Season 2 Episode 2 of Teen Mom 2 is really just four film shorts that should be expanded into Lifetime: Moment of Truth movies. And it’s called ‘Curveball,’ but I maintain that it should be called ‘Moment of Truth.’ Every single one of them cried in this episode, there was maternal disappointment and growth, and a possible kernel of a redemption arc, drunken abuse, a slow baby, and ohmygosh, I can’t even pretend to not love this show! Now, if only this was a Lifetime: Moment of Truth movie about my life. Tiffani Amber Theissen would play the tv blogger who has such terrible amnesia that she doesn’t remember the plane crash in which all but one of her roller derby team mates was killed. The one survivor, Dirty Duchess (played by Sofia Vergara), is left in a wheelchair and can’t bring herself to tell TaT that everyone is dead. As bits and pieces of TaT’s memory come back, through her writing about Teen Mom 2, Duchess finally is able to share the burden of grief and the movie ends with TaT in a sunny home-office, looking out over an idealized picket fence yard and smiling when her caring, patient boyfriend Ron Swanson squeezes her shoulder in support.
My only celebrity crush is Ron Swanson, and I want to be a TV character so I can marry him. Fact.
Moment of Truth: A Chance for Help, directed by Judith Light. Starring Kailyn as a young mother, struggling with the realization that she cannot trust or count on her own mother. Kail’s search for stability and a home for her and her baby son becomes more urgent as she knows that she can no longer live with the constant threat of being kicked out by her mother’s boyfriend, and Kail has an a-ha moment about her future and her own job as a mother. Based on a true story.
We open in a suburban neighborhood, in Anytown USA at almost-dusk in the autumn. Well, okay. It’s Pennsylvania. Kailyn’s story dives right in as Kailyn and Jo hit us with the Friday night hand-off for Isaac to spend the weekend with his dad and Kail tells us that she’s pretty sure Suzy doesn’t want her there anymore. She and her Camaro friend are discussing the living situation in Kailyn’s room. Kail shows her friend the note that Suzy’s boyfriend left for her because she was working late the night before. It’s a two-post-it note, and it’s passive-aggressively telling Kail she needs to pick up her room, because “we don’t live like trash.” In statements like that, it’s usually a matter of he who smelt it dealt it. Kail’s probably right that dude is a jerk-face and doesn’t want her there anymore – the room is crowded but in no way filthy. I mean, she lives there with a baby and babies are pretty messy most of the time. She’s more upset with Suzy though, because no matter how many times Suzy puts a guy ahead of Kail, she still wants it to not happen again. Suzy Suckz
We open in a suburban neighborhood, in Anytown USA at almost-dusk in the autumn. Well, okay. It’s Pennsylvania. Kailyn’s story dives right in as Kailyn and Jo hit us with the Friday night hand-off for Isaac to spend the weekend with his dad and Kail tells us that she’s pretty sure Suzy doesn’t want her there anymore. She and her Camaro friend are discussing the living situation in Kailyn’s room. Kail shows her friend the note that Suzy’s boyfriend left for her because she was working late the night before. It’s a two-post-it note, and it’s passive-aggressively telling Kail she needs to pick up her room, because “we don’t live like trash.” In statements like that, it’s usually a matter of he who smelt it dealt it. Kail’s probably right that dude is a jerk-face and doesn’t want her there anymore – the room is crowded but in no way filthy. I mean, she lives there with a baby and babies are pretty messy most of the time. She’s more upset with Suzy though, because no matter how many times Suzy puts a guy ahead of Kail, she still wants it to not happen again. Suzy Suckz.
Moment of Truth: My mother is a jerk-face.
Have you ever heard of that Harry Harlow study back in the Fifties? Wire mother? In the experiment, baby rhesus monkeys were separated from their real mothers. A soft, terry cloth mother was provided who did not dispense food, and a wire mother was provided, who did dispense bottles. The baby monkeys, after eating with the wire mother, went back to the comfort of the terry cloth mother every time. The point here, is that every time, Kail goes back to Suzy for some kind of comfort, even though she doesn’t get everything she needs from Suzy. She goes there because Suzy is her mother, and instinctively, we go to our mothers for comfort and to fulfill the needs that aren’t being met elsewhere. Ultimately, we don’t give up on our mothers. It has to be really, really awful for a child to truly give up on her mother. Forever and always, we expect that ‘mother’ is where we will be comforted and provided for, even if we never really get all that we need from our mothers. Kail’s first Moment of Truth is that she must give up on her mother at this point. She has to accept that to give Isaac what she wants for him, stability, she has to be on her own even though it is financially terrifying. And I think at the time of filming, the Teen Mom 2 moms really weren’t making much money and even if they were, Kail grew up with zero stability and she is not dumb. She likely understands that a few grand is not stability when there is a baby to raise, school to do, and nowhere safe for her to live.
