This Life...

Naming Grandma

I’m going to be a grandmother and probably sooner than later at this point since DIL is home on rest and quiet after yesterday’s checkup with the obstetrician. We’re sending all kinds of “stay put, kid!” energy to the little jumping bean because he needs just a couple more weeks in the oven. So, if you’ve got some good energy to spare, send it out to DIL, okay? Thanks!

The naming thing has been on my mind. The writer in me objects to being called just plain “Grandma.” I know that’s probably bratty. Grandma is a perfectly acceptable moniker and there’s no reason why our little JB can’t call both his grandmothers by the same name and just add our first or last names to avoid confusion. However, I’ve been cruising the Web, old books, and questioning my friends who are already grandparents, looking for just the right name for me.

Husband was easy—he’s Pops. He looks like a Pops. He acts like a Pops. Son loves that name for him and so will the jumping bean. I’m such a Francophile that I seriously considered “Grandmere,” but it was way too formal. As kids, we called our grandmother Nana and that’s also what my sister Kate’s grandkids call her, so that was off the table. My mom was Grandma California, which worked really well for her since she lived in California and the name kept her separate from my dad’s companion, who was Granny. I don’t want to be named after my state though, and besides, both sets of the bean’s grandparents-to-be live here—won’t work. And Granny? No. I am so not a Granny.

I suggested that the kid just call me Nan (it is my name), but Son nixed that immediately, with a rather snarky, “Or how about Mrs. Reinhardt?” I thought about Nonna, Grammy, and had just about settled on the Frenchy Mémé (pronounced Meh-may), when it occurred to me that I should stay away from names that sound too much like Mommy or Mama.

As Husband and I drove home from the lake last weekend, Son and I texted on the topic, and he said, “How about Nanny?” I gave it a dry run to Husband, “What do you think of Nanny and Pops?” It got a grin (the dimpled kind, which is always a good thing!). I took that as approval. Son likes it a lot, so I’m going to be Nanny.

I’ve been practicing. “Come hug Nanny.”

“Nanny and Pops love you so much.”

“Want to walk down to the lake with Nanny?”

“How about a boat ride with Nanny and Pops?”

“Nanny’s going to read you a story.”

Sounds good doesn’t it? I like it. It’s a go… So that’s done. Whew! Now all we have to do is wait for the little guy to make his appearance…but not too soon. I think it would be quite lovely of him to be born on our wedding anniversary (coming up in about three weeks). Maybe I’ll have DIL mention it to him…


  • Nan

    Thanks for the validation everyone! So far so good–our little jumping bean is staying put as of this afternoon. Tomorrow is their baby shower, so I hope he can hang in for a while longer.

    Julie–I have a Papa Leo in my current WIP–how fun!!

    Big hugs to all from Nanny!!

  • Julie

    Oh yipee for a great name! My mom became Granny, which went VERY well with what her “other” kids were calling her: Nanny. Because she WAS their nanny, it was her job.

    I had a Gram and a Nana, and will be the next generation of Nanas (so far only Nana to the dogs) because I love the warmth of it. I never had a Grampa, but I had a Papa Leo and a Papa Bill. We don’t know what Dan is going to be, but my dad is called GrandSir (which is a really funny story, told most recently over at my place).

    Stay put Nan’s grand-baby! No early surprises needed, she’s got the name worked out, so there’s no rush!

  • Judy, Judy, Judy

    Nanny and pops seems perfect.
    Kat, my gdaughter is now 14 yo. When she was 3 yo I had been out of town for 3 months. I came back and she came running to me, threw her arms around me and said, “Hi Washers.” No one knows why and she doesn’t remember why but her brother, Jay, now 11 yo, mimicked her. I have been Washers or Grandma Washers for years now.
    I like it. They gave me their own name for me.

  • Anna

    Nanny works for you! 🙂

    I called my grandmothers Nana (who had Grampy, who died before I was born) and Grandma (and Grandpa). My BF’s kids call her parents Grandma & Grandpa, and her in-laws are Grandma & Grandpa Florida, since that’s where they live. Her grandmother is Great-Mama. My cousins’ kids call my aunt & uncle Nana & Pops, and our grandmother was Great-Nana before she died. There are so many choices!!

    I don’t have kids yet, but I always wondered about what my kids will call my parents and their other grandparents. I guess we’ll see! 🙂

  • Diva

    I love nanny! I was gonna suggest “nan” myself bc it’s a good informal, friendly version of nana and also bc my bestie’s grandparents were nan and pops to all of us all our lives. So much so that when I was fifteen and my mom said what are erin’s grandparents’ names? I went, um, nan and pops? 🙂

    Nanny is what my work bestie’s gd calls her and it’s really cute shrieked across a playground by a gleeful four year old, fyi.

  • robena grant

    Oh, Nanny is so perfect for you, and it does complement Pops. : )

    Sending all good wishes that the jumping bean settles down and awaits his time. My first was six weeks early, so yeah, know what you are all going through. Happy, healthy, wishes to all.

  • Liz Flaherty

    LOL. I’m Grandma to the first one, Nana to five others, and Nanny to one who marches to his own drum, but they all decided on their own according to what they could pronounce and what they called their other grandmothers. Two of my grandsons called their other one “Mimi” and it worked beautifully. In the end, it doesn’t matter at all, because you with answer to ANYthing!

    Sending good thoughts to both you and Pops (I really like that) and your DIL and son.

  • Melanie

    Nanny is perfect! My children have 5 Grandma’s (due to divorce and remarriage) and they all have different ‘names’. One is Nanny! (also, Momo, Gram, Grammy, & Great-Grandma). Both Grandpa’s ended up with Poppy though, so we have Momo’s Poppy and Grammy’s Poppy! That is a bit of a pain.

    You will be a great Grandma!!

  • KarenB

    I remember my mom going through this! When my girl child was born she had two great-grandmothers, both were grandmas, and two grandmothers, one of whom immediately grabbed grandma as well. So she went with Nonna which she was and is quite happy with. Of course, when boy child was born 3 years later she was the only one left, but she was Nonna to all by then. I was part way through reading your post and thought why not Nana since it incorporates your name or Nanny for the same reason, and there you are!

    Will be sending strong “stay put and cook a little longer” vibes in your DIL’s direction!