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Names for grandparents...


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#1 Hoping2BaMummy

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

So I was trying to avoid this debate this early (I'm only 4wks!!) but it started last night when we told DH mum & stepdad. In my family the dads mum was grandma, and the mums mum was nan. I was thinking this is the way we'd go as my mums mum was my nan and thought shed like this. But MIL last night said she's going to be nanna... I'd pre-warned DH beforehand that I didn't want to go there yet so we ignored it. She said her boys called her mum that, but she's forgotten that she's now on the boys side!!

I'm not even sure about the grandpa side of things bcos I only ever knew 1 of my grandpa's, so he was grandpa.

#2 Cranky Kitten

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:41 AM

Oddly enough, even if they wind up calling themselves the same thing, it still works out. My mum decided early on when my niece was born that she wanted to be Nanna, this has kind of evolved to Nanny now that she's got a few more grandies. DH's mum is also Nanna to SIL's kids already, so DD occasionally says "Nanna Austen" or "Nanna Whyte" but directly to them it's still just Nanna.

You may also find that your kids make up their own names - my step grandfather was called Corgi by the oldest grandchild and it stuck forever and a day. My stepfather sometimes gets called Gannon as the kids struggled with "Grandad"

Let your parents pick what they like - it'll evolve when the kids start talking anyway.

#3 MarigoldMadge

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:45 AM

is this the first grandchild on both sides? If not, you may have to go with what's already established by the other grandchildren.

Growing up both my grandmothers were called Nana - it's not really a big deal...

Honestly, let it go - you may find that your child has a pet name that they prefer to us - my cousin always called my Nana Kath, Kay-Kay, right up to her death when my cousin would have been in her 20's.

#4 Isolabella

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:46 AM

I found the last thing my mum wanted to be called was what her mum was called ( I believe anything but that was the phrase used).

We have slight Italian ancestors, so my folks decided to be Nonna and Nonno ( I had nan and pop ).  That was more because SIL was German and her folks were oma and opa

MIL decided she wanted to be Nanny.

Like PP said they pick their name.

options I want when my time comes.... Grandy. I know my GGGGrandmother was Duchess.

Eta it is a family joke that one of my kids refers to my folks as the two Nonnos.

My Grandmother (still kicking at 94) was Nan to all of my cousins, but wants to be Nanny G with her GGrandkids. Works OK....except mil is a Nanny G too.

Edited by lsolaBella, 19 January 2013 - 08:49 AM.


#5 Riotproof

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:48 AM

It doesn't really matter what the grandparents decide, kids tend to have their own minds about it.

My ils spent months deciding what they wanted to be called. Fil wanted grand dad, mil wanted grandma.
Ds calls fil Papa, we think he was trying to say grandpa, but it's stuck now. Mil was called Lady for a time, and now she's called something that sounds like Ema, we think he's think he was trying to say grandma.

Mum who wanted Nanna is Nanna. I expect Nanna is a bit easier to say, plus she is already Nanna to my nephew so the family use it already.

Whatever happens will work out, even if you have two Nanna's.

#6 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:51 AM

My parents are Grandma and Grandfather and DHs parents died when he was young. I agree with some PPs that children often make up their own names for their grandparents. My neighbours grandsons call him Grar and their other grandfather is Fart. Another friend's children call their grandfather Mumps.

#7 probyber

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:58 AM

my mum wanted just Ma and Dad wanted Pa HOwie, the Ma stayed its what we all call her and dad anded up being powie. Pa Howie combined. Wouldn't have it any other way.

#8 Akeyo

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:10 AM

We asked the respective grandparents what they wanted to be called and left it up to them, there was no crossover. My parents are classic baby boomers who weren't keen on the usual Grandma/Grandpa title (forever young!) so have their own unique monikers which works. The PIL went the traditional route of Nanny and Pa.

QUOTE (PinkNBlue85 @ 19/01/2013, 09:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Unfortunately it doesn't matter what you want as the parents will call themselves what they want. My mum and dad are nanny and poppy to the grand kids and I like that my Inlaws however MIL insists in being called mama (I hate this as to be its a name for me the mother) it doesn't matter how many times I have approached her about my discomfort she will still call herself mama whilst FIL is grandpa. Originally MIL was grandmother but she shortened it to mama.

I hope your situation is different but I find that no matter what MIL uses what she wants with no respect to me.


