Are You My (grand)Mother?

I never had much difficulty identifying my grandparents. I only had one grandfather. He lived in Southern California, so he was Grandpa. His wife, my mother’s mother, is Grandma. My father’s mother still lives in Italy; she is Nonna.

My mother recently decided she wasn’t a fan of how “Grandma Janet” sounded. So we begin round two of the name game.

When she was a tyke, children did not use adults’ first names. So it was Grandma and Grandpa Last Name. But when I offered to have the twins call my mom Grandma Cosaro, she did not waste a single portion of her next breath declining. Apparently that conjures an image of an elderly lady knitting a bonnet as she rocks in a chair on a porch. My mother does not knit. Nor does that description seem to fit the demeanor of the SoCal Assistant Superintendent.

I did a bit of research on what our options are regarding the typical names. The Internet tells me there is also a trend toward inventing something that sounds cooler than traditional names.

Traditional Names Modern Names Translated Names
Big Mom BeBe Chinese: NaiNai
Gram Bella Filipino: Lola
Gramma GiGi Flemish: Bomma
Grammy G-Ma French: Grandmere
Grams G-Mom French Canadian: Meme
Grandma Honey German: Oma
Grandmama Lovey Greek: YaYa
Grandmom MayMay Hawaiian: Tutu
Grandmother Mia Hebrew: Savta
Grannie Mim Italian: Nonna
Ma or Maw Mimi Irish: Maimeó
Mamo Nina Japanese: Oba-chan
MawMaw Korean: Halmoni
Mema Polish: Busia
Memaw Portuguese: VoVo
Mom-Mom Russian: Babushka
Nana Spanish: Abuela
Yiddish: Bube

Given my heritage, it seems a simple solution would be to call my mother Nonna and my dad Nonno. My dad may become Nonno Tavo, but we haven’t polled him on his chosen name yet. (He’s still busy trying to convince us the twins will be Gustavo 1 and Gustavo 2.) Nonna has been vetoed due to the Strega Nonna correlation (see more about this in the future post on children’s books I’ve promised).

What do your children call their grandparents? What did you call yours? Any preferences Meemaws?


Filed under Names, Pre-natal

3 Responses to Are You My (grand)Mother?

  1. nicki

    I always called my maternal grandmother “nana” which is the french nickname for grandma… spanish, at least in mexico a nickname for grandma is tita (short version of little grandmother abuelita)… should i ever procreate, mom is nana and lynn is tita.

    also yiddish is boba….don’t ask my where i got this information; if could be all lies

  2. Amber

    We made up one that sounded cooler, was fitting, and that my one-year-old could say easily. LuLu.

  3. How about Principal Janet?!

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