Her friend asks her if she’ll even tell Suzy why she moved out, but she doesn’t trust Suzy at all. She doesn’t see any reason to talk to Suzy because it won’t ultimately mean anything to Suzy. Kail has probably heard enough meaningless apologies and gotten enough blank stares from Suzy to know it’s pointless to expend energy on how hurtful it is for Suzy to put boyfriends ahead of Kail all the time.
She meets Jordan out for some lunch with Isaac, and they have a really long, good talk. A long good talk during which Kail never looks him in the eye. She tells Jordan that she really wants to save enough to move out, that even if she has to be broke as a joke, it will be safer than it is living with Suzy since she will know that she can’t be kicked out suddenly. Living on her own means it’s up to her to not get kicked out, she will finally be in control of where she’s living. She’ll finally be a little safe. She asks Jordan about his plans, and he has no intention of moving out from living with his parents. She reminds him how lucky he is, but he counters that she’s lucky to be so independent. They’re both right and I like it that they seem to know they’re both right about who’s lucky. He asks her about getting some help to get a place of her own.
It blows when people abuse the Welfare system, because there are Coneheads who really do need a little help to get on track.
“Like Welfare?” Yeah, like Welfare. Kail is really not into the idea of getting any kind of state-aid. She has a pride thing, and she feels like there’s a stigma attached to it because of people who abuse the system. But, as Jordan reminds her, it’s there for people like her who need a little help to get up on their own. He reminds her that she works really hard, and that she honestly needs a little help right now to get where she needs to go in life. Sometimes it is so uncomfortable to watch Kail interact with people. She fires her words like gunshots, like, she really doesn’t expect any positive responses, ever in her interactions with people. I’m not sure if it’s that she’s down-trodden by life already, or if it’s just that she is a serious pessimist. I think it’s just that she’s a pessimist by nature. She is not a hopeful girl, that’s for sure!
She’s avoiding Suzy still, but she does find a resource that can help her find and afford a place of her own. She doesn’t want to get into it with Suzy; she just wants to make sure she’s got everything lined up so that if Suzy explodes about it, she’s got a place to go all set for herself. Valley Youth House is an organization that helps young women who are homeless and in unsafe living situations. This organization seems awesome! They help find housing and rent it for the young woman. The young woman than can live there and stay in the program for two years, paying rent to Valley Youth House on a scale that slides up. So as the young woman progresses through school or by earning more money over the years, she is learning to pay a realistic rent and in the not-too-distant future, she’s out on her own. If Kail never makes MTV money, she is an ideal candidate for this program – she has clear goals and she works her buns off, I love it! Kail is hesitant about Welfare, still but the intake counselor reminds her that she is working for this, working toward a future.
The program finds a place for her to look at and she meets up with the advisor to see it. Teen Mom 2 is so much more textured and rich than Teen Mom. In sharp contrast to Farrah bitching her way through adorable LA rental homes and Scottsdale foreclosures, Kail is beaming. She loves the little place, she plays through it with Isaac in her arms and her excitement is palpable. Remember the first house you bought, that was small and had the crappy blinds, but you loved it so hard, or the first apartment that was yours, with no roommates and no help from the Bank of Mom? She’s so thrilled that she figured out how to do this. While they hang in the kitchen and decide to call the landlord to pay the security deposit, Isaac is so excited that he poops his pants. Dudes never change. I know 40 year old guys who still can get so excited that they want to go number two, mostly over iPad2 or Audi cars. They poo less for Volvos.
Kail’s scenes end with a really oddly placed shot of Jo looking reflective and lonely. I didn’t get it either. This is Teen Mom 2, and there is no need for filler considering all the rich material this crew serves up.
Moment of Truth: Homeless Sacrifice for Truth in Lies, directed by Tina Yothers. Based on a true story, and starring Jenelle as a young woman struggling to better herself, but facing an uphill battle since she lives in her car with her boyfriend. Jenelle slowly realizes that her boyfriend is not what he appeared, that he is not the man she thought he was and that he may be holding her back from spending time with her baby that her mother is raising for her.
