by Ron Donoho
Television has always been there for me. I fondly recall Thursday nights, racing back in time through the Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier and Cheers eras. Though I don’t claim to be oblivious to Survivor, The Mole and Temptation Island, there’s a much better reality show that I now watch with far greater frequency. Fact is, I’m enamored of the 3-foot-6 star of a local production called Chandler.
Chandler is my 4-year-old daughter. She’s also a walking sitcom.
Scene: Exhausted and flu-riddled, Dad is lying in bed. Chandler is dressed in a black tutu and a blue apron, playing nurse to Dad.
Chandler: “I’ll get you some medicine, Dad.” [She leaves and returns with a tub of gummy worms.] Here. [She hands over one worm and eats about five herself.] Feel better?
Dad: Not yet.
Chandler: [She leaves and returns, this time with a Band-Aid. She opens it and applies it to Dad’s leg.] You’ll feel better now. Call me if you need anything else, okay? [She exits.]
You can have your Will & Grace. Your Bette. Your Becker. I’m a lifelong fan of Chandler. To explain why I’m hooked, here are my favorite moments of reality from this critically acclaimed show:
We’re walking outside. Chandler points to the ground near a curb and asks, “What’s that?” A grate, I say. Pause. “What’s so great about it?”
My wife likes to light decorative candles in the house, especially around the holidays. It’s Thanksgiving, and Chandler asks to blow out one of the candles on the mantel. We let her. Three years old at the time, she turns and asks, “Do I turn 4 now?”
After going to a church with her preschool class around Christmastime, she comes home and reports that “Today, we sang about the new, bored king.”
“My tummy hurts,” she whines one afternoon. I’m afraid she’s sick, so I get a thermometer. I realize she’s not ill but that it’s time for lunch when she clarifies, “Dad, my tummy hurts because my tummy says, ‘Feed me.’”
Regarding her dining choices, Chandler notes, “I like to eat eggs. I like the white part, not the yoga.”
One weekend, my daughter is sitting on the potty. She says, “Dad, I can spell ‘Dad.’” Go ahead, I say. She points out that she can’t, because “There’s no chalkboard to write on in here.” I tell her to say it out loud. She takes a deep breath and screams (out loud), “THERE’S NO CHALKBOARD TO WRITE ON IN HERE!”
One evening, I bring home a blow-up beach ball with a map of the world depicted on it. I see Chandler holding it up to the side of her head and ask her what she’s doing. “I’m listening to the ocean,” she explains.
“Dad, remember when we went to the 1-0-2?” she asks one night at bedtime. I can’t figure out what the 102 is. A highway? A temperature? Not until she reminds me that “we got a Slurpee at the 102” do I realize she means 7-Eleven.
In a fit of reminiscence, my wife is telling Chandler about what she was like as a baby. My wife describes how we put her in a bassinet, wrapped her in blankets and propped her up with pillows. My wife adds that sometimes she liked sleeping in the car seat. Pause. “Wait a minute,” Chandler says. “You mean you left me in the car?”