Gramma, Grandmama, Nana, Oma, Nona, Gigi?
August 5, 2014 9:04 AM   Subscribe

What do you call your grandmother? What do your grandchildren call you? What names for Grandmother do you like? I'm about to have my 1st grandson soon (yay!), and will need a grandmother name.
posted by Mom to Human Relations (106 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
As huge Arrested Development fans, my kids call my mother Gangy.
posted by kinetic at 9:08 AM on August 5, 2014 [11 favorites]

My (Midwestern) mom wanted to be called Grammie, while my (East Coast, French-Canadian) mother-in-law wants Grandma. And that's after she dismissed Memeré or Memé out of hand. :7)

My mom's grandmother lived with them for some years, and she had a family nickname that they used. I don't know about my MiL. But in any case, neither one seems to have "recycled" their own grandmother's name or anything obvious. And they each have close to a dozen grandkids now, and I don't sense any regret from either of them.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:09 AM on August 5, 2014

Grandy is my paternal grandmother.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2014

I would go with Grandma and see what the kid does with it.
posted by bleep at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Usually "Grandma" in language of grandmother's origin, even if the children do not otherwise speak the language.
posted by corb at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

My brother and I call our grandma Gram. This is the grown up version of Grammy, which is what we called her when we were little.

This was borne out of her telling us that Granny is what they call old people and she just completely refused to be called Granny ever. So Grammy it was. The m sounds are also very easy for small children to say, so it was an easy, obvious choice of word for us.

(Our grandpa, her husband, was Pa-Paw but he died a long, long time ago. Other grandparents were dead/nonexistent so there was never any this grandma is this and that grandma is that issue.)
posted by phunniemee at 9:11 AM on August 5, 2014

Kid has 4 grandmothers - we based the names partly on what each parent called their grandparents and partly what the grandparents wanted to be called (one grandma said "grandma" sounded too old and preferred granny). So we have two Grandma [firstname]s and two Granny [firstname]s. Firstnames there obviously to prevent confusion.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:15 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

My nephew calls grandma Meema. (Which of course, he came up with.)
posted by catatethebird at 9:15 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandparents are Nana and Grampy, and Grandma and Old Granddad (after the whiskey). Their parents were Grammie and Grandpa. Bae's grandparents on the Greek side are Yaya and Papou and Big Yaya and Big Papou for their parents.

Nana is my favorite, I think -- reminds me of Peter Pan.
posted by likeatoaster at 9:15 AM on August 5, 2014

I call my grandmother Nanny, which is very common for those of English origin. My children call my mother Grandma, and my stepmother Nana.
posted by Requiax at 9:17 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandma has always been Nana. My own mother keeps changing her mind on what she wants to be called - sometimes Nana, sometimes Grandma, sometimes Gram or Grammy/Granny... But she's jumping the gun by about 5-10 years anyway; I'm sure she'll pick one when the time comes. For now, those are the nicknames I'm most familiar with (and I'm secretly hoping she settles on Granny).
posted by Urban Winter at 9:17 AM on August 5, 2014

Names in my family:
Grandma Veronica
Grandma Jean
Grandma Morley

Big Daddy
Grandpa Doug
Grandpa Clyde
Papa Shirley
posted by Ms Vegetable at 9:19 AM on August 5, 2014

I had a Gran [maternal] and Grandma [paternal]. My Gran allegedly announced at the birth of my eldest sibling "I will never be a Grannie!", and that was it settled for the next 30+ years ...
posted by scruss at 9:19 AM on August 5, 2014

My mother insisted on full-on "Grandmother" without any shortening or nickname-y thing at all (actually, her first choice was "Your Majesty," but never mind). It's very cute to hear toddlers say "Grandmother." My father went with Granddaddy (common in the South).
posted by JanetLand at 9:20 AM on August 5, 2014

My mom's name is Ann, so she goes by GranAnn.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:21 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

My mother was called Gigi by her granddaughter which made me think of this. Probably not what a three year old was thinking but definitely what a 33 year old was.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:22 AM on August 5, 2014

I guess I lived in a very boring family. My grandparents were just Grandma and Grandpa; Grandma LASTNAME and Grandpa LASTNAME if I had to distinguish between paternal and maternal grandparents.