Jenelle is living on some prime North Carolina ocean-front property, on a beach rental type area that looks a lot like any North Carolina beach. I vacation at Kure Beach, and it is so much more rad than San Diego. For one, you can swim in the Atlantic without fear of hypothermia. For two, you can run around in your ‘kini and flips and not have the West Coast Standard of Beauty shoved in your face every time you go to the hotdog stand for more ice cream. Jenelle isn’t vacationing though, she’s living in her car, with Keiffer, who has started drinking again.
I’ve had a shitty Keiffer-type boyfriend, but when he decided to be homeless, I did not move into my car with him. I didn’t want him living in my house, because I didn’t really trust what would happen while I was at work. The idea of some guy, even my perfectly healthy boyfriend, lounging and drinking all my beer while I was working a technical writing job I hated was just not something I could reconcile. But I totally let him crash in my car. I’m not even kidding. It’s truly amazing that I still have friends from that period in my life.
Home Sweet Honda! I bet she wishes she’d gotten an Odessey instead of an Accord. Then I could make ‘in a VAN down by the RIVER’ jokes. Damn you, Jenelle, damn you.
She and Keiffer have been in the car for a few days and they are probably getting pretty ripe, especially if Keiffer is drinking. She calls Amber to see if they can come over for showers. Once she’s all cleaned up, and boy she does clean up nicely, she talks to Amber to catch her friend up on her life. She misses Jace, but hasn’t talked to Barb at all since the big fight. She’s giving Barb space to cool off.
She kind of sounds like she is still in the cycle they have of getting into a rager fight, Barb kicks her out, she stays away for awhile, and then eventually comes home and begs for a place to stay because now she’s ready to follow the rules, now she’s ready to show Barb that she is a good mother. There are so many things wrong with this. She wants Barb’s approval, and she will never get it unless and until she just gets herself together. You can’t show anyone anything if you have something to prove. You have to just make it happen, put your head down and TCB so that one day, you find yourself exactly where everyone wanted you to be, and you did do it on your own. Jenelle’s determined to get there via the hardest route possible, but that’s just how it goes for some people, I think. She’s complicated. We’re gonna get to the bottom of this, but it’s gonna take us all a little time together.
She tells Amber that she’s failing math and there’s no returning. She can’t drop it, because she’ll owe back financial aid. She has a couple of Internet classes that she thinks she can salvage if she gets some time in on them. She decides to go to the library to take care of those, and when Keiffer emerges from his shower, she tells him they’re off to hit the books. He gets surly, real quick and she is all over it. They throw sparks back and forth, and he’s aggressive. He has no feet to stand on, yet he flips a bitch and tries to make it her bad. He’s tired of always doing what Jenelle wants to do; he’s tired so he doesn’t want to sit in a quiet room, surrounded by books and soothing light. He wants to go to Sweepstakes and gamble. When you’re exhausted from the Hard Life of Keiffer, which essentially is lying around in the park, waiting for rides in the park, sleeping in your girlfriend’s car near the park, and bumming showers then what you REALLY want to do is go to your local, Sweepstakes, to play some video poker with all the pretty lights and watch some OTB. He is the worst, the very worst. He storms out, leaving Jenelle and Amber to talk.
You live in my car. You don’t get to call the shots here, Spike.
Jenelle is pissed, knowing he’s out there sulking and smoking. Amber cuts to the chase, “He has nothing. At some point, you have to suck it up and grin and bear it.” It’s Jenelle’s car that he lives in, it’s Jenelle who pays for his entire shitty life and he doesn’t get to call the shots. Ever. She pwns him. Only, she doesn’t. She sees it, but she’s just got to drive this through to the bitter end. She goes outside, and off they go – she’s dropping him off at Sweepstakes so he can gamble with what I can only assume is money she gave to him, and then she hits the stacks at the library.
She picks him up later and he is cold-stone toward her. Edward Cullen looks like a great big Anne Geddes poster next to Keiffer in this scene. Jenelle, driving, wants to talk about what happens and tries to warm him up but he is having none of it. She starts to get frustrated, because she’s trying to communicate but he refuses her this courtesy. She’s extra pissed because she realizes that it’s all lies, that he only talks to her about three things: weed, alcohol, and drugs. He’s using her and she sees it now. She thought he had changed, but she sees things for how much worse they always were. He storms out of the car and she returns to Amber’s.
