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The Full Suburban: In search of ‘A Quiet Place’ in the Ditto household

Emmett, Hyrum and Henry Ditto do their best to make sure there is no quiet place in their home.  (Courtesy of Julia Ditto)
Emmett, Hyrum and Henry Ditto do their best to make sure there is no quiet place in their home. (Courtesy of Julia Ditto)
By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

There are several things I could be disappointed in myself for this past week – eating pie for breakfast, telling my kids I would be upstairs to tuck them in in 10 minutes and then heading out to the porch to read a novel instead, etc. – but the thing I’m most disappointed about is the fact that I have not yet seen “A Quiet Place Part II,” which was released in theaters a few weeks ago.

This is a movie I was already eagerly anticipating when it was supposed to be released in March 2020. But then the pandemic hit, theaters shut down, and the mediocre offerings of Amazon Prime and Netflix became my staff and my stay.

I’m not a fan of horror movies in general, but the original “A Quiet Place” had a lot of heart and such an outlandish premise that it didn’t scare me in the same way a classic horror film might.

For reference, some real-life horror flicks that scared the pants off me were “Watch Your 6-Year-Old Ride His Scooter Among Teenagers at the Skate Park” and “Push $500 Worth of Groceries Through the Costco Parking Lot Using One Cart – Eggs on Top.”

But I digress. The premise of “A Quiet Place” is that Earth has been overtaken by alien monsters who are completely blind but can hear even the slightest noise. And when they do, watch out!

They will swoop down within a matter of seconds and instantly devour the source of the sound, be it a mooing cow, child playing with a battery-powered toy or woman screaming while in labor. See what I mean? A real feel-good movie.

I think that I liked “A Quiet Place” so much because I can relate to the struggles of the parents trying to keep their children safe amid an impossible situation (please refer to the aforementioned scooter-at-the-skate-park example). But I can also relate to the family’s absolute need for silence, lest carnage ensue.

“Our house is like ‘A Quiet Place’ in the mornings,” my oldest daughter, Lucy, remarked one day as she and her brother were getting ready for school in the wee hours, and I was on shushing patrol trying to keep doors from squeaking, phones from pinging and silverware from clanking too loudly.

Any sound could spell disaster in the form of the premature awakening of our own little slumbering monsters, Henry, Emmett and Hyrum. There’s a saying, popularized on coffee mugs, T-shirts and vinyl wall hangings, that goes something like, “Be the kind of person who, when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil says, ‘Oh no, he’s awake!’ “

Fourteen-year-old Jane pointed out recently that I say the same thing about my little boys. And while I didn’t necessarily appreciate being compared to the devil, I had to concede the point.

It’s not that I don’t love my kids or want to be around them. It’s just that, once those darling little boys are awake, it’s second star to the right and straight on ’til bedtime, to paraphrase another rambunctious kid, Peter Pan.

When they wake up, my day goes from contemplative and productive to nonstop marbles rolling across the floor and fighting over who lost who’s bouncy ball.

It’s pouring bottomless glasses of chocolate milk and setting up the sprinkler under the trampoline only to find someone ran over the hose with the lawnmower. It’s full speed ahead, all hands on deck, what-are-we-doing-fun-today-mom-mom-mom-mom – for the next 14 hours.

Which brings us back to the aliens. Could we work out some kind of deal where maybe they just swoop down and give everyone a good scare instead of eating them?

Like, give them a stern talking-to about finding something quiet to do on their own when they wake up and greeting their mother with a “good morning” instead of a request for her to fashion a spear out of a stick and a rock they found in the field two weeks ago?

Now, that’s a quiet place I wouldn’t mind visiting.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at dittojulia@gmail.com.

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