My wife calls her grandparents Ouma and Oupa, with the "u" being silent in both words; but she was not born in the US.
posted by tckma at 9:22 AM on August 5, 2014

When I was little, I called them Grandma Firstname and Grandma Nickname.

When I got a little older, I mostly just called them both Grandma. I guess I was the kind of kid that appreciated context.
posted by box at 9:22 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mine are Grandmama and Grandma. But my younger cousins call Grandmama
"Mimi," so there's that, too.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2014

Gram or Gramma here. (Did not have living grandfathers, so we never sorted that one out.) My great-grandparents on my mother's side were alive when I was little, and they were also Gramma and Grampa. The only way we ever distinguished was by first names. (My great-aunt and -uncle were just Aunt Rosie and Uncle Bob, too. Not much for specificity of titles, my family.)
posted by restless_nomad at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2014

Congratulations! And I'm neither a parent nor grandparent, but it seems like you could just let your children introduce you in a neutral way and see how the child comes to refer to you. Pretty sure nicknames like "Meemaw and "Gran-Gran" and etc. etc. originally came about when the grandchild started talking and cutely mispronounced standard terms like "Grandmother" and so forth.

A couple I know has tried to institute "Papa," with the accent on the second "pa" so that it sounds extra-quaint and old-timey, for one of their child's grandfathers. I cringe every time I hear it. It's too precious and their child sounds like an overrehearsed kid actor every time he refers to his Papa. But this couple is kind of obnoxious in other ways, so.

Take all of that with a grain of salt. On preview, Granddaddy was fairly standard in my family. Granddaddy Jim, Granddaddy Watts, etc.
posted by magdalemon at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nana and Poppy for one set. Oma and Opa for another.
posted by barchan at 9:24 AM on August 5, 2014

When I asked my mom what she wanted my kids to call her she said "Grandmother, and see what they do with it." Thirty some-odd years later she remains "Grandmother." My kids are pretty articulate.
My grandson calls me "Grampa Floy d" (the first 'd' is silent) and my SO "Nena" at her request. His grandmothers are "Gramma Jane" and "Gramma Molly"
posted by Floydd at 9:25 AM on August 5, 2014

My kids call my mother either Bubbe or Sara. Sara is not her actual name, but a name she once told them she wanted as a kid. Once in a while, they call her Gran. I also know my nieces and nephews call her something else. She is easy going that way. I do note that I always asked my kids to call me Father (jokingly) and they used to say, "Sure Pops".

I called my grandparents Grandma [First Name]
posted by 724A at 9:26 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

On one side, everyone uses the Polish Babci and Dziadzia, typically turned into Boppy or Bop-chee and Jah-jee because children. Also only Babci and Dziadzia actually spoke Polish fluently.

On the other side was Grandma and Grandpa, often more of a Gramma
and Grampa, again, because children.

Further back from on my Mom's side, she and her siblings differentiated the two sets by using a short form of the last names, resulting in Grandma/Grandpa Beck and Grandma/Grandpa Sans.
posted by carrioncomfort at 9:27 AM on August 5, 2014

Grammy and Puppa for one set; a more boring Gramma and Grampa for the others.

(I have no idea where the names came from, despite being the eldest grandchild for one set and second-eldest for the other)
posted by randomnity at 9:27 AM on August 5, 2014

I grew up with a Memaw and a Mamaw.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:27 AM on August 5, 2014

My Aunt's grandkids call her Gigi. My one grandmother was Granny Fanny (mostly for the rhyme) my Grandma Belle was sometimes Bubbe.

But Grandpa (first name) was for both grandpas.

Although my sister and I are childless, my parents have adopted a neighbor kid, she calls them Grandma Esther and Santa Grandpa (because my dad looks like Santa.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:29 AM on August 5, 2014

I called my grandparents (both sides) Nana and Granddad. (New Zealander, I feel like they are more common terms out of the US).

My husband called his grandparents Grandma LastName and Grandpa LastName, which sounds ridiculously formal to me.

