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Greeting, gasmii! This week’s 16 & Pregnant was actually more enjoyable and felt a bit more honest than the last few episodes. In fact, this is the first momma I would really like to see on Teen Mom 3.
Let me just add that this episode arrives on the heels of the Schwarzenegger Love Child Scandal, proving that stupid unprotected sex happens at all ages! Hurrah?
Let’s get it to it and meet the heinously named Cleondra, a lovely, smart, pretty mature lass from Mississippi. Her family sitch is like a freakin’ melting pot, and it’s a little complex. She has a white blonde mom named Dixie, her mom’s black boyfriend Rob, her ambiguously half-Hispanic looking sister Zerika, Zerika’s ambigously African-American bastard daughter Zyra, and ambiguously half-African-American looking brothern Javo. Cleondra herself looks like her own daddy was black. She’s a real cutie and I like her right away, despite the name. I am also biased towards halfies multiracial people in general. I just think they’re prettier. I do not want my baby to be pasty and blonde and see through like me. Blegh.
So anyway, I’m super excited about Cleondra’s baby cause I know it’s going to be adorable! And she’s going to be a DOUBLE HALFIE MULTI-MULTI-RACIAL, because the dad, Mario, is also half-something-brown with a white mom. They are quite an attractive couple, and having been together for a little over two years by the time the baby is born. They also live conveniently right across the street from each other.
The happy couple
Unfortunately this dazed/happy photo is the last happy glimpse we get of the future parents for some time. I could sense doom as soon as Mario opened his stupid dour mouth and let loose what could be called the baby daddy battle cry of this season: “You and the baby have to move to my house.” This mantra really effs with their relationship, as we’ve now seen countless times before. RAWR. Men are stupid.
As it happens, this little teen mom story almost didn’t come to be: Cleondra found out she was pregnant on Easter, and after a giant freak-out decided to have a secret abortion. However, she was stymied by the court system, which required either parental consent or to go before a judge. In the end, Cleondra told her mom, who actually encouraged her to have an abortion and was incredibly disappointed that ANOTHER daughter was on her way to being a teen mom. (Cleondra even ups Zerika, who got pregnant at 17, not 16!) At the last minute, though, Cleondra decided against aborting – in the aftershow, she says that “It’s not the baby’s fault that I was irresponsible and had unprotected sex and got pregnant. I have to take responsibility for my actions.” /WOWMATUREZ
Spoiler: the baby comes out extra patooty. Good call on the aborted abortion.
We also learn that Mario blames himself for the pregnancy, since he was the one who went for it without a condom. “I don’t blame him, cuz I wasn’t kicking or screaming or anything,” says Cleondra, knowing like any good girl that coercion can’t happen without physical resistance (!!&#@!!!! please just go to jezebel.com.) I’m just going to let that one go.
So, a little backstory on Cleondra’s family and why Mario doesn’t want himself or the baby to live with them (other than their lamentable baby-naming judgment): Cleondra’s older sister, Zerika, was actually a teen mom herself two years ago. By Cleondra’s own admission, she’s been a pretty bad and irresponsible mom since giving birth to Zyra two years ago. She is randomly in and out of the house, leaving Zyra with whoever happens to be home. In addition to going to school (unlike Zerika who dropped out) and working, Cleondra has been pretty much raising Zyra with her mom’s help. Because of all this experience, she’s not that freaked out about taking care of a newborn.
Zyra wonders why strange men with cameras are watching her on the potty. I wonder, too.
Teen pregnancy is old news in this house, but nobody expected it from Cleondra. She was the ‘responsible’ one in the family, who gets good grades and doesn’t have sketchy friends over or party all the time, as is implied about Zerika and Javon.
Melting pot, amirite??? Also, Zerika wishes she looked as fly as Javon right now.
Javon even goes so far as to say that when he heard he was going to be an uncle, round two, he thought Zerika was pregnant again because “I thought you [Cleondra] were smarter than that.” Ouch. Javon then goes on to unhelpfully list all the ways in which having a baby will eff up Cleondra’s life, including having to quit her nationally ranked dance team. Um, she’s like 7 months pregnant. We could have had this lecture 7.000001 months ago, but now it’s just insensitive, especially from an un-impregnable man!! /rant. We also meet a few friends from the dance team, who are a. very good looking and b. very shocked that academic/dance superstar Cleondra got knocked up.
Hilarious cartoonization of why Cleondra has to quit the dance team.
In other words, Mario thinks that Cleondra’s family sucks. Also, she, her two siblings, her nice, her mom and her mom’s boyfriend all live in a tiny house. Zyra’s bedroom consists of a tent in the living room. I can see how Mario wouldn’t want his baby to grow up with whatever the tent’s backup is as his child’s bedroom. Mario lives right across the street, so moving in over there wouldn’t necessarily deprive Cleondra of all of the help and support of her family.
My screenshot gets blurry whenever I try to catch Zyra! Too much adorbz energy!
This all sounds pretty logical, right? That’s what I thought, until about fifteen minutes into the episode when Mario’s lazy and/or douchiness comes to the fore. The couple go over to Mario’s mom’s house, which is around the corner from Mario’s dad’s house, which is across the street from Cleondra’s house. There, his mom and sister start suggesting baby names, some horrible (TWILIGHT???) and some pretty (Amirah CLEONDRA reacts equally rudely to both, and expresses her annoyance with the constant suggestions. I’m looking at you, CLEONDRA, judging other people’s baby name ideas. CLEONDRA.
