Christi Bostwick is an intuitive, creative soul who entered the rejection-filled publishing business as a momtrepreneur. For 12 years she stayed home with her two kids and a Ph.D. in child psychology standing by. A piece of her then-9-year-old son’s tattered blanket found in the hall at home set the wheels in motion for her to write and self-publish a book about the big emotions attached to that tiny sliver of childhood. She sells copies of “Blankie Bits,” an Indie Book Award finalist, as well as replicas of the thermal striped blanket that started it all, at blankiebits.com. She also offers parental advice at phd4kids.com.
Q: How did this get started?
A: I’ve always wanted to write, and it was truly on my son’s ninth birthday when I sat down to do it. There was only so much of his blankie left by then, and I found a piece in the hall. It was a sad moment for me, because he was really in mourning about it.
Q: Why is this topic of grief over the loss of a security object important to get out there?
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A: It’s not something people discuss. Parents don’t tell others their kid is 10 years old and still has a blanket. They don’t know what to do. The byline of the book is “A blankie with a plan” to help their kids get through the grieving process, because kids can’t even fathom that this is going to happen.
Q: So you wrote this book nearly a decade ago. What’s been happening with it since then?
A: I tried to get it published then, but it was important to me to illustrate it, too, because there’s a back story to it. It didn’t work out, so I shelved it for seven years, and then one day at the office one of the girls I see in my practice said she had made a book for school, and I realized people can publish their own books now.
I named my company Me Do It, like little kids often say, because everything I’ve done I’ve done myself — I’m a one-woman operation, start to finish — with the help of some really nice people. It’s been lonely and kind of scary, but you dig in deep and try. There’s been a lot of rejection, but you regroup and figure out what’s next.
Q: You’ve also designed a blankie similar to your son’s to pair with the book.
A: You would think it would be easy to find a blue and white striped thermal blanket, but it’s not! I think I got his at Gap Kids. It was a receiving blanket. This one is 32- by 34-inch, not a lovey but not big enough that kids will be dragging it everywhere. It’s great for any age but makes a great baby gift, especially from grandparents, who know kids are going to attach to something.
Q: And it’s been nominated for Martha Stewart’s American Made award?
A: Yes, it’s a nominee but not a finalist though, so you can’t vote for me. The hard part about that program is there’s really not a place for me. It’s geared toward design, food products and toys, but the blankie really isn’t a toy. They put me on their website, and you can look at my profile there, which is exciting.
Q: Is everything made locally?
A: It’s all made in America. For the fabric, I had to go to South Carolina. The boxes are made in Parsons, Kansas, and the book is printed in Marceline, Missouri. The blankies are made at Weave Gotcha Covered on Troost, which employs women from Operation Breakthrough, a program that lifts single moms out of poverty and helps them educate themselves and find a job.
Q: The blankie was your son’s favorite object. What’s yours?
A: From the shelves in my house, you can tell I’m a collector. Everything you see is my favorite: art, books, stuff with a history. I should have been born 100 years ago. So I do have security objects — old stuff that I get to look at and enjoy every day.
Q: You have books and blankets for sale on your website. Are any other products coming?
A: Three other books have been written. My daughter was upset that I didn’t write a book about her, but I did, after a time she wanted bangs and cut her cowlick to the quick. It’s called “The Hair Don’t.” I’ve also written a book on thumb sucking, and it comes with a glove. The other book is a fairly dark memoir about suicide. I’m a happy person, but I’ve not lived a Pollyanna life.
Q: You’ll always be mom, but with Nash away at college and your daughter, Allie, leaving next year, what will you do with your time?
A: The kids have been my priority, but I’m finding new things to do. I’ve started rowing with the KC Rowing Club at Wyandotte County Lake Park. I love gardening, I love to paint, and I’m a do-it-yourselfer. I’m a huge fan of downtown and the West Bottoms weekends, and I’ve considered getting a booth of my own. I’ve got lots of ideas to keep busy.