My daughter calls her grandparents Grandma FirstName (for both) and Granddad (for the only one she knows).
posted by gaspode at 9:30 AM on August 5, 2014

My eldest started calling my parents Papa and Mimi as soon as he could talk. The names stuck. Now that my kids are 16 and 9, my parents are trying to get them to use Grandpa and Grandma, but it's not working...
posted by Cloudberry Sky at 9:30 AM on August 5, 2014

Gramma/Grampa, Bubbe/Zayde, and iirc Ayna/Tata but my hungarian is now nonexistent.
posted by elizardbits at 9:31 AM on August 5, 2014

I have a nephew who called my mother Gra-Gra when he was little.
posted by Michele in California at 9:31 AM on August 5, 2014

Locally in the Philippines, the term for grandmother is "Lola". Usually "Lola [Name]".
posted by Hawk V at 9:32 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

When my oldest was born, I tried to christen my parents Grandma Name and Granddaddy Name, since that's what my paternal grandparents were. They were having none of it. My mother insisted on Grami (with a heart dotting the i, natch), beacuse Grandmas are old, but Grammies are awards.

And then, of course, since we had Grami, we couldn't have Granddaddy, so we had Papa. Except the kids already HAD a we had to have Papa Tom and Papa John. But then I went to work at a pizza then we had Papa Tom and Papa John Not The Pizza. Nowadays, it's Papa Tom and Papa, since the former lives across the country and is only seen every few years - and only conversed with once a month or so.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 9:32 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm with magdalemon — don't try to come up with and prescribe a cute name yourself. Start off with "grandma." See if that sticks, or allow it to morph into whatever the kid turns it into.
posted by beagle at 9:33 AM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Where I live (Newfoundland) grandparents are usually called Nanny and Poppy. I called one grandmother Nanny and the other set were Grammy and Grampie.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:33 AM on August 5, 2014

Grandma [lastname] and Grandma [lastname] for me. I see that gaspode used the same names - and yes, looking back it was ridiculously formal. Especially for my grandmothers, who were both hardass midwestern farmwives who took no guff from nobody.

My mother is now Gramma.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2014

My mom was not ready to be a grandma when my sister had her kids - so she is GaGa.

I am trying my hardest to get them to start addressing her as Lady GaGa, but the kids are not on board
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 9:37 AM on August 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

My maternal grandparents (both Boston metro area natives, 2nd/3rd-gen immigrants from Ireland) were Grammie and Papa. My paternal grandparents (from NYC, mostly Irish and German heritage, families immigrated a bit further back) were Grandma and Grandpa. So, there was never any need to distinguish with surnames, usually, except with people who weren't familiar with what my maternal grandparents went by.

(I'm old enough now that my cousins are starting to have kids, which means I get to hear my aunts and uncles called by their grandparent appellations now... hearing my aunt called Grammie is weird.)
posted by Kosh at 9:38 AM on August 5, 2014

I called my grandparents (all of them) "Grandma" and "Grandpa."
posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:39 AM on August 5, 2014

My paternal grandparents lived just up the hill from us my whole life, and they were Grandma and grandpa. My maternal grandparents lived thousands of miles away and we saw her only a handful of times; they were Grandma [lastname] and Grandpa [lastname].

My husband calls his grandparents Grandmom and Grandpop, which I have a hard time rolling off my tongue.
posted by rhapsodie at 9:41 AM on August 5, 2014

My brother and I called all our grandparents "Grandma" and "Grandpa" to their faces. If referring to them in the third-person they were "Grandma Lastname." Heritage is majority midwestern Scandinavian and Oklahoman pioneers to California/Oregon.
posted by muddgirl at 9:45 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandmas were "Grandma in Vancouver" (actually a great aunt, but whatever) and Oma (my actual grandmother, who lived in Germany). My mom is a new Grandma, and she's going with just Grandma, as she's the only one. Two grandfathers are Opa (my Dad, who is German) and Nene (the maternal grandfather, who is Chinese).

That said, these are the things they call themselves and which the parents refer to them as. It's looking more and more like Opa might end up being Papa, because that's what the baby says. I imagine if they keep calling him Opa, she'll eventually learn to call him that, too, but there's a lot of charm in just being called whatever the kid first learns to call you.

