Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Getting ready for a transition

I honestly despair that Niece will ever function independently. Ever. I've had to resort to washing her hair for her. Each time. I know she can't do it properly and since I don't shower with her I don't know what she does. But it generally results in very greasy hair; stiff and sticky to the point that one could just about shape it unaided. And yet I use the same shampoo she does when I do it for her. This time we had to go out so I have her instructions not to put it in a pony tail, just comb it and leave it loose. We get in the car to go out and I notice that she hasn't combed it at all. Just left it as it came out of the towel. How can she ever function independently when she can't grasp the basics of self care? Or is she just lazy and doesn't care? I don't think I shall ever figure that one out.

Just recently we were on a regular shopping trip for groceries. Niece was given the task of taking the empty trolley to the trolley bay, about 30 metres away two parking rows over. I drive a bright yellow car, parked two double rows over and slightly to the right. She came back along the dedicated walkway through the first double row, then suddenly turned right, paused, and kept going. MOTH and I were in the car and wondered what the heck she was doing. We waited a couple of minutes for her to realise she was mistaken and return. MOTH exited the car and bellowed her name. She didn't respond but he managed the scare the living daylights out of a driver in another car. We waited at the car for a while longer. What if she realised, came back, and we were not where she left us? We waited then drove slowly through the carpark trying to see her, around the corner where we normally go, then through the carpark at the back. I dropped MOTH off and went to fetch Jerome's food for the fortnight before returning. I found MOTH who hadn't located Niece, and we continued searching the shopping centre. I even checked toilets. Eventually we went to Police Beat to ask for assistance. They took information, suggested we head home, then search the neighbourhood while they did too. This we did. And as we drove up the driveway, Niece was knocking on our front door. SHE WALKED HOME!! This is a good 40 minute trot.

We couldn't believe it! She couldn't give me a straight answer, only stating she wanted some fresh air and exercise. This from one of the laziest girls I know. So I know that statement was what she thought I wanted to hear, not the actual truth. She probably doesn't even know herself. So now she is on the Police database, and has a record as absconding with her community access worker and Autism Queensland. Which means a whole new risk assessment. I always thought she absconded on an earlier access worker because she didn't like her. Possibly they may have been her brain farts. She gets them but usually they manifest as completely forgetting how to do a task she's done many times over previously. I really don't know.

I've finally bitten the bullet and attended my first NDIS information session. It was a dark and stormy night. I am hoping this was not an omen of how our transition will go!

It was actually easier to understand than I thought. Okay, ask me that again when it actually comes time for a pre-planning meeting with National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) next year. NIDS is due to be implemented mid 2018. I'm hoping that I am ready. They say it's better to ask for more than you need than find out you've not asked for enough funding. The organisation who did the presentation were kind enough to give us an information pack that also contained the slides of the presentation. I like this as I now have something to refer to when I get myself off my butt to add to my notes and follow up.

Teen is still working her butt off. Or should I say on? She's been going to gym once a week and working with a personal trainer. She is now noticing that her butt is growing, her thighs are getting stronger and the guns are showing. Squats! Lifts! Metabolic conditioning! When she and Elder begin talking it's like they are speaking a foreign language. Teen goes to a gym outside her area but I think her favourite bit, apart from complaining about the personal trainer, is checking out the puppies and kittens at the pet store in the shopping centre before she goes off to her session.

I don't know if I have mentioned it previously but Elder has settled into a relationship and employment. Her beau is JCH and we seem to get along fine. He's a rather personable young fellow who can take a good ribbing so I guess it can't be all bad. They met at Supanova where she and I both volunteer. I am hoping this one is a stayer as they seem to be producing spawn next April.

That's right. MOTH and I are going to be grandparents. I have christened the spawn Facehugger and am just waiting for it to burst forth in a bloody mess. She is boring and calls it Peanut. The last update suggested that Peanut was now the size of a gameboy. So there you go. About halfway through. We have debated various titles as grandparents. Elder cheekily suggested I should be called something to do with Dragon. Crazy child. We weren't sure about MOTH. I decided we should be Omah and BOF. BOF and Omah, mighty and powerful Gods! Boring Old Fart didn't like his name and insists on Poppy. Boo! So we ended up with Omah and Poppy. We shall see if that sticks, won't we.

