As you might have guessed, names are very important in my family, perhaps especially to my mom.

So it will come as no surprise to you that she has put a lot of effort into figuring out what she wants her grandchildren to call her.

This may seem odd – don’t you just go by “Grandma”? Not in my family. In my family, my mom’s parents are “Grandma” and “Grandpa.” My dad’s parents are “Grannie” and “Grandad.”

This has always seemed like a far superior system to me because it is SO easy to always know exactly who you’re talking about. No “which Grandpa” inquiries necessary. This will probably be even more useful for our future children since Bart’s parents are both remarried, resulting in FOUR grandparents on that side, not to mention the fact that Bart still has five of his own living grandparents (all of whom, of course, go by “Grandma” and “Grandpa.”)

For years, my mom has tossed out suggestions about what she might go by when she’s a grandmother. With the birth of Merrick‘s baby (the first grandchild in my family) just days away, I’m guessing my mom has something in mind, although I don’t know yet what it is.

Are we weird? (Probably so. No need to answer that question).

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Tina's Blog April 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    My children call their grandmothers "Grandma Karen" or "Grandma Kathy" just to avoid the confusion and do the same with the grandfathers. My grandmother handily renamed herself after she became a great-grandmother and went by GG.

  • Reply fluentbrittish April 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    My favorite grandma name of all time is Granny Apple.

    This is what Scotty's aunt goes by. It started as Granny Smith, but then her grandkids started calling her Granny Apple, and now they just call her Apple. I think it's totally cute!

  • Reply RA April 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I like the Grandma/Grandpa FirstName combo, not that I ever used it. Our family uses the Chinese names that literally mean "mother mother" (maternal grandmother) and such. It was hard for me to explain that in the playground as a kid.

    On my husband's side, though, there is a lot of Nana and Pop-pop going on. I am not a huge fan of that, honestly, but as they say, we will cross that bridge when we get there.

  • Reply TheMoncurs April 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    My dad's parents are divorced so we had: Mama and Papa (mom's parents), Grandma and Grandpa (dad's dad and step mom) and Grandma Lynn and Grandpa Lyn (dad's mom and stepdad, both named Lyn(n), which was convenient). It was nice having difference names for them all because it could get confusing.

    We've kind of been struggling with this with Wes since he's spends SO much time around my family that 'Grandma' and 'Grandpa' are CLEARLY not those people who come to visit from Hawaii sometimes. We have to figure out a system.

  • Reply stegersaurus April 9, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    My grandparents had different names too — one set was Grandma and Grandpa, and one was Granny and Poppy. The grandparent I was closest to was Granny, so I've thought I'd like to go by that, in her honor.

    I thought that was pretty common, to have two different sets of names for the grandparents? Certainly it's way less confusing.

  • Reply Alison K. April 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    When my mom became a grandma for the first time, when i had eddie, we went through the same thing. She didn't want to be grandma (last name) which is what my grandparents have always been. Tims parents had been grandparents for a long time already so they were established as Grandma Rosie and Grandpa Bob. That option didn't suit my mom either.

    So my parents are Gammer and Gaffer. like in Lord of The Rings, Sam's grandpa is Gaffer……

  • Reply Jenna April 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    My grandparents were always called something different, so my mom and dad go by Gram and Papa. I like it, it is much less confusing.

  • Reply Carole April 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Yes, I have been hard at work on this new name for myself (yes, I'm Janssen's mother). It is being quite a challenge. I'm still open to any and all suggestions — so keep them coming!!

    Naming 5 beautiful children was a snap compared to this!!

  • Reply Lisa C April 9, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I was so frustrated when I was having James (the first grandchild)that everyone was so picky about what to be called, but now I think it makes it way easier to distinguish grandparents. This is especially true for little kids who would rather say "Grammy, Nana, Grandma" rather than Grandma Jill, Grandma Andrea, Grandma Dianne.

  • Reply Shawna April 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Jewish people have this all figured out. Every family calls the mom's parents Grandma and Grandpa and calls the dad's Bubbe and Zayde, which is Hebrew for Grandma and Grandpa. It gets a little confusing; in Dan's family for example, he has one sister, so their future offspring will call their parents different things. I think it works out really well for us!

  • Reply Heather April 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Totally not weird. We go with the Danish for mother's mother – Bestamor, but shorten it to Besta. Her husband was Grampy – not sure where that came from. Then grandma and grandpa on the other side. Can't wait to hear which name your mom picks.

  • Reply Jenna April 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    This is a great benefit of having a pair of foreign grandparents – only problem is my mom likes the Polish name for Grandma, "babcia" (pronounced bob-chuh) better than any of the American standard options. 🙂

  • Reply Packrat April 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    When growing up, both my family and my husband's family used Grandma (insert last name) and Grandpa (insert last name). We did the same with our great-grandparents.

