Thanksgiving is this week, and Christmas is 31 days away (but who’s counting?), so as people gear up to see family, I’m curious: What do you call the grandparents? Our names are weird…
For my own grandparents, we called them Milly and Dilly (my dad’s side) and Nana and Bumpa (my mom’s side). No idea why!
In 2009, the Boston Globe reported that the older generation is moving away from the classic “Grandpa” and “Grandma” titles, in an effort to feel younger. “Sure, they want to be grandparents,” they wrote, “Just don’t call them that.” The New Grandparents Name Book suggests alternate names, like “Bubbles,” “Pebbles,” “Rocky” or — for wine enthusiasts — “Sonoma” and “Napa.”
When Toby was born, we weren’t sure what to call our parents. Alex’s mom wanted to be called “Grandma,” so after brainstorming alternatives, my mom settled on “Nana.” For my dad, “Grandpa” felt absurd. He is debonaire and all my friends secretly think he’s a spy; Grandpa just felt too pipe-and-cardigan-y. When Toby arrived, we started off calling him a rotating list of names (Jeremy, Grampy, Gramps…) until finally Toby, who couldn’t pronounce Grandpa, called him “Opa” when he was about a year old. And it stuck! We didn’t realize at the time that Opa and Oma are the names for grandparents in Germany and the Netherlands. Maybe it originated because it’s easy for kids to say?
My sister’s daughter calls her Indian grandparents Thatha and Nanamma, and our wonderful Italian neighbor is known around town as “Nonna.” My friend’s child calls her grandparents “Lolo” and “Lola,” names that are used in the Philippines.
So, I’m curious: What about you? What do you call your own grandparents? What do your kids call your parents?
P.S. FaceTime with grandparents and what are your favorite baby names?
(My grandfather Dilly, at top, who has the same upper lip as Anton! And Dilly and me, below, at my grandparents’ house in Cornwall.)