What's in a Name?


As children of the fifties and sixties become grandparents, many are choosing unusual monikers. Names like Grandma and Grandpa are still most popular, but names reflecting personalities, interests, and heritage are on the rise.

When expectant parents begin compiling name lists for baby, it's a good time for expectant grandparents to consider their names. 


Grandparents.com is one of many places on the internet offering name suggestions. They have a variety of lists:

Traditional:
Nana, Granny; Grandpa, Gramps 

Trendy:
MammaMia, Sugar, Nothermother, Mummers; Dappy, Doody, Grindiddy, Mellowman

Playful:
Cookie, Tinkerbell, Jamagramma, Pittypat; Babaloo, Checkers, GoPa, UmPaPa

Parents should approve of name choices, but that doesn’t mean grandparents can’t be creative.

Fun names
Some grandparents want their names to reflect the fun they have with their grandchildren. My friend Jeanne took her name from her bunny collection. She no longer has Flopsy, her live pet rabbit, but her nine grandchildren have always called her “Bunny.” 

“The Proud Family,” Disney’s first African-American cartoon series, has their “Sugar Mama.” This animated grandma is hip and feisty, but her name fits any grandmother with goodies in her purse and sugar in her hugs.

Heritage names
In our melting pot culture, some grandparents want their names to reflect family heritage. Long-time friend Bob, who grew up in a German-speaking home, is “Opa” to his six grandchildren. His wife is “Babci” like her Polish grandmother. 

Some countries have different names for paternal and maternal grandparents. For example, in Sweden paternal grandparents are farfar and farmor while maternal are morfar and mormor

Choosing ethnic grandparent names is one way to transmit family history to the next generation.

Baby-talk names
Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and this is true of grandparents. Sometimes grandparents are named by sweet mispronunciations from their grandchildren’s lips. My friends Vicki and Peter had towels embroidered with names they’d chosen. They kept the towels but not the names when granddaughter Annalee began calling them "MiMi" and "Pawpaw." 

These traditional names, like many others—mema, grammy, beebaw—come from toddler’s attempts to pronounce grandma and grandpa.

One grandma became "honey" to her grandchildren because that was grandpa's name for her.

More than a name
In the end grandchildren will remember their grandparent’s names only as fondly as the people who wear them. Grandparents should spend a little time choosing a name but a lot of time praying that their name brings memories of love, faith, and meaning to their grandchildren.

My husband and I chose the very typical "Grammy and Poppy" for our names, but I'd love to hear any interesting stories related to your grandparent name. So please leave a comment.

18 comments:

  1. I am Grandma and sometimes the German "Oma" which is what I had them calling me when just learning to talk : )

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    1. I always called both of my grandmothers "grandma" so I like that name even though it's "normal" : )
      My daughter actually asked us to choose different names so her children wouldn't get confused with both sets of grandparents, and I really enjoy being "grammy" now. And I think my husband likes being "poppy" too.

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  2. Since Grandma and Grandpa were what I used and thus our kids used, it never came up as a choice or desire to change. We were fine with it (both pushing 70 so abit ahead of Baby Boomers.) So you can imagine the delight we all felt when our oldest granddaughter started calling us Grams and Gramps. We LOVED it and thought whoooaaaa, no one ever tried to do that with our grandparents or parents! Along came her sister, and one day they got into giggles calling me Gramcracker all day long!! Sounded cute and funny...don't know how they latched onto it.....but it STUCK! They are now 11 and 14 and the three younger kiddos use this too! Even my gal pals refer to me as Gramcracker sometimes! LOVE it! :) Joan @ Gramcracker Crumbs.com

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    1. I love this story, especially because one day one of my granddaughters thought we needed code names and she gave me "gramcracker." It didn't stick, but I think it's a fun name.

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  3. Like Joan it never dawned on me that I would be called anything other than Grandma! I was just so elated to get to be a Grandma -- I love the name and title!

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    1. Yes! It's a wonderful role no matter what it's called!

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  4. I, too, am just plain ol' Grandma—which sounds far from plain and old coming out of the mouths of my grandsons. My hubby got a nifty name, per my oldest grandson, though, as he was officially dubbed PawDad by him.

    Thank you for linking up to the GRAND Social. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Poppy plus all your loved ones!

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    1. Love "PawDad" and it's always fun when it comes from a grandchild.

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  5. I let our grand daughter name me.
    One day she whispered to me "Grammie Goo" then belted it out really loud, the second time to get my attention. I cracked up and loved it!
    I have been "Grammie Goo" now for 5 years and for 5 grandchildren!

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    1. Very cute...and special because it has a story behind it.

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  6. Such a sweet post, Gail! I think I love the pictures almost as much!

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  7. My mom's only grandchild, my nephew, was being taught to call her Grammy. But at 11 months old, while she was babysitting him and reading a book, she heard him say, "Manny." She put down the book and listened and he said, "Manny!" He was calling for her attention. She loved it and it stuck until he started adding "o" to everything. For a time he would ask for "pizzi-o" and "baggedy-o" (spaghetti) and her name evolved in to Mannyo, a name that he uses to this day. He will be 10 next month and loves his Mannyo.
    Jenn

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  8. My mother is Ga-Ga, and my dad, is Papa.

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  9. I'm a few years late in reading this Love Note, but I wanted to share a couple of my stories. Growing up my mom's mother was Nana to all of her grandchildren. When my children were born my mom became Nana. Then when my granddaughters were born I couldn't imagine having any other name!
    Here is a funny story My two younger brothers are from my dad and stepmother. There is quite an age difference between grandchildren of my dad's first marriage and those from his second. When my next to youngest brother had children the traditional Grandma was working. My stepmom took care of my neice quite a bit. During those times she would have to correct Rory or tell her "No no Rory. Don't (fill in the blank). Needless to say Rory heard " No no" quite a bit. One day while playing the game "Who's this?", where you point your finger at someone and see if the child can say that persons name, my brother pointed to my step mom and Rory said excitedly, " That's No No!". Rory is now 10 and loves her "No No"!

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  10. Enjoyed this so much. My maternal grandparents were Mammaw and Pappaw. My faternal grandparents were Ree and Grover because back then she thought she was to young to be called Grandmother. ��.
    My children called my parents Meemaw and Pappaw. Now as for me I am Gramma Char to my son's children. To my daughters boys I started out as Gramma but because of the Internet and Facebook I am now G-MA! ��
    I ❤️ it!It doesn't matter what they call us...it matter only that there is lots of ❤️❤️❤️❤️
    in the sound of that voice yelling their name
    for you.

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