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Choosing a Name for the New Grandmother

Published April 13, 2011        by Sarah

Image by surlygirl on FlickrMany times when a couple has their first child, they have no idea what to call the new grandmother and grandfather. If it’s the first grandchild in the family, there may be no precedent set. So the selecting falls to either grandma or grandpa themselves or the couple.

Many times a tradition in the culture will dictate what a new grandmother is called. Nowadays, great grandmothers are often healthy and involved with the family, so new names may need to be chosen for the next generation of grandparents.

If you don’t have a name ready for what your children will call grandma, don’t panic. After all, your child won’t be able to talk until he’s almost two. So you do have some time to think about it. Ask your mom or your husband’s mom what she’d like to be called. Many times they will have already had a name in mind that they dreamed of hearing a little voice call them. If it’s ok with you, use it. No need to ruffle feathers.

If you have siblings who are also going to be having children soon, ask them for input. What would they like their children to call your mom someday? You will all be using the same name for grandma, hopefully, so decide together.

Often kids when they learn to talk will make up their own names for their grandparents. It might sound like babble to you, but grandma swears she heard Bambi and that name is going to stick. You can make up your own name, too. Anything goes. As long as everyone likes it, there’s no limit.

Here are some names you might choose to go with: gramma, gram, grannie, grandmother, grandma, nana, grandmom, nonni, nona, mimi, mammaw, mommom, gitchey, lolly, nooni, toots, mayzie, abuela, mormor, teta, soosa, cece, gadget, grams. These are just a few of the names that different cultures and different groups choose to call grandmothers. You can name your mom anything you like as long as it fits. But just remember that it’s going to stick for a long while. And the other kids will have to use it, too.

There are books about just exactly this topic. Find a good one on how to choose a grandmother name. You’ll find great ideas like groomoeder (Dutch), Savta (Hebrew), Oma (German), Grandmere (French), YaYa (Greek), Nenek (Indonesian), Tutu (Hawaiian), Baba (Bulgarian), Babicka (Czech), Bomma (Flemish), Meme (French Canadian), Lola (Filipino), Mummo (Finnish), Bubbie (Yiddish) and Nonna (Italian). Just make sure you decide on some form of the word before Grandparent's Day! What will you put in the card?

Even if you pick the perfect name and everyone loves it, be prepared to have baby’s sweet voice change it into something different. His version of Babicka could sound nothing like the original word. In fact, it will put a unique twist on grandma’s name and will probably stick.

Today with grandmothers becoming even more involved in raising their grandchildren, the name that is chosen will surely be one of love, admiration, and respect. And most likely it will be chosen by the first grandchild when he’s old enough to utter his first syllables. Look forward to that exciting time and enjoy hearing his little voice call out for his grandmother. No matter what he happens to call her.