Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Does anyone know anyone who... wants to be called G-Mom?

As I've written before, finding case studies and 'real people' to answer random questions for feature stories is a lot easier in the age of the internet than it was in the early days of my career. You can cast your net a lot wider - and keep your friends at the same time.

But it's not a one-way street. The worst part about being a journalist is that many of your friends are also journalists - so you're in the front row when they're casting about for 'real people' themselves. This is much like being in the front row at a Comedy Event. You can be pretty sure you're going to be embarrassed at some point.

Sometimes, however, it's easy. When my friend David Astle, who writes the Wordplay column in the Spectrum section of the Sydney Morning Herald gets in touch, you can be fairly complacent. He's never going to be looking for people to strip off to show the world 'What real women look like'. I need more friends like David.

Anyhoo, David contacted me, looking for people to share, wait for it, the names by which their parents go when it comes to Grandparenting. I will let him explain:

The issue relates to how more and more Boomers seem to begrudge the ageing allusion of such old-skool monikers as Grandma, or Grandfather. What titles/names have your own folks and in-laws adopted, now with Buzz and Woody on the scene?
Who got Pop and Nan? Does either shirk at the 'oldness' of Gran or Gramps? Are first names preferred, or have you conspired some other family-fied handle? Or maybe you've heard some cute variations out there.
The more I looked into this, the more interested I became - did you know, for instance, that there's a list of 'trendy grandparent names' at Grandma and Nanna have been dumped in favour of, wait for it, Mombo, Gidget, G-Mom and Pebbles, among others. If she wanted to be 'playful' on the other hand, she could be Bamboo, Boomie or, um, Muff. The Grandad side of the spectrum includes such monikers as Mellowman, Granite and Slick.

The pressure.

At our house, The Builders' parents went 'old-skool' (and Dutch) with Oma and Opa, while my Dad is called Pops because that's what we've always called him (too many Archie comics in our youth, perhaps?) and Mum went for Gran. Easy, cool, dignified.

How do you parents and in-laws choose to play it?*

*I know that David will be eagerly reading the comments section of this post, looking for information for his column. If you'd rather David didn't use your response in his Wordplay column on this subject, please say so. We know how sensitive Gran-and-Pop politics can be... Otherwise, your comment may end up being part of David's story. 

[image: luckily, these signs from primsnposies/etsy can be customised...]


  1. My mum's parents were Nanma (mix of Nan and grandma) and Pop. My Dad's parents were Nanny and Grumpy (so named because he was a grumpy old bugger and so-called by 10 grandchildren and many more great grand children).

    My kids call my dad, "Da". I tried to get my son to call my dad "Grumpier" but he went with Da and it stuck. My mum died before the kids were born so she is simply referred to as Grandma. My husband's parents are Nanny Chris (to distinguish her from my kids cousins who also have Nanny Sue) and Poppy Bear (Bear being FIL's nickname).

    I hope all that made some sort of sense.

  2. My husband's folks go by Grandma and Pa, however they are slightly older than Boomers (in their 70s). My mother however became a grandmother at 42 (still had a 18mth old herself) so she choose Marnie, my Father choose Grumpy (but later changed to Grandad). My new step-father goes by Timba/or Timpa, that's what you get when you tell a nine year old boy to choose your title;)
    Actually all my mother's sisters have chosen unusual names (all boomers) Dharma, Lena and Mumma.

  3. My dad almost had a heart attack when we told him we were having a baby and promptly decided he was way too young for grandpa. At 52 he's convinced he should instead be named George. His name is Brad!

  4. My Mum got stuck with Grandma, only because she couldn't think of anything better before my daughter was born. Everyone called her Grandma anyway because she was only 43 when she became a grandmother - it was the ironic nickname. It just stuck.
    My daughter couldn't say Grandma for a long time though, so she called her Bamma.

    We also have a Nanna, Grandpa, Granny and Poppy. Pretty run of the mill!

  5. Oh, and we also have Grandma Carol, who is my besties Mum, honorary grandmother ;)

  6. My children are not the first grand kids on either side, I have found that whatever the first grandchild decides tends to stick for the following grand kids.

    So we ended up with Nana and Pop. Which Miss 5 turned into Poppy as an infant, until she was sternly told, the name is Pop, not Poppy. She replied with, well you can call me "insert full name" not " nickname" at age 3, and he has referred to her by that since.