    When the next three generations came along, names just sort of evolved. My grandmother became Old Grandma (at her request). (We had 5 generations alive for 12 years!) My stepmom became Grannie (first name), my mom became Grandma. My stepdad was Big Grandpa and my dad was Pepops. My in-laws became Grandma (first name) and Grandpa (first name). My husband's grandparents stayed Grandma and Grandpa (last name). Confused? I think I am.

  • Reply Bethany April 9, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I love it! My mom, our first-time grandma, spent the 4 days in the hospital with me trying to decide what she wanted to be called. I think we settled on Nana. My dad, on the other hand, who has never liked the idea of aging, still can't decide. He seems to like Grandad. He believes it's younger sounding, LOL.

  • Reply kristen April 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    We just wait to see what the oldest grandkid comes up with and it kinda sticks. So we have "nana" and "papa" and "grandpa rob" and "bobo." hehe… The last one is my mom's name that soph came up with on her own so my mom actually loves it!

  • Reply Kristi April 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    My cousins all called one of my grandmas "nana" which I always thought was weird. But I like your reasoning. My friends little girls call her dad "pappy" which is cute. I don't know, I had never really thought about it. I'll have to mull it over for the next twenty something years till I become a Grandma.

    Gwen refers to her great Grandmas as "same name Gradma" (her great grandma Gwen) and the "candy grandma" since great grandma Bassett always has m and ms. I hope I can be a candy grandma 😉

  • Reply Life of a Doctor's Wife April 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I had a Grandma and a Gram. Very easy to keep track of them.

  • Reply Kimberly April 9, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Josh's family is way more into this than mine, but then I only had one healthy grandmother most of my childhood, so there wasn't much confusion there. Here are the ideas they've come up with or that I've heard in other families:
    Granny Jo (her name is Jo Anne)
    G-Ma (yes, we laughed that one dead)
    Grossie (short for Grossmutter, grandmother in German)

    I know a lot of kids that distinguish for themselves either with their own names or by some feature of the grandparents. For my sister's kids it was Grandma/Grandpa Farm vs. Grandma/Grandpa Casa Grande. For a friend's children, it's the name of the dog at each grandparent's house!

  • Reply craftyashley April 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    We had a hard time with this but for a different reason: my parents firmly believed they were not "old enough" to be called grandparents. Nevermind the fact I was 24 when I had the twins- so SOMEBODY had to be old enough. Anyway, it is a bit confusing, but since we see Logan's parents so little, it works. The kids call them grandma and grandpa and then they leave and the naming system still works.
    I called my father's mother Minima. I thought that was cute.

  • Reply craftyashley April 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Oh! I also had a grandpa and a granddad. 🙂

  • Reply lacie tidwell April 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    we call Ryan's mom MIMZY and his dad Paps- Ryan's grandparents are Nana and Papa- I've also heard Oma (Norwegian) and Gammy- can't wait to hear what the names are!

  • Reply Amy Sorensen April 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I have found that the grandparents' names just sort of evolve. My Jake calls my mom "supie du" (they both love it), for example. "Granny sue" is her other name, but only by my kids. I think the evolving nature of the name is part of its magic. And: I now wish my last name was Smith so I could be called Apple as a grandma. I'm always jealous of Britt! 😉

  • Reply Braden April 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Yeah, I'm in favor of unique titles. We had Nanny/Poppa, Momo/Mac, and Grandma/Grandpa. My mum has decided to be Nana; I don't think anything is established for my dad or my mom.

  • Reply Norby Family April 9, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    You know, my mom had this conversation with me minutes after my first child was born, I had never even thought about it. Our son calls his grandpa papa and he did that all on his own. He's the only one who calls him papa so it's quite unique in our family.

  • Reply April April 9, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    In my family we have Nana, Ma, Grammy and PaPa, Gramma and Grampa,
    Nonnie and Grandpa Tom. Makes it easier for the kids, harder to find cards though!

  • Reply Jess April 9, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I love this! We used Grandma and Grandpa for everything and it was confusing for sure. Our kids will have that problem solved: Grandma and Grandpa for my parents and Oma and Opa for Torsten's parents. Done!

  • Reply heidikins April 9, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    My paternal grandparents are Bub and Famp. Bub is shortened from Bubby, which was how the oldest grandkids tried to say "Granny".

    Famp is short for Fampa, which was how those same grandkids said "Grandpa."

    I've always loved those nicknames.


  • Reply Saskia Tielens April 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    That's not weird at all. I call my dad's parents grandma and grandpa, but then the Dutch versions: oma and opa, and my dad's mom something similar yet different: she's omi. Otherwise it just gets too confusing. My parents are divorced, and if they get remarried and I have kids someday, you can bet we'll be thinking about different names for everyone!

    PS When I saw Merrick's post about her nursery today, I was pretty sure there would be a baby in the crib in the last photo. Unfortunately not. But that hospital bag looks like she's ready to go!