They talk more, and Amber says she doesn’t like that he’s always so gloomy but Jenelle reminds her how he has a hard life. She tellingly says that he should be motivated by that, it should make him want to work harder to make his life easier. See, the synapses are still firing in Jenelle. She has so far to go, but there is something there, a spark of something really interesting considering what a jack-ass she is most of the time, and for no apparent reason. She feels bad that he only has her; really, she feels bad about herself since she’s starting to understand that she fell for that bullshit act. She gets to talking about the drinking again, and she hates it. She’s been through it with Andrew. I totally believe it. Alcohol is a beast. Alcohol makes a drunk a completely different person and that person literally infects the lives of those who love them. It’s curable, the infection, but it’s there. Alcoholics are unlike any other substance abusers. Jenelle wanted Keiffer to be better than Andrew. She wanted to believe in a man, to believe in his dedication to her. She’s realizing that he’s already blown his cover. She sees that she sacrificed time with Jace for this dick-faced mother fucker and she’s pissed now.
Is it a requirement that if you’re named Amber and you appear on this show, you have to be a devoted couch-dweller? This one’s always reclining on her couch, too.
Later on, she and Keiffer are on their way to meet Amber and Ben for bowling. She’s bitching at him that he can’t take alcohol in the bowling alley, and he says he’s going to drink it on the way. This booze is more important than you, Jenelle. She’s tracking. They get into Ben and Amber’s car, all in agreement that they just want to have a cool, fun night and they bizz-zounce out of the parking lot to roll over to the Lanes.
Jenelle takes first jab by loudly and bitchily telling everyone Keiffer’s drinkin’ and she hates it. He knows she hates it, and she hates it because she cares about his own well-being. She’s berating him just like Barb berates her. Ben tries to call her off but saying that he’s sure there are things that Keiffer hates about Jenelle, but they have to agree to just get along in spite of it. Too little, too late Bro.
The car stops and Keiffer gets out with his booze. Jenelle charges out behind him and tells him if he drinks, she will punch him in the face. So he takes a long pull on the bottle and she runs at him, fists flying and assaults the ever-loving crap out of him. She also hurls Be’s change cup at Keiffer, and Ben’s all, “Why you gotta throw my change cup, Jenelle?????” Friendship over. Laundry quarters are serious business.
But change cup aside, this is Jenelle’s Moment of Truth, when she snaps and if she was in a Lifetime Movie, she would accidentally fire a gun at him and kill him. It would be a complicated moral case, with a prosecutor played by Teri Hatcher, who is conflicted because of her own similar herstory.
That’s not what happens here. What happens here is that Keiffer picks Jenelle up by the scruff of her neck and the back of the pants, and throws her into the back of the car, slamming the door behind her. It is all violent, and it is all very awful. We’ve all seen it in the previews, but in context, it’s even more chilling. She is in shock, fleeing the scene and when Keiffer follows her, and grabs her to calm her down, she goes hysterical rabid raccoon on him. The scene goes on for just a bit too long for this to not be real, while Ben and Amber are beside themselves, watching in horror. I’m not sure there is a way for them to intervene on this – it probably all happened really quickly.
Teen Mom 2 is so much more raw and aggressive than Teen Mom, and this thing with Keiffer and Jenelle I hope doesn’t go the way of so much domestic violence on MTV. I hope she leaves his sorry ass and they stay apart instead of perpetuate their dangerous, abusive dynamic. MTV’s bender of domestic violence is terrifying, though. On Jersey Shore, over and over we see Sam and Ron’s at best emotionally abuse and likely at times, physically abusive relationship. My best friend observed this. He destroys her stuff and treats her like dirt and season after season, MTV promotes it as a love relationship. On Teen Mom, Amber’s abuse of Gary led to her arrest and to her losing custody of her child. MTV aired a PSA, sure, but the show still showed the audience that Gary and Amber are trying to work it out. It showed them in the context of a love relationship and on some fucked up deep level, we are programmed to believe in every love relationship on TV. We innately want love to be the thing, for it to conqueror all, for it to be everything it’s touted to be. When we’re shown images of broken love, on some level, we only see ‘love’ and we want whatever is going on to be okay. It’s messed up how much broken love this channel gets away with showing and killing it in the ratings.
Moment of Truth, y’all. Queue domestic violence PSA.