    The other side we got Ma Ma and Poppy, Ma Ma has morphed to Granny, and we some times make it Granny Gruesome, just to annoy her.

  7. Nana And Papa. Sorry. However the mother of a friend of mine has her grandkids call her 'Nonny' as she wants to sound younger and more groovy. Oh, and because Muff sounds like a vagina.

  8. My parents were soooooo as this describes, although a tad older than baby boomers. My mum declared, "I'm not ready to be a grandma yet" when I told her I was pregnant - I was 36! Exactly when were you going to be ready Mum? Anyway, after much hooing and haaing, she decided on "Lene" about a week before the Munchkin (who she minded once a week) could say it. It's a derivative of her name, "Marlene". I love it because it kinda means "Grandma Lene"... That's nothing!!! My dad wanted to be just Dom, which is his name. It just left "Papa Dom" open for the taking. Needless to say, he is now known just as "Papa"!

  9. We have a bit of a large family with all 4 of my grandparents still being alive when both my kids were born (My fathers mother died in 2009, but Bluey has a vivid memory of her, and so she is still talked about a lot here).
    My parents are Grandma and Pop, Mr Blacks mother was Nana (however we no longer have contact with her), Mr Blacks father and step mother, who live in New Zeland are Gramps and Nanny. Then we go on to my mothers parents who are Great Nan and Great Pop, and my fathers parents who were Oma and Opa (German).
    You cannot reference someone with the wrong name, my kids just look at you puzzled, and now that Bluey is a bit older and can catch on he will correct you.
    We let everyone choose their own names when I was pregnant with Bluey and everyone was pretty happy to work it so they all had different names, whereas growing up my grandparents were Nan and Pop *insert mothers surname*, and Nan and Pop *insert fathers surname*
    You'd think we would have stuck to that system, but nope. Apparently everyone was ready for a change?

  10. Oh this is GREAT conversation! My own mum couldn't wait to be a grandparent, and thus went with Grandma, however, my first born coined her with Grandma Molly (even though her name is Linda) after the fact that her dog is named Molly! And it has stuck! Mini Hoges (four years younger than Junior) wouldn't know it any other way! My step dad (Gma Molly's husband) is known as Grandpa Graham, always, not just Grandpa.
    For the in laws, well, they were no way near comfortable being called traditional grandparent names and left it up to Junior to find his own names. So, Ganma Leith and Johnpa were named and so it is ever after. And we are all really happy and comfortable with these names!

  11. Hmmm... my parents have gone with the very boring 'Grandma and Grandpa' and left it to the kids to make any changes. They've stuck with Grandma and Grandpa.

    Maybe I'm progressive, though, because I made up my own name for my grandmother when I was a tot. She was supposed to be Ma (and Pa for my grandfather, which he kept), but I started calling her Morley when I was very small and it just stuck. She really loved the fact that it made her quite different to all the other grandmas. I also managed to bastardise my aunt's name, so I guess I had a thing for it.

  12. My parents are alive and well, with 11 grandkids ranging in age from 22 down to 2, who all call them Grandma and Grandpa. So when my daughter (the 22 year old) had her baby last year, my husband and I had to come up with different names. We went with Mimi and Pop-pop.
    MY grandmother (great-great grand to the baby) has been called GG (for great gran) ever since my older daughter came along.
    Seems that with people living longer and multiple grands, great-grands, and great-GREAT-grands running around, there is a need for more name choices.

  13. Our son 'claims' he can't say Grandad, so my father in law has been christened 'Dada' by him.
    (His Dad is 'Daddy'.)
    This causes a bit of shame on Grandad's part when they are out and about 'cause he feels people think he's Magoo's 'Dada' for real.
    When I took Magoo to Ireland recently and introduced him to my own father 'Grandad' rolled off his tongue with ease!!
    There was also phase there when Magoo took to calling his grandparents by their first names instead of his usual 'Dada' and 'Nanna'. This caused a lot of offence at the time, but my Hubby calls his parents by their first names. Magoo was simply mirroring him.

  14. P.S. As a child. my Hubby used to distinguish his two grandmas by calling them 'White Nanna' and 'Black Nanna'.
    One was blonde, the other brunette!!