She hasn't learned to say Grandma at all, yet, so not sure where that'll end up. She calls her father something close to "Daddeesh" though, and others have started picking up on that and saying "Go give that to Daddeesh" and "I think Daddeesh is home", so I get the impression he's gonna be Daddeesh for quite some time.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:46 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandmother said in no uncertain terms that she was not a Grandmaw or a Granny. She was a Grandmother. That's what we called her. Her great grandchildren called her Gigi, as in "G-G" G for great, G for grandmother.
posted by janey47 at 9:46 AM on August 5, 2014

In my family, we have had the following names/pairs of names assigned by parents or grandparents:

Grandmommy and Grandpa
Grandmother and Granddad
Gram and Gramps
Granny and Abuelo
Grandma and Grandpa (including Grandma and Grandpa [lastname])

We also have had the following names/pairs of names that were bestowed, in whole or part, by the grandchildren (sometimes due to misspeaking "Grandma" and sometimes more organically):

Mommia and Duba
Ama and Poppy
Mia and Poppy
posted by devinemissk at 9:46 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandmother was "Mimi." My mother told me that once, when I was very tiny and starting to babble, my grandmother picked me up and I let out with "Meemeemeemeemeemeemeemeee." Whereupon my grandmother said "Oh! She called me Mimi!" and it stuck. My grandfather then made up "Papaw," he claimed from "popular."
posted by telophase at 9:48 AM on August 5, 2014

One set were Grandma (though I said Gaw-Gaw instead when I was very small) and Pop-Pop. The other set were Mom-Mom (who also declared "Grandma" and all variants thereof to be too old-lady sounding) and Pop-Pop. My great-grandparents were Busia and Dzia Dzia.
posted by desuetude at 9:48 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

My children call my parents Grandma and Grandpa and my wife's father the Japanese equivalent. I called my grandfather Grandpa and my grandmother Gran.

I know that silly names like Peepaw and Nooni are popular and maybe they are cute for small children, but I can't imagine being an adult and calling someone Grandoodle.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:49 AM on August 5, 2014

I called my mom's mom Mimi, and my dad's mom grandma.
posted by skycrashesdown at 9:49 AM on August 5, 2014

I only had one grandparent, my mom's mom, and she was Mémé. My mother is a native French speaker but my dad also spoke French. (He was Papa, but she was always Mommy/Mom. Go figure.)
posted by Room 641-A at 9:49 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

My grandmothers were both Nana [Lastname]. Currently my daughter's grandmothers are Baba (Eastern European origins) and Grandma.
posted by Bardolph at 9:51 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandmothers were Grandma and Nana.

My son's are Nana (his Nana is the daughter of my Nana) and Baba (the person he calls "Baba" is Russian).
posted by agress at 9:58 AM on August 5, 2014

My mom's parents were Mom Mom and Pop Pop to me. My dad's parents were Nanny and Pop Pop Cane (he had a cane).
posted by inturnaround at 9:58 AM on August 5, 2014

My SO is from the deep South and both of his grandmothers are "Nannie Lastname".

My maternal grandmother was a bit formal and preferred Grandmother, and my paternal grandmother is Italian and we've always called her Nonna.
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 10:00 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandparents were Grandpa and Grandma Firstname (where Grandma Firstname was actually my grandpa's second wife; they married when I was a toddler), and Mémère and Pépère. Mémère's mother was alive when I was a child and was Mémère Lastname.

My children call my husband's parents Grandma and Grandpa; they call my parents Nana and Pop. (Incidentally, they call my husband, their dad, Papa. This hasn't caused as much confusion with Papa/Pop as we expected.)

My mother called her grandmother MommyMother, and for some reason we grew up calling her godparents Nanny and Daddy Grandpapa. We once counted up all the different names Daddy Grandpapa answered to, and came up with 15.
posted by SeedStitch at 10:01 AM on August 5, 2014

Congratulations on your soon-to-be-grandmotherhood!

My grandmothers were both Nana [firstname].
posted by brackish.line at 10:01 AM on August 5, 2014

The best 2 grandmother names I ever heard were Sugar and Darling.

