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INTERESTING STUFF – 17 February 2018

Crabby Old Lady and Kids' Names for Grandparents

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The news this week has been loathsome (White House security-clearance scam), and also unbearably sad (Parkland, Florida, school massacre). Without disregarding either of those events, Crabby Old Lady thought that this might be a good week to give ourselves a break with something a lot less consequential.

For as long as Crabby has been writing this blog, about every year or two there has been a flurry of news stories about names grandparents want the grandchildren to call them.

They apparently take a different direction from days of yore when we were children. None of this grandpa or grandma stuff for today's elders. Not even the old-country traditions of bubbe, opa or nana.

Jane Brody, writing in The New York Times last month, tells us that a new book, Georgia Witkin’s The Modern Grandparent’s Handbook, lists 251 grandparental names,

”...divided by gender into three categories: Traditional, Trendy and Playful. I wouldn’t volunteer to be known as Sweetums, G-dawg, Faux Pa or Grandude, however playfully, but apparently some folks have,” writes Brody.

You can bet your booty that a grandchild of Crabby's (if she had any) would call her “Sweetums” only once.

Like most of the past stories Crabby Old Lady has seen on grandparent names, Brody blames the boomer generation for the untraditional new names, who will do pretty much everything possible to pretend they are not getting old, including this name silliness.

'...here’s my deeper suspicion:” she writes. “However mightily my peers may pine for grandchildren and adore them when they arrive, some don’t want to acknowledge being old enough to be dubbed Grandpop or Granny.

“Such names conjure up gray hair and orthopedic shoes, along with a status our society may honor in the abstract but few boomers actually welcome. We too often won’t use hearing aids, even if we need them. We may not claim the senior discount at the movie theater.

“We don’t want these wondrous new creatures calling us names that signify old age, either.”

This is where Brody – or, more specifically, the boomers she knows – goes off the rails: what is wrong with gray hair, Crabby wants to know? Or with orthopedic shoes? Or movie discounts?

Worst of all, if you don't wear needed hearing aids, you are too stupid for Crabby Old Lady to bother with you.

If Crabby were a grandmother, she'd go with Grandma or Granny. Both of them state a fact – always a good thing – and slide off the tongue nicely. What about you? Accusations of boomer ageism notwithstanding, let's see if there is a consensus about grandparent names around this blog.

What do the grandchildren call you? Do you like it? Who chose it? And what's the most inventive or interesting or odd name you've heard for Grandma or Grandpa?


I don't have grandchildren... but one of my friends is called Grandy. It suits her perfectly.

I have no grandchildren, but I have noticed that a lot of women I know who do are called "mimi."

To 4 out of 5 we are grandma and grandpa, the fifth for some reason stuck nana and poppa on us. I have noticed that now he is 11 he slides more to grandma and grandpa. Grandpa has morphed into gramps for the older ones. To the great grands we’re mumu and poppa which is what my Finnish great grandparents were always called.

Our granddaughters other grandparents are mumpy and grumpy. For awhile grandpa was “that boy” to a 3 yr old granddaughter. 😊

Grandmother and granddaddy....always...
My just retired pastor is known as JoJo, his wife as Kiki. This is NY names for Southern grandparents! They seem to love it.

I am called Gaga by my grandchildren. My granddaughter could not say Grandma and called me Gaga and it stuck. My husband is Papa.

My grandchildren are lucky to have lots of grandparents and even great grandparents. My mother is called Grandma Marge and my dad is Papa Keith.

I really don’t care what they call me as long as they call me.

Nana....I asked for it and love it. It seems warmer to me than Grandma. And when my grandbabies see me and start calling, NANA NANA...my heart simply melts!

I'm plain old Grandma, but my husband got Popeye- he used to collect tons of Popeye memorabilia and, being an old sailor, the name suited him!

Mikey and Meema

I am called NumNum and sometimes the more traditional Grandma. How did Numnum come into existence? Just one day one of the twins called me NumNum. No idea why. But now, at age 5, one of them said that they called me NumNum because I look like a NumNum. So that being the logic, I love it. And I bet I'm the only NumNum in existence! (Unless you look like me. )

My granddaughter calls me Dabba (because she couldn't say Grandma). She is 9 now and still calls me Dabba.I love being Dabba - and it works because she calls her other grandmother - grandmother. So it also has the benefit of reducing confusion. Now, half my family calls me Dabba. (Grandmother would have been fine also. I fully own my years that entitle me to have the great blessing of a granddaughter!)

