If there were ever any question whether Jenelle Evans' presence on Teen Mom 2 tells an important part of the American story, it was cleared up on this week's heartbreaking episode. Almost since the beginning, we've seen little Jace Evans caught in between his grandmother, who raises him, and his mother, who floats in and out of his life. But for the first time, we saw the signs that Jenelle's son is really starting to struggle with confusion and frustration over his life.
Jace turned 4 this week -- at least he turned 4 on the show -- and Jenelle and mom Barbara managed to come together for a birthday party that went fairly well ... if you don't count the birthday boy trying to beat up all the party-goers.
We've seen Jace acting out more and more this season, but this week's episode was a real eye-opener. While he's hitting his mom, Barbara asks him what his favorite part of his party is, and the tot says he really enjoyed throwing water balloons ... into a pal's face.
Now, granted, he's 4. It's an age when kids are all about testing their limits, and he seemed to be looking for Jenelle to have a reaction.
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But that's just it; he seems to act out more and more in hopes that Jenelle will react ... will pay attention to him. Barbara tried explaining that Jace acts poorly when he gets back from Jenelle's house, and Jenelle seemed to take it as an affront to her discipline while she's with her son. But the point Barbara seemed to be making isn't that Jace isn't disciplined with Jenelle; it's that the coming and going confuses him. He is frustrated that he's not with his mom all the time, and because he's 4, he doesn't know how to DEAL with that frustration.
The poor kid just doesn't understand! And who can blame him? Most of America doesn't understand why Jenelle didn't clean up her act a long time ago and start being an actual parent.
Now she seems to be headed in the right direction, but it is not going to be easy for her. This kid has already been harmed by what he's gone through, and it's going to take work to repair that. Moving him in with her full-time isn't going to suddenly make up for four years of mom coming in and out of his life.
As for the other girls, Leah and Jeremy are definitely going to have to do some work of their own if they want to stay married. Jeremy headed back to work on this episode, and a frustrated Leah dangled a threat that she might one day leave him over his job. Not the nicest thing to say, but she did at least ask to go to counseling ... and Jeremy refused! Now he's headed out to New Mexico for a five-week job, and Leah is going to be stuck back in West Virginia with three kids and no sign that her husband is going to work on their marriage.
Chelsea didn't have a run-in with Adam this week, which means her life was pretty drama-free. Aubree was signed up for dance classes and makes for one of the cutest little ballerinas you've ever seen.
As for Kailyn, we're almost to her big wedding! We saw some tears over the fact that she opted not to invite her mom, and we got to see Isaac gushing over her dress in one of the sweetest mother/son chats they've shown on the show so far. Next week, however, will be the real fun for Kail.
What did you think of Jace's meltdown? Does Jenelle have a chance of making it better, or is it too late?
Image via MTV