I find that quite bizarre! I would be very uncomfortable with that too PinkNBlue85, there is a huge difference between Grandmother and Mama - it's not a natural shortening at all! Your child has only one mama and that's you. And strange that even though you have voiced your feelings about it, she has persisted. As you say, that is so disrespectful.


#9 marnie27

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:17 AM

My children have seven living grandparents, and all the grandmothers wanted to be Nanna. We ended up with Nanna (mil) Nanna Sxxx (their dad's mum) Nanna Mxxx (their dad's stepmum) and Nanna Pxxx (my stepmum) - so Nanna and their first name. We also have Poppy (fil) Poppy Gxxx (their dad's dad) and Grandad Jxxx (my dad) - no idea why he gets his first name tagged on as he is the only grandad except it sounds good and it "matches" better with his partner.

The only stipulation we had that no one could share a title with my mum as she passed away many years ago before the kids were born. I wanted her to have something with my kids no one else has. It's bittersweet to hear my little boy point her out in pictures and refer to Grandma Jxxx.  

Don't worry too much about the shared name thing - my kids have four Nannas and it worked out fine.

#10 Pompol

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:29 AM

I had two Nannas. I named them after their pets, so where there was any confusion or they were both present, I called one Kitty Nanna  and the other Puppy Nanna. In hindsight, probably  offensive calling my dear, sweet grandmother a dog, but given I was an adorable tiny child at the time it started, no feelings hurt wink.gif

My kids have two Nannas too. DS has given them nicknames - we have (cousin's name) Nanna who lives in our hometown with us and said cousin, and (distant city) Nanna. MIL was adamant she would be "Nanny" and has tried to make the kids use the word, but even with my reinforcing it, this has never stuck. My daughter insists on calling my father "oh-poppa" to everyone's amusement, no idea where that came from either.

So I guess my point is - it REALLY doesn't matter if grandmothers use  the same word, and at the end of the day your kids will probably put their own spin on things anyway original.gif

As or "Mama", do they happen to be Italian?  I knew a family growing up who called their grandmothers "Mama". In our extended family we have a set of croatian grandparents (Baba/Didda). Baba is pronounced "Bubba" and this causes no end of confusion for little ones and outsiders, but given the importance of the cultural reference for the people involved there's no way we couldn't (or wouldn't) use it.



#11 Lulu_R_S

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

I had asked both my mum and my mil what they wanted to be called. My mum is grandma and his mum is Nanna. DD has since changed both so Nanna became Nanny and grandma became G'G. My dad wasn't super involved before he passed so he got called grandpa as the Fil is granddad. Fil has a new partner who has asked DD to call her Nanna Jo but she just calls her Jo. It's hard when parents are difficult but as pp have said you'll find the kids often end up coming up with their own special names

#12 binchen

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:39 AM

We are using Oma and Opa (German) for all of them. First name added when they are all in one room (rarely happened) otherwise just Oma and Opa.

#13 ~Bells~

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:47 AM

Names for grandparents can be a tricky one. I'm fortunate that this bub is not the first grandchild for either side, so names are already established by other grandchildren. DH's parents are Grandma and Grandad and my parents are Nan and Pa.

Though when my sister was having her bub (first grandchild on either side) there was a fuss. My mother was adamant that she would only be Nan, not Nanna (her MIL) or Nanny (she just didn't like it) but my nephew eventually started calling her Nanny (we encouraged it) and now she doesn't mind it. My father was a little resistant to becoming a grandparent and refused to decide on a title - we joked that the baby could call him "Grumps", which he didn't like. But towards the end of her pregnancy, he just came out with "I want to be Pa" and that was that! FTR - he loves being a Pa.

My sisters PILs have the names for grandparents for their culture, so that was easy.

Good luck OP, your parents will choose what they want, and your kids will either go along with it, or come up with their own names for them. original.gif


#14 Hoping2BaMummy

Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:01 AM

Thanks everyone, you've put my mind at ease! First child, and first grandchild... We'll just go with the flow I think!! Love the variety of names.