My daughter hasn't made me a grandparent yet, but I definitely want Grandma. My mother has lived with us since my kidlet was born and nothing brings me greater joy than when my mother says something that tickles my daughter's sense of sardonic humor, makes her groan, roll her eyes, and say (with great drama and a long draw of breath), "Oh, GraaaaaandMA!". That's what I want to hear from my granddaughter.

When my grandkids were younger, they called me Grammie. Now that they are 15 and 21, they have shortened it to Gram. The name was chosen by me when my granddaughter was born. My grandson, the 15 yr old, has me listed in his phone as "Gramcracker" because he says I crack him up. 😉

I was “Gramma J” to my first grandkids. The twins started calling me “Maka” when they were learning to talk, and it stuck. I’m with Gaga Cheri-I don’t care what they call me as long as they call me.

I loved being a grandma. My local grandkids call me Cece in spite of me calling myself Grandma. I sign their gifts "Grandma Celia." Got that name from the other grandma who labeled me that and who calls herself Queen as do the kids. Grandpas are Grampy Tom and Grampy Ozzie. The far away grands called me Grandma but now all 16 and over have chosen Cece also. Poop. However, as long as they call me :-)

I couldn't wait to be Grandma! In emails and messages -she's now 23-I'm Gmaw. Which I love too.

I positively hate Nanny as in Ireland that's a female goat or a childminder.

And yes those in denial like first names as being cool.

I disliked when auntie and uncle were dropped from general lingo for kids as being "too aging."


I spent a lot of time with my French grandmother when I was growing up. I called her Meme. (Maymay). My granddaughter has Nanna (in Chicago), Grandma Robbie (in California) and me, Meme here in Portland. I love hearing "MEME, guess what?"

Ah, what's in a name? In these days of extended families my husband and I are Grandma Janet and Grandpa Jim to one set of perfect grandkids, to differentiate us from my husband's ex and her spouse whose G-names follow the same pattern.
In another family, that of my deceased and dearly loved past husband, I am 'Nanna', a honour as that was how that dear man's mother was known to her grand children.
I have to admit, it took me a while to accept and embrace these names which brought images of old fashioned dresses and sensible shoes. I even had problems with 'Auntie' for a while as that conjured up similar images.
But now, the lines, wrinkles and sensible shoes are me. And my 60’s dress style probably horrifies my 14 year old grand daughter. 😊

I am happy to be called Grandma by my grandchildren. The other grandmother is called Nana. I am 71 and well aware I am not a young thing...

I am called Mumsey which I initiated and love it and Jim is Papa. We both love it.

Because a friend in my teenage years had a terrific grandmother who was called Nana, I always thought that was the name I would want. But alas, when my one and only child had a son a few years ago the other grandmother wanted to be called Nana. Since I knew that I would get to spend much more time with the child because of distance I ceded (graciously I hope) to her. Then we remembered one of my daughter's favorite childhood books, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola, so I became "Nona." I am happy to report that my grandson presented me with a wonderful "Super Nona" cape to wear at Halloween, or really any other time that I like!

I am Gramma and my husband is Grampa. We were fortunate that the "other" grandparents all wanted "other" appellations: There are Nonna and Papi for three of them and Nanna and Pawpaw for the other two.

I am just Grandma and it's okay with me, but because the other grandmother is Nana I was not able to ask for that (my preference).

Nana is the Mexican name for Grandmother and the other grandmother heard it and claimed it for the name she wanted to be called ( although after moving to the SW she heard Nana for the first time and thought it was Nona (pronounced Non-ah).

I must have heard Nana when I was learning to talk and mispronounced it to Nama and that's what I called my beloved grandmother to her dying day.

My daughter told my young grandson we were Nana and Grampa, but he heard others calling me Tina and began calling me Nina instead. Now all 5 grandchildren call me Nina.