MOTH has begun feeding the birds, much as Wilson next door does. We now have doves, pigeons, galahs, cockatoos, and rosellas come to visit. Mornings can be very noisy!

I've heard the peacocks! I had thought that the overabundance of new unit complexes flooding our suburb had driven them out but it seems not. I have yet to see them. One morning I heard loud noises, a weird honking, and found...

... the peahens!

So I can't decide if these next few months will transition slowly because of Facehugger and *ahem* possible excitement of becoming officially old, or too quickly because of NDIS and the absolute confusion this will bring. 2018 is going to be a year of change either way!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dipping my toe in the devil's playground

Yep. I've signed up for Afterpay. This could be ... dangerous. Teen assures me it is evil. All I can say is I've finally completed the signup process I began some time ago, and used it for a purchase. However, I'm already considering the next item I shall use it for once my payments for my runners - or in my case walkers - are finished. See? Dangerous.

I am still examining my future career options. Ha! Such as they are. Nursing is still on the cards -- if only I could bring myself to phone to gather information about eligibility requirements. I already hold a degree so don't know if I can study a second undergraduate degree. Or whether I am eligible to apply for Government funding for my fees. And I've likely missed the deadline for applying to QTAC for a place in next years autumn enrollments. I will probably need to prove that I can finish it with a huge submission and character references. At least, that's what I had to do as a mature student applying for my last undergrad program.

Or if I can get some fee help to do a vocational course. It looks suspiciously like I am not able at this point because I have a degree. Which is a pain because the course will cost a couple thousand dollars.

I've been out of the workforce for nearly 5 years now. That's not going to look good on the resume.

A new toy has fallen into my hands. Okay, so not new. And not really fallen. I'll admit it. I stole it. From MOTH. He decided he didn't like the band so he stopped using it before he really started. And it sat idle for a long time. Which isn't a good state of affairs for a Fitbit Blaze, right? And I've been playing with a pedometer app on my phone. Which isn't much good because my kids will tell you that my phone spends a lot of time away from my person, in one place. Usually the desk. I've purchased a funky new purple band for it and I can't wait for it to arrive. It's been three days already and it's not here. C'mon! Hurry up! I've set my goals pretty low so I can pat myself on the back for achieving them. Baby steps, right? But I've managed to do >5000 steps for five consecutive days now.

We've finally dispensed with the behaviour chart. Not for any particular reason beyond the ink cartridges in the printer are running low and I didn't want to waste any. She had been doing pretty well and I hadn't seen attention seeking behaviour. And as soon as I say to her not to say that, it's attention seeking, she apologises and pulls her head in. So to speak. There is still much lacking in the concentration and completing tasks properly. And since she's not got the chart she's become rather lazy. The chart included daily chores which seem to have slipped now I think about it. She's pretty happy that she can still access the phone although I do need to be vigilant that she doesn't get lax with her behaviour and relapse. I do still need to remind her occasionally about her actions and what they tell me. We do a recap of her day prior to handing over the phone and this is when I say I saw you do this and that action shows me that blah blah blah.

The phone is till rationed at this point, and continues to remain on the half hour. I will likely review it next week and decide if she can have the phone in her room. I would still like her to stick to the half hour but I'm not sure how to monitor that she does indeed continue to respect that. Otherwise she will be back to her usual of calling at stupid times. Like 0600 before a decent person has time to wake up. Mind, she's usually asleep till 0700 when the alarm goes off. But she'd surely be awake early if she thought she could be on the phone.

And I know that is usual for couples but this relationship isn't usual.

So I wait for her to lapse. I wait in vain for the day when I can send her out knowing she can have a start at a productive life and functioning independently. I wait in the car so many days for her to finish her day program and dawdle out to the car. I wait for my shopping to arrive. I wait for the day I can retire. Actually, I seem to do a lot of waiting don't I...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Oh my good goodness!

