This Year’s Back-to-School Is Our “Last of Many Firsts”

*Disclosure: Thanks to Scholastic for sponsoring this post in celebration of the new book release Tony Baloney: School Rules. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.

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In September 1998, I was a young mom of three girls – 4yo Hannah, 2yo Maddy, and newborn Abby. My husband and I were both still in college, living in a tiny apartment and on an even tinier budget. We were excited to discover a free local preschool at a nearby elementary school, and signed Hannah up right away.

I remember waiting with all three girls for the bus that first morning of preschool. Hannah seemed so tiny to be riding in such a big vehicle, and although I had all the normal motherly fears and trepidation, her confidence was contagious. Even Maddy seemed excited for her big sister’s new adventure (or maybe she was just looking forward to a little more of Mommy’s attention!).
Hannah first day of preschool

The moment Hannah came off the bus at the end of that first day, we could tell she was exhausted. She had spent every last ounce of her energy at preschool playing hard, working hard, and making friends. And that’s how it was almost every day for her. That year was a great time for our family, and the growth we saw in Hannah and the support we got from her preschool was invaluable.

Fast forward 14 years, and here is Hannah the morning she left for college last September:

hannah leaves for college

I expected to be sad or worried or even lonely as Hannah left for college, but all I really felt was excited for her. From that first day of preschool in 1998, to all the many “first days” with her since, she’s worked towards this moment of being grown and on her own. I’m so grateful for the years she spent growing up in our home, and for all the memories we’ve made together.

And now we’re about to go through the entire process again with our youngest son, Eli, who starts Kindergarten this Fall.

Since his birthday is just two days after the Kinder cut-off, he has spent an extra year with me at home. His own first day of school next month will be a huge milestone for him, since he’s always had my undivided attention as the only child at home. In school he’s going to have to learn to listen closely, speak only when it’s appropriate, get along with all the other kids, and more.

One thing I don’t worry about with Eli going into Kindergarten is his reading. He has loved books since he was a baby, and can now read on his own. One book we’ve been reading as school quickly approaches is Tony Baloney: School Rules, from Scholastic.

Tony Baloney School Rules children's book

Tony Baloney School Rules

About Tony Baloney: School Rules

Tony Baloney is finally free from the tyranny of his many sisters only to face a new challenge–SCHOOL RULES! How will Tony ever follow them all? True to his resilient spirit, he discovers a first day of school filled with new friends, good fun, a few foibles, and some fantastic surprises!

Hilarious sibling dynamics make this book a hit with young readers who can relate to the “Bossy Big Sister Baloney,” “Mischievous Middle” Tony Baloney, or the “Bothersome Baby Baloneys.” Tony Baloney is poised to become a classic, character-driven series in the vein of Arthur, Fly Guy, and Frog and Toad.

From award-winning team Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of The Dreamers and Esperanza Rising, and Edwin Fotheringham, illustrator of What to Do About Alice?

What Eli and Tony Baloney Have in Common

Tony Baloney: School Rules has been fun to read with Eli, because the two of them actually have a lot in common. Eli and Tony Baloney are both a little nervous about starting school, and both have older siblings trying to show them the ropes. Tony Baloney also possesses a great mix of mischief and charm, which is a perfect description of my Eli. And I may be biased, but both are pretty darned cute.

And just how Tony Baloney has to find his own way at school, so must Eli. I have a feeling that he will learn just as much about himself as he will about any school subjects, and that this school year – our “last of many firsts” – will be a fantastic experience for us all.