My NICU Baby Boy Is Going To Kindergarten

My NICU Baby Boy Is Going To Kindergarten

On July 4th, 2018 at 7:04 pm, my sweet 4 lbs 7 oz baby boy, Brody Patrick, was born! Our little firecracker. Our child we were praying and waiting for since November … wait who am I kidding? I was waiting for him and to be a momma my whole life. During pregnancy, my motto and mindset was a Happy and Healthy Baby and Momma! I got that and so much more despite my guy being tiny and mighty at 34 weeks

Our NICU experience was one I will never forget.

A HUGE shout out to the amazing team at Our Lady of Lourdes: Women’s and Children’s Hospital. After he was born, I was at peace. Healing and taking it day by day. My baby boy was getting stronger and closer to coming home. Daddy was getting a little weaker despite working non stop, stress, and dehydration. Real life story … he actually headed to the emergency room when Brody was just getting home from the NICU. After 27 days, our boy was FINALLY coming home. We were all ready for us to settle into our new normal, for him to meet his cousins that were dying to meet him from Day 1, and being a family of 3 … at HOME! 

Let’s fast forward … 2018 to 2023. Two weeks left of summer. Two weeks left until we start Kindergarten. By WE, I mean this family. WE do everything together. 

My NICU Baby Boy Is Going To Kindergarten
Photo Credit: Lauren Kylie Photography A special photo shoot for a special NICU project Fun Fact: Same location as his 1 year old photo shoot.

We have been blessed that I am an early childhood teacher and value the importance of education. Obviously, I had to go back to work after a nice 12+ week long maternity leave, and Brody was blessed with a great in-home sitter until he was 18 months. After that, he transitioned to daycare down the road from my school until COVID hit just 2 months later. By 2 years old, he was back at daycare full time and ready to learn a lot at Play and Learn in Scott, LA. 

Summer of 2021

We moved out of Lafayette and transitioned yet again. Our baby boy was starting “Big Boy School” and momma was going to be at the same school teaching 3rd grade. We were both excited and nervous, but knew this was going to be a great adventure. We had an amazing year of learning and growth, but little did we know we were going to be transitioning YET again. Our cardinal year together will be one that I will treasure forever. 

Summer of 2022

I landed my “dream job” and took a chance. We were together again at a different school, but that was shortly lived. In February, I decided enough was enough. My health and family needed to be my first priority. I quit my full time education job, went to part time tutoring math, and got a PUPPY …. Yes! Bingo is now in our family. I would rather parent 20 million children (if I could afford it) than one puppy! It has been a learning curve, but we are finally settling in to the pet life. 

Brody finished the school year despite this momma heart being a little anxious and nervous about dropping him off without momma being down the hall, but being 4 years old and heading to Kindergarten in August, I knew this would be for the best.The end of the school year came around and our little caterpillar blossomed into a beautiful butterfly … ready to conquer the world. Or just the summer and to transition into Kindergarten first …

We had an amazing summer together.

Chustz 3: Chustz Summer Camp was born and took off. We made memories of a lifetime. We went on some amazing trips, spent time as a family, celebrated his 5th birthday… maybe a few times! 3 to be exact! 

Now, August 1st is here. Our summer break is almost over. We are ready for Kindergarten. We are ready to grow in Faith, Hope, and Love. We are ready for homework, we are ready for flag football/baseball practice and games, and we are ready to see what the future holds. 

My momma’s heart is not nervous or anxious. I will still be teaching part time, down the road…. Not down the hall. I will volunteer, work on the PTC committee, and substitute teach when needed at his school on Fridays when I am off from my teaching job. This is what is necessary though. For our family, for us, and for our FUTURE. Especially my son’s independence. Especially for Momma to be happy and healthy like I said when I was pregnant and expecting my precious baby boy! 

In closing, remember a few things. 

  1. You got this momma! 
  2. Happy and healthy is the KEY! 
  3. Your baby will always be your baby despite how tall and how big he or she gets 
  4. Independence can be a GREAT thing 
  5. Reflect back on the memories (Facebook memories/ Google memories is a big deal in our house) 

Now, let’s get ready for the new school year! 

My NICU Baby Boy Is Going To Kindergarten
Photo Credit: Lauren Kylie Photography
My NICU Baby Boy Is Going To Kindergarten
Photo Credit: Lauren Kylie Photography


Natalie Chustz
Natalie is a mom to an energetic busy 5 year old, Brody, and a wife to Andrew. They live together in Opelousas, Louisiana. She was born and raised in Lafayette until 2021. Natalie graduated from UL in Early Childhood Education and ULM in Educational Technology Leadership/Instructional Coaching, and has been working in the education field since 2012. Recently, she became her own boss in two different ways. One is with Pampered Chef and the other one is with Chustz 3: Camp, Creativity, and Chef, LLC. Brody is constantly teaching her that motherhood is the greatest and most rewarding gift and that every day is a chance to make memories together. You can frequently find Natalie helping others, planning and reaching her goals, and living everyday to the fullest... Livin' my best life is one of her favorite mottos that hits home especially during the summer months when she is on "Summer vacay" due to teacher life. In her downtime, she likes to plan vacations/camping trips, read, and write when not tending to her son and new puppy.


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