Now, Mario’s mom seems pretty annoying, and has the demeanor of a sixteen year old girl herself. She asks not to be called ‘grandma,’ which Cleondra categorically rejects. “How about Yaya?” – Mario’s mom. “How about grandma?” – Cleondra. Cleondra’s being a bitch, but these in-laws do seem pretty annoying.
LETZ GO GET MANICUREZ! LYLAS LOLZ
Okay, so Cleondra seems to overreact a little bit. I say let’s chalk it up to hormones/being giant. But back at her house, Mario starts to show his true colors. When Cleondra asks for help choosing between the two baby names she likes – Kylee and Cadence – Mario replies, “Name it one of those two names. I don’t care.” From this point on in the episode, Mario’s attitude is pretty much ‘talk to me when you decide to move in to my house.’ What? You want help with the baby? Come over here. What? You don’t want to move here? K let’s break up. From the very beginning, Cleondra is like, Um, No. She doesn’t want to be alone all day and she wants her own room and her own family, which I think is reasonable.
“We know what we’re getting. We aren’t getting a coyote. We’re getting a baby.” – Actual Mario rationalization of why they should move to his house
We start to see Mario’s stubborness even the first night after the birth, which is pretty uneventful – standard horrible pain, tears, etc. (The anomaly: Cleondra’s mom, a mother of FOUR, is too squeamish to be in the delivery room?!) The baby comes out super adorable and is named Kylee Sue. I could have done without the Sue, but it’s an upgrade at least. When Kylee Sue and co. come home two days later, Mario immediately heads over to his house to go to sleep because “I’m tired.” I think that’s the death knell of the relationship, right there, when Mario is too bratty to stay ONE NIGHT at his BABY MOMMA’S HOUSE right after the BIRTH OF THEIR CHILD.
OH HAI super multi racial baby!
Okay, I can see both sides here. Mario wants the traditional family thing, to have his own space, whatever. He works hard at the tire shop (what a catch!) a million hours a day to support the baby, so he feels entitled to get his way. But since I’m a woman and Cleondra birthed the damn thing, I’m on the side of her comfort and happiness over his, especially when Kylee Sue is just a newborn. Sorry dudes.
It only gets worse from here on out. Mario refuses to come over to Cleondra’s house to help with the baby, because he’s ‘too tired’ from work and is trying to manipulate her to move in with him. Cleondra finally asks her mom’s permission (awww/horrible) to sleep over at Mario’s so he can see what it’s like being up with a newborn all night. She’s determined to put him to work, but when the baby wakes up hungry he sleeps right through it, even when Cleondra pokes him to get up and make some formula She heads right back on over to her house for the rest of the night. Douuuche. Mario continues begging for Cleondra or just Kylee to spend the night at his house, but obviously Cleondra can’t trust him with the baby since he slept through her cries!
Mario also gets angry about Cleondra using her siblings to babysit Kylee when she goes back to high school. He doesn’t trust Zerika and Javon; the reasons go undisclosed in the episode so it’s hard to say who’s in the right on this one. They eventually think up a complicated babysitting schedule involving every family members except Zerika and Javon – including Rob, who in my opinion is the unsung hero of this episode. Taking care of his girlfriend’s grandkids? What a baller.
Hold on to that one, sister! He’s a keeper.
Mario even shames Cleondra for leaving the baby so much so she can GO TO SCHOOL AND GRADUATE. He continues to not really help at all and just get pissed all the time. Sample phone call: Cleondra: “Could you come over and help with the baby tonight so I can study?” Mario: “I just don’t feel like doing anything today.”
I guess they say a mom becomes a mom when she’s pregnant, and a dad becomes a dad when he sees his baby, but it’s taking Mario a hell of a lot longer to man up and it’s pissing me and Cleondra off. By near the end of the episode, the pair are barely speaking, and it takes an intervention by WWWLMOC (White Women Who Like Men of Color) to set things back on the right track. After a little talk about listening and trust and maternal instincts, all is as well as this picture illustrates:
The happy couple in a reconciliatory chokehold
Cleondra’s musings on the relationship end on this romantic note: “I love him so much. He’s pretty much everything I can ask for. I don’t ask for much.” Aww..? Cleondra ends the episode much happier and less-exhausted looking than most of the 16 & Pregnant stars. It seems like she really knew what she was getting herself in to, having pretty much raised Zyra already, and she really stepped up. She’s still in school, still working full time, and raising the baby without too much help from Mario.
In the aftershow, Cleondra notes that she and Mario are still together, but it isn’t going well. He still has “a lot of growing up to do” – even though he was 19 and she was 16 when she got pregnant. Thankfully, it seems like Cleondra is pretty independent and has her shit together. I think she’ll be a great mom, and I’d like to see her on Teen Mom 3, even though Mario irritates me. The parent pairs in this episode were generally a big fail: Mario’s parents are ostensibly separated, Cleondra’s dad is nowhere to be found, and Zyra’s dad doesn’t appear either. Cleondra’s rising above, though: her last words are ”I’m making the best out of my life and my life is going to be awesome.” Yay! Please comment a lot cuz it raises my self esteem!
Closing happy Kylee Sue shot