Moment of Truth: Against My Father’s Love, directed by Jennie Garth. Starring Chelsea and based on a true story, telling the story of a young South Dakota mother. Unmarried and with no education, she goes against her powerful father’s will to be with the man he hates most – the father of her baby, a man who will have a mullet in 15 years no question. Her story is complicated by her suffocating need to wear 17 layers of sweats, and her incredible capacity to need knee surgery which is astounding since she is so lazy that her mother cleans her house for her.
Chelsea is, you guessed it!, studying for the GED. Adam is, right again!, distracting her. He’s got Aubree with him at his parents’ house, and while Chelsea tries to study, he keeps Facebooking her. He finally comes out with it and asks her if she wants to get back together. On Facebook. This girl is just not that bright. She may actually be at her full potential here, messy and bubble-voiced – a good mother – still though, just not very smart at all.
Internal Monologue: Will my friends still respect me and be supportive of me if I get back together with Adam? What about if I do it all over Facebook? While I’m studying… I mean, ‘studying.’
She calls Megan, her ex-roomie who, fyi, just had a baby in July and breaks it down that Adam asked her to go with him and she’s thinking about it. No shit/Oh shit is probably Megan’s internal reaction but she pretty much gives Chelsea the old song and dance that she shouldn’t do it because Adam is bad news every time. It never changes.
The next day, she has a home accident and throws her leg out. Her mom comes over to check it out, and something is heinously wrong with the same knee she tore the ACL on not too long ago. She can’t even stand to be touched, which is saying something, considering the 8 layers of fleece she wears must be a lot of insulation. It must be horribly painful. Her mom gets her to the hospital, and it’s confirmed that she likely needs surgery. She, ugh so gross, separated her leg with the top part moving away from the bottom. I’ve never heard of this but it sounds incredibly gross. And painful.
Her mom takes her home, where she’ll stay for now since she can’t care for Aubree alone if she can’t walk. Her sister is there with her niece who looks to be around Aubree’s age. Vermillion, South Dakota loves a baby. So many of them have babies! Was it a pact, like the real ( and awesome) Lifetime Moment of Truth movie: The Pregnancy Pact?? Is it just how they do in South Dakota? What is the story on why there are so many teens with babies in this town? And it’s a small town! Are any of them related, I wonder, and share a baby daddy???? That would be so weird, but this seems like if it happened, it would be right here in this Vermillion crue.
Teen Mom Nation, meet Braylee. Apparently, there was a pregnancy pact in Vermillion, SD. Every single girl around Chelsea’s age that she talks to in this episode is a very young, and likely teen, mother (or expecting, as Megan is pregs at this time in real-time). It is so weird!
Adam brings Aubree to Chelsea at her mom’s and the baby needs a diaper change. This is a really odd scene, but maybe it’s a set-up for a later storyline about Adam’s ineptitude? This show doesn’t seem to do that too often, but anyway, Aubree is screaming while Adam changes her, and I guess it’s because she’s not used to it. Emily, Chelsea’s sister, goes to help and Aubree chills out.
They flirt back about forth as Chelsea tells him she needs him to be extra nice to her after her surgery. He promises sweet nothings, and she wants him there during surgery, to which he also oozes that he’ll be in the waiting room for her. He asks her about his Facebook question. She giggles and bubble-voices back to him, “I dunno yet.” I haven’t sounded out all my friends yet, to see if they will still be there for me, to make sure that ultimately nothing will change and they’ll still catch me when I fall, when you break my heart again. And you will.
Adam comes over every day for awhile and Chelsea’s mother Mary watches all of it in slack-jawed, Halloween kitten sweatered disbelief. Her festive pumpkin earrings swing on their own, because she is so furious on the inside and shaking with rage that Chelsea is back on the road to Adam-uh. Adam-uh, for himself calls Randy mean. Chelsea says she’s Randy’s baby, he’s only mean to Adam because he has to be, because he’s her father. She thinks Adam will do the same thing to Aubree. He probably will, but it will be horribly embarrassing for Aubree, because he’ll just flexing this title of dad randomly and at the times that are convenient to him. He was never as much of a dad to her then her step-dad, who took her mini-golfing and taught her how to drive and junk. Adam is such a selfish, dirty tool. He’s a ‘ho. Hoe. Whatever.
