed me her book about what people like to eat. It has a picture of a girl (Hetty) eating spaghetti on the front. She placed the book in my lap and said "Baghetti". So now she can ask for the channel to be changed or order a meal at an Italian restaurant. Still doesn't say daddy (well not to me anyway) or mummy though. We've been teaching her lots of animal noises, too, but I wonder about the practical value of these. I can't remember the last time I used an animal noise in a conversation at work or with friends.
Adventures in the Woods
More about Cate's progress soon, but we've been going out for walks in the woods, and picking up leaves from the trees we pass. I've put together a wee page on trees from what we picked up.
Well, Cate is now 2. She's been learning words at an alarming rate, and copying the words and phrases we use without having to hear them more than once. She's coming along well with individual words, and stringing them together to make sentences as well: "See dog?", "I know! It's a window!" and our favourite "It's all right, it's just a dancing tree". She still manages to insert a whole lot of babbling in there, though, with requests such as "blabalabalaba juice".
The number of songs Cate has absorbed is amazing as well. I thought we'd have to teach her one song until she knew it well, then start on another. But she knows the tunes and some of the words to all the Boogie Beebies songs, a good few nursery type songs and some of the hymns from church as well. Shows how little I know about child development.
We had a holiday in the summer, with Irene, Colin and Sam, which was great, and we all went to junior camp this year, as well as camp reunion, and these were all a big hit. We also visited the zoo in August, which seems to have made a big impression on Cate. She sometimes mentions the zoo out of nowhere.
Cate had a good birthday, with family and friends round to visit, and we're now preparing for Christmas. She got a voucher from one of the staff at Asda the other day, for shouting "Happy Christmas" while being wheeled through the store. Better than a warning for disturbing the peace, I suppose.
Her eating habits sometimes leave a bit to be desired, but she eats very well, and sleeps well during the night. This makes up for the mad whirlwind of activity we get from her all during the day. It's going to be a fun 2007.
Big Girl Pants
Hmm, too many months since the last update. We're most of the way through the terrible twos now, and it could have been worse, I suppose. We had a few weeks of tantrums at the start of the year but it's died down now to just the occasional screaming fit. Cate is sly as a fox and will look for any opportunity to get up to mischief, immediately followed by an innocent "Are you happy, mum?".
The two big progress events were the bed and toilet training, and both went remarkably well. I took the bars off Cate's cot around April, turning it into a "big girl's bed". We tried to impress on her that she needed to stay in the bed at night, fully expecting regular visits down the stairs. Amazingly, though, she took to it straight away and stays in her room from bed time on. There are the occasional alarming bumps, but eventually we get peace and quiet until mum's bed time (about half an hour after Cate's).
The real biggie, though, was the toilet training. We waited until she was two and a half, and we had a few weeks without too many things to go to, and started on the "big girl pants". After a few poos on the floor ("not do that again") and a couple of weeks of occasional accidents (15 pairs of pants the first day) it seemed to click and there's been no problem since.
So apart from that we've been to the Sea Life Centre, sledging at xscape, Blairdrummond Safari Park, the Glasgow Art Galleries, nearly went to Turkey but went to Berwick instead and had a week of camp.
Cate got an animal book for Christmas, and loves to look at all the animals. Strangely, she's picked the dugong as her favourite. She loves going for walks to the park and going to see the horses in the field down the road: Henry and Tucker. She also continues to eat huge quantities of whatever food comes her way.
Cate's favourite sayings at the moment:
This Christmas I did my usual thing and spent practically nothing on Cate (when she was 1 I got her a cardoard box for her Christmas). She's been showing an interest in the few stones we have lying about and so I started her off on a mineral collection. Here's a page on what she's collected so far.
Nursery and Sharks
At the start of this year Cate started at nursery school. She goes for the morning each week day. Typically for her she was warned on the second day there for strangling another girl. It took her a while to settle in, with regular reports of "I was crying for you, mum" but she's now quite happy there and comes back with an assortment of things created while she was there: pictures, hats and so on. Claire is delighted with 2 and a half hours of peace each day and has been hitting the swimming pool in her newly found free time.
