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Tuesday’s installment of 16 and Pregnant introduces us to seventeen-year-old Cleondra Carter and her boyfriend Mario Escovedo. The couple welcomes daughter Kylee, and though their fighting makes them feel miles apart, they actually live right across the street from one another in Horn Lake, Mississippi.

A senior who planned to study physical therapy in college, Cleondra is a good student and a former member of her high school’s nationally recognized dance team. She lives in crowded house with her mom, her mom’s boyfriend, her siblings, and toddler Zyra, who her older sister Zerica gave birth to when she was seventeen. Cleondra’s mom Dixie is disappointed as she was open with Cleondra on the subject of birth control and made sure she had condoms. Dixie also reveals that Cleondra considered abortion.

Mario gave up on his plan to join the Army when he found out his girlfriend was pregnant, and Cleondra reveals he feels a great deal of guilt about getting her pregnant. He has taken a full-time job at local tire shop and is fixing up his home in hopes the new family can live there after the baby is born. While Cleondra recognizes that Mario gets stressed out by the chaos of her own home, she is hesitant to leave the nest.

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On the couple’s two-year anniversary, Mario cooks dinner for Cleondra at he and his father’s house. He didn’t want to celebrate at her mom’s house and interrupt the family game of beer pong commencing in the garage. Mario tells his father that he wants his daughter to grow up as he did, with her own room, her own things, and supportive parents. It’s only fifteen minutes in, and I’m Team Mario. Cleondra has an equally good head on her shoulders as she works hard to maintain her grades to graduate on time. I have to hand it to this girl, this appears to be an even bigger feat given her home life.

Cleondra tells her friends that she hopes Mario will come around and stay at her house, and she can’t fathom why he doesn’t like to spend time at her house (see family beer bong above). Cleondra struggles with having to take care of Zyra, as well as with Mario’s mom who is very opinionated as to what she will be called (hint, she’s too young to be “Grandma”) and what the baby will be named. Twilight, anyone? Cleondra is concerned that Mario’s indifference to the baby’s name is an indication of bigger problems.

At thirty-five weeks, Cleondra’s friends throw her a shower. Can someone please enlighten me as to why people shove melted chocolate into a diaper and call it a shower game? It’s disgusting…but I digress. Mario is working hard, and he reveals to his co-worker that while he loves and respects Cleondra’s mom (that’s a 16 and Pregnant first!), he wants her child to have his own space. At his father’s house, his daughter will have her own room, but at Cleondra’s house, she has a small shared space. I must say, I don’t think Mario is being the least bit unreasonable.

The young couple finally decides on a name, Kylee, and it’s a good thing, as Cleondra goes into labor soon after. After several hours of intense pain, their daughter is born, and Cleondra, Mario, and Kylee look the part of a loving, happy, and (very) young family. Mario keeps getting brownie points from me! Then, just to prove me wrong, he refuses to stay at Cleondra’s house with his new child. Of course, I am the last one to advocate these couples cohabitating, but these two are just in a power struggle to get their way. Cleondra’s sister Zerica thinks her younger sister is lucky for having the practice with niece Zyra. Um, I guess if that helps you justify leaving your toddler for days on end with your younger sister while you party…

Power struggle or not, Mario has some valid concerns as to why he wants Kylee living in his father’s home. He tells his mom that he doesn’t want his baby left alone with Zerica. Zerica demonstrates why he should be concerned by the face she makes when Cleondra asks her to watch Kylee for an hour while she takes a midterm. Mario is upset and hurt that he wasn’t consulted about the baby-sitter, and again, he makes some pretty amazing points…for example, he has no clue who Zerica allows over when watching his daughter, and his mom, always willing to help when he’s working, lives around the corner. And scene. Mario is out of my good graces when Cleondra calls to ask for his help and he says he can’t, as he “wasn’t planning on doing anything today and really wants to sleep.”

To prove a point, Cleondra implores mom Dixie to allow her move in with Mario so he knows exactly what it’s like caring for a newborn. Point (not) taken, as Mario does little to help even with his daughter finally where he claimed he wanted her the most. Teen dads are letting me down tonight!

As Cleondra heads back to school, the couple comes up with a baby-sitting schedule. While the routine is beyond complicated, the pair seems to have a solid support system ready to help. Cleondra and Mario go on a much-needed date night, daughter included, and continue their battle as to where the family should stay. As much as he ticked me off earlier, I still think Mario has some great intentions and is just as frustrated as Cleondra, which is understandable (from both sides) given the situation. Cleondra thinks that her boyfriend is no longer there for her, and her mom Dixie invites Mario and his mom over to clear the air. He offers to take Kylee a few nights a week so that Cleondra can get some rest, but his mother steps in and recognizes that the young mom doesn’t want to spend a night away from her baby. Cleondra’s mother and Mario’s mother are able to help the couple come to a fair compromise, and the two seem to make a fresh start.

Apparently, that fresh start is working, although it continues to be a bit rocky. Cleondra reveals on Mtv’s Aftershow that while she and Mario are still together and she wants things to work out, she has been struggling with depression. This is a (too) young family that I hope is able to make it work.

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