Chelsea is on enough drugs to be able to hobble around, so Tiffany and her baby come over for a play date. Daaaaaang. This is no joke, y’all. The babies play while Chelsea sits and beams to Tiffany that Adam wants to get back together. She goes on for awhile about not knowing why she can’t leave him, why other people can move on and she can’t. Neither of them have figured out that it’s because she’s so unbearably lazy. She does the easiest thing for as long as she can, trying to make Adam into what she needs him to be is so much easier than trying to explain all of this and make something new with someone better for her. She’s sad with him, and she’s sad without him but moreso because she misses him. She might as well be sad rather than more sad. Gurl, please. She says she can’t move on. She loves him. Gurl, please.
She did not get the brains in the family.
She wants to know if Tiffany is mad at her for going back. She asks if Tiffany will still help her pick up the pieces if it happens again, and they both know it will. Tiffany tells her that of course, she’ll always be there for Chelsea, and she’ll always listen. But it’s bad news, he is bad news. Chelsea makes like she still doesn’t know she’s going back with him, and Tiffany calls her out on it. She knows. Chelsea admits it. Tiffany knows that Chelsea’s fantasies are old habits by now and everyone knows that old habits die hard.
And here’s Aubree… I wonder if there are other cousins, named maybe like, Sadee or Maree, or maybe even Bobee if there’s a baby boy in this family. Randy should change the spelling of his name to Randee.
Randy! It’s the triumphant return of RANDY! Randy is really going Soprano on us, here. Remember when Tony Soprano went from being a big bear to being a huge fat blob? (Way to go, Gandolfini.) Randy is getting bigger, and slicker. His gold chains look terrific on the bigger body, and his beard is in perfect shape. Chelsea’s hanging out at Il Duce’s and while he plays with Aubree, he asks her about her new Facebook friend, one mister Adam. Randy wants to know if they’re back together. She confirms it. He asks her facetiously if she likes the way Adam treats her and she’s like, “Sometimes.” She tries to tell him that some things are good, and he jumps ahead to how the things that are bad are pretty indefensible. One episode ago, he confessed he cheated on her FIVE TIMES. And that he thought that it wasn’t very much. ????? Is this a cultural thing? I am not even kidding! All the teen moms there, and this weird bullshit from Adam about five girls who are not your girlfriend is freaky. Chelsea’s acceptance of it, without any hint of trying to explain it or justify it, is super freaky. She isn’t bright enough to even try to defend it. She just does not see anything her friends and family point out to her. She asks if he hates her. I wish Pauly would walk out of the kitchen with a sandwich and a goofy one-liner right about now.
Randee Soprano. You just know that Silvio’s about to call with an emergency dead stripper at the ‘Bing.
He’s really angry with her and tells her that he will always love her, but her choices are stupid. He can’t stand her stupid choices. He’s angry that she’s choosing Adam over him, because Adam tries to isolate her from Randy. He’s already mentioned that Randy is mean to him, but Chelsea missed his intention with that. She’s already put her loyalty squarely in the wrong hands when she let Adam smack talk about her father. It’s one of the many Moments of Truth that Chelsea fails so hard on recognizing.
Chelsea coos to Randy that Adam can’t isolate her from him. She can’t give up on him yet, and she’s doing it for Aubree who is so much happier when they’re together. She does it for the 30% of Aubree’s life that Adam will occupy in his lifetime. Aubree sees Tiffany more than she sees Adam. Remember Daddy Megan? I do. Aubree will know her Daddy Megan way better than she’ll know her Daddy daddy.
Randy just waits it out. He can’t change her or keep her from Adam. She’s going to do it anyway. His ‘what can ya do?’ isn’t very Tony Soprano and I have to wonder if it’s 100% of the reason why two children of his that we’ve seen have had babies at very young ages. Tony Soprano would long ago have arranged to have Adam involved in a horrible hit-and-run. Boom. Problem solved.
Moment of Truth: Answers for My Daughter, starring Leah and directed by Meredith Baxter Birney. This is the true story of a young West Virginian wife and mother of twins, raising her family in her husband’s mother’s dark, sad mobile home rental and struggling to find answers about her baby’s slower development.
Leah’s enjoying her job in the dental office, and it looks like she is really working. Unlike some of the ladies with “jobs,” on these shows. There’s something about Leah that is just so completely 1980s. I’m not sure if it’s the big hair, the tons of eyeliner, or that she totally loves those Mompri jeans – you know the ones. They’re capris! They’re jeans! They make your ass look much, much bigger than it really is and also give you cankles for how they cut off your circulation in your calves. She wears them a lot.