Cate watches a lot of TV, mostly CBeebies, but she's been getting interested in films as well, and has periods where she watches The Lion King, Ratatouille or Wallace and Gromit every day for days on end. She likes Star Wars as well, especially when R2D2 appears.
Always having had an interest in wildlife (last year's Christmas present was an animal encyclopaedia which she memorised and declared her favourite was the dugong), Cate has decided to specialise in one or two areas of the animal kingdom. Deciding on the best animal for a 3 year old girl to study is never easy: puppies, rabbits and ponies were always an option; but she's settled on sharks. We now have a number of books on the subject and she has a pretty good record on identification between whale sharks, makos, great whites, tiger sharks, basking, cookie cutter, nurse, blue, white tipped, monkfish and wobbegongs. Ever the scientist, Cate has also decided on her own method of categorisation. This is based on the answers to two vital questions relating to a shark species: can you pat it? and does it eat girls?
We had a good Christmas and New Year, and we're just past Easter. Cate sang a solo at the Easter service at church and did really well. Next up is the summer holiday: this year we've booked up a holiday in Majorca, so here's hoping for no last minute hitches this time.
"I want to be a marine biologist"
Well, we had a great holiday in Majorca and a good time at camp. After the summer Cate started at a different nursery, at Houston Primary, where she'll be going to school. She settled in very quickly this time and we're getting a steady stream of pictures and paintings home. They seem to be very organised and even have football and french lessons once a week.
For Cate's fourth birthday we thought it would be nice to take her out for the day. There's a place near Lanark called Valley International Park, which does a Christmas train ride during December, so we thought we'd try that out. It turned out to be ideal: it was snowy in Lanarkshire and the park had a real Christmassy feel. We had the train ride, followed by a trip through some darkened caves with various illuminations to Santa's grotto, where Santa spent a good 5 minutes with her. After that there was an indoor play area to keep Cate happy until it was time to leave.
The nursery put on a presentation at Christmas. The children acted out and danced to a variety of tunes, dressed up as different toys. Cate and a couple of other girls sang a couple of songs with microphones, which Cate proceeded to sigh into, much to the amusement of the parents watching.
Once we got past the winter there have been more opportunities to get outside for walks. Cate likes nothing better than to get out for a walk and "discover a bit of nature", or just hang about. We normally come back with a stick or two and get to pat the odd dog on the way.
Cate's interest in sharks continues and her preferred future career is as a marine biologist. This has replaced her previous choice of a stunt woman. With the amount of nonsense she comes out with she may even be a politician: who knows?
This year we booked a week at Disneyland Paris. We had a great time and Cate was able to practise her French on the bus drivers. The nursery is due to finish soon and after the summer it's school!
The day has finally come. Nursery finished in June, we had 7 weeks of summer holidays, including a little trip to Anstruther, and then it was time for school to start. On Tuesday 18th August Cate got her Houston Primary School uniform on and we took the car to the school. We had to wait outside for a while but we were eventually let in and Cate found her desk. That's it! Something between 12 and 18 years of education lie ahead before a young, educated woman emerges.
Birthday time is coming up, and Cate has been asking for guinea pigs for most of the year. Some friends were having to give their's up, so we took them on. They're dead keen on their lettuce and carrots, and though very shy at first, they're starting to get used to us.
School seems to be going well, and Cate's now onto her second word wall. We're getting to know Floppy, Biff and friends with a new reading book each week. She's also been getting involved in other ladylike pursuits.
Cate's been through a whole year of school now, and what a difference! Her reading and writing are coming on, arithmetic is looking good, drawings are much better and she can make any numbers of pictures out of dry pasta if she can avoid eating it all. Yes, the appetite's still there; 5 a day is more of a starting point than a target. Her only dislikes now are raisins and jam (except for her grandpa's blackcurrant jam, which she loves).
