How did you get your Grandma name?

William Merritt Going to see Grandma

William Merritt Going to see Grandma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many new or about-to-be grandmas tell me they are not going to pick their Grandma name.

They are going to wait for the first grandchild to pick a name for them.

They do this in hopes they will have a story to tell about how they got their name.

One Grandma I talked to recently said that her children were trying to get the new baby to call her Grandma, though she was waiting for her grandson to come up with something on his own.

He started with Bink, since he couldn’t pronounce Grandma, but his parents were still trying for Grandma.

Finally, since her first name started with “G”, she asked her grandson to call her “GG.”

He agreed and called her GG for the rest of her visit.

The next visit he called her “HH.”

Another Grandma told me that her grandson, because he couldn’t pronounce Grandma, started calling her “Banny.”

Her children kept working on her grandson to teach him how to say Grandma.

He finally was able to say it and that’s what he calls her now.

She wishes she could still be “Banny.”

One Grandma I talked to said she is “Fake-o Grandma.”

She thinks her grandchild does not know what this means, just liked the sound of it.

Two grandmothers in Texas, Nana Elizabeth and Grandma Kathy, have collected a number of grandma naming stories on their site, 

They found that rhyming names are common for Grandmas.

“My name is Tammy, but the reason my grandchildren are going to call me Mammy is that when my daughter was in high school, all her friends called me Mammy Tammy…Grandpa will be called Pappy to rhyme with Mammy.”

They also found that associations with Grandma sometimes turned into names.

“My daughter placed her grandmother’s picture on the refrigerator so she could see it every time she was in the kitchen.”

“When my grandson was born he always saw the picture hanging there.”

“As he got older and started talking he would point to the picture and say ‘Grandma Fridge.’ ”

“My Mom is now known as ‘Grandma Fridge’ to all six of my grandchildren.”

Sometimes, a name comes from something about Grandma that the grandchildren notice.

“My grandma was Honey Bea.”

“Her name was Beatrice, ‘Bea’ for short, and she always called her grandkids Honey…so she was ‘Honey Bea.’”

Sometimes, new Grandmas create a name just for themselves.

“Being a young Grandma, I didn’t want to be Grandmaw or the other ‘old’ names.”

“My Mother has always been Nana.”

“Didn’t want to use that but liked it.”

“I had a friend that used the following name…and had the name for me: Grana (a combination of Grand…and Nana.)”

And, sometimes, children don’t understand what we are saying to them.

“While trying to get the kids to call my Mom Grandma Carol, they thought I was saying Grandma ‘Carrot,’ which is now what she is lovingly called.”

And, not to forget Grandpas, who are often called a name that goes with Grandma’s name, but sometimes get their own, distinctive names.

“When my kids got old enough, my dad would put candy in his pocket and fish it out in front of the grandkids, acting totally surprised to find it there!”

“The kids quickly caught onto this (each one teaching the next), so all the grandkids now call him ‘Pockets.’”

Click here to read more stories about Grandma names at


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”

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