#15 Mrs Daryl Dixon

Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:21 AM

We went with Grandama for my mum, which as soon as DD (now 12.5yrs) could speak became Mamma, as she couldn't pronounce Grandma. Maternal grandfather was immediately Grumpsy, shortened to Grumps, as in reality, he is a fairly grumpy man!! He likes it, so it's all good.  Paternal grandparents are Nan and Da, which s easy.mi love that the maternal grandparents names are very personal, reflect them and their wishes. rolleyes.gif

#16 Aspiring2BaGiraffe

Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

I had 2 Grandmas growing up - but one Grandad, one Grandpa.  We would use last names to say who we were talking about, but would just call them Grandma etc to their face.What annoys me though is that my brother and I are the oldest on my mums side and so we have called her Grandma for 30 years. All my other 8 cousins call her Nanna! I don't think you can change it when a new kid is born! Anyway too late now!
My parents are already called Nanna and Grandad by my nephew. I'm going to ask my MIL what name she would like to use.  And if she wants to be Nanna too that's fine!
I've joked with DH that we can use their hair as descriptors. My mum has short spiky hair and MIL has long curly hair...spiky Nanna and curly Nanna! Done!

#17 cassidysmummy

Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:04 AM

My mum in Grandma and MIL Is Nanna, Bot Grandads are Grandad.

My mum in Grandma and MIL Is Nanna, Both Grandads are Grandad.

#18 somila

Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:09 PM

From the current generation of grandparents (my siblings and their in-laws included) we have ...

Grandma, Grandpa, Grandy, Poppa, Nanny, Pappy, Gung-gung, Paw-paw, Mamatje, Babatje.

Please excuse any multi-cultural spelling errors (I've never seen the Chinese and Indian ones written), but as the OP said, the variety is gorgeous isn't it?

I'm planning on being Grandma, but as long as it's not Nanna, Nan, or Nanny I won't mind!

#19 Choufleur

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:13 PM

My mum is Granny, which is what her mum was to us.

DH's mother is also Granny to the cousins - she lives in the UK so it's not such an issue, but all the cousins call her Granny Brigid (and the other one they call Granny Rita I think her name is).  I'm not big on using first names, I thought we'd call her Granny B but we haven't been to the UK, and when they were here DD was very tiny.

I'm sure we'll sort something out...

#20 Mr-Salt

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:42 PM

QUOTE (PinkNBlue85 @ 19/01/2013, 08:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Unfortunately it doesn't matter what you want as the parents will call themselves what they want. My mum and dad are nanny and poppy to the grand kids and I like that my Inlaws however MIL insists in being called mama (I hate this as to be its a name for me the mother) it doesn't matter how many times I have approached her about my discomfort she will still call herself mama whilst FIL is grandpa. Originally MIL was grandmother but she shortened it to mama.

I hope your situation is different but I find that no matter what MIL uses what she wants with no respect to me.



I called my grandmother Mama and I wouldn't of had it any other way. She also called her grandmother Mama and when I become a grandmother I want to be Mama! I've seen so many people comment saying that it would be confusing for a child but my sister, cousins & myself never had any "confusion" about it original.gif My parents haven't really decided what they would like to be called. MIL is already called Nan and FIL Pop. My great grandmother was 'Nin' so maybe that.

#21 hanz33

Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:13 AM

QUOTE (Hoping2BaMummy @ 19/01/2013, 08:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So I was trying to avoid this debate this early (I'm only 4wks!!) but it started last night when we told DH mum & stepdad. In my family the dads mum was grandma, and the mums mum was nan. I was thinking this is the way we'd go as my mums mum was my nan and thought shed like this. But MIL last night said she's going to be nanna... I'd pre-warned DH beforehand that I didn't want to go there yet so we ignored it. She said her boys called her mum that, but she's forgotten that she's now on the boys side!!

I'm not even sure about the grandpa side of things bcos I only ever knew 1 of my grandpa's, so he was grandpa.


why not let the child decide, she/he will end up giving them a name. I don't see it as a big deal though I will ask the grand parents what they would like to be called and initially call them that in front of the baby.

I feel like it is something the Grandparents can enjoy and feel apart of the family.



#22 SeaPrincess

Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:25 AM

Let them choose - our children have 5 grandparents, 2 living great-grandparents and a step-great-grandparent.  In addition to all those different names, my children call my BFF's mother Nanna Surname.

#23 theweehaggis

Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:05 PM

we have a 'panga' (grampa but DDs version) 'gan gan' (gran but the other two grandkids call her gan gan so its stuck!) a granny and grandad and a grandma (great granny, the other great granny has little to do so there has never been the need) - they are all in the uk where the grans and grandas seem to be more common. lol




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