We had a very cold winter, so had a chance to use the sledge we got last year but didn't use, and we had a few interesting experiences in the car. Christmas was a double celebration: Cate's first tooth fell out on Christmas Eve, so the Tooth Fairy and Santa visited on the same night. Since it was the first tooth out and a special day, the tooth fairy left a big silver jubilee coin. I'm sure I used to have one of those; I wonder what happened to it...
The school did both a nativity play (Cate was an angel) and an Easter bonnet parade, with various fundraisers throughout the year. The barbecue evening was fun, and Cate had a chance to find out what a hamster feels like. She's doing fairly well with her swimming, with regular visits, and has been going to weekly Tae Kwon Do classes since starting primary school.
In the summer we've had a holiday to Scarborough and a week of camp. The stabilisers have just come off the bike, so Cate's been learning to ride without them. So far we're fine if the practise area is really big, but have yet to master turning, starting and stopping. Falling off has been fully mastered though.
... and now we're through primary two. Landmarks this year: fairly fluent reading, swimming gradually improving, bike riding is now pretty much sorted and Cate can now tie her shoe laces (hurrah, one less thing for us to do). New skills learned: football (getting fairly profficient), badminton (just starting) , hill walking (made it half way up Ben Lomond) and archery (two shots at this in the last year).
At school she has loved being in P2, and the teachers look forward to reading her creative writing (e.g. a haunted house with a dancing skeleton and a dancing elvis). The Christmas play this year was the Wizard of Oz and the class also did a Vikings assembly in May. Cate was one of the narrators in both, and also got a chance to recite a Scottish poem, The Puddock, to the rest of the class.
We had another great winter, if you measure greatness by the amount of snowy days, so we made good use of the sledge again. For her 6th birthday we went to The Singing Kettle, a kid's show run by local talent which is very popular here. They invite a few kids up on stage at one point and her nibs managed to get picked, dressed up as a polar bear and run about to a song.
We've had a couple of holidays this year: a short week at a caravan park in Blackpool, which we enjoyed but was freezing, and a week at Centerparcs, along with Linda, John and Kyle. Cate had a great time and especially loved the falconry activity.
At the end of April Cate's grandpa Meiklejohn sadly passed away suddenly. We'll all miss him a lot, and fondly remember the times we would visit the house at Wemyss Bay, watch Cate out feeding the fish with her grandpa and go for a walk in the woods, looking for the fabled bouncy tree. We'd had the usual birthday meal for him in March at the Point in Greenock, where he used to like watching the boats go by out of the window, and he'd come, along with Cate's other grandpa, for a grandpas birthday meal on Cate's birthday.
Anyway, onwards and upwards. After the summer it's primary three. I'm sure there will be lots more to report at the end of the year.
Primary three was a great year for achievements. First there was the Burns competition for reciting a Scottish poem. Cate won first prize in her class for Wee Freenly Dug. Then there was Houston's Got Talent at the local agricultural show. We were a bit unsure about letting her take part, especially as some of the other acts were really well prepared and very precise. But she went up there and sang the Welly Boot Song and came second.
The class did a couple of presentations, the second of which was a circus performance. Cate and her classmate Sasha were chosen to be the ringmasters, and did a great job introducing all the acts. We had lots of positive comments from the other parents. And finally she won Most Improved Player of the year at her football training. This despite a major amount of hacking.
We had a nice, if very cold, outing in October to Nairn, in the north of Scotland. We had a good time and stopped off at an adventure park on the way home.
What happened to p4? Well, not much, except a lack of time and a good dose of laziness. P4 was less exciting in terms of achievements, but we did have a magical one day trip to Lapland in December, and it was wrapped up with a week at camp and a great holiday in Ibiza.
Cate has loved her year at school, with topics including the highland clearances, the rain forest, magical castles and space.
She took part in P5's Got Talent, and made it through to the final, playing her blues piano piece to both school assemblies, plus an extra one for Mrs Thomson. My suggestion of starting out simply and then bursting into life worked a treat.