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

After the debarcle that was 2016 and relationships, things eventually managed to sort themselves out. I thought I could breathe a sigh of relief but no, not really. She and the inappropriate relationship went their separate ways. At this point in time they remain friends and nothing more. She began again to focus again on a young man attending another program. The same program that said no boyfriend/girlfriend with other students. True to form she began to argue with another female student for the affections of this young man. And as far as I was aware, he did not return those feelings. Still, it didn't stop both girls from ruining a friendship.

In October or November of that year she met at a party a young man she had gone to school with and decided that this was possibly an interest for her. The following month they met at a local dance and decided to become romantically attached. Far more appropriate, right?

A conversation with the hostess of the party early this year provided a surprising outcome. She had asked the boy from the party about Niece and he insisted they were a couple. Well no, they weren't. She didn't believe me. Are you sure? Yes, quite sure. She assured me they were a couple. However, whether or not they were it didn't stop Niece from pursuing the boy from the program, nor another boy she found interesting she'd found at the dance!

Niece asked the party boy she had known from school for his phone number and he became her sole focus. They arranged their first date and met up at a local shopping centre for coffee. This seemed to go well and arrangements were made for a second. The second date seemed to go well so they arranged a third. And from there, it went to hell in a handbasket.

We arrived at the predetermined location and despite her frantic phone calls he was an hour late. Okay. We rescheduled for another day. After waiting for two hours I told her that if he wasn't there in 20 minutes then forget it. After frantic phone calls from her trying to determine his location, we left. Reschedule. MOTH took her this time. He didn't turn up. MOTH refused to wait longer than 20 minutes and brought her back home. Since then, each time she tried to arrange a date he was busy. Soccer. Gym. Family obligations. Now, they see each other once a month at the dance but she calls him almost every day.

The phone calls. Oh, the phone calls. She couldn't live without the phone. Or calling him. Multiple times a day. No credit? DISASTER! YOU MUST RECHARGE MY PHONE NOW! No battery? DISASTER! YOU MUST CHARGE THIS PHONE IMMEDIATELY! IT'S BEEN 5 MINUTES! WHY IS MY PHONE NOT CHARGED? WHY HAVE YOU NOT CHARGED IT YET? WHY MUST YOU DO IT OVERNIGHT? And so on.

At my wits end, I asked her access worker for suggestions; we are now on a behaviour chart with tasks and behaviour guidelines. The behaviour box MUST be ticked before a phone reward is offered for 30 minutes.

Both her access worker and I are convinced that she is still not ready for a relationship but Niece still insists. She said she broke up with him and no one was sure if that was actuality or fantasy. For approximately 10 days or so she was the happiest she had been for the last 18 months. Laughing, joking, participating, doing better at her tasks. All the good things. However she suddenly decided last week that she was stupid for breaking up with him and asked him again if they could be a couple. Her access worker got the impression that the boyfriend didn't even know they'd broken up! That was about 7 days ago and only the last 2 have been anywhere near good.

I wish she would be content to stay single!

I know that I really need to set an end to the behaviour chart but I cannot beyond reminding her that it will continue until I no longer have to remind her every day to use her "happy on purpose" behaviours and not her "unhappy on purpose" behaviour. The way she is going I simply don't see an end coming soon.

I am yet to see how the commencement of the government sponsored NDIS program is going to work. This is a government initiative aimed at helping those with a disability become more independent. I can't see her reaching this milestone as she will always need behaviour coaching, and even prompting for things like personal grooming and healthy/sensible eating. I don't know if the NDIS will mean I have to give up Carer Payment and allowances and return to full time work. And at 52 I think I have reached my employment use by date.

While having my tax done last week I found out that I can get what is virtually a student loan up to a cap of A$108,000. Maybe I can go back to study? I won't be paid much while I am studying either but I already have a degree and a diploma. Neither of them garnered me any work. Would a nursing degree change that?

Only time will tell....

Monday, October 17, 2016

A conundrum of the relationship kind

I thought I'd drop by here as I haven't done it for a while. And look! It tells me a friend has updated her blog 5 months ago. Wow. She hasn't written for ages. And so many entries. But when I look Blogger is playing tricks on me and she's not updated since 2013. How so very odd.