My niece and nephews call my mom BeBe now, and it's very cute and easy to say.

My grandmothers were Nonni and Nanny. My grandfathers were Daddy Bill and (the best) Old Grand Dad.
posted by elvissa at 10:03 AM on August 5, 2014

I think you need to get a sockpuppet with whatever name you decide. Although, you will always be Mom to me.
posted by 724A at 10:04 AM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

I call my grandparents Omi and Ompa and Mamma and Grandpa Firstname

My kids call their grandparents:

Nana and Poppy (my mom's generation decided to go with Nana for their grandmother names, tho I use Nonna for my mom since she was smitten with all things Italian and isn't here to make her wishes known)
Memaw and Papaw
Grandma Firstname
Grandpa Firstname
posted by annathea at 10:04 AM on August 5, 2014

My mom and dad are "yia yia" and "pop pop" to all the grand kids in my family.
posted by catrae at 10:09 AM on August 5, 2014

My family is also pretty boring so my grandmothers were just Grandma, with Grandma FIRSTNAME if I needed to distinguish between them.

The best Grandma nicknames are unfortunately ones that just spring up organically. I know someone who is called Annie (Anny?) by her grandkids because the oldest couldn't say Granny.

That said, I also knew someone who didn't want to be Grandma so she did some research and liked the Hawaiian word for grandma, Tutu, so went with that.

I lived in Louisiana and many grandmothers are Mae-Mae, Maw-Maw, or Mimi (Mee-mee?).
posted by radioamy at 10:11 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Tanizaki: "I know that silly names like Peepaw and Nooni are popular and maybe they are cute for small children, but I can't imagine being an adult and calling someone Grandoodle." you get older you can decide to use a less childish version, like a lot of kids do when they decide that "Mommy" is now "Mom."

(I agree that it can be overly precious when adults prescribe very childish-sounding titles for the grandparents, though. It's different when it's the kiddo's own babyish nickname bestowed upon their grandparent.)
posted by desuetude at 10:12 AM on August 5, 2014

I've got a Grandma First Name, and a Grandma Last Name.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:27 AM on August 5, 2014

Grandma (last name), or in the case of my maternal grandmother, occasionally her first name, Anita. My mom's family calls all aunts and uncles by their first name only, so I assume it was an extension of that.
posted by mchorn at 10:36 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandmother (rest her soul) was Din Din - name came from my oldest brother/her first grandchild - she played Matchbox cars with him, sitting on the floor, making a dnnnn dnnnn dnnnn sound for the car noises. He was pre-verbal, but he would lift his little hands up and say DIN DIN! DIN DIN! to get her to sit down and play with him. Totally stuck.
posted by ersatzkat at 10:38 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

You're only going to have so much control of this. Whatever you choose has about a 70% chance of being adorably mangled by the eldest grandchild; that is what they're going to call you for eternity. Unless there's a second-level adorable mangling. E.g., my mom wanted to be Grammy, but my eldest nephew ended up calling her Sammy so adorably that it stuck for two decades. Then my eldest daughter morphed it to Hammy, and just like that, we've got one grandma with two completely unanticipated nicknames.
So go ahead and pick something, but make your peace with probably not being called that. FWIW, my grandparents were Gram & Gramp.
posted by willpie at 10:45 AM on August 5, 2014

Mam-maw and pa-paw in my family said with southern accent.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:47 AM on August 5, 2014

Nana Pop-Pop/Grammy and Pappy for my grandparents. Nana and Pappy Lastname for my dad's grandparents; Happy Pappy was my mom's grandfather. My cousin's kids call my aunt (their grandmother) Mammy, due to a family in-joke about her being old and blue-haired when the oldest was born (she wasn't).
posted by okayokayigive at 10:55 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandparents were Nanny and Pop Pop on one side, and Gram and Pop on the other. My parents are called Mimi and Pop Pop by their grandkids, and my in-laws went for the classic Grandma and Grandpa.
posted by xsquared-1 at 10:59 AM on August 5, 2014

Both my grandmothers were named Patricia; one was Gramma Pat (because her last name started with a W), the other was Gramma S. Gramma S. took it as an affront because she was Gramma Pat to her other grandkids, but we couldn't say double-you, so Es it was.
posted by klangklangston at 11:05 AM on August 5, 2014

Gramma Firstname for both grandmothers.

