Jonathan Kemmerer, 12, holds his brother Nicholas, 2, so he… (Baltimore Sun photo by Amy…)
It's not often that children say they can't wait to go back to school. But after an extended end-of-year vacation courtesy of a monster snowstorm on Dec. 19, some kids - not to mention their parents - have just about had enough of being cooped up at home.
"It's been bad," said Abbe Milstein, who, despite the bitter cold, drove Sunday from her home in Rockville to visit the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore with her three children, Michaela, 9, and 5-year-old twins Adin and Gabrielle, and their father, Andrew Hoenig. The outing, she said, was a final effort at distraction before classes at most area schools resume today for the first time since the third week of December.
"It's hard when you're that young and you're stuck in the house," Milstein said as she shepherded her offspring toward the exhibits. "They get antsy and agitated, and they fight. They had to get out, but you can't do that when it's 8 degrees outside. You can run up and down the stairs, but that gets old, too, right?"
There are likely to be audible sighs of relief everywhere this morning as the ritual of packing kids off to school resumes. Children who would have attended three or four days of school before Christmas Day - which fell on a Friday - were granted a reprieve when much of Maryland logged 20 inches of snow the previous weekend. Roads became impassable, holiday shopping was delayed and schools shut down.
Once the excitement of Christmas and Hanukkah was over, that still left a few extra days to kill time, and with the persistent cold weather came the possibility of widespread cabin fever.
"That's why we're here today," said Maureen Hutchins, who was at the science center with her husband, Jim, and sons Parker, 10, and Tyler, 6, both of whom attend Four Seasons Elementary School in Gambrills. "They were supposed to go to school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Christmas week, but didn't. Once they were done playing with their Christmas toys, it was time to find something else to do."
As it happened, Parker did not seem all that keen to return to the rigors of education. "No," he replied, succinctly, when asked whether he was looking forward to getting back to class.
"He wants to stay home and play video games," his father said.
Not every kid felt the same way.
"I found I was getting more and more bored as the days went on," said Eli Winkler, 10, of Silver Spring. His friend Aviva Solkowitz, also 10, agreed.
"It was longer than ever," said Aviva, who lives in Bethesda. "All the new toys we got for Hanukkah got boring, because you played with them more than you normally would have. And playing tag or hide and seek, you'd say, 'Oh, I don't want to play that any more.' "
A third pal in the group, Shira Finke, 8, said much the same: "I was doing a lot of walking around saying, 'I'm bored.' "
But Brigid Kemmerer was more upbeat, and said the extra days of vacation for her two sons, Jonathan, 12, and Nick, 2, was time well spent.
"All our family is local," said Kemmerer, who lives in Pasadena. "So the boys saw their grandparents on both sides, and we've gone out and done a lot of things. If anything, they've enjoyed their family time more."