What’s In A (Grandparents) Name?

Earlier this week, I came across an article about actress Susan Sarandon and the impending arrival of her first grandchild. When asked, as most expectant grandparents inevitably are, what she would be called by the child, Susan replied with a very different alternative to the traditional ‘Nan’ or ‘Grandma’. She opted for a name that she thought reflected the sweet affection she had for the child, without labelling her with what she found to an ageing connotation and conforming to the norm. And it got me thinking, who made up the rule that grandparents have to be Nan and Pop or Grandma and Grandpa?

So Who makes The Choice?

Statistically, when a grandchild is born, at least one of the sets of grandparents already have a grandchild and have laid claim to their grandparental names, so the other pair just go with the alternative in the interest of avoiding confusion to the child. After all, not many children I know, or knew, have 2 ‘Grandma’s’ or have to label their ‘Pop’ with a surname initial. But what if grandparents feel really strongly about their choice in label? My husband has already spoken at length of how he wants to be ‘Pop’ to our kid’s kids, but what if our grandchildren already have a Pop? And what if our children decide, picking a name by default? Or they leave it up to the grandchildren, waiting to see if they follow suit of their cousins or come up with something else? Growing up, my older cousins called my grandfather ‘Granddad’, but apparently I chose to call him ‘Poppy’ one day and that was what we called him until the day he died.

What Are The Options?

Traditionally, most Australian children are faced with Nan and Pop, or Grandma and Grandad (or derivatives/mixtures of both). My Italian cousins had Mangy and Pangy; a lot of Italian kids have Nonna and Nonno. Dutch or German grandparents are Oma and Opa, French grandparents are usually Papi and Mami. And everyone’s heard Dora summons her Spanish grandies with Abuela and Abuelo. But what about something a bit more modern? If you are not of a different culture or religion and you are looking for something a little different (especially if you are a young grandparent) why not try one of these pearlers?

For GrandmothersWhat's In A (Grandparents) Name?

  • Cookie
  • Gabbie (?? maybe for the more chatty grandmother!?)
  • Bunny
  • Hu-Hu (yes, like hoo-hoo. Call me crazy but isn’t that what some people call their lady bits? Awkward!)
  • Jama
  • Nooni
  • Glamma (OK, that’s kind of cute!)
  • Foxie
  • Birdie
  • Kitty (I’m sensing an animal theme here)
  • MeeMa
  • Bubby
  • KuKu
  • NotherMother (seriously? Don’t let your kids call their grandmother that!)

For Grandfathers

  • BigD (for the rapper in all Grandfathers. What next? G-Dawg? Puff (Grand) Daddy?)
  • Papi
  • Hee-Haw (to go with Hu-Hu I’m presuming? Only if you want your grandkids to sound like donkeys when they visit)
  • TeePa
  • Big Daddy (Oh, there’s the gangsta rap one we forgot!)
  • G-Daddy (and another one!)
  • Napa
  • Papster (too much like Pap Smear)
  • Popsie
  • PeePaw
  • Bobo (unless he is a bear or a clown, then no!)

Whoever makes the choice and whatever name grandparents end up with relies on everyone communicating and, in some cases, compromising. Remember that the name you pick for your sweet little granddaughter to call you when she’s little, may not prove as innocent or affectionate when she’s older and embarrassed to call out your name. Don’t risk being on a first name basis with your grandies; find a name that is simple, relatively normal and not likely to leave you with a teenager ignoring you in a packed car park because she refuses to yell out “Hu-hu” or “Pee-Paw” in front of her friends. Unless you live in a ghetto, then, by all means, go with any selection of the above-mentioned gangsta grandparent labels!

NB – Just as a side note, Susan Sarandon has chosen to be called ‘Honey’ by her new grandchild. Sweet and simple, I’m putting it on my list!


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