This is Cate's last year at the Houston Soccer Academy, so we're looking for somewhere else to train and maybe get into some matches. The coaches have been great over the years and we have our fingers crossed for player of the year, mainly down to persistence for turning up in all weathers. I think she deserves a prize for forbearance, for not lamping the couple of kids who persistently gripe at her.
She's still attending Tae Kwon Do once a week, and had a change in instructor this year. The new instructor has been revising and honing all the patterns but she's now moved on another level and got her green-belt-with-blue-tag.
Piano lessons continue and Cate got a pass with distinction for her initial grade test. Grade 1 is in June. The practise tunes are at least nice to listen to.
We've been trying to go swimming as often as possible too, and setting a target for lengths has worked well. Last week she managed 42 lengths. Maybe we'll get a mile by the summer.
She's also been going to basketball and country dancing classes at school. Ironically, considering all her other pursuits, she doesn't fancy this next year as it's a bit too energetic.
She's also been to the GO Club at Erskine Church of the Nazarene, which is on Tuesday evenings. Her friend Holly has been going with her this year so it's been noisy in the car on the way there and back, but they both enjoy it and are going to camp again in the summer.
That sounds like an awful lot, and most of our evenings are filled with one activity or another, but we've managed to get time for the odd walk, lego construction, drawing or game of Minecraft too. Last year we managed to climb Conic Hill, by Loch Lomond, and this year we made it to the top of Ben A'an, near Loch Katrine.
We had an Easter trip, going down to london from Monday to Friday in the Easter holidays, and visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour, Legoland and Whipsnade Zoo. This summer we're off to Jersey. Highlight of the year, though, will be looking after Indie, my sister's dog, for a week in the summer. We had a practice couple of days at Easter and Cate's really looking forward to July.
After all the school work and after-school activities, the night-time routine has stayed a constant, with a book before bed. Cate's been reading the Secret Seven books herself some nights but still likes to be read to, and we've gone through The Lord of the Rings and the David Williams books recently.
So it's been a successful year, but it's good to keep grounded, and Cate's been doing that literally, with many bruises testifying to her amazing ability to fall off the floor. It keeps the rest of her class amused anyway.
P6 was a good year for achievements. 3rd place in the photography competition, 6th place in the inter-schools road race, distinction at country dancing (despite her tights falling down during the dance), blue belt at tea kwon do, player of the year at the soccer academy, winner at mixed badminton and winner at the school sports sprint, then distinction at grade 2 piano. All that practise is showing rewards.
We had to find a new football club after graduating from the soccer academy, and the choice was mainly based on available nights and no Sunday games. We eventually found St Mirren Community Youth, and joined up with them. There was a bit of a scene just after summer when all the coaches resigned and took some of the players away with them, but we got a new coach and he started building the team up again from very modest beginnings. After some very depressing defeats they're getting better and winning some games. Cate has established a place in defence as a tough tackler but needs a bit of work on the rest of her game.
We had more drama last summer as half of the church membership left, leaving just me and Claire. We decided we couldn't carry on as a church and so finished up after the prizegiving service. We tried out a few churches during the summer holidays, and settled on Harper Memorial, in Glasgow. Cate has really enjoyed going there, taking part in the Sunday school, which runs during the morning service, and especially enjoying the third Sunday evening service, after which we usually have a fellowship supper. Recently we had a sermon on baptism and Cate has asked to be baptised. She's had some instruction and just needs to be interviewed before that gets arranged.
It was a good year at school, and the teachers seemed to be really good with the class. A decent report means we go for a meal out and so we had an evening at Khublai Khan's where you get to put together your own dish. As well as piano, Cate decided to take up the trumpet, and they also all got a recorder home, so it's been a bit noisy in the evenings.
We managed to get away for the three school breaks this year. We had a few days in Centerparcs in October, with lots of climbing action, a week in Skye in April, with lots of hill walking, and two weeks back at the Marylanza in Tenerife for summer, which was mostly spent in the pool, but also included a bit of parascending.
And so on to p7. There seems to be even more work to do, more responsibilities for the kids and a big trip in May, which Cate's very much looking forward to.
Last update: 26 September 2015 - 10 years old