Charles and Sally

Charles and Sally
en route to Le Diner en Blanc

Le Diner en Blanc New York

Le Diner en Blanc New York
Lincoln Center 2012

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

grandmother names

As I have been interviewing grandmothers for my book, SUPER GRANNY, I have loved hearing all the different names that their grandchildren call them by. There’s Granny, of course, and Grandma, and Nana. And then a host of others.

I am Oma to all my grandchildren. This started because Jennifer, the mother of Stefan, my first grandchild, was married to a German man, and Oma is the German name for Grandma. There’s also Grossmutter – but that’s a bit more formal. When Stefan and his sisters visit us here in the U.S., I am just Oma. But when we visit them in Germany, I am Oma Sally, to distinguish me from Oma Mitzi, their other grandmother. When our two U.S.-based grandchildren came along, it seemed easier for all of them to call me by the same name. I don’t know how my mother remembered who she was to all her grandchildren! My children called her Granny, my brother Buddy’s children (who had lived in Italy) called her Nonna, and my brother Carl’s children called her Bubby, the Yiddish word for grandmother. They called my grandmother, who was their great-grandmother, Bubby-Bubby. She had always been Grandmom to me.

Some grandmother names reflect a child’s first learning to talk – like Bam and Gamma and GamGam. Pally reflects one grandmother’s habitual greeting, “Hey, Pal!” There’s Ammamma (Indian), Savta (Israeli), Meema (I think this means Mom in Hebrew), and Babu (Nepali). Some grandmothers go by their first names, easy for little ones to say and special to the grandchildren, not the grown children, who still say “Mom.”

I’d love to hear more grandmother names!

5 comments:

Marty said...

My kids used to call my grandma "Grandma Great."

Wendy said...

My grandchildren call me Grammy.
My mother was called "Dabby" because her first grandchild couldn't say "Grammy".
My grandmother was called "Great Gram"! Love your blog!

Lindsey Beth said...

We call ours Mimi. For awhile she even made us call her "Mimi the Greatest!" She's quie a trip. I love her to death.

Kim N said...

I don't have a different Grandma name, but the grandkids used to call my dad "Dobber" instead of Grandpa. My nephew (the second of seventeen grandchilren) called him "Dobber" instead of Grandpa from the time he could speak. When he prayed, instead of saying "Heavenly Father" he said, "Dobber Dobber". This continued with all of them for several years, but most have switched to "Grandpa" now.

My husbands family calls one grandma "Gram" and the other is just Grandma.

Anonymous said...

I became a step-grandma this year. It is also my first grandchild. I wanted to be respectful of "The Other Grandma's" and since we were all first time grandma I didn't want to take their special names But wanted a name for when my children became parents I could use to blend all the grandkids. After much thought, I decided on the obvious. I am TOG - The Other Grandmother. It is my special name and easy to say.