When you learn you are going to be a grandparent, one of the first things you may wonder about (after you get over feeling old) is what name will your grandchild call you. Will you be Granny, Gigi, Mimi or Nana? Or maybe even something really different like my friend Catherine, whose grandson named her "Baggy" -- and that's who she's been ever since!
A few days ago, an about-to-be-first-time grandmother asked me if I would ask other grandmothers how they chose their name on my blog's Facebook page (NanaHood) and I did. I received over 100 comments from grandmothers all over the world explaining their names and how those names came about.
Who Gets To Choose
There were two ways that names were chosen, the first and most popular was letting the grandchild choose.
Cyndi H. explains, "I didn't receive the name NANA until my first Grandchild gave it to me. He couldn't say 'Grandma,' it came out 'Nana' and now I'm Nana to six little wonderful people."
Another grandmother, Margaret O., says, "I didn't choose anything. My first grandchild Ellie called me Nanny and the rest just copied. Ellie tried to say Nanny Margaret, but couldn't say it properly, so I have ended up being Nanny Maggie and I just love it and love my seven granddaughters!"
Another group of grandmothers chose their own name and said it to the child consistently enough that the name stuck.
Sherry R. said, "I just decided on Nana and when I cuddled him, I said, Nana loves you, a lot! I now have a 2-year-old who thrills me to no end calling me Nana!"
And then there were those who chose a name and referred to themselves by that name only to have the child pick something different to call them.
Gayle W. said, "I was going to be called Nana and referred to myself as that. When my grandson could talk, I became Yaya... and I love it!"
Rebecca M. agreed, "It is true that they will pick it. In my case I called myself Grannyma, but they switched it to Mawmaw."
When There Are Multiple Grandmothers
It can be confusing for children when they are born into families with multiple grandmothers. My friend Becky J. tells how they solved the problem:
We let our first grandchild decide. Our family already had a Ma, Nana, Granny and Grandma. We even bought a book of grandparent names but I think my granddaughter came up with the perfect name all on her own, Grammy. Now all three call me "Grammy" and I hope the two that are due this summer will do the same. I love it!
Unusual Grandparent Names
Occasionally, grandchildren come up with some unique names for grandparents, like the little boy I mentioned earlier who called his grandmother "Baggy."
Joan S. tells how she became Gramcracker: "I wanted to be called Grandma... but the first one started calling me Gramcracker at age 4 and it stuck when the others came along!"
A Nana By Any Other Name
All the grandmothers seemed to have one thing in common, they agree that the name isn't nearly as important as the child.
Donna G. had this to say about names: "I waited until she decided what to call me. I referred to myself as grandma, but she is soon to be 12 and she called me Mima (pronounced Mim-ma) and the younger ones followed her lead. As long as they still want to spend time with me, they can call me 'Mud' and I am OK with it."
How about you?
Do you have an unusual grandparent name? Do you have any strong likes or dislikes when it comes to what your grandchildren call you? Leave a comment and let us know!
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
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