  15. P.P.S. My nephew calls his great grandmother 'Wama Mama Tick Tock'. This loosely translates to 'Great Nanna with the grandfather clock'.

    I'm done now - promise!

  16. I was hoping for Your High Exhulted Lord OF Smart, but setled on Grandpa Joe. Mrs. Cranky is Nona.

    Cranky Old Man

  17. I am a fan of the tried and true, Grandma and Grandpa. I struggle to remember what names everyone goes by and tend to mess it up!

    My mother wants to be called Grandma but my Little Miss started calling them Momma and Poppa so they go by both. I think my MIL perfers Momma and Poppa but they don't always get called that.

    My little man just called everyone Momma and Dadda . . . just easier seeing as those are words he has down pat.

    Does any of this make any sense?! Hopefully.

  18. Great topic. All pretty traditional in my family, Grandma and Grandad, and that will be fine with me when my turn comes along. On the other side, there's an Italian background, so it was Nonna and Nonno, and Bisnonna for the great-grandmother. However, my son was her first great-grandchild, and he could only manage 'Bis'. So, that's what she was called from then on, by all of us, her own children and grandchildren included.

    I think it's sweet when kids come up with something themselves, but pretty contrived when it's forced upon them. I know someone who decided the great-grandmother was to be called G-G, but she thought it made her sound like a horse.

  19. This is so funny becasue I was really confused when none of my kids grandparents wanted to be called Grandma and Grandpa. My parents wanted to be called Mor and Far (Norwegian for mom and dad) and my in-law wanted to be nana and poppa. I accepted the nana but a one-syllable grandparent name wasn't going to cut it. I made my mom switch to Grandma Mor. Much better!

  20. My parents - grandparents to five - are called Bill and Wendy. Not a g-word within earshot.

  21. I love the creativity behind the new names. I sort of wish I'd thought of it. I have have 3 grandkids, and because there is a wide space of years between my oldest child and my youngest, it seemed a little weird to still have a child in grade school with a tot calling me Grandma. I have a friend named Barbara. Her grandkids call her Babs. Adorable. My nickname when I was a kid was DeeDee. I never really liked it, so I don't want my grand kids calling me that. So here I am. Grandma. It's quite wonderful, really. I'm 59. I have gray hair. I don't plan to go under the knife or be botoxed. I make a lovely grandma. I'm glad we didn't go with "G-Dog" (a nod to rap music) as my young daughter suggested.

  22. we have a ya-ya, grandfather, Gramma LV, Granpa Ten. MawMaw and Pawpaw are great grandparents.

  23. Imagine having to go and visit Granite and Muff every Sunday... x

  24. Larry Dooley, what a wonderful response to the Nan & Pop dilemma. Big thanks to all Fibro followers, and to Allison for hosting the question.

    Just for the record, my mum-in-law is Pat, but the kids struggled to say Nana Pat when young, so the dear woman ended up being Numbat, which suits her.

    Meanwhile my Mum, if only she knew these funky alternatives 15 years ago, coz Grandma is now in stone, and I know it chafes her.

    Odds on, barring any breaking news in the realm of leanguage, the Wordplay column will run on Saturday, October 15. Make sure you tell Muff and Granite.

  25. The In-Laws were originally Grandma and Grandpa and my Mum & Step-Dad were Grandmama and Grandpapa (French background).
    There has been a bit of changing names since my first started talking and we now have Oma & Grandpa (In-Laws) and Grandma Jules & Grandpapa.
    We are still trying to work out what to call my Dad and Step-Mum, but we don't see them very often cause they live so far away, but a few suggestions have been made: GG & FiFi (Geoff and Fiona), GP and Fiona, not much really. I think GG and FiFi works well. How bout you? Lol

  26. G-Mom? Horrific!

    My mother has just turned 50 and she practically insists on being called "grandmother". I tell her this is not Flowers in the Attic, and she'll get grandma or nothing. Which is confusing because my mother-in-law insisted on grandma too...

    My dad wanted to be Pops, like his dad was (yep, Archie comics!) but I have always called him Popsicle.

    I have also heard of Nanu for nana, and I actually think that's quite cute and funny, and I know of a Honey instead of grandma/nana.

