I began by writing funny stories for doctors. While I was doing this, I continued to see kids everyday in my office. I also began to develop an enjoyment for everything gross. You might think that I’m an odd duck because most people who like potty humor are kids. However, I’ve learned that many adults, at least once they’ve had children, enjoy humor that relates to bodily functions. This probably happens because babies and young children spend so much time peeing and pooping on their parents. And while I have definitely had the pleasure of being barfed on by my own children, the other reason I like bathroom humor is because, as a doctor, I spend so much time dealing with (and dodging) icky, gooey things that come out of children’s bodies!
“Somewhere along the way, I found out that I like to write. This is a bit ironic because I definitely did not like to read as a kid.”
Because kids are sometimes afraid to see the doctor, one way to make visits less stressful is to talk about pee, poop and other gross stuff. Adults are not as fond of potty humor as kids, but the parents who see me understand that being gross make visits more fun for their children. Of course, I’m not gross with everyone. Some kids don’t like it. Also, if a child is really sick, being funny or gross is not appropriate.
A few years ago, I started writing picture books about health topics like getting shots or being in the hospital. It’s hard to publish picture books, and I was lucky enough to find a publisher (Magination Press) that was interested in what I had to say.
In 2008, I asked the editor of the KidsPost section of the Washington Post newspaper if I could write articles about health and science subjects for the paper. Happily, she said yes. This was great because it brought together the two things I love most: teaching kids about science and health and being gross. I have published more than sixty articles in the KidsPost so far and hopefully will continue to do so in the future.
I got lucky again when I asked the editor at Jack and Jill Magazine if she would let me write a science column for kids. In November 2010, the Science for Smart Kids column began. A new editor began working at the magazine in 2012. He renamed the column, Life Is Gross. I like the new name better.
I set up the website so children and adults would be able to read my KidsPost articles and enjoy some other the other things I like to write. The site also includes a collection of gross stories I tell kids at work. The stories come from family and friends, my own childhood, and most importantly, from my patients. I hope your parents don’t mind you reading these stories. From my perspective, anything that gets kids to read is good. Besides, immersing yourself in everything gross may inspire you to become a doctor yourself! –Dr. B
I am a board-certified pediatrician with thirty years of clinical experience. I spent the first part of my professional career in academic medicine, teaching and practicing primary care pediatrics. I was the director of pediatric education during my academic tenure and won the first Outstanding Teacher Award given in my department. I have been in private practice in Washington, D.C. since 1991, but have continued my academic affiliations. I am currently a clinical professor of pediatrics at The George Washington University School of Medicine.
I have been regularly listed as a “Top Doctor” in Washingtonian magazine and have appeared on a handful of national television shows, including NBC Nightly News, World News Tonight, and CNN. My first picture book, “Lions Aren’t Scared of Shots,” was featured in a story about pain control on the Today Show. I have been interviewed by numerous radio and print journalists over the years. I was an Expert Pediatric Advisor for iParenting.com from 2005 to 2007 and have contributed to Q&A columns for Parents Magazine and Contemporary Pediatrics. I am a contributor for GreadDad.com, Jack and Jill magazine, and the Ever Wondered column, which is published in the Washington Post. The column appears in KidsPost, which is published in the paper’s Style Section. I have published over 100 articles and satires in medical journals. My children’s books are adapted from my extensive experience as a practicing pediatrician. –Dr. B