The Cheaper by the Dozen kids called their German born grandmother Grosie. A German friend of the family told me her granddaughters call her Oma (the youngest called her Mmma when she first learned to talk).
posted by brujita at 11:14 AM on August 5, 2014

Grandma and Grandpa, with their last names appended if we needed to distinguish paternal from maternal. My Polish great-grandmother (the only one of my greats who was alive when I was born) was Busia.

My spouse is half French-Canadian and anyone who's a grandparent on that side of the family is Meme or Pepe. (Slightly off topic, my spouse transitioned gender this year, and has switched from being "Papa" to her kids to being "Mem"--partially short for Meme, to keep the French-Canadian roots, but also because "meme" in French means "same." I love this.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:21 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I remember that about the Cheaper by the Dozen kids--and I was so happy when I read a biography of Lillian Moller Gilbreth a couple years ago which explained that "Grosie" was short for "grosmutter," German for grandmother. Makes perfect sense but I didn't get that as a child.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:23 AM on August 5, 2014

I called my grandmothers "Grandma" and grandfathers "Grandpa", and they were referred to (by me and them) as Grandma and Grandpa LastName. Scandinavian/American northeasterners.

My mother and father and MIL and FIL are "Grandma FirstName and Grandpa FirstName" to my baby son.
posted by Cygnet at 11:24 AM on August 5, 2014

Nana and Granddad on one side, Mema and Poppa on the other—"Mema" (pronounced "mee-ma") being the best I could do with the word "Grandma" at the time. My mother has decided to go with Bobbi (not sure how my family traditionally spells it, but this is a guess), which is what my great grandmother was called and is, I suppose, sort of a bastardization of the Czech babička. I think she chose well, but then, that side of the family is of Bohemian origin, so.

Regardless, be prepared for the little one to potentially mangle whatever you choose. Mema wanted to be Grandma, and indeed that's what her other grandkids called her, but she was always (and will always be) Mema to me.
posted by cellar door at 11:25 AM on August 5, 2014

Regardless, be prepared for the little one to potentially mangle whatever you choose.

Seconding this - One set of cousins called our grandparents "Mimi" and "Grampie". Another set of cousins then tried calling those same grandparents "Mimi" and "Grampie" as well, except "Grampie" got turned into "Boppie" somehow.

Actually, it's kind of weird that my brother and I went with the much more mundane "Grandma" and "Grandpa."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:28 AM on August 5, 2014

My grandparents were Grandmom A, Grandmom B and Grandpop B; when they became great-grandparents, Grandmom B declared she wanted to be Oma and Grandpop B would be Pop-pop. My parents went with Grandpop and Grandmom; now my sisters all go with Grandma or -mom. Boring, I know.

On the other hand is a former coworker, who decided he was "too young" to be called any variant of Grandfather: he's taught his grandson to call him Ace.
posted by easily confused at 11:33 AM on August 5, 2014

GMops and GPops.
posted by MelissaSimon at 11:38 AM on August 5, 2014

It was grandma and grandpa for us. When my mom remarried, our stepdad's folks were introduced as our new Nana and Papa, but away from them I always said they were my step grandma/grandpa, because I was a preteen, and Nana/Papa felt weird to me. My oldest calls his dad's parents Mamaw and Papaw, with the first "a" being a short one (like in cat) and the second being long (like in paw). My parents, to my kids, are grandma (name) and grandpa (name).

Kids will turn grandma/grandpa into what works for them. The trick is being open to what they name you, I'd say. One of my friends is Laurie, but all her nieces and nephews call her Lala, which started when one was a baby and stuck.