  27. Oh wait, I also know of a Nanny Goat. Self-chosen. Awful!

  28. My Mum is Mardi as in Gras (her words).

    My grandmother was also Mima after my elder brother (idiot) mispronounced Grandma and it stuck.

    My grandfather was Fafa after my eldest cousin (also an idiot) mispronounced Grandfather and it also stuck.

    Highly intelligent genes in this family. ;-)

  29. My Mum is all retro and picked Nan; her husband is Grandpa. And my stepmother picked out Poppy for my father (I suspect he hates it) and she's Nanna. None of these things match. On the in-law side everything uses Oma and Opa plus their first names because they're *also* divorced and remarried. It's all very confusing and the only one the small boy will say is "Nan".
    Mine were Farm Nan and Inglewood Nan because of where they lived!

  30. My parents are Nanna and Poppa and my in-laws were Grandma and Grandpa, luckily no clashing of titles there.
    I plan to be known as GOB. (Grumpy Old Bitch)

  31. My Mum was horrified at most options - and ended up with Jaja, which I found in a novel as being swahili for grandmother (although later research has revealed this was probably wrong...) Anyway, Dad's pretty easygoing, and opted for the matching African themed "Zazu", as in the bird from the Lion King. We like these names. On the other side, it's just Grandma and Grandpa.

  32. Oh my god! My mother made such a big deal of this. When my son was born she informed me that she wanted to be either called Nan or Grandy (I think that's what it was?) The latter came from one of Virginia Andrews novels that she had read. I looked at her in horror and said that Nan would be just fine, so that's what she's called now. And heavens above if someone refers to her as nana or grandma!

    Wanting to be fair I asked my father-in-law what he wanted to be called - my husband's mum passed away a long time ago when he was a teenager. Anyway, he just looked at me as though I was from another planet. Let them decide what to call me, he said. So when the time came he became Papa, and it all seemed to happen very organically.

  33. oh, my.... the basic grandma and grandpa works for me....

  34. Argh! My mum has been insisting she is G-Ma since my daughter was born and i just cant do it. You are a gran, get over it! Great post :)

  35. We play it very straight in my fam. Nan, Pop, Grandma and Grandad. Although, Grandma (MIL) did ask me to call her mum very early on - I refused. Have been in the bad books ever since. I would prefer G-Ma, or Mama-G. ;)

  36. My mum was known as nanna by my kids, so when my first grandchild was born, I became nanny, with the other grandparents being Nonna and Nonno, because the older Grandma was also still alive. Grandpas seemed to all get called Papa with their initial distinguishing between them.

  37. I called my own grandfather 'Guga' (rhymes with 'bugger') and have no idea why! All his grandkids called him that.

    When my mum became a grandmother in her 40s, she refused anything that sounded old, and selected 'Gully' for herself - her name was Gail. But the grandkids quickly changed it to Gubby, which is what we still remember her by. She also used to complain about how hard DA's crosswords were in the Herald!

    My in-laws are Greek and go by Yia Yia and Papou - very traditional.

  38. Dad is Pop's and durn proud of it.

    Listen, I think you have a fab blog and nominated you for the versatile blogger award. This is voluntary, so if you'd like to participate, please pop over to my site to collect.

  39. Bahahahahahaha.. these are great!

    On hubby's side, we weren't the first so they were already Nana and Poppy. (and more confusingly the great grandparents are all nana and poppie too and there's now two nana mealy's!)

    On my side my daughter was the first, and my grandparents were always grandma and grandpa so they became Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Porter (their last name), and my dad's mum is Nonnie which is what she has always been to us kids & stayed the same for the next gen!

    As for my folks, my dad was happy to be a grandpa even though they're only in their early 50s, and started calling my mum grandma before my daughter was even born.. Pretty sure mum didn't like it but it stuck.. but if this list was around... I can just imagine going over to "GeezerGirl and MellowMan's place" LMAO!

  40. My stepdad's grandson calls him G-Daddy!

  41. My mom was Nana Betty or Nana or Nanny depending on the grandchild. My dad was Grandpa Joe. I noticed that my oldest sister now prefers to be called Nana by her grandchildren. She is a baby boomer. I never thought about it before, but I think your friend is right, nobody wants grandma or grandpa anymore. It sounds old, I guess. But I have never heard sone of those other trendy names you wrote about. How strange!


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