I am a baby boomer and I am called grandma by my one and only grandchild. When she was born I was asked what I wanted to be called and I just said, "Grandma, of course." It never occurred to me to be called anything else.

I am sick and tired of writers portraying baby boomers as self-absorbed jerks obsessed with staying young. That doesn't describe me or any of my friends. I can remember women back in the 1950s not wanting to tell their ages. There's nothing new or generational about people wanting to appear young.

We have 6 grandchildren and I was called Gramma and Grammy until #6 arrived and somewhere around 2 years old started calling me Goo-Goo, probably because she couldn't say Gramma or Grammy.
It stuck and I love it!
I now volunteer in the reading program at their elementary school and I'm known as Ms. Goo-Goo. The school children think it's hilarious, and it puts a smile on my face every Monday morning.

By my choice, we are Grampy and Grammy, and my online moniker is PinkoGrammy. More interesting is the other side of their family, who are always Grandmother and Grandfather. Always:) Kids are now 14 and 11.

I am known as Grannie Annie by my six grandchildren....and my children have taken to calling me that as well!

My aunt had a dog called Butch, so her grandsons--to differentiate her from their OTHER grandmother--called my aunt "Butchie Grandma." They never understood why that cracked up the adults.

With a remarriage in the mix, I was third in line to choose my moniker. I don't recall what options were offered, but Grandma was available so I opted for that. Sometimes wish I'd been more original, given that I called my grandmother Munner (I couldn't say Mother as my mother did). Her husband was Faffy (sp?) for reasons unknown. My sister is called Sunny by her grandkids. Adore my grandkids and would answer to anything they called me.

The comments are, as usual, as interesting as the topic! Silly me, thinking that one was called by whatever mispronunciation the child came up with. I called my grandparents Gagi and Bandanny (Yes, that got a little difficult when I was in the my 30s). I would have hated being called Grandma though, I confess, and might have directed the little tyke to the full grandmother. Obviously I'm on the more formal end. No doubt, as a result, they would have come up with an utterly absurd name for me like Sweetums :) Perish the thought....

Whatever you are called, it is lovely to see the joy you have in your grandchildren!

When I first started talking in 1946 and 1947, I tried calling my grandmother 'Mother', emulating my dad. My little tongue couldn't handle it, so it came out 'Mur.' For the rest of my life, she will always be Mur to me and my sister. My aunts wouldn't let their children call her by that pet name; they had to use 'Grandmother.' I don't think any of them have ever used the name.

My mother would never let the two grandchildren call her anything but 'Grandmother,' nor could I call her mother anything except 'Grandmamma.' After all, she called her mother 'Mamma.'

My own granddaughter calls me Nana (and my husband is Papa). The other grandchildren don't call me---no association whatsoever.

It all comes down to family preference. And if a kid wants to call her grandmother 'BeeBop', who is to argue?

I'm Granny to my grandkids-it was my choice, my mom was granny and my grandmother was granny.
My husband is Pappaw Wayne because our granddaughter already had a Pappaw Dan she also has a mammaw, a nanna, and a nanny.

One of my daughters insisted on her children calling me "gramma" even though I preferred a cute little name like Mimi.

Then this little granddaughter from another daughter came along and started calling me "Magra" and it stuck. We thought maybe she had dyslexia since it is gramma backwards, however now she is 19 and an honor student with no signs of dyslexia. It was meant to be. Magra has a foreign and mysterious sound and I love it!!! I also love being called "gramma" by the others.

Just make sure you choose whatever you want to be called with the first grand, as that will probably be your grandparental name with all grands forever (except for a couple of exceptions cited above).

Grandma Ali (by choice)

I'm a fan of "Grammy" and "Poppy"... it worked in my family and wasn't too silly sounding if called out in public.

As a child I had a Grandma and a Nana. So when my first grandson was born and his father's mother was so very keen to be called Grandma, I said well that's fine, I'll be Nana.

By the time my other daughter's twins were born, their father's mother had already died. But I figured it would be confusing for them if they had a different name for me than their cousin did, so I became Nana to them too. I am perfectly happy being Nana.

