This month I have been on break. This break is enabled by Ma who looks after Niece while she visits her mum over the Christmas and New Year period. This break has been longer than previous and I think I really needed it.
2018 has been a bad year for Niece's general behaviour. It's difficult to think of anything positive she's done though I have tried often to give her examples when discussing her behaviour with her. There have been so many examples of undesirable behaviour though. She is still pursuing boys, stating she likes one boy, then bullying and pushing her previous boy to resume the relationship. Her day groups have really had to rein in her behaviour. I have discussed with one of them that if the bullying of the previous boyfriend continues she must be spoken to very sternly. This has gone on long enough.
For those needing reminding, she was in a relationship with a young man but continued to flirt and kiss others. She told her boyfriend that she did this and lo! He broke it off. She refused to accept it. And every time she sees him she pushes to resume the relationship. Even though they are not a couple she accuses him of cheating on her if he likes another. On her last community access outing she told her support working her boyfriend is in Europe. So he is holidaying there, but he's certainly not her boyfriend. This behaviour has affected his enjoyment of the days they both attend I've been told. And continued for more than six months. So yes, time to really get serious with her. She won't listen to me anymore. Last time I tried, I received the whole eye roll and "here we go again!" spiel.
Her other day group has already had a very serious talk with her for the same reason (boys) and I've been told her behaviour there has improved as a result.
Her community access support worker has taken a promotion in the last couple of months of 2018. While I'm happy for her I am not happy for me. This has been a huge inconvenience. I'm going to have to train another. I really liked R (can't remember what I named her previously) because as a mother herself she was switched on to the bull. The last three outings for 2018 have been three different people, and Niece has taken advantage of at least one. She came home with a gift. It was a very small one but still, she'd conned her support worker into buying it for her. I had to remind Autism Queensland that this is not acceptable. You simply cannot fall for that or she will pull that stunt all the time.
Then to top it off AQ no longer provide their respite service. While Niece has been away I have had to source another provider. I manage Niece's supports myself and don't pay a third party to manage them for me. The NDIS portal is pretty useless as far as searching for a service provider. They have heaps of companies listed but no way of filtering them for things like short term accommodation. There are pages and pages. I think the number began with a 4. More than 4 so at least 40 within 20km of home. Possibly as high as 3 digits. How does one choose? You browse the first few pages, click the links, and see if the provider offers the service you require. Easy, right?
Hopefully I have found a provider. They have been very helpful so far but we are not yet at the stage of finalising anything definite. The co-ordinator is yet to make contact so we can do a meet and greet. I'm crossing my fingers because this is a painful process and I'm not keen to have to keep at it.
However, while she has been away I've managed to spend some quality time with MOTH, dining out on a voucher we received for Christmas, and going to see Aquaman. I really enjoyed that movie. A little corny in places perhaps but visually stunning. And I don't just mean Jason Momoa. We celebrated Christmas a little earlier this year. Grandson was promised to go to his other grandparents for an extended stay so we did ours around the 20th. I missed most of him opening his presents as I was in the middle of a phone call and didn't feel I could terminate it. And then it was lunch prep time so I really did miss it. So did MOTH because he had to attend an appointment and wasn't home when they started. He was disappointed. I did give them permission to start though as Grandson is 8 months old and was tired and restless. I did enjoy the day despite missing that.
Pa and Ma celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary at end 2018. On the spur of the moment MOTH and I decided to travel up there to join the festivities. It was a very quick visit. One day to drive up, the day of the celebration to catch up with everyone, then driving back the next day. It was good to see siblings and even Bro had managed to travel from interstate. He seems so much happier than I've seen him for a long time. We stayed at The Oaks on Grand. Lovely room and very central. The meal was good as some of Sibling #1's friends who have known the family for a long time joined in as well. The meal was great; there was no restaurant in that venue when I used to haunt it many, many years ago. That part was a nightclub. I had fettucini alfredo. A basic meal but done very well.
The drive home seemed long. Somewhere along the highway there was a fatal crash and the highway was closed in both directions. Traffic had been rerouted off the highway and through back roads between towns with no real signage to indicate we were travelling in the right direction. We judged that by the amount of traffic on the roads. And even on this detour, some idiot in a 4WD decided he could pass multiple cars and came at us head on. We had to slow to give them time to get back in their lane. I mean TRAFFIC ALREADY ON A DETOUR FROM A FATAL AND HERE'S THIS IDIOT MAKING SURE SOMEONE ELSE WAS GOING TO ALSO PAY THAT PRICE. I was so angry....
Elder posted a photo from a picturesque place nearby so we took an hour detour from the detour and decided to swing by. We all met up and dined at the local with her, her SO, the Grandson, and a couple of Elder's friends. It was a very pleasant diversion.
Teen had moved back in with us after trying to fly solo earlier in the year. She had split from her then fellow who was making life a tad difficult and putting a lot of financial pressure on her. She couldn't afford to live alone. A search for housemates proved futile so she had to break lease and move back. She's moved out again but on the day she was to move out, the lease holders decided they were not renewing the lease after February so she's stuck again. Why are young people so unreliable these days? If they were considering that why did they offer her the space in the first place? She does have a new fellow though who is very articulate and personable. He also looks a little like Jason Momoa, so we give her a hard time about that. They went to see Aquaman and she gave it a glowing endorsement ... "I didn't fall asleep".
So here's hoping that 2019 will be a better year for everyone, both financially and behaviour wise.