Congratulations on being a new grammy/grandma/gama/nana/gammy/etc. :)
posted by routergirl at 11:38 AM on August 5, 2014

Our daughter was the first grandkid and right before she was born my mom informed everyone that she hated "Grandma" and wanted to be called "Grandy" (and so she is.) My good friend immediately insisted that, in that case, he did not want to be Uncle, but "Undie." It totally stuck and spawned years of underwear-related humour and confused looks when my kids talk about him.
He lives in Europe now and one year he sent the kids felt Y-front Christmas ornaments that he made.
posted by chococat at 11:50 AM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm Italian so my grandmothers were both Nonna. My mother passed away and she'll be Nonna to my daughter.

My husband's grandmothers are Mam and Mamere, but he's half French-Canadian. His mom is now Nana to the grandkids.

His dad is Bub to everyone, including his own mother and kids, so he's Bub for the grandkids too.
posted by lydhre at 11:55 AM on August 5, 2014

My son "Daddy" and DOL "Momma" decided that I should be called Papa. My wife opted for Amma. Maternal grandmother is Gramma. Collectively we all call the grandbaby "The cutest baby ever".
posted by X4ster at 11:57 AM on August 5, 2014

our stepdad's folks were introduced as our new Nana and Papa, but away from them I always said they were my step grandma/grandpa, because I was a preteen, and Nana/Papa felt weird to me.

Yeah--I'm a stepmom, and my parents have been happy to embrace the "grandparent" role for my stepkids (it's the only chance they'll get since I'm an only who isn't having bio-kids), but my steps call them by their first names rather than any grandparent name variant. (Same as me--I've always been called by my first name with no maternal embellishments, and I never really thought of anything else). I don't think there was ever any specific discussion of what they'd be called, it just turned out that way.

(Spouse's mom died before any grandkids were born and her dad remarried; she's always chosen to be called Nanny rather than Memere, since she doesn't have the French-Canadian thing going.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:57 AM on August 5, 2014

I called my 4 grandparents Grandma and Grandpa Firstname, or generally just granma or granpa if I was around just one set. My kids' also call 3 of their 4 grandparents Grandma and Grandpa. My MIL picked her own name, which....sigh, ok. We call her that, but it is a weird infantalized thing and kind of drives me crazy.

Generally, I like upholding family traditions, so if you have some linguistic variation on a grandparent name, or something that your family likes to call grandparents, I think that's really cool. I like neologism names that kids create on their own. Some names that grandparents come up with on their own I really like, but I'd avoid stuff you pick because it sounds "old" to be called grandparent or cutsie names that sound like something a child might say, but don't really. I guess I'm grumpy like that.
posted by goggie at 12:01 PM on August 5, 2014

Grandma for both grandmothers, though my cousins called my paternal grandmother Oma (because their mom -- i.e., my uncle's wife -- is German). We also tended to refer to our maternal grandparents as Grandma Firstname and Grandpa Firstname, but only ever referred to our paternal grandparents as Grandma Lastname and Grandpa Lastname.
posted by scody at 12:14 PM on August 5, 2014

Oh, and sometimes "Grams" as a secondary way of addressing our maternal grandmother.
posted by scody at 12:15 PM on August 5, 2014

My grandmother (the only grandparent I remember) was Grandma or Babcia (polish). My own mother refused any "Gran" designation and so my nephews call her Nana and my father is Papa.
posted by marylynn at 12:15 PM on August 5, 2014

One set of grandparents were Nanie (NAY-nee) and Papau (PA-paw) (where the first "a" is like the "a" in "path").

The other set were simply Grandma and Grandpa.

One great-grandma was called G.G.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 12:36 PM on August 5, 2014

We call my mom's parents grammy (although the rest of my cousins call her mimi) and pappy. My dad's mother died before I was born. My dad's dad was pap pap lastname. My great grandmother was mummo.
posted by Nolechick11 at 12:44 PM on August 5, 2014

The grandchild names you, I think. Anyway, that is how my mom ended up with the name Damn.
posted by medeine at 12:51 PM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

I didn't see this mentioned yet - my kids have a grandma they call Nan (her idea). Male equivalent is Pop, which I think is too traditionally dad-oriented, but it's kind of up to the grandfolks on what they want to be called.
posted by mgogol at 1:06 PM on August 5, 2014

One set of grandparents requested I call them by the Greek words for grandma and grandpa, yiayia and papou.