Those twins have three grandfathers. Their mother's father was Dutch so he was Opa. But he died. My second husband is Grandpa and he's the only grandfather they have ever really known. Their paternal grandfather, also long dead, is referred to as Pardy because that's was what his other grandchildren called him. All very logical. Nothing weird or quirky to report from our family!

I admit I didn't like "Grandma." Not because it connoted "old lady" so much, but because I didn't like my own "Grandma" very much. I called my other grandmother, whom I loved, "Two Mamas," but let's face it; there could only be one of those. So I opted for "Mimi" (my nickname) and my husband is "Herb." Works for us.

Recently they have taken to calling me Gramoo. They just like the way it sounds. But paybacks are paybacks.
I call them Pumpkin Head and Sparky.

I'm grandma & grandmama to my two grandchildren. My own children called my parents Grandmother and Paul. Go figure.

My maternal Grandparents in Finland were called Mummi and Ukki, when I grew up. These are traditional Karelian names I really like. But even in the 50's Finland very few used those terms for Grandparents.

Not having children ourselves my wife and I have no skin in this game, but if I did Mummi and Ukki is what I would like.

I have been called a lot of things by younger humans some of them to do with age but never those nice names.

Grandma and Grandpa is what I always called my grandparents and what I always expected I'd be called, and I am. We did add the first names as our grand kids have 3 sets of grandparents, so I am Grandma Susan. My friend though, who is the same age as I am(64), knew full well even before she had grandchildren that she wasn't going to be called Grandma. She thought it made her sound too old. She decided they would call her Mookie even before they were born and they do.

With 5 grandkids and 2 great grand kids I've been called Grandpa, Grampy, Pops, and Poppy. My favorite is Grandpa. My wife is usually called Nana, but will answer to Grandma, Gramma, or Grammio.

I only have 'grandcats' but Grandma would of been fine with me.

I've been Grandma to all of my 14 grandchildren since the very first one first called me that and I didn't recognize myself. now that I'm becoming a 3 times great grandmother, I need to decide about a suitable honorific.

I sign my gifts and cards and emails G. P. One of my sons in law enjoys calling me granny and I enjoy calling him Sonny in return

I never thought of picking my own name for the grandchildren to call me. I just became whatever the kids called me, starting with "Ma" and moving onto Grandma as they became older and better talkers. That's what their parents referred to me as. When it becomes necessary to specify exactly which Grandma or Grandpa, then our last name is tacked on, and the other set of grandparents have their first names attached (we are much older). I love being a grandmother, so as long as those little ones identify me as someone who loves them, I'm happy. Right now, to the youngest, I'm "gamma." But she's not yet two.

We are called Mema and Bapa. Just kind of happened with our oldest grandchild who is now almost 16. We love our names...but grandma and grandpa would have worked, too!

My grandsons call me “Cece”, which is a modification of my nickname CJ. I chose it before the first one was born, and it’s worked out nicely. My husband wanted to be called “Pops”, which is what he called his grandfather. The boys started calling him “Pots”, and it kind of stuck. Although being a bit gruff in his later years, has me thinking “Grumpa” would have been a better moniker. LOL.

My philosophy has been to allow any little ones to determine what name they call me. I thought it rather amusing when my first grandchild’s other grandmother quickly specified to my dtr the name she wanted to be called lest I might want it. I could have cared less. I was intrigued with the little ones speech development, especially since some sounds typically are produced more easily in the beginning with others acquired later, just as their physical activity occurs in successive stages.

It’s no coincidence we can be wise to model ma, ma, ma and pa, pa, pa trying to stimulate little ones to imitate seeing our lips move and the sound we make. I’m content with whatever name including evolving up to gramma, grandma, plus my last name to differentiate if needed, or any variations that may occur through the growing up process — “g”+vowel is added later and “r” can be very difficult to produce.

I see affixing a name can be an intimate affectionate special act allowing the child the verbal power to express themself toward me — perhaps in a unique way that may reveal much about our relationship.

G'Pa John and G'ma Betty are generally what we're known as by the grandkids we're in touch with.

Could be that some folks who need hearing aids have trouble shelling out the $3-6,000++ they can cost! I'm on the cusp--am waiting for the new OTC hearing aids I understand should be available before too long. I don't like the idea one bit, but necessity may prevail over the next year or two.