  • Reply Peaceful Reader April 9, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Wow-loved reading all the answers. When I had my son 14 years ago my mom debated this back and forth to infinity-she did not want to be called Grandma-her mother was grandma and she was not ready for it. Imagine if I had been a mom in my twenties-I had my first child at thirty!! My husband's parents lived in Malaysia for a few years so they go by Nano and Dato (malay for G and G) Good Luck Janssen's mom as you did a wonderful job of naming your children!!

  • Reply Yankee Girl April 9, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    My mom goes by Grammy to her grandchildren. I have a Grandma and a Nana.

  • Reply Packrat April 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    PS: I went on and on about what everyone was called except what our grandchildren call my husband and me! We are just Grandma and Grandpa – sometimes with our first names attached.

  • Reply tootie April 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    You are not weird at all! My husband and I don't have kids yet (and we aren't expecting), and both sets of our parents already know what names they want to be called as grandparents. (They even consulted amongst each other so they won't be called the same thing! 🙂

  • Reply Jenae April 10, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Both of my parents' parents divorced and remarried before I was born. I was 12 before I figured out that everyone doesn't have four grandmas and four grandpas. I have:
    Nana, Omi Carol, Grandma Susan, and Granny Cox

    Grandpa Wayne, Papa, PJ. and Grandpa Cox (he died when I was little so there was no "which grandpa" confusion…probably not WHY he died though.)

    Seth's parents are Mema and Pa. So that's already taken care of.



  • Reply Anonymous April 10, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Coming over from "Housewife's" blog:

    We call my Dad Pappy – it emergered from my brother saying he wasn't a "crappy" Pappy years ago- crude, I know, but it stuck.

    We call my Mom Grammy – but she also answers to Grahm Cracker.

    My in-laws are just Grandma/pa

    My grandparents are Nana and Papa, and Grandma and Grandps (last name), my great-grandparents were Mimi and Grand Dad, another great-grandmother was simply Grandma.

    Seeing as my last name is Smith, I am very excited to be called "Apple" later on in life…wonder what my husband will be called.

    Jenny Smith

  • Reply Mad Hadder April 11, 2010 at 5:04 am

    I'm Grammy, and it works well.

  • Reply McCulloch Moments April 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Trey's parents are Grandpa Willie and Grandma Mary when we talk about them (Grandma Mary is coming to your soccer game) but when the kids talk to them they say "Hi Grandma!"
    A lot of discussion went into what to call my parents and my Mom picked "Grammy" and we call my Dad "Gramps". Whatever you pick, I think it's great having something to differentiate between them so that the kids know who is on the phone. It's been interesting to have Trey say, Gramps is on the phone when it's his Dad and have the kids really confused on who they are talking to at first 🙂
    Good luck!!

  • Reply janet April 12, 2010 at 3:03 am

    I know of another grandma whose name begins with a C and she goes by Grandma CiCi or just CiCi. Something like CeCe might work for your mom, too? It seems a little more young and fresh I think!

  • Reply Corbett Family April 12, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Jim's mom is Nana and the grandkids called his dad Gramps when he was alive (and that is what our kids call him when they talk about him even though they never knew him). My parents are Grandma and Grandpa. So, in theory, this usually works to differentiate. However, since we only see the grandparents a few times a year, now that Joey can talk, he always mixes up Nana and Grandma. Lately, he just calls them both Nana. So, no matter what name your mom picks for herself, your baby and your nieces and nephews may end up calling her something totally different!

  • Reply Leslie April 12, 2010 at 3:40 am

    My cousin couldn't say "Gramma" and it came out "Gigi" so she's known as Gigi or Gig (pronounced like geege).

    My favorite is my what my friend's children call her mom, "Grandy". I love it!

  • Reply Angela Noelle of Striking Keys April 13, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Mine = Nana & Pop
    His = Gamma/Grandma & Grand-dad

  • Reply Shelly April 13, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Not at all! My children call their grandmothers "Mimi" and then their first name. Our parents are divorced and several of them still use the same last name, so we would have two grandmothers with the same last name, for example.

  • Reply Jennie April 15, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Not weird. We have a Baachan, a Jiichan, a Mammy and a Grandpa. What I want to know is what the baby's name will be 😉

  • Reply Rhiannon April 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I have one Grandma, one Tutu and two Papas. My mom is Nana to my nieces, though they both pronounce it differently. It sounds more like Nono from my little niece and I find that to be hilarious. Bill's Grandma is Mumu which I also happen to really love.

  • Reply Louisa Turner August 13, 2012 at 12:44 am

    With my kids it so many grandparents but yet they all have different names with my parents is a traditional Spanish name but shorten to wells for my mom and G-pa for my dad with my kids father their great grandfather is Pa-Pa with my x's mother is just grandma, but my husbands parents it is GeMa for his mom PapPaw for his dad and MoMo for his step mom and Nana for his grandmother…..i know so many names but it's good to know they hold a special name

  • Leave a Reply