Anyway, she’s got an appointment for Ali with the eye doctor, to check on the progress and see if the glasses are correcting her vision as they were intended. They have an appointment with a geneticist, but not for another month and she’s hoping that they can learn enough today to get closer to figuring out what, if anything, is wrong with Ali.
What the eff is in that jar?????? It looks like it should be on American Horror Story, not Teen Mom! Oh. I guess it could be moonshine since they’re in Appalachia, but then again, I’ve see moonshine, and it does not look like organs submerged in brown liquid.
At the eye doctor, Ali’s eyes are checked and they are definitely improving but the doctor notices that Ali has a smaller optic nerve than she should have. He asks about Ali’s development and Leah says that she is a little slower, that she’s only just now sitting up. The doctor says that Ali doesn’t need surgery, which is great, because the glasses are doing their job and the baby doesn’t mind wearing them. What he does say, though, is that Leah should get an MRI of Ali’s brain because the small optic nerve can be indicative of brain disorders. This has got to be so awful to hear, and you can see in her eyes that Leah’s guts are getting ripped out for the 23rd time in Ali’s short life so far. Her eyes go from being an 18 year girl with a baby on her lap, to being a 43 year old Mama Bear who will walk naked across a frozen tundra to find out how best to care for and make her little baby better. She wants answers, and they just don’t have anything yet. She’s not sure how to interpret the visit.
Gratuitous Baby Shot of the Week!!! Sorry it’s Ali again, but I couldn’t resist, because those glasses melt my heart and now I’m
On the way home, she calls her mom wh0 reminds her that she’s just got to take this day by day, even though it’s scary and hard to not know whether or not your child’s brain development is compromised. She is also worried about Ali being sedated for an MRI for the second time in a year. Ali is, after all, a baby. Putting anyone under is a risk, but for a baby, it seems like it would be extra hard to keep safe. She asks her friend how she should take the doctor’s news and her friend wisely reminds her that Ali doesn’t need surgery, which is a really good bit of news. It’s true, but Leah wants to move forward on a much grander scale here.
Later on, Corey gets home from work and Leah’s just getting the girls settled in for the evening; soon, it’s off to bed for babies. She and Corey cuddle on the couch while she fills him in on Ali’s appointment at the eye doctor. She’s awesome here. She will not accept that Ali is brain-damaged until there is no choice but for her to accept it. She refuses to just lie down and think that Ali’s brain isn’t developing properly. It’s her Moment of Truth. She gets a spine that’s about as strong as anyone I’ve ever seen on MTV and she knows that she will not believe Ali has anything wrong with her brain until it is shown to her medically, beyond a reasonable doubt. Ali learned ‘bye-bye’ before Aleeah and she uses it more often. Leah breaks down and cries while Corey…. Corey just doesn’t know really how to comfort her. He goes pretty dead in the eyes and tells her again that they’ll figure it out as a family.
What time is The League on?
They hang out another evening with Corey’s parents and talk about everything. They’ve been told so many different things that they really don’t know what to think anymore. All that they do know right now is that Ali’s vision is improving, and her optic nerve is small. As they’re playing with the babies, Aleeah takes her very first couple of steps from Corey’s mom Joetta to Leah. Everyone is so excited and Aleeah is thrilled with her little baby-self!
Aleeah to her first little baby steps!
Joetta asks if they have consulted the Internet. Oh no. The worst thing on the planet, and the thing that few can resist doing, is to Google any symptoms of compromised health. Do you have a bruise on your toe? It’s probably a sign that a melanoma is developing. Do you have a toothache but you were at the dentist yesterday, so you know it can’t be a cavity. You check the Internet, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s most likely that your left sinus is prolapsing and if you let it go any longer, it will fall out of your face.
Joetta puts on her most serious face and careful voice when she tells them that a small optic nerve can be very bad. It could be a horrible, rare disease. She almost stage-whispers, “It affects their sight. Real bad.” “How bad?????” “They can go blind.”
Joetta, after checking the Internet and breaking down worst-case scenario to the already-freaked out kids.
Paw-paw comes in and lifts Miss Ali into his lap to play with her, asking Joetta, “You telling them about their research? Ali, you’re fine. You told Paw-paw you’re just fine.” And then I cried my eyes out, like I do during any Moment of Truth movie.
Next time? It’s MRI day for Ali, moving day for Kail, and Jenelle’s pressing charges! What about Chelsea? Duh. Adam is treating her like crap right after her surgery. Twue wuv.