Things are still ongoing here. Niece is still choosing inappropriate relationships. Lately though she has begun to flatly deny there is anything wrong with her choice and any remonstrance to the contrary brings on tantrums. The other problem associated with this is the effect it is having on everything else she does. She is just not functioning normally any more.

Not only is she becoming quite rude if you take her to task, she can no longer do her chores properly. I am now having to check her constantly. She drops cutlery on the floor and once she would have taken it straight to the sink and washed it. Now she picks it up and puts it with the clean stuff. The other day she picked a dirty fork from the sink and took it straight to table. Someone noticed and made her wash it. So she puts it in her hand with the clean ones and rinses it under cold water. No soap.

Twice now, I've caught her wearing her underwear inside out.

Just stupid small things like that which she wouldn't have done before.

The man in question goes to the same program she attends on Monday and Friday. He is 55 years old. Niece is 19. She simply cannot understand why EVERYONE thinks this is not a good idea. The only person who thinks this is a good relationship is another girl who goes to the same program who is also being monitored closely for forming an inappropriate relationship with another older married client.

And yet, I don't want to drop her completely out of this group considering all the trouble we went to to get her placements when she didn't receive any post school funding for proper lifestyle programs. She has gone too far for me to throw up my hands and say whatever. This, I feel, would be rewarding bad behaviour. Even threats of possible suspension haven't deterred the two of them. Yes, he reciprocates.

She constantly tells me that she knows she needs to break up with him but the actions never follow the words. I won't talk to her about it anymore for this exact reason.

I have heard of girls on the spectrum inappropriately obsessing with boys, using stalking behaviours etc, but I've not heard of one who constantly must choose older males she cannot have. I admit I haven't really researched deeply. The general consensus seems to be that one needs to teach the boundaries of appropriate behaviour regarding social and relationship interactions. How do you do this when the person concerned does not want to know? I am certainly not the only one who is trying to provide guidelines. The only time I have taken her to a psychologist I was told they couldn't help because she didn't recognise that she had a problem. I'm somewhat at a loss...

Monday, August 01, 2016

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

May! I can't believe the previous post was May. It's now August. Weird hey, for someone who blogged every week at minimum.

Things with Niece are pretty much still the same. She's still obsessing over boys and getting herself into trouble because of it. She has been warned on more than one occasion that her constant talking about Jackson is not appropriate, even by the group leaders at her day program. Still she persists. Then she stresses about getting into trouble and the situation just gets worse. She has been told that come December when the course ends and he is no longer taboo, she can ask him to the movies.

And then it turns out that he isn't even in her program but is participating in other programs that share communal areas. She says she's never even spoken to him, but considering he's reported her for inappropriate touching I'm pretty certain that this is a stretch of her imagination. Now we are trying to encourage her to speak to him, practice her communication as she would in her day program. We shall see how that goes. I've told her that unless she does this, there isn't much of a chance that he will want to go to the movies with her.

I just wish they'd either boot her out, or he changes the days he attends. That would solve that problem. Till the next boy.

Teen is still here. I will miss her when she moves out. I think... She's saving some money so she can afford a bond before she begins looking seriously. I am not sure I will miss the cat.

Oh, yes. The rehoming. After panic stations when RSPCA proved to be less than helpful, she managed to locate a pet store that did adoptions. Sheldon went to the pet store and was adopted in a couple of days. Teen has taken on Penny. Her partner was also interested in getting a cat, but of course, he's just moved house and he couldn't have her there. So guess where she is. Yep, sucker for punishment I am.

I think Jerome will miss her though. He's found a playmate, finally. They get on pretty well. Most of the time.

Elder has moved out and left the house to the Housemate from Hell. She broke lease she says. As long as the pratt leaves her alone. She relocated so we live in the same city. I see her frequently, but it does feel a little weird that she didn't move in. Mind, I simply don't have the room. But I like that I get to see her.

Her dumb dog, Fred, still likes to lick cane toads. For a border collie he isn't learning quickly.

I've finally finished my diploma. I haven't officially graduated yet. And I've no idea what to do with it. Jobs are scarce, and I don't have the contacts to set up my own business. I guess I need to consider how desperately I want to go back to work. Either that, or I seriously need to find a niche business so I can work for myself. Yes, that's what I need to do....