My other set of grandparents I made up names for when I was learning to talk--one is Papa, which is pretty normal, but I made up a complete nonsense word for my grandmother. I have no idea where it came from or how it started, but it stuck. She loves it.

That's the benefit of being the first born grandchild, you get to do the naming!
posted by inertia at 1:25 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I called both of my grandmothers Nanny (insert first name) until i was about 7-8 and then we switched to Granny from nanny.. I don't know why. They were married to grandpa ________ and grandpa _______.

My oldest ended up naming my mom. Mom was determined to be anything but a grandma and had lots of cute names picked out. Before she was 2, my oldest child had discarded all of those names and gave her one - she is Papa (insert her first name) and my dad is Papa (insert his first name). it is awesome and even more so because it came organically from the grandchild.
posted by domino at 1:33 PM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am Nana to both sets of grandchildren and the DH is Papa or Papa G, depending on which set of grands he's with.
posted by Lynsey at 1:38 PM on August 5, 2014

When my daughter was small, too small to speak, we all addressed my mother as her grandma. Then, one day when my daughter was about two, we went downstairs one morning and she saw my mother, and she said, "Hi, Bacon!"

Daughter is now eleven, and my mother has been Bacon for the last nine years. YMMV.
posted by MeghanC at 2:10 PM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

My preschool-age son and all subsequent grandchildren call their grandparents by their real first names. Going by this thread, that seems unusual, but I've never heard anyone remark on it.
posted by xo at 3:13 PM on August 5, 2014

Grandmothers were both Mamaw (with lastname if needed to distinguish). One great-grandmother was Granny (but signed herself Mamaw Firstname for some reason). Another great-grandmother was Mammy or Mamaw, but I didn't know her so well, and she died when I was five so nothing really stuck so much. All Appalachian, of course.
posted by dilettante at 3:17 PM on August 5, 2014

I called my grandparents Mommom and PawPaw
posted by Grumpy old geek at 4:02 PM on August 5, 2014

My mother-in-law is Nonna, my father-in-law is Pop - their preferred names. My mother is Gran, and her partner is Grand-al (grand + Allen, his name) - again, chosen by them.

My paternal grandparents were Nanna and Poppa, and I called my maternal grandmother by her first name, as did everyone else in the family.
posted by fever-trees at 5:20 PM on August 5, 2014

My maternal grandma was "Gummy" because I couldn't say grandma or granny or whatever she wanted to be called. She was Gummy until the day she died.
posted by kathrynm at 5:49 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Way back when I had grandparents, they were grandma and grandpa, pronounced more like 'gramma' and 'grampa'. This seemed pretty common amongst other Canadian kids at the time.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:04 PM on August 5, 2014

Gramma/Grampa (but not a Grandma/Grandpa)
Bubbe/Zayde for the great grandparents because that's what my mom already called them
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 8:25 PM on August 5, 2014

My parents were granny and grandpa to my kids. My wife's parents are grandma and grandad. Those names were consistent with family usage on both side from when we were kids.
posted by crocomancer at 2:56 AM on August 6, 2014

My mother insisted she wasn't old enough to be a grandmother when grandchildren began to be born (even though I and my stepbrothers were all in our late 20's/early 30's when the sproglets started to arrive). She had/has an issue with aging, and refused to be associated with something as old as a grandmother.

So she took the first letter of her first name, and substituted it for the first N in Nanna. I can't be too specific (she's just got an ipad and is learning to google), but let's say her first name is Danielle... she is known as Danna. I hated it at first, but now it's grown on me, and all her grandkids' friends know her as Danna too, so it's quite sweet.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:55 AM on August 6, 2014

I called all of my grandparents Grandma and Grandpa when talking to them, but referred to them as Grandma and Grandpa [paternal last name] and Grandma and Grandpa [maternal last name]. So far, my kids basically do the same but instead of last names use "Daddy's Grandma and Grandpa" and "Mommy's Grandma and Grandpa".
posted by freezer cake at 10:00 AM on August 6, 2014

I call my Grandmother "Gram".
posted by goml at 10:27 PM on August 6, 2014

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