When you tell people your first grandchild is on the way, the first question they ask is usually, “When is it due?” The second question is invariably “What do you want to be called?” And for many grandparents, grandmothers especially, that is a hard question to answer!
Lacking any strong cultural ties, I didn’t have the easy solution of the friends who were Italian or Chinese and had traditional names to go to. Though my husband is half-Greek, YiaYia and Papou are still living, so those names are taken. I began to hope that my son and his wife would have an opinion that would make it unnecessary for me to choose. They didn’t, so I turned to the internet, sifting through lists in search of a name that sounded like something I could live with for the next 30-40 years.
Here I found suggestion ranging from the truly bizarre “Just call me Grandiose, darling!” to the almost unsettling, (Gummy! NotherMother! Creaky!). I finally settled on Gran, in honor of Neville Longbottom’s remarkable grandmother. But every time I heard it said out loud, it sounded as if we were talking about someone else. So by the time my grandson was six months old, I’d switched to DeeDee, the nickname two generations of small family members have always called me.
The good news is that you have some time to pick your grandmother name—the baby isn’t going to connect you to your name for many months after his or her birth. Not to mention the fact that no matter what you decide on, there is a strong possibility that the child will mangle it into something far from what you planned.
But in case you, like me, need some help choosing a name, you can order the book Bubbe, Mimi & Gigi: The Best Grandmother Name Book Ever.* It promises to help you find the best name for new grandmothers--and grandfathers!
Meanwhile, here is as comprehensive a list as I could compile. I didn't include traditional names from other cultures, since you already know what they are if you're following your culture's traditions. I did, however, include some of the bizarre and unsettling, in case that’s what you are looking for! If you download the list, I've included some extra tips on how to pick your grandmother name!
Do you know anyone with a truly outrageous grandmother name? Please share it with us in the comments!