My paternal grandparents were Grandpa and Grandma, and my maternal grandparents were Grandad and Granny. For our kids, my mother chose to go by Gran, but my father picked a less conventional Geedad.

When it was my turn, I didn't think I could quite live up to my delightful Granny, but I thought I could, just possibly, manage being a Grandma, so that's who I am to my four grandchildren. My husband? He's Chinese, so he's Gung-Gung to our daughter's three kids, and Yeh-Yeh to our son's little girl.

Our oldest grandchild (now 27), at the ripe old age of 18 months started it all, referring to her grandmother at a farm, as "Cow Goomie". At age 9, she, her 7-year-old sister and 5 year old brother, seeing a cheerful plastic 3-ft-tall black-and-white cow circling around a marquee with a pink pig, - - and immediately hung my name on me: Pigpoppy. Succeeding batches of grand sons and grand otters have gleefully glommed onto Cow Goomie and Pigpoppy. Weird family.

This is certainly the most enjoyable and fun post and comments that I’ve read in a long time. Kudos to everyone!

Grandkids call me Grandma Daisy. My husband is called Greatest by one of the granddaughters and her 2 children. He is the “greatest” great grand pa!

I had no preference for what my grandchildren should call me so I went with what came up. My nickname is Ginger so my twin granddaughters began calling mr “Grandmom Ginger” and that’s what we went with. It’s really cute to see them leaning out of their car windows and calling my name when they visit.

I am called Margaret by my children and by my grandchildren. In neither case did it have anything to do with avoiding terminology that aged me. For my children, it began when they were very young and I used to take them to the neighborhood swimming pool. There were frequent, one might say incessant, cries of "Mommy! Mommy!" and it became not only frustrating but dangerous not to know which of the dozens of "Mommies" was being called. So I told them to call me by my name at the pool, so I would know if it was one of mine that needed help.

As it happened, about that time I returned to college and needed to have uninterrupted times to study. Unfortunately those times were frequently disrupted by the anguished cries of "Mommy, so and so is doing this or that." Or "Mommy, where's my such and such?" At the end of my rope, I sat them down and decreed that from then on, or at least while I was in school, I would be Margaret. I figured, correctly as it turns out, that if they had to call upon and disrupt the concentration of a real person with a name instead of a "Mommy," there would be a lot more respect for my personhood. They liked it that way. I liked it. And we never returned to the old way.

When my grandchildren came along one by one---there are five now, some grown up---they very naturally called me by my real name. I have never missed or regretted not being called by one of the more traditional grandmother nicknames. In my opinion, calling me by my actual name vastly improved my relationships with my children and gave a more respectful tone to the very warm and friendly relationships I now have with my grandchildren.

We are Mimi and Grandpa. Both sides chose Mimi which can be confusing especially since the grandchildren see the other Mimi more often. But, they carry our last name so i’m (pretty) okay with it.

My favorite grandma was Nana to me, and as my eldest grandson had a designated grandma already I chose Nana-and 6 grand children later it's stuck, along with lots of friends of grandkids, I'm Nana.
Not original but ir makes me happy.

Blame boomers? Really? Seems like a waste of blame and concern. It is apparent most grandparents don’t really care what their grandchildren call them. These are delightful posts.

My given name is Linda. Never felt like a Linda. My grandkids call me Noni and I love it. I chose that name which is way nicer than your parents choosing your name. I wish everyone would call me Noni...

I once collected the names kids I knew called their grandparents. For the most part they were neither boomer-trendy names nor traditional ones, but individual names that arose in families somehow -- often through kids' mispronunciations. Boo and Bop-pop were grandfathers; my own grandmother was Bah. I wish I remembered more. My mother as a grandmother was dubbed "Rengo" because that was how one of the little ones pronounced "Grandma." My father chose to be called "Herm," the name he and a best childhood friend had both called each other, after a radio character. That soon became "Hermie." . . . I think this is a third and stronger trend in grandparent naming: let the kids do it, and you end up with something family-unique.

Easy for me. My real name is Nana (given to me 'cause that's what my Dad called his fave grandmother).....so my grandkids call me "Nana". . .though their other grandmother is also Nana, with a short a